McLaren Has Found the World's Fastest Gamer

Sam McEachern
by Sam McEachern

The winner of the McLaren World’s Fastest Gamer competition was announced this week, with 25-year old Dutch sales manager Rudy van Buren beating out fellow finalist Freek Schothorst to take the top prize.

That top prize? Being the McLaren F1 team’s official simulator driver for the 2018 F1 season. Van Buren, a former Dutch karting champion and experienced sim racer, was one of over 30,000 contestants worldwide who entered the World’s Fastest Gamer competition with the hopes of securing the coveted McLaren role.

After qualifying heats dwindled the contestants down to 12, they were invited out to the automaker’s Woking HQ for a series of evaluations. These included physical and mental evaluations, along with pitting the competitors against each other in racing games such as iRacing. They even simulated the 24 Hours of Le Mans with a full field consisting of the four remaining competitors and some McLaren employees. When the field was cut to just two finalists – van Buren and Schothorst, McLaren stuck them in their actual F1 simulator for a final four-hour evaluation.

“Every boy that starts karting dreams about F1, and at a certain point that dream just vanishes,” said van Buren. “Now by winning World’s Fastest Gamer, I can relive that dream.”

“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.”

“We’ve demonstrated the real value of esports within F1,” added McLaren director of eSports, Ben Payne. “The competition has inspired everyone at McLaren to work even harder next year to ensure that this competition becomes bigger and better. “We are already working to consolidate and improve World’s Fastest Gamer’s position as the pre-eminent virtual racing competition in the world.”

McLaren is doubling down on using eSports as a way to harvest talent. Just today, the team announced F1 driver Fernando Alonso has created an eSports team in conjunction with gaming company Logitech called FA Racing G2 Logitech G. It will compete in eSports competitions across a variety of platforms including the official F1 game, rFactor and others. It’s also a great way for the team to connect and engage with fans.

“It is very exciting, and it is a completely new thing to discover,” Alonso said. “I think eSports in other formats has been very successful but in racing, it is at the very beginning, and I think huge potential will come.”

“I am happy to be one of the first investing in this direction and I think good and fun times are coming – not only for us, but for gamers at home and for fans.”

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Sam McEachern
Sam McEachern

Sam McEachern holds a diploma in journalism from St. Clair College in Windsor, Ontario, and has been covering the automotive industry for over 5 years. He conducts reviews and writes AutoGuide's news content. He's a die-hard motorsports fan with a passion for performance cars of all sorts.

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