The first World’s Fastest Gamer winner Rudy van Buren says the difference between racing in esports at home and professional sim work for real-life teams is a “night and day”.
After winning the World’s Fastest Gamer – which starts again this week with a $1 million prize pot – van Buren worked with the McLaren Formula 1 team, and he was recently snapped up by Mahindra to work on its simulator.
“It’s night and day,” van Buren told The Race’s Esports Podcast when asked about the difference between esports and a professional sim role.
“When I’m at one of these teams, it’s work. There’s one goal, and that’s to make the car you’re driving faster with all the processes at the factory and all the development items.
“At home, it’s a bit of a hobby, but mostly it’s competition against the others. At work, it’s a race against the clock, against the data, against the laptime.
“At home, we search for championships where we can find the big names in simracing and in real racing and we fight to see who’s the best. It’s been even more like that the last few weeks. It’s proven to be fun to watch, and also fun to take part, so that’s the main focus right now.”
Van Buren has turned his esports success into real-life experiences, perhaps most notably driving a McLaren M23 – the car often used in The Race’s Legends Trophy series – up the hill at the Goodwood Festival of Speed, and he also competed in the Race of Champions in 2018.
The Dutch driver has completed the gamer-to-racer story as he will compete full-time in the Porsche Carrera Cup in Germany – which he contested three rounds of during 2019, while also appearing for a one-off in the Formula 1 supporting Porsche Supercup – when the season finally gets underway following the coronavirus outbreak.
He says simracers take time to get up to speed in the real world just as real-life racing drivers do when migrating to simracing, something that is proven by the failure of any current drivers to score a podium in The Race’s All-Star Cup – Fully Charged by ROKiT Phones.
“I’ve got the best of both worlds,” says van Buren referring to his experiences on a sim and in real life.
“Obviously, you can’t replicate everything in the sim including the sensations in the car, like the g-forces, but absolutely everything up to that point.
“The biggest thing you can prepare is just to be sharp, analyze your sessions, figure out what you can improve, what the car can do – your work ethic.
“If you’ve got that sorted, you’re going to be fine in the car as long as you get seat time. Just a few test days so you’re not being rushed so you can be good in it and be comfortable in the machine.
“But it’s the same the other way around, if you take a real-life driver that’s never been in a sim, you can’t expect him to be P1 straight away.
“You see it in both directions, it takes time. But, if you have the raw talent and you know how to work through problems, you’ll move towards the front quickly.
“So, I just use the sim to be as ready as I can and for track preparation; I’ll take all the knowledge I’ve gained over the years from that, and be ready to apply it as soon as I get behind the wheel of the car.”