Sim racing is gaining traction, having already produced drivers that have turned out to be competitive on real-life circuits. Now, Malaysia will soon host the first round of the eRacing Grand Prix SEA in June, courtesy of Axle Motorsport.

Contenders will compete via PlayStation gaming consoles, and the top 40 contestants will be granted access to training by professional driving coaches who will train them to become race car drivers in real life.

“eRacing Grand Prix SEA is the best platform for virtual racers to prove that gamers can establish themselves in real-life motorsports successfully, said Axle Motorsport founder, ex-Formula 1 driver and three-time Audi R8 LMS champion Alex Yoong, who was inspired by the introduction of sim racing in Hong Kong last year.

The growth of esports in the region is seen as the best opportunity for virtual racing to grow towards becoming one of the top esports games in the world, said Yoong. “esports has become a significant face of the video game industry when there was a demonstration event during the Asian Games. I hope that this will transition it from being known as a game, to being known as a sport,” he added.

First beginning in Malaysia, the eRacing Grand Prix SEA will then head to the Philippines, Indonesia, Singapore, Vietnam and Thailand. The winner from each national round will be selected to train and be offered a place in the Formula 4 South East Asia Championship (F4 SEA) as their first steps towards becoming a professional racing driver.

Axle Motorsport also provides strategic partnerships in Southeast Asian motorsports to aid the industry’s growth with participants’ career progression, from gamer to real-life motorsport, it said, adding that it aims to support drivers who come through its ranks in becoming future notable figures in the motorsport industry.