Dutchman Rudy van Buren beat 30,000 fellow gamers to win McLaren's ground breaking eSports competition and become the team's official simulator driver.
After numerous heats which began last May across a variety of different games and platforms, 12 grand finalists were invited to McLaren’s Woking headquarters to go head-to-head in one last week of testing.
Finals Week included rigorous tests around a wide selection of racetracks which included the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Suzuka Circuit, Interlagos and Le Mans, where finalists were tested over a full day-long race distance.
The twelve contestants were pared down from six to three, and then finally two: 25-year-old Rudy van Buren, a sales manager from Lelystad in the Netherlands, and Freek Schothorst, a 20-year-old science and business student from Amsterdam.
It was a close contest but van Buren prevailed against his countryman in the final round of the contest after a demanding four-hour session in McLaren's state-of-the-art F1 simulator
"First, my congratulations to Rudy – he really showed the mettle, determination and ability to succeed," said McLaren executive Zak Brown.
"This was an outstandingly tough contest, one where we went to great lengths to stretch our contestants beyond their limits, and he’ll be a real asset to the organisation as we develop and refine our 2018 car throughout the next season."
It was a dream come true achievement for van Buren and a second chance in motorsport for the gamer who won the Dutch Karting Championship back in 2003, only to abandon his racing ambitions as a teenager due to a lack of financial backing.
"This has been the most incredible experience and words can’t describe how I feel right now," said van Buren.
"To think that I came to the McLaren Technology Centre for the very first time last week but am leaving here today as McLaren’s newest employee is mind blowing.
"I can’t thank everyone enough for giving me this amazing opportunity; just being here, meeting the team and competing with some amazing people has been an unforgettable experience.
"It really has been the toughest job interview I’ve ever faced, but with such an incredible reward at the end of it. Now I can’t wait to get started!
"Every boy that starts karting dreams about F1, and at a certain point that dream just vanishes. Now by winning World’s Fastest Gamer, I can relive that dream."
Check out the short video from the World Fastest Gamer final.