F1 teams make full use of simulators as they prepare their cars for competition on a race weekend. Data from real-world practice sessions is fed into the simulation, so dedicated simulator drivers play an important role in ironing out any kinks before the race itself.
“You’ve effectively got a third car, it’s just that car’s in the virtual world being driven by a driver that’s not known to the general public,” said Darren Cox, the man behind World’s Fastest Gamer, discussing the project with The Verge. “Traditionally [McLaren has] found people from the racing world who are also good at engineering. We’re just trying to turn that on its head and find them in the virtual world.”
Cox is no stranger to this kind of contest. In 2008, he helped spearhead GT Academy, a collaboration between Nissan and Sony that offered standout Gran Turismo players the chance to become professional racing drivers.
World’s Fastest Gamer entrants will need more than just good car control to succeed. Their knowledge of engineering, their ability to work as part of a team, and their mental and physical toughness will all be taken into account.
The contest is scheduled to take place this fall at McLaren’s Technology Center in Surrey, England. Ten hopefuls will take part in several races across different platforms, with four entrants qualifying as online racing events that will take place over the summer, and the remaining six being selected by a team of experts.