NorCal Racing

American Red Bull-backed esports racer gets $1m virtual to reality chance

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American esports racer Mitchell de Jong has been given the opportunity to compete against some of the world’s fastest virtual racers for the chance to go from virtual to reality to follow his dream of returning to the real race track.

De Jong is one of eight pre-selected finalists to compete in the 2019 edition of World’s Fastest Gamer – a global esports competition which will provide the winner with a real-world race seat worth more than US$1 million competing around the world in 2020 in GT sportscar racing.

The Californian iRacing ace was selected by the judging team which is headed by former Monaco Grand Prix, two-time Indy 500 and three-time Rolex 24 at Daytona winner Juan Pablo Montoya.

De Jong competes in the iRacing esports racing platform – finishing in the top three in separate championships last year and winning the iRacing rallycross global championship.

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But the World’s Fastest Gamer competition will give the 21-year old the chance to follow his dream to get back in a real-world driver’s seat.

Backed by energy drinks brand Red Bull, De Jong has experience competing in rallycross in the US as well as off-road stadium trucks. He began his racing dream in karting at aged five but the chance potentially race around the world in GT racing has the Californian excited.

“I’ve had the chance to do some miles in a Porsche Cup car on a road course but the chance to get to race full time in GT cars around the world is an absolute dream,” de Jong said.

“I’ve been really lucky to have had great success in virtual road course racing but to get to race for real at places like Silverstone, Spa-Francorchamps, the Nurburgring and here at Daytona would be just incredible.

“The World’s Fastest Gamer Grand Final is going to bring together the best of the best. I’ve raced against many of these guys online, but now we’ll be going head-to-head for real.”

The World’s Fastest Gamer Grand Final will feature eight selected esports racing champions alongside competition winners from the Gear.Club mobile game and rFactor2 on the PC platform.

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The 10 racers will compete over 10 days in virtual and real-world competitions with Montoya and World’s Fastest Gamer series one winner, Rudy van Buren judging their efforts.

Dutchman van Buren earned the “best prize in esports racing” in season one when became a Formula 1 simulator driver for the McLaren team.

“The beauty of World’s Fastest Gamer is it brings together the best of the best regardless of what gaming platform or game they play,” World’s Fastest Gamer founder and Millennial Esports President and CEO, Darren Cox said.

“The beauty of the motorsport genre in esports is the skills are transferable to the real thing – all our finalists would all love to be racing for real already but motorsports is terribly expensive.

“We’re looking for the next racing champion on pure skill – not how much money they have.”

World’s Fastest Gamer began unveiling the seeded finalists recently. De Jong joins Frenchman, Aurelien Mallett; Germans, Maximillian Benecke, and Mikail Hizal and Polish racer Kamil Pawlowski as five of the revealed finalists.

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