Inaugural Olympic Virtual Series including Gran Turismo to Close on “Olympic Day”

Written By Andrew Boggs on June 21, 2021 - Last Updated on June 24, 2021

The Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile along with other major virtual sports companies are partnering with the International Olympic Committee to create the inaugural Olympic Virtual Series.

The Olympic Virtual Series

The Olympic Virtual Series is the first-ever Olympic-licensed event for physical and non-physical virtual sports. This means that less traditional sports will get their chance to shine. This is great, especially if you are a fan of virtual sports betting.

The event will begin on 13 May with the Global Online Qualification stage, which will adopt the form of a 10-day Time Trial Challenge. After online competition, the top 16 challengers will move on to the world finals from the following regions: EMEA, Asia, North America, Central & South America, and Oceania.

Plenty of big names in the sporting world will be taking part in the event. From cyclists like Sir Chris Hoy to former World Champion marathon runner Paula Radcliffe there will be no shortage of huge sports stars lending their considerable weight to this event.

Comments from the organisers

IOC President, Thomas Bach, said:

“The Olympic Virtual Series is a new, unique Olympic digital experience that aims to foster direct engagement with new audiences in the field of virtual sports. Its conception is in line with the Olympic Agenda 2020+5 and the IOC’s digital strategy. It encourages sports participation and promotes the Olympic values, with a special focus on youth.”

FIA President, Jean Todt, said:

“I am delighted that the FIA is joining forces with the IOC for this highly prestigious and innovative sporting contest, and I would like to thank [IOC President] Thomas Bach for putting his faith in us. We share the same values and are proud of the diversity and inclusion offered by digital motorsport, which promotes mass participation by removing most of the traditional barriers to entry.”

The plans for the event

Players will be able to compete in other events besides motor racing. FIA is participating alongside other major players in the worlds of baseball, cycling, rowing, and sailing. As part of the event, they have worked with the designers of Gran Turismo, Polyphony Digital Inc., to launch the motorsport event of the OVS. They will compete in Gran Turismo Sport which was developed in 2018 for the FIA-Certified Gran Turismo Championships. If you feel like taking a punt on this event, check out our esports betting guide.

Other events will include The Ultimate Chase Race on the 18th of June, the INSHORE and OFFSHORE boat racing series, and more. All of these events have partnered with various sports video games to highlight the importance of the sport.

Comments from the sports and game directors

FIA Deputy President for Sport, Graham Stoker, said:

“The Olympic Virtual Series aligns perfectly with our strategy to foster the growth and development of the Digital Motor Sport and, in so doing, extend the appeal of our wonderful sport to fresh audiences. I look forward to following the competition closely as we continue to discover exciting new talent.”

Producer Gran Turismo series & President Polyphony Digital, Kazunori Yamauchi, said:

 “We are honoured that Gran Turismo has been appointed as one of the publishers for the Olympic Virtual Series. This is a historic day not only for us at Gran Turismo but seen from the history of motorsport as well. I’m very excited that the numerous Gran Turismo players all around the world will be able to share the Olympic Virtual Series experience.”

The event and virtual gaming

The World Finals will be broadcast on 23 June in celebration of Olympic Day. The competitor who accrues the highest cumulative points total across all three races will be crowned the winner. This is another great move forward for the recognition of virtual sports games being recognised by the Olympic Committee.

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Andrew Boggs

Andrew is a Northern Ireland based journalist with a background in esports and VR reporting. He grew up in County Down, Northern Ireland, and graduated from Ulster University with a Masters's degree in Journalism.

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