Norris says video games help make him a better driver

Lando Norris (GBR) McLaren in the FIA Press Conference. 24.09.2020
ยฉ XPB 

Lando Norris is well known as an enthusiastic gamer, and he's been explaining how his passion for all types of computer games is helping make him a better Formula 1 driver on the track.

โ€œWhen I play games that require a lot of brain power, they keep me focused," the McLaren driver told the Official Formula 1 Magazine.

"They give me a similar feeling to when Iโ€™m driving a car. How can I do this better? How can I improve this corner? Where can I overtake the car in front?"

The sensation of being totally absorbed in a single overriding task to the point where even a sense of time is put to one side is commonly referred to by sports consultants as 'being in the zone'.

It's the same state of mind that contributes to making people happy, explaining the huge appeal of computer games around the world driven by the desire of players to continually improve their highest scores.

โ€œItโ€™s the same with a lap time,โ€ Norris pointed out.

An on-track example of the heightened sense of awareness came at the end of the Austrian Grand Prix.

Norris was able to absorb an overwhelming array of information from numerous disparate sources to pull off a brilliant podium finish as well as earning himself an extra point for fastest lap of the race in the process.

Many drivers have used computer games to help them learn new tracks ever since the first truly realistic simulations became possible in the 1990s. But this year has seen the success of highly authentic Esports competitions reach new heights.

During F1's prolonged shutdown during the lockdown imposed by the spread of coronavirus, Norris was active in F1's official Virtual Grand Prix series.

Lando Norris raising money for charity with Esports.

ยฉ / @LandoNorris

He also made his debut in IndyCar's iRacing competition with a win over series regulars t the simulated Circuit of the Americas, and joined up with Red Bull rival Max verstappen to enter the Virtual Le Mans 24 Hours race in May.

But it's not just racing games that Norris finds helpful, with fast and furious military shoot-em-ups also keeping him sharp.

"Driving and video games like Call of Duty are very different worlds, but they correlate in so many thought processes," he said.

"The way you think about things, the strategies you need to think differently so you can out-play an opponent," he added. "What do I have to do to beat this guy?

"Achieving perfection, muscle memory, managing an array of information to make split-second decisions - the two things are actually very similar."

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