From Gamer to Real-Life GT3 Winner, “Miracle” Debut Bodes Well For Video Game Sim Racer

This past Saturday night, NASCAR wrapped its regular season up with a night race at ...

This past Saturday night, NASCAR wrapped its regular season up with a night race at Daytona. There were multiple storylines in play including one that would eliminate NASCAR’s most accomplished driver in Jimmie Johnson for his final time. However, while the Johnson storyline might have taken over, there was another one that the Sim racing community probably took note of.

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Behind the wheel of the iconic number 24 car, made famous by Jeff Gordon, young William Byron would take home his first NASCAR victory ever. Byron has a unique backstory as he didn’t get his start on the dirt like a lot of other drivers. Instead, the simulation racing platform, iRacing, would be where Byron got his feet beneath him.

This past Saturday, it would all come around full circle. While the driver himself had been competitive for most of the season, he officially took home his first victory and cemented a playoff spot which he was probably going to grab anyway, victory or not. The win was surely still sweet, though, and much deserved after a tough and physical race.

As it turns out, Byron isn’t the only one to turn simulation racing into the real thing.

This time, we take a journey to another side of the racing community that shows another driver to make the leap. James Baldwin was the winner of the World’s Fastest Gamer competition. In the competition, Baldwin beat out 10 of the top virtual racers in the world. Recently, though, he made his debut in a real-life GT3 car for Jenson Button’s race team.

Below, we follow along with the story of Baldwin along with his co-driver, Michael O’Brien, neither of which have driven a GT3 car before. However, that wouldn’t stop them from going out and seizing victory in their very first time on the track together. The effort has been called a “Miracle” as they beat out a variety of other drivers with more traditional experience.

Perhaps, this isn’t all that much of a longshot, though. Instead, maybe we should be paying a little bit more close attention, and a lot more respect, to virtual racing.

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