12 talented sim racers descended upon the McLaren Technical Centre a couple of weeks ago to compete for the title of 'World's Fastest Gamer'. The winner would fill McLaren's test simulator seat for the upcoming F1 season, with the role being to put different car configurations through lap after lap of virtual testing which in-turn will lead to developments to the physical car.
In the end, the position was taken by 2003 Dutch Karting Champion Rudy Van Buren after a gruelling 70 lap test on McLaren's full simulator setup. The young Dutchman had to leave motorsport due to financial reasons after his karting success and made the switch to the virtual world, with his journey now coming full circle through his new job as the F1 team's official simulator driver.
Through his karting experience, Van Buren knew the intricacies of tyre temperature and wear that form a huge part of the highly technical simulator setup. Just having a driving background will have helped him massively, especially in areas like weight transfer and general car dynamics. He has almost highlighted how much work he puts into being mentally and physically fit, giving him an edge in terms of reaction time and keeping his thought processes fresh and alert for quicker lap times.
Chatting to the YouTube channel VVV, Van Buren gives us a further insight into the world of a professional simulator driver:
What are your opinions on sim racing? Are you looking forward to seeing it take off in 2018? Comment with your thoughts below!