Saudi Arabia’s esports federation will be the title sponsor of the virtual Le Mans 24 Hours race on June 13-14, organizers announced on Sunday. The Automobile Club de l’Ouest said in a statement that Saudi Arabia had an estimated six million gamers and ambitions to become a global gaming hub.
The Saudi Arabian Federation for Electronic and Intellectual Sports (SAFEIS) oversees the kingdom’s gaming community and industry. SAFEIS branding will be trackside and on the windscreens of all cars competing in the simulator-based competition. Saudi Arabia has growing interests in motorsport, hosting the Dakar Rally and a round of the all-electric Formula E series while also sponsoring Formula One through state-owned oil giant Saudi Aramco.
The esports event is being staged on the weekend that Le Mans, postponed to Sept. 19/20 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, would normally take place. The 50-car field features five Formula One drivers, including Red Bull’s Max Verstappen and McLaren’s Lando Norris, as well as double Le Mans winner and twice F1 world champion Fernando Alonso.