The world of F1 and motorsports have entered esports in a big way this year, and two of the biggest tournaments are now over.
Firstly, the F1 Esports Series World Champion is 18-year-old Brit Brendon Leigh (pictured, centre), who won the competition on the weekend in the paddock at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
He racked up a total of 74 points to win the series, ahead of Chile’s Fabrizio Donoso Delgado in second place and Germany’s Sven Zurner in third.
Brendon Leigh said: “I feel ecstatic. It’s one thing to get to the semi-finals and another to get to the finals. Another again is to win and beat 19 drivers.
“It’s unreal to have the luck and also the mindset to be able to keep calm in this situation. Winning here means a huge amount to me – I am the first one to do it and that is special. I am not sure how to celebrate. I don’t drink or anything; I think I might just go to bed.”
After the races, the top three drivers (pictured) were presented with their trophies by former F1 driver David Coulthard.
Sean Bratches, commercial director at Formula 1, commented: “We are delighted to be holding the Esport Series Final here in Abu Dhabi. The finalists have been whittled down from the 60,000 original participants. After the London semifinals, we are now down to the 20 very best esports drivers on the planet, here in the specially designed garage in the F1 paddock. The attraction to a broad and committed younger generation of F1 and esport fans is something that we are proud to support and nurture, and we look forward to establishing a season long series in 2018.”
Secondly, earlier this month there was another esports racing game champion crowned.
Dutch 25-year-old Rudy Van Buren won McLaren’s World’s Fastest Gamer tournament and has landed a job with the British automotive brand as a simulator driver for the 2018 season. The competition involved a variety of different video games.
Van Buren said: “This has been the most incredible experience and words can’t describe how I feel right now. To think that I came to the McLaren Technology Centre for the very first time last week but am leaving here today as McLaren’s newest employee is mind blowing.
“I can’t thank everyone enough for giving me this amazing opportunity; just being here, meeting the team and competing with some amazing people has been an unforgettable experience. It really has been the toughest job interview I’ve ever faced, but with such an incredible reward at the end of it. Now I can’t wait to get started!”
McLaren Technology Group Executive Director Zak Brown added: “My congratulations to Rudy – he really showed the mettle, determination and ability to succeed.
“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.”