ABU DHABI, UAE (Thursday, 23rd November 2017): Tomorrow marks the beginning of the two-day grand final of Formula One’s inaugural esports competition, to be held at the season-ending 2017 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
ESPORTS+CARS, a professional virtual racing team, founded by GT Academy and World’s Fastest Gamer creator Darren Cox, is pleased to have five drivers competing at the prestigious event.
Before the semi-final in London last month ESPORTS+CARS announced its addition of ‘F1 2017’ to its roster of platforms and welcomed 4 new drivers to the team: Mads Sorensen (Denmark), Marcel Kiefer (Germany), Thibaut Suner (France) and Tiziano Brioni (Italy).
All four put in an impressive performance during the last event with Sorensen and Brioni securing their place in the final 20.
The Abu Dhabi event features teams and drivers from around the world including a new esports team launched by two-time Formula 1 World Champion, Fernando Alonso.
"I'm pleased with the performance and conduct of all our drivers in their first major event, this has been a great first step for them," said Team Principal Darren Cox.
"Being in the paddock alongside all the teams at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix will be an amazing experience but certainly ramps up the pressure a bit. I’m confident that all our drivers will rise to the occasion though and it’ll be interesting to see what they can achieve this coming weekend.”
In the build-up to the final the team have signed an additional five players including:
Brendon Leigh (United Kingdom) and Sonuc Saltunc (United Kingdom) who both dominated their semi-final groups winning all of their heat races; grand finalist Salih Saltunc (United Kingdom). Alex Gerasimenko (Germany) and Nicolas Annerose (France), who qualified and participated in the semi-final respectively round out the expanded nine-driver lineup.
Team Manager AJ Smith added; “Tiziano did a great job coming through the field to finish third in his first heat and dealt with immense pressure in his second superbly. Marcel bounced back from a disappointing first race with a podium in his second and just missed out on qualifying for Abu Dhabi”.
With Leigh, Sorensen, Saltunc and Brioni racing for ESPORTS+CARS in the grand final, the team is by far the most well represented to line up on the gaming grid. Supporting them throughout their efforts will be Team Manager, AJ Smith, and Team Human Performance Coach, Simon Fitchett.
Fitchett, who joined the team at the beginning of November, is a leading sports psycho-therapist, driver physio, and driver mentor, who has worked extensively in the sport for many years with drivers such as David Coulthard and Sergio Pérez.
His experience and expertise will prove invaluable to our drivers as they endeavor to achieve the maximum result for themselves and the team.
“I’ve enjoyed working with gamers through programmes such as GT Academy for many years now and it’s always a fascinating challenge to prepare them both mentally and physically for big events such as these," Fitchett said.
"My role with ESPORTS+CARS is very similar to one I would take with any ‘traditional’ team and demonstrates how many similarities there are between the worlds of virtual and real racing. Our gamers are well prepared for the pressures and distractions of the coming days and I look forward to seeing how they get on.”
Last week ESPORTS+CARS put its drivers through an extensive training day at team base ‘Lets Race’, the state of the art simulator centre in Horley, Surrey, where they received support and coaching in all areas including physical fitness, mental preparation, interview & media training, and of course circuit visualisation in Lets Race’s full-motion simulators.
“It’s great to partner with ESPORTS+CARS and have some of their drivers try out our simulators," said Ben Stephenson Commercial Manager at Lets Race.
"We wish them all the best this weekend in Abu Dhabi and look forward to welcoming them back to Lets Race soon.”