McLaren has signed an eSports gamer for its simulator programme
McLaren has been pushing its driver and car development process firmly into the future through its latest 'World's Fastest Gamer' competition, pitching the best sim racers on the planet against each other. With F1 testing now being heavily restricted (as well as expensive), simulators are now the go-to method of getting proper seat time for drivers. And after a week's battling at Woking, Rudy Van Buren has snatched the seat for this coming season.
Now McLaren's official simulator driver, Van Buren had to drive through numerous heats and then a final week of competition against 11 other sim racers at the McLaren Technology Centre. Testing took place on simulators around Indianapolis, Suzuka, Interlagos and Le Mans, covering some serious gaming mileage throughout the week.
Whittling the 12 down to a one-on-one dual on McLaren's full simulator setup, van Buren finally prevailed. It is a massive second chance for the Dutchman in motorsport, seeing as he won the Dutch Karting Championship back in 2003. A lack of funding put that racing bid to an end but now the young van Buren will get a chance to mix it with the heavyweights of Alonso and Vandoorne through the simulator work.
Other Formula 1 teams will probably look to eSports sim racers in the near future but - as it stands - McLaren is pioneering this huge shift in mindset within F1.