Big carmakers serious About eSports

Big carmakers serious About eSports

Big carmakers serious About eSports 960 540 ESC Today

Big carmakers get serious about esports

Racing drivers for Renault get some serious training.

Working on improving their reaction times...

Boosting their speed and flexibility...

And yet these drivers may never step into a real racing car.

This is training for esports racing - and it's another sign of just how seriously big brands now take virtual competition.

Jarno Opmeer used to drive real cars for Renault:

(SOUNDBITE)(English) JARNO OPMEER, RENAULT SPORT TEAM VITALITY, ESPORTS DRIVER SAYING:

"Physical training in esports is much more about staying healthy, staying flexible because obviously sitting in a simulator for a big part of the day is going to make you stiff. But you want to stay flexible as much as possible just for quick reactions and coordination and these kind of things."

Renault competes against the other big F1 names in the esports version of the race series.

It rebuilt its team after a disappointing season last year.

And it's just one part of a booming market.

Global esports revenues are forecast to hit 1.1 billion dollars in 2019 - up 27% on last year.

But the Renault team boss says gender balance is still a big worry.

Just 20% of fans are female.

And the numbers are even worse among contestants:

(SOUNDBITE)(English) NICOLAS MAURER, CEO & CO-FOUNDER, TEAM VITALITY SAYING:

"One of the big challenges, and a very interesting area of development for esports, is the number of women being pro in esports which is close to zero right now which is a terrible state, we have to admit."

As for this year, Opmeer is third in the drivers' contest, 43 points behind Ferrari's David Tonizza.

The champion will be decided in final races next week at London's Gfinity Arena.