James Baldwin is ready to become a real racing driver tomorrow when he climbs aboard his Jenson Team Rocket RJN McLaren 720S GT3 at Oulton Park as the winner of World’s Fastest Gamer.
Baldwin’s prize for his victory includes a full-season of British GT competition. Rounds 1 and 2 of the 2020 championship will be held this Sunday, August 2.
Testing is scheduled for Friday, July 20 with practice and qualifying run on Saturday, August 1.
Baldwin will team up with fellow British driver Michael O’Brien in the Silver Cup class.
Q: What has the build-up been like for your race debut as World’s Fastest Gamer?
A: “It has been a long wait but it’s finally here! I think I’m a bit stronger than I was at the test early this year in France, and my fitness coach Simon Fitchett says I’m a bit stronger as well.
“That test in France gave me a lot of confidence then, but I haven’t spent much time in the car in the intervening months. I don’t think I’ve forgotten how to drive, but the car will still be a little unfamiliar to me with the limited running because of how the world has turned out this year.”
Q: How much are you looking forward to racing at Oulton Park?
A: “Oulton Park is a track that is certainly going to be a huge challenge for the start of my racing career. It’s quite narrow, bumpy and risky and if you go off – there are lots of walls.
“Luckily we’ve got the Friday test at Oulton before the weekend and I feel confident I can get up to speed fairly quickly. I’ve spoken to a few guys that I know that have driven the McLaren in various other championships that have given me some advice too.”
Q: Have you been able to prepare virtually for the first race weekend?
A: “I’ve been driving the McLaren 720 GT3 a lot on the sim. The sim is really good, but it’s still not quite the same. It’s helped me in really interesting ways though including memorizing where the buttons are on the car.
“When I go into virtual reality with the goggles and sit in the car in the game, the buttons are in the exact same place and they’re all labelled up the same as well.
“If I need to find the windscreen wiper button, I know exactly where that is now from the sim and it makes a huge difference. I remember at Paul Ricard I was going down the straight and just before the fast right at the end of the straight, a warning light came up. I wanted to get rid of it immediately but then I thought ‘oh, no, I better focus on the corner otherwise I’ll miss it!’ So, it really helps to know where the buttons are.”
Q: Can you believe this incredible opportunity from winning World’s Fastest Gamer is finally here?
A: “I’m obviously very excited, but I’m trying not to think about it too much because that’s when things like nerves and doubt start to creep in.
“I’m just ready to get to work, to show up on Friday and start working with Michael [O’Brien] my teammate and the rest of the team and engineers so we can figure out how to go fast very.
“It’s quite a nerdy thing to say, but I’m looking forward to helping develop the setup of the car for real. I’ve been doing it with my mates on the sim, but doing it for real in such a professional and experienced environment with Jenson Team Rocket RJN – I think that’s going to be really cool.”