Want to be a McLaren F1 simulator driver? ‘World’s Fastest Gamer’ competition goes live
Posted By: Editor   |  04 May 2017   |  6:06 pm GMT  |  46 comments

McLaren has launched an EGaming competition, with new sponsor Logitech, to find the best simulation-racing gamer in the world with the winner offered a one-year contract with the Formula 1 team to work as a simulator driver.

The ‘World’s Fastest Gamer’ format has the best gamers compete across numerous racing simulations, with McLaren branding it “the best job in eSports”. It has been developed in association with Darren Cox, the man behind the GT Academy project, which put gamers like Jann Mardenbrough into real motorsport series, including Le Mans.

The winner of the competition will then work with engineers at McLaren’s Technology Centre and at grand prix venues around the world to improve Fernando Alonso and Stoffel Vandoorne’s simulation equipment.

All stages of the format will be streamed via a YouTube channel and McLaren’s social media, a path McLaren seems very willing to go down seeing as Wednesday’s live-stream of Alonso’s IndyCar test garnered more than two million views in all, according to YouTube. The stream peaked at around 70,000 concurrent views.

Six international gamers will be picked to participate by F1 experts and professional gamers to join, with four more selected through a qualifying process which begins in summer 2017.

The final will take place in autumn at the McLaren Technology Centre in Woking, Surrey. The 10 sim-racers will race against each other on a number of gaming titles on different platforms. The judges will assess the participants’ engineering expertise, teamwork skills and mental and physical qualities.

The simulations themselves are not just restricted to high-end simulator platforms but McLaren implies that mobile gaming could feature as well, to make the competition more accessible.

According to McLaren Technology Group Executive Director Zak Brown, “The winner will genuinely be a key part of our team at McLaren.

“This is for real: we absolutely require additional support across our two simulator platforms, so the competition and the selection process will be rigorous, ruthless and compelling to watch.

“We’ve long witnessed the growth of online sports gaming, and, right now, the parallels between the real and the virtual worlds have never been closer.

“This is absolutely the right time to be creating such a unique and exciting proposition; one that connects the worlds of racing and gaming in a way that’s never been explored before.”

JA reported in 2016 that real-time gaming between simulation drivers and F1 drivers is close to reality according to F1’s Chief Technical Officer John Morrison.

“We launched our virtual Grand Prix channel [in 2016], which gives us the platform to produce a fully virtual version of the race live using the data,” said Morrison. “The thing we have to crack is we have to produce accurate positioning.

“Then we can do the gaming stuff and you can be in the car racing against other drivers. I reckon we are about two years away from that. We need accuracy to the nearest centimetre, so cars aren’t touching when they shouldn’t be touching. Right now we are more at 100-200mm accuracy. I want fans to have a really immersive experience to get very close to the action. We are nearly there now.”

Insert coin here

According to McLaren, teams such as Paris Saint Germain and Manchester City have launched similar crossovers between the virtual world and reality, with eSports catching up with viewership figures for sports like baseball and ice hockey. Many prefer watching the gaming version of a sport to its real-life equivalent.

According to Forbes, the industry adds $11.7 billion a year to the US GDP, with $24.5 billion spent by US consumers on the medium in 2016 with an average consumer age of 38.

The Association for UK Interactive Entertainment (UKIE) says that the global market was worth $91 billion in 2016, with mobile gaming taking up most of that, growing 20% year on year. With those staggering growth figures and UKIE’s claim that the eSports market will grow to being worth $1.4 billion in 2019, it’s no wonder that McLaren is launching their gaming initiative in summer 2017.

Would you watch simulation racing over Formula 1, or is the prospect unthinkable? Comment in the section below or on JA’s Facebook page.

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thomas moulton

E sports and motor sport, yes great match and potential. James, see you at the FTForum at Monaco on Thursday.


See you there


Very interesting. So how does one apply?


This is awesome! not that I stand any chance but it just brings this ever so closer to the fans. Well done McLaren!


Hi. Can someone inform me how can ibe part of this competition ?
Thanks in advance.


I like the one where you got to sleep with the Williams and Claire came down and tucked you in.


I wondered where you were going with that for a second…


If you want to take it easy and turn the difficulty down it simulates Jenson’s retirement years.


Surely they have better things to do than have a simulator farce to go with the f1 farce , If you go back to the 80 @ 90s Honda had the engineering talent to win anything on 2 wheels or 4 & thats 2 stroke and 4 stroke and Turbo all at the same time , I do not think on there own they are capable of building a decent F1 winning Turbo Engine Ever without outside assistance from someone like Cosworth or Mountune or someone who has lots of turbo experience , to build a good engine you cannot change the laws of physics because as Toto wolf said there is no magic inside there engines just the right bits in the right place , Honda need to bring in a engine partner but the Japanese would see that as a humiliation

Justin ruggier

How can you join the competition ?


