In some of the most shocking gaming-related news this weekend, an esports pro driver took on a former Formula 1 driver in a real-life race in Mexico, and won.
If you don't watch esports racing, then you've probably never heard of Enzo Bonito, a driver for Team Redline and Mclaren Shadow. In terms of racing sim players, he's one of the best around. And recently he decided to put this skills to the test and took on Formula E and ex-Formula 1 driver Lucas di Grassi on a track in Mexico at the Race of Champions event this weekend. And apparently Bonito is just as good at real-life racing as he is virtual racing.
For those that don't know: The Race of Champions event pit current and hall-of-fame drivers against racing prospects from both real-life and esports racing, which is why the Italian esports racer was present.
Bonito finished with a final time of 52.3885 (the fastest time of the day), which was a half-second faster than Di Grassi, who finished with a time of 53.0576.
As you can see, the commentators were left a bit speechless, because nobody saw Bonito winning the race ahead of the event. And that's not because of Bonito's skill level, but because I think a lot of people still don't understand the demands and skill-set required for competitive virtual racing isn't that much different than real-life professional racing, as Bonito showed.
In fact, many current pro racers have gotten their start in competitive esports racing. For example, Jann Mardenborough -- A NISMO GT500 factory racing driver -- started off racing in Gran Turismo competitively.
Of course, as racing esports continues to grow, people will be less and less surprised when this type of stuff happens.
I've just read through few comments, it's sad that these so called Motorsport fans don't recognise the transferable skills, Enzo is one the fastest racers I've ever seen in sim racing he clearly knows how to drive, yet idiots in comments stating it was luck and stuff 🤦♂️— Thekie25 (@kieran_30) January 20, 2019