Rudy van Buren, a 25-year-old sales manager from the Netherlands, blew past more than 30,000 contestants to be crowned this week as the World’s Fastest Gamer and take up his role as McLaren’s simulator driver.
Having raced go-karts at the age of eight before winning the Dutch Karting Championship in 2003, van Buren is clearly a fitting winner.
Sadly for van Buren, he was forced to quit racing in 2008 because, like so many promising young racing drivers, he failed to get enough funding to turn it into a career. But winning the McLaren contest shows the Dutchman has not lost any of his skills as he takes up his new role with the Formula One team.
“This has been the most incredible experience and words can’t describe how I feel right now,” an ecstatic van Buren said following his win. “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.” Part of his job will be to help McLaren develop and refine its latest racing car as the 2018 season progresses.
The World’s Fastest Gamer contest kicked off in May, with gamers from around the world fighting for one of 12 places in November’s final at McLaren’s Woking headquarters near London.
The advanced simulator — the exact same one used by McLaren’s F1 drivers for vehicle development — sent the finalists motoring around some of the greatest tracks in the world, including the world-famous Indianapolis Motor Speedway, home of the Indy 500; Japan’s Suzuka Circuit; Brazilian Grand Prix venue, Interlagos; and the world’s most famous 24-hour race, Le Mans — and yes, the finalists were tested over a day-long trial.
Each round of the contest saw McLaren eliminate gamers until they were left with just two: van Buren and fellow Dutchman Freek Schothorst, a 20-year-old science, business, and innovation student. But it was van Buren who won the day.
“To triumph, van Buren not only needed to demonstrate the speed and agility required by all top racing drivers, but also the engineering know-how and mental and physical ability required to develop, refine and engineer an F1 car for the team’s two race drivers, double world champion Fernando Alonso and Stoffel Vandoorne,” McLaren said.
McLaren‘s newest recruit is understandably elated about his achievement, saying, “It really has been the toughest job interview I’ve ever faced, but with such an incredible reward at the end of it. Now I can’t wait to get started.”
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