F1 esports champion Leigh learns to drive to take on real champions

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LONDON, UK (Thursday, February 1, 2018) – Inaugural F1 esports champion Brendon Leigh has been busy preparing for the prestigious Race of Champions this weekend, a regime which has involved everything from tackling real-life race circuits to a fitness regime which has started to transform him physically. 

It’s all to achieve Leigh personal goal of “proving I’m not just a finger waving sim racing champion!” 

Leigh's first time – ever - in a real car was training at Bedford Autodrome as part of his esports development programme that his team ESPORTS+CARS has devised. 

Leigh drove an Ariel Atom, a Caterham and a BMW M4. 

“Getting to drive a car for the first time ever was a really surreal feeling…just sitting in the car was really cool for me but then to get the chance to drive it full speed around Bedford Autodrome was just awesome!” laughs Leigh.   

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Leigh has also undergone vigorous psychical and mental training under the wing of ESPORTS+CARS Human Performance Director Simon Fitchett.

“The support Simon has given me is without a doubt life changing, not least because I’ve been losing nearly 1kg per week over the last six weeks,” says a leaner and fitter Leigh. 

And Fitchett has been impressed with his new charge: 

“Brendon has embraced a totally different lifestyle – the daily nutritional, physical & mental training program that a real F1 driver would follow,” he reveals. 

And it’s not just about psychical fitness: psychological training is essential for a gamer who needs to react with lightning speed and focus. 

“Although in gaming the physical element is nothing like that of a real F1 car, the mental elements are similar, so the principles are the same,” adds Fitchett. 

“Brendon already feels his levels of focus have improved along with his reaction speed and energy levels, with the ability to maintain consistency for much longer periods of time. 

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"When warming up now he feels he is on his pace within a lap, whereas it before it used to take three to four laps.” 

ESPORTS+CARS boss Darren Cox said: “When I arranged for Brendon to attend the Race of Champions I was not aware he had never even driven a road car before! 

"But we have trained many gamers into proper racers so we were not too concerned! Brendon has a serious level of commitment – in return we have provided him with not only a Human Performance Coach but also the best driving coaches around. 

"We are also sending our head of Racing Performance out to ROC to continue his coaching. ESPORTS+CARS are matching Brendons commitment with our own in terms of the best people and support." 

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Today Leigh will return to the Middle East for the first time since his F1 esports win, where he’ll experience the famous Race of Champions parallel circuit in the “eRace of Champions”. 

The winner of eROC will progress to the main event. The winner will then be decided by combined times in the real and virtual worlds.

ROC brings together drivers from different championships around the world, including Formula 1, Sportscars, IndyCar, NASCAR, and rallying. This year’s line-up includes ex F1 drivers Juan Pablo Montoya and David Coulthard, and the race will be held on 2nd / 3rd February in Riyadh’s King Fahad International Stadium.  
 
Leigh will be joined at ROC by World’s Fastest Gamer Rudy Van Buren, who won our inaugural WFG competition in 2017. Van Buren beat more than 30,000 entrants to take the title and bag the best job in esports – official McLaren F1 simulator driver. We proudly wish them both the best of luck this weekend.