McLaren has announced a new eSports scheme called 'Shadow Project' as the follow-up to its World Fastest Gamer project from 2017, giving virtual racers the chance to work with a real-life Formula 1 team.

Following the success of Dutch sim racer Rudy van Buren in last year's World Fastest Gamer challenge and his subsequent integration into the McLaren team as a simulator driver, McLaren will once again launch an eSports scheme this year, with Shadow Project set to kick off this August.

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"Last year’s competition proved that the skills learned as a racing gamer are transferable to the real world," McLaren director of eSports Ben Payne said.

"This is unique to the racing genre. We believe that esports and real world racing have much to learn and give to each other and last year’s competition was just the start.

"'McLaren Shadow Project’ is a virtual racing programme that shadows McLaren’s real world. The champion of McLaren Shadow Project 2018 will win a place on the new McLaren esports team and go on to race online against the best teams in the world.

"The winner will also win access to the McLaren esports development programme, as well as an enviable stash of goodies."

McLaren Shadow Project will be open to gamers across a variety of platforms, with qualifiers taking place via Forza Motorsport (Xbox One), iRacing (PC), rFactor 2 (PC) and Real Racing 3 (phone/tablet).

After the initial online qualifiers in August, McLaren will stage semi-finals at its base in Woking before then staging a grand final next January, where the winner will be named the team's second eSports champion.

"Season one proved that esports are a new talent frontier for motorsport and after pioneering the programme in 2017, McLaren plans to develop the concept to generate greater global reach and engagement in season two," McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown said.

"A strong, diverse esports programme has a direct benefit to McLaren’s innovative ambitions, bringing in new audiences, partners and talent to motorsport. By ramping up over multiple platforms across the online world, it will establish McLaren as an important brand in the motorsport esports community."