In the aftermath of the AMSOIL Dover Raceway eSports event held late last month, Gregory Moore, Chairman and CEO of Jamaica eSports Initiative (JEI) is bullish on the growth of sim-racing locally.
The virtual sim-racing event which was sanctioned by the Jamaica Race Drivers Club (JRDC), took place over three days (November 19 through 21) with over forty gamers from across the Caribbean spending the weeks leading up to the event finals practicing in the pre-event qualifying sessions.
Its main draw, other than the prize pool of USD$4,000 put up by title sponsor AMSOIL via local distributor Motorlubes — the automotive products arm of Miracle Corporation Limited, was the first ever virtual representation of the iconic Dover Raceway in the Parish of St Ann using the racing game Assetto Corsa.
“It was a very good move, and it will only make eSports better for Jamaica, opening up the eyes of many persons,” said Moore.
The JEI headquarters at the Technology Innovation Centre on the grounds of the University of Technology, St Andrew, played host to several drivers, two of which found varying levels of achievement in the event, PC gamer Stephen Stewart and video game console user Mario Mills. Stewart qualified in the Silver class, using the given turbocharged four-wheel Lancer Evolution, but was unable to make it into the top three.
Despite the setback, Stewart admitted he liked the event and would enter again. Mills, on the other hand, while slower in the Bronze class, found more success driving the front-wheel Honda Civic EF sedan given to those competitors. He finished second overall, winning USD$300 in the process.
“I feel good about my performance,” said Mills.
He also thanked Moore and the JEI as he competed using the equipment at their head office. He however, didn’t use the full motion commercial grade sim-racing rig that was available, instead opting for a desk mounted setup similar to that of his video game console. With the victory Mills plans to invest in a PC as soon as he can to keep his skills up.
“People can enjoy sim-racing because there are a lot of affordable stationary rigs out there like Playseat, and like RSeat. If you have a good computer desk you can also use that with a simple steering a pedal arrangement that starts at about USD$400 to $500,” explained Moore.
He went on to explain that the JEI is looking to secure financial assistance packages for those serious about entering the eSports arena, regardless of genre.
The JEI was setup in the 90s to help promote video games as a viable sporting genre in Jamaica.