Six months ago, McLaren's World's Fastest Gamer competition began. Players from across Europe competed in races across a number of different games and platforms, including Forza Motorsport 7
. Over 650,000 people participated, both online and at gaming events, with 30,000 of those entering the main contest.
Last week. we were invited to the McLaren Technology Centre where the top 12 competitors were brought together for the final week of challenges. Racing virtually on circuits like Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Japan’s Suzuka Circuit and Brazil's Grand Prix circuit Interlagos, the drivers were put through their paces on top of the range racing set-ups:
In order to judge which gamer had the potential to transition from the virtual to the simulated world, McLaren Applied Technologies Human Performance also tested their cognitive and physical ability against benchmarks set by McLaren's current professional drivers. The 12 finalists were whittled down to just two, who were asked to go head-to-head in the McLaren F1 Racing Simulator for the final assessment round.
The winner of the competition was Rudy van Buren, who has now become one of the official simulator drivers for McLaren's F1 team for the 2018 season. He'll be tasked with helping to develop, refine and engineer the cars for the team's two F1 drivers, Fernando Alonso and Stoffel Vandoorne.
Rudy will be following Bruce McLaran's quote that adorns the wall of the Technology Centre, and which will also ring true for many of the users of this site:
Life is measured in achievement, not in years alone
The announcement comes just days after Ben Payne was appointed McLaren's inaugural Director of E-Sports. Payne left his role at Microsoft, where he had a part in third party marketing, partnerships and events for Xbox EMEA, to join the F1 team. McLaren themselves are the first F1 team to have their own e-sports property.