Dutchman Rudy van Buren was the inaugural winner of McLaren’s World’s Fastest Gamer esports competition in 2017.
But WFG was far more than a gaming contest.
It pitted gamers against each other in a series of gruelling physical, cognitive and driving assessments in order to offer the best possible candidate the ultimate prize in gaming – a season as an official simulator driver for the McLaren Formula 1 team.
Rudy’s prize made him the first simulator driver at McLaren to be recruited from the ranks of sim racers and console racers.
However, the 26-year-old’s formative career as a racer meant he was perfectly positioned to graduate from sim-racer to simulator rig. He raced competitively in his native Netherlands before increasing budget issues forced him to switch from a real racing car to a virtual one.
Since retiring from the cockpit in 2010, Rudy has won a string of online racing titles, primarily on rFactor 2, including a couple of clean-sweep victories where he has won every race in the series.
His victory in World’s Fastest Gamer, where he triumphed over 11 other international gamers across a week of intense competition, has revitalised his competitive spark. As our champion, he will help our simulator team to develop the tools it needs to find a performance advantage for our drivers, Fernando and Stoffel. And he will help to define and build the McLaren esports programme as it enters its second year.
Follow Rudy on Twitter @RvBuren