'World's Fastest Gamer' wins McLaren F1 simulator role
A sales manager from the Netherlands will get a second chance to pursue a motorsports career, after winning a ground-breaking eSports competition to become an official simulator driver for Formula One team McLaren.
Rudy Van Buren won the 'World's Fastest Gamer' contest set up by McLaren in a bid to find the best virtual racing driver on the planet.
The 25-year-old beat fellow Dutchman Freek Schothorst, 20, in the final round, a four-hour assessment that used McLaren's F1 simulator.
Van Buren will now become one of the team's official simulator drivers in 2017, having previously been forced to cut short his promising karting career at 16 due to a lack of financial backing.
"Every boy that starts karting dreams about F1, and at a certain point that dream just vanishes. Now by winning 'World's Fastest Gamer', I can relive that dream," said Van Buren.
Damon Hill, the 1996 F1 world champion, responded to news of Van Buren's success via Twitter, writing: "This is the future chaps, people who can race against computers! Congratulations to @RvBuren and to @McLarenF1 for building a bridge to the new fans of F1, where reality and virtual combine to make the future."
This is the future chaps, people who can race against computers! Congratulations to @RvBuren and to @McLarenF1 for building a bridge to the new fans of F1 , where reality and virtual combine to make the future #F1 https://t.co/06LbuzNTiA— Damon Hill (@HillF1) November 21, 2017
McLaren executive director Zak Brown also congratulated Van Buren, adding: "This was an outstandingly tough contest, one where we went to great lengths to stretch our contestants beyond their limits, and he'll be a real asset to the organisation as we develop and refine our 2018 car throughout the next season."
The 'World's Fastest Gamer' competition began in May 2017, with 12 contestants invited to compete in the final tests at McLaren's Woking headquarters.
Van Buren and Schothorst - the two finalists - were then tested behind the wheel of the same McLaren simulator used by the team's F1 drivers to develop their cars.