Can I apply


Can I apply for this Competition McLaren’s F1 team is using video games to hire its next sim driver


Current state of the comments section:

[insert simulator reliability joke here]
[insert simulator reliability joke here]
[insert simulator reliability joke here]
[insert simulator reliability joke here]
[insert simulator reliability joke here]
[insert simulator reliability joke here]
[insert simulator reliability joke here]
[insert simulator reliability joke here]
[insert simulator reliability joke here]


If the simulator works as well as their cars, you could get paid for just showing up to work!


‘Many prefer watching the gaming version of a sport to its real-life equivalent.’

Seriously, these people need to take a long, hard look at their lives.

Nernado Falonso

Would love to drive the mclaren simulator but it looks too heavy to push 😩😂


I cannot think of anything less interesting than watching a race SIM.
I can understand the interest in taking part in it though.
I also get that Mclaren are being innovative in a growing market. It does however strike me as another case of misdirection as seen with Alonso and the Indy trip. You can’t argue with diversification in business though.


OK so they’re going to pick 6 of the 10 competitors (understandably based on SIM race results in competitions). But won’t it look a little like a fix if one of the 6 picked contestants win rather than one of the 4 who made it through on merit? I’d rather see an open competition a bit like the GT one a few years back. I understand that Max Verstappen is a real hotshot on SIMs…wonder if he’ll get picked?


How cute, the PR department trying hard with every attempt to deflect public attention from the core of McLare’s problems.

Come to think of it, doesn’t this put Mercedes’ achievement and contribution in better perspective ! All those years they were partners with McL they didn’t get much of the credit. Not as bad as Renault + Redbull, but the theme was distinctly that of McL “feeling” superior to Mercedes in that association.

Now McL can argue for top spots for building a culture that loses it’s top talent (Newey, Mercedes, so many aero specialists) and retains the mediocre.


“the PR department trying hard with every attempt to deflect public attention from the core of McLare’s problems.”

It is half that and half advertising to specific target demographic. If you look at Amazon series, entering Indy and now this video game thing clear pattern emerges. To me it looks like the end game is not so much F1 team but road going vehicles.


Can I get extra points for bird kills? (Google Alonso + YouTube + bird kills).


GP2 simulator! GP2 simulator!! And no I would not prefer watching e-sports over the real thing.


I’ve been goin pretty hard with Mario kart 8 deluxe. I want to try my skills on a grander scale


I wonder if it simulates getting blue shelled?


Looking at McL operation these days Mario Kart is grander scale between the two.


Hope the Simulator doesn’t break down like MCL32 😉


I’ve got Logitech steering wheel and used to play lots of racing games, it was close enough to the real thing, that when my other half bought me a single seater experience, my brain corellated the two, and I went flying down to the first turn I went to brake with my left foot, oops in the real car that was clutch, nearly didn’t make the corner. After I started braking with right foot, it was easy, just like playing the game. About 5-6 years ago in a promo for the British grandprix you could have a go in a simulator, it didn’t move, but pedal and steering wheel force/input was accurate, apparently it was the mclaren simulator software, I paid for 7 laps. It had real time telemetry feed, as they watched it, and the way I balanced the car with throttle and the brake, they thought I knew what I doing, I said just what I learnt from playing games. Over 5 days I ended up 4th fastest out of over 500 people and about 2 secs off JB’s pace.

Any my point is if games and steering wheel can get me to a reasonable level, that’s instantly transferral to the real world, the teams simulator must be like being there and if you have someone really talented in the sim world how they could make use of that.

After shattering my ankle, lost my touch 🙁 so don’t do it anymore.

Torchwood Mobile

I was going to postulate that this comp could be easily won by the Playstation gamer who transferred to cars, and is rattling around in GP2 or GP3, last time I saw, Mardenborough?

I would add Jamie to the shortlist, if he had not done his ankle.


James, any more details on this? The McLaren Youtube page and website has very little information. Is this contest for a specific game or console? Can anyone enter? Can you compete from home or have to travel to a sanctioned event?


The best time, the best engine, why not the best simulator driver?


I’d watch anything instead of Sochi again. Threaten me with that and I’ll tell you anything you want to know!

Mansell Mania

How long is the contract for? Hopefully that was all about Bernie and Putin cosying up to each other and Liberty will realise that this race “does not add all that much” to the F1 calendar.

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