10 Real Racers who also compete at sim racing

10 Real Racers who also compete at sim racing

It’s no secret that some of the best drivers in the world can be met in esports racing games. From young aspiring talents to an F1 legend, a broad range of racing drivers also compete in esports racing. Here are some professional drivers you might meet on track:

Laurens Vanthoor

Laurens Vanthoor is one of the most successful GT drivers in the world and an avid sim racer as well. The educational factor of sim racing is very important to the Belgian. He uses it to learn the racetracks on his schedule. His favourite simulation is iRacing, mainly because of the extremely accurate, laser-scanned tracks.

Source: Porsche

Vanthoor also likes the possibility to practice long runs at home and work on his long-term concentration. But sim racing is not just a virtual testing ground for him. Especially in winter he enjoys driving online races with his teammates or to meet up with his friends for a sim racing party.

Lando Norris

F1 talent Lando Norris has been in love with esports racing for years. Before he started his career as an F1 driver in 2019, he had already spent countless hours in iRacing. His dedication did not stop after being contracted by the McLaren F1 team.

Whenever he has a week off from Formula 1, the young Brit gets into his home simulator and streams his races live on Twitch. His broadcasts became extremely popular, which is no surprise since he is a super funny and likable fella. He often welcomes other F1 drivers to race together with him.

So, if you tune in on his stream you will not only see great driving but also have lots of fun and get to know the young F1 driver from a different angle.

Kelvin van der Linde

In his rookie year in 2014, Kelvin van der Linde immediately became the ADAC GT Masters champion. The South African does not only dominate his opponents in GT driving, he is also one of the few motorsport stars who have also competed in an iRacing World Championship.


His favourite simulation is iRacing where he can drive around with a lot of GT cars. Kelvin appreciates his virtual practice since he can learn a lot about the racetracks in the sim before actual races. But of course, he also loves to go for some bold hotlaps and have some fun.

Carlos Sainz

Carlos Sainz got his sim racing rig in late 2019, so he is fairly new to the scene. Although he prefers real cars to virtual ones, his McLaren F1 colleague Lando Norris convinced him to get his own rig so he can work on his driving skills at home as well.

McLaren F1

The Spaniard is still quite sceptical whether esports racing can really improve his skills as a driver. But since his colleague surely won’t stop challenging him in virtual racing as well as in Formula 1, we are very sure he will spend quite some time in his sim rig in the future.

William Byron

William Byron achieved what most virtual racers dream of. He made his way from racing simulations to real racing. Without any driving experience, he took up iRacing when he was 13. In his first two years, he competed in 683 races, of which he won an astonishing 104.

He made his way to real NASCAR in 2015 and won the NASCAR-Xfinity-Championship just two years later. Byron thinks that sim racing is already shaping real racing series like NASCAR and will have a significant impact on racing in the future.

Philipp Eng

DTM driver Philipp Eng is a big fan of racing simulations. He loves practise in the professional simulator and also got his own sim racing rig at home which is worth more than €10,000 Euros. Eng uses virtual racing to learn the racetracks and try out new lines. “It’s an efficient way to prepare for races. (…) It costs a bit of electricity and little manpower, but neither fuel nor tyres.”

Philipp Eng Twitter
Source: Philipp Eng Twitter

The DTM driver is as competitive in iRacing as he is in real life. Next time you meet him in the game, you better prepare for a tough race.

Nicki Thiim

FIA WEC and 24h Le Mans champion Nicki Thiim not only likes esports racing, he is obsessed with it. He streams a lot of his races on his YouTube channel, where he also shares videos of his life as a real racer.

Thiim is a very successful racer both in real life and in iRacing. The three-time FIA WEC world champion competes in a lot of iRacing tournaments in which you can mostly find him on top of the leader board. Besides being very competitive, Nicki is also a super funny guy. You should definitely check out his YouTube channel.

Max Verstappen

When F1 driver Max Verstappen joins your game lobby, you better prepare for bold moves and crazy races. The Dutchman uses iRacing to work on his driving skills as much as he can. He even practised some of his craziest overtakes in iRacing many times before he pulled them off in Formula 1.

Verstappen is well-known in the esports racing scene and regularly drives in tournaments and races. In summer 2019 he competed at the iRacing 24h of Spa together with McLaren F1 driver Lando Norris and won the competition. In March 2020, Verstappen is going to compete in the rFactor GT2 Pro Series. With the F1 season being postponed until further notice, Max will surely spend a lot of time in his simulator.

Jamie Chadwick

Jamie Chadwick became the youngest-ever British GT champion before moving on to the F3 Asian Championship, where she is currently competing. She spends a lot of time in her simulator at home and also took on challenges in esports. However, Chadwick stated she underestimated how hard the competition would be when she first got into virtual competition.

Jamie Chadwick Twitter
Source: Jamie Chadwick Twitter

Aside from competing in esports she uses the simulator to maximise her performance on the real tracks. She thinks that while it’s impossible to get a simulator to work like a real car, today’s simulations come really close to reality. Sim racing is a great opportunity for her to work on both hotlaps and long runs for her upcoming races.

Rubens Barrichello

This man is a Formula 1 legend: With 323 starts, no person in history has competed in more F1 races than Rubens Barrichello. While his F1 career ended, his dedication to racing and virtual racing probably never will. “The passion I have for sim racing comes from being able to race any car at any track, whenever I want.”, the Brazilian says.

Eduardo Barrichello, his son, is into sim racing as well. In an interview the proud father told that his son developed his driving skills in the simulator before starting with go-karts. As Eduardo started winning more and more races in the simulator, Rubens saw his real-life skills developing as well. For your next virtual racing session, you have to watch for two very talented Barrichellos.

Teaser source: Microsoft

Born and raised close to the Nürburgring.