World’s Fastest Gamer winner James Baldwin will now enjoy an expanded race program in 2020 with the British racer scheduled to compete in six major GT events this year.
Baldwin was initially scheduled to contest the GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS championship and would have already completed three of his five scheduled races if not for the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The 22-year-old is now set to make his race debut on home soil in the UK at Oulton Park on August 1-2 on board a McLaren 720S GT3 for Jenson Team Rocket RJN – the team co-owned by 2009 Formula 1 World Champion, Jenson Button.
Even though Baldwin enters the championship as a GT racing rookie, he has been graded as a silver driver. He and fellow silver-rated teammate Mike O’Brien will challenge for the separate Silver Championship that is staged as part of the Intelligent Money British GT Championship.
Last year Baldwin defeated nine other gamer finalists to earn the chance to compete for real in 2020 in GT racing – a prize valued at more than US$1 million. Baldwin and the other gamers in the Torque Esports-created competition were under the tutelage of team judges Jann Mardenborough (former GT Academy winner and British GT race winner); Rudy van Buren (World’s Fastest Gamer series one winner) plus Formula 1, IndyCar, NASCAR, and sportscar ace Juan Pablo Montoya.
The COVID-19 revised GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS would have given Baldwin a total of four race weekends. Now he will get three additional races and considerably more seat time with the updated program.
“I have to wait an extra couple of weeks to go racing, but I’m really looking forward to it,” Baldwin said.
“I should have already completed three races so far this year, but when I look at my new schedule, I’m massively excited. I’m going to get so many more race laps under my belt, which will fast track my development this year.
“I can’t wait to get started with Mike. I have a big learning curve ahead, but we really want to give the Silver Championship the best shot.”
Jenson Team Rocket RJN team boss Bob Neville believes Baldwin will benefit from the new schedule in his rookie GT season.
“RJN has been part of what used to be known as the Blancpain series since its beginning, and we would have loved to continue that streak this year, but our new program with James and Mike is going to give the guys a great opportunity,” Neville said.
“James was very impressive in the pre-season test at Paul Ricard earlier this year before we all went into shut-down mode.”
While Baldwin is set to start his GT career as the second World’s Fastest Gamer winner, the search for the third winner of the #GamerToRacer competition is already underway. The first qualifier on the Gear.Club mobile platform has already been run with a second qualifier for mobile gamers scheduled for the end of July.
World’s Fastest Gamer brings together the best of the best from the gaming world, regardless of what game or platform they race on – PC, console or mobile.
“It has been a long wait for everyone but we’re excited to see James racing aboard the World’s Fastest Gamer-branded Jenson Team Rocket RJN McLaren,” World’s Fastest Gamer creator and Torque Esports President and CEO, Darren Cox said.
“Our original goal was certainly to race throughout Europe but with the current COVD-19 situation we have to be mindful of the safety of the staff on the team and ensure we can actually get to the race.
“The competition in the World’s Fastest Gamer finals last year was very intense, but James impressed the judges greatly and again showcased that the skills in racing gaming can transfer directly across to the track
“We’ve seen one of the #GamerToRacer trailblazers Jann Mardenborough really turn heads in British GT back in 2012, and I’m sure James is going to make a great impression.
“This competition has unearthed two incredible talents, and we’re already looking forward to turning another young gamer’s dreams into reality in season 3.”
World’s Fastest Gamer is just one of a number of key esports racing programs created by Torque Esports. Earlier this year, Torque created The Race All-Star Series powered by ROKit Phones. The major global esports competition featured major stars of motorsport, including Fernando Alonso, Jenson Button, and Juan Pablo Montoya in the Legends Trophy; top current-day racers and leading teams and manufacturers in the Pro Cup plus the world’s top sim racers in the Sim Masters division.
The All-Star Series was shown weekly on ESPN – the same network which recently premiered the World’s Fastest Gamer season two documentary. Fans can still binge-watch the six-part series on the ESPN app.
Intelligent Money British GT Championship
Aug 1/2 – Oulton Park – 2x 1hr
Aug 15/16 – Donington Park 1x 1hr & 1x 2hr
Aug 29/30 – Brands Hatch – 1x 2hr
Sep 19/20 – Donington Park – 1x 3hr
Oct 3/4 – Snetterton – 2x 1hr
Nov 7/8 – Silverstone 500 – 1x 3hr