McLaren has appointed Ben Payne as the company’s new director of esports. Payne joins the company from Microsoft, where he held roles in third party marketing, partnerships and events for Xbox EMEA, as well as working on global campaigns for Windows.
Prior to Microsoft, he also held positions at SEGA, 2K Games and Future.
Payne joins McLaren as the company’s esports racing contest, World’s Fastest Gamer, enters its final week of competition. After months of qualifying rounds, 12 finalists will converge on McLaren’s Woking headquarters to battle for the opportunity to become one of the team’s 2018 simulator drivers.
McLaren was the first Formula 1 team to announce its own esports property, and also now becomes the first team in the sport to create a dedicated position for an esports director.
Payne will oversee the growth and development of McLaren’s esports strategy, including all aspects of the World’s Fastest Gamer programme. Additionally, he will lead the development of the WFG partner community, activating gaming partnerships across retail, media partnerships and key industry events.
Ben Payne said: “I’m delighted to be joining McLaren as director of esports during the climax of this year’s prestigious World’s Fastest Gamer contest. It’s undoubtedly an exciting time to be joining the organisation, and I’m looking forward to helping the McLaren brand grow and develop through its esports and gaming proposition.”
Zak Brown, executive director, McLaren Technology Group added: “Gaming and esports are two huge and exciting markets, and we believe that they’re essential elements of McLaren’s new marketing platform. The growth and appeal of gaming, and its close relationship to motorsport and Formula 1, makes this a natural area of expansion for us.”
John Allert, chief marketing officer, McLaren Technology Group, commented: “We want to position McLaren as a market leader in this category. With World’s Fastest Gamer, we were the first Formula 1 team to create an esports property and now Ben’s appointment will accelerate the ambitious plans we have to grow this area of the business. We have already forged successful esports partnerships with Logitech G and Sparco, and we’re looking to develop a partner community around our gaming properties.”