McLaren bring in Microsoft's Payne as first eSports director
McLaren have become the first Formula 1 team to appoint an eSports director with the recruitment of Ben Payne from Microsoft.
Payne (pictured, above) joined McLaren today, in the week that the team’s eSports racing contest World’s Fastest Gamer reaches a climax with the finals at the company headquarters in Woking in south-east England.
McLaren broke new ground in May when it launched the competition, with the winner to be granted a contract to be one of the team’s simulator drivers in 2018.
Payne will be responsible for the growth and development of McLaren’s eSports strategy, including all aspects of the World’s Fastest Gamer programme and a partner community, activating partnerships across the retail and media sectors and key industry events.
In his time at Microsoft, Payne had roles in third party marketing, partnerships and events for Xbox EMEA, and worked on global campaigns for Windows. His previous employers include Sega, 2K Games and Future.
Formula 1 launched its own eSports Series, in partnership with game developer Codemasters and eSports organisation Gfinity, in September, and the competition concludes with the finals at the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix on 24 and 25 November.