McLaren Formula 1 driver Lando Norris has announced the launch of his own esports team called Quadrant, the 20-year-old Englishman gained a big following online earlier this year as he took part in virtual races while F1 was suspended because of Covid-19.
Norris’ new venture will see him team up with some of the top streamers in a variety of online games.
“Quadrant is something I’ve wanted to do for a long while,” he told BBC Sport.
“The lockdown accelerated things because I was doing a lot more streaming online and getting more into it. It definitely made me want to do it a bit quicker.”
Norris, who races for McLaren in Formula 1, follows fellow F1 driver Romain Grosjean in launching an esports outfit after the Frenchman announced R8G Sim Racing back in April.
But while Grosjean’s team is solely focused on competing in online races, Norris says he wants to develop a team that competes in events across the whole spectrum of esports.
“We are starting reasonably small but with the dream of expanding and becoming a much bigger team throughout all esports and not just racing,” he added.
“While racing will be a focus and be a bigger passion than almost any other esports, it is hopefully going to be expanding into many other different categories of esports and games.”
Norris has always been an avid online gamer but his interactions with fans on the streaming platform Twitch saw his followers rise from 185,000 to over 600,000 during the first lockdown.
He took part in a series of online races called “Not The GP” that replicated their real life equivalents, with a number of other F1 drivers, celebrities and footballers taking part.
The series’ organiser, Veloce Esports, has joined with Norris for the launch of Quadrant and co-founder Jamie MacLaurin says their initial focus will be on helping to develop Norris’ online presence.
“The Lando you see in the paddock and the Lando outside the paddock is not too dissimilar,” said MacLaurin.
“This new breed of F1 drivers that Lando and some of the others like George Russell are leading feel very much like people you would get on with.
“The beauty of the fact that Lando streams online means fans see him in his bedroom and they have that close affiliation to him.”