Sim racers to get real-world Race Of Champions entries

Five of the world’s fastest sim racers will get the chance to race head-to-head against real-world racing legends at the Race Of Champions next month.

The winner of the McLaren World’s Fastest Gamer competition, Rudy van Buren, has been invited to contest the real-world ROC event, which takes place in Saudi Arabia on February 2-3.

He will be joined by the winner of the first-ever eRace Of Champions – created in association with Logitech G.

The eROC will be contested virtually across the Assetto Corsa game and in the real world around the ROC Skills Challenge Course and Parallel Track in the King Fahd Stadium.

Other world-class gamers to get a shot are Brendon Leigh, the first ever F1 eSports champion, along with triple Project CARS world champion Kevin Leaune, iRacing Blancpain GT3 Sprint champion and multiple world record holder in Assetto Corsa and F1 2017 Enzo Bonito, and 2017 eWTCC champion Alexander Dornieden.

Van Buren, who won a McLaren F1 simulator testing contract following his previous success, said: “World’s Fastest Gamer is already opening doors I could not have possibly imagined. The job as simulator driver is just the tip of the iceberg.

“To be competing as the virtual champion against champions of the real world is a dream for me.”

As well as contesting the individual Race Of Champions, van Buren and the eROC champion will team up as ‘Team Simracing All Stars’ in the ROC Nations’ Cup event.

Already confirmed for the ROC are last year’s winner Juan Pablo Montoya, along with fellow IndyCar Series stars Helio Castroneves, Ryan Hunter-Reay and 2017 champion Josef Newgarden.

‘Mr Le Mans’ Tom Kristensen will return, as will 13-time Grand Prix-winner David Coulthard and two-time FIA World Rallycross Champion Petter Solberg. As well as Newgarden, another to make his ROC debut is European Formula 3 Champion Lando Norris.

ROC President Fredrik Johnsson said: “At the Race Of Champions we are always aiming to come up with new ideas and innovations – and this first ever eRace Of Champions promises to be a fantastic addition to the weekend’s action.

“Sim racing is getting huge all over the world and now some of the leading gamers will have the chance to prove their skills both in the real and the virtual racing world.

"I am delighted to have Rudy represent the virtual world as its champion and can’t wait to see who wins the eROC to also take on the world’s best drivers in identical competition cars on our unique ROC Parallel Track.

“It will be an incredible experience and fascinating for the rest of us to watch how they get on.”

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