A world-beating video gamer has proven his talent goes beyond the digital world with victory in his professional motorsport debut.
The first round of the 2020 British GT Championship saw gamer James Baldwin, and teammate Michael O’Brien, win the Silver class.
Driving for Jenson Team Rocket RJN is part of Baldwin’s prize for winning the 2019 World’s Fastest Gamer competition.
His million-dollar race contract let him secure the chance to drive the GT3-specification McLaren 720S.
On the pace from the start
Baldwin caused a shock during qualifying at Oulton Park. He set the fastest lap time of all, but saw it deleted due to exceeding track limits on the Cheshire circuit.
Fortunately, Baldwin’s second-best qualifying lap was still good enough for him and O’Brien to start from fourth on the grid.
A strong drive by Baldwin during his opening stint was followed by O’Brien gaining positions on track. When the leading car received a penalty, it allowed the duo to claim the lead. O’Brien held the position, securing a win in round one of the championship.
Setting a new high score
A tougher second race saw Baldwin and O’Brien finish in seventh initially. However, a post-race decision saw the pair elevated to sixth. It leaves them leading the overall drivers’ championship, marking an impressive debut for the former gamer.
Engine Media co-CEO and World’s Fastest Gamer founder, Darren Cox commented that it was unprecedented to see “a gamer like this arrive in professional racing and win on debut. That is ground-breaking.
“This is not only a testament to the incredible talent that we unearthed in James but also a result of the advances in sim racing – the similarities between the cars in the game and cars on the track are getting closer and closer.
Baldwin’s next opportunity to prove his real-world credentials comes on August 15-16, racing at Donington Park.