The fully-electric FIA Formula E Championship has launched its first ever virtual championship - Race Off Pro Series - to be held alongside its real-world season.

With eSports enjoying huge growth across all sporting sectors, Formula E is embracing this vast audience by running a virtual championship alongside its electric-powered race series.

The championship will comprise of at least four online rounds, which will serve as a preview to the on-track action ahead of the Formula E races in Long Beach, Paris, Berlin and London.

Showing its determination to reach a new audience for motorsport, Formula E has partnered with leaders in the eSports marketplace to launch this game-changing project. Microsoft, through their Turn 10 Studios, has been at the cutting edge of head-to-head online competitive racing and is a natural fit for them to provide the platform on which fans compete - the award-winning Forza Motorsport 6.

"Competitive gaming is at the heart of Forza and we are always working to innovate in the growing arena of eSports by engaging automotive and gaming enthusiasts in this new type of motorsport," said Dan Greenawalt, creative director of Turn 10 Studios. "Forza Motorsport 6 is a natural fit for this partnership with Formula E."

The first event started at 12pm GMT today, when a Rivals event opened in the Forza Motorsport 6 Xbox Live lobby. The time trial will close at 11.59pm GMT on March 31. The fastest 10 players across the globe will then be invited to compete in a live Pro Series final, which will be held on April 2 in a bespoke online lobby.

March 24, 2016 Driving photo: FIA Formula E

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