AS HEAT ESPORTS celebrates an important milestone this month, as August 2021 signals the first anniversary of the team’s conception, when a new era for esports in the Middle East began.
One year on, and the Emirati team continues to raise eyebrows and turn heads on the global esports stage across multiple platforms and gaming titles. In just 12 short months and a total of 1168 races, YAS HEAT has achieved 786 podiums (67%), 493 victories (42%) and nine championships.
A number of high-profile partnerships have also emerged during this period. A collaboration with Microsoft resulted in the immensely popular Microsoft GP – featuring high-profile competitors such as Jamie Chadwick, MaximeMXM and Ramez Azzam – while Pirelli and Richard Mille also came on board with their own special edition eye-catching liveries.
The YAS HEAT Academy has also seen unprecedented success in its first year, discovering regional talent, including Emirati Khalifa Alqubaisi, and offering aspiring virtual racers an opportunity to prove their worth at the highest level. The young hopefuls also received expert knowledge on what it takes to be a professional sports star from the academy’s specialist lecturer and ex-England Rugby player Tom May.
And there has been no shortage of success over the course of the last 12 months.
YAS HEAT were crowned season two champions of the Sim Grid Endurance Cup, the Assetto Corsa Competizione (ACC)-based series.
They also performed well in the Sim Grid x VCO World Cup, also run on Assetto Corsa, along with the 2021 ISOWC IndyCar Championship, which featured the team’s iRacing line-up of Dean Woods, Balazs Remenyik, Joao Văz and Josh Lad.
Perhaps the most impressive individual achievement to date, though, was Inostroza’s qualification for the 2021 Virtual Olympics.
The Chile-based sim racer took part in a week-long qualifying event in which only 16 competitors from a group of 4,000 progressed. Inostroza produced an outstanding performance, eventually qualifying after recording the fastest time from Central and South America.
YAS HEAT have also taken part in two seasons of the V 10 R-League, a global tournament in which they go up against some of the biggest brands in motorsport, including the likes of BWM, Red Bull and Williams, racing on some of the world’s most famous tracks such as Silverstone, Monza and Yas Marina Circuit.
Broadcast rights to the V 10 R-League were picked up globally by ESPN, BT Sport and StarzPlay Arabia, and such was the success of the first season, an additional two teams – Aston Martin and R8G – were added to the mix for the second instalment, increasing the number of participating teams from eight to 10. Season three, expected to be even bigger and better than the first two, is expected to take place early next year.
While these achievements certainly highlight YAS HEAT as one of the world’s most competitive esports teams and a force to be reckoned with, the squad shows no signs of slowing down with the Le Mans Virtual Series and many other championships on the horizon.
Saif Al-Noaimi, Team Principal, YAS HEAT said:
“What YAS HEAT has achieved in just one year is nothing short of spectacular. We’re going up against established teams in the esports industry and we have won 493 races and nine championships – it’s just incredible.
“We’re not stopping here though. We have grand plans for the next 12 months of YAS HEAT and we’re going to be pushing to be better than ever, continuing our academy programme as well as entering into more and more championships – we can’t wait!
“Of course, we have to mention all of our hard-working drivers, dedicated sponsors and all those behind the scenes who keep our operation running smoothly. Without them, the success we’ve achieved and the reputation we have built would not be possible.”
It’s fair to say YAS HEAT’s first year of action has been hugely impressive, and the future undoubtedly looks bright.