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Cem Bolukbasi Becomes First F1 Esports Pro To Sign A Formula 2 Contract

Cem Bolukbasi Becomes First F1 Esports Pro To Sign A Formula 2 Contract
Van Amersfoort Racing

Written by 

Jack Marsh

Posted 

17th Jan 2022 09:53

Getting behind the wheel of your plastic PlayStation controller might feel a little different when 130mph winds are surging at your helmet as your throttle reaches its maximum. Rather than reaching for a biscuit and a cup of tea when slipping into the pit lanes in lap 20, one former F1 Esports professional will be jacked up by his team and sent out with fresh tyres in less than five seconds, to hurtle his lean mean horsepower machine around the Formula 2 track.  

F1 Esports Professional Becomes First-ever graduate to compete in Formula 2

Cem Bolukbasi, a Turkish 23-year-old, has put pen to paper on a deal with Charouz Racing System to become the first-ever F1 Esports graduate to sign a season-long contract with a Formula 2 team.

"I think the realisation is kicking in more and more every hour. It was a big dream that has actually happened, so it’s quite difficult to put into words, but it’s very exciting, and I’m very happy", Bolukbasi told the F1 media after signing the deal. 

Bolukbasi did compete in F3 occasionally in the previous season, competing at the Asian Championships, before winning his debut race in the EuroFormula Open. Now, he will kick off his F2 career in the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix - the same place where he competed as an F1 Esports professional.

Cem Bolukbasi's F1 Esports Career

The young driver competed in the 2017 and 2018 F1 Esports Series, where he impressed fans by taking the chequered flag in a tense race around the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps. 

Having first begun racing on his PlayStation 3, the now-F2 racer also enjoyed taking to the wheel on Gran Turismo 5 as a youngster, before taking a liking to the 2017 F1 cars and the extravagant speeds. Continuing to speak to the F1 media, Bolukbasi added, "If I was never in F1 Esports, I would never have had the chance to get into a real car – I would not be where I am now.

"I think it’s also very important to be the first gamer to do this, because it can give people hope. If people see that one person can do it, they will believe they can do it as well… If I can go from F1 Esports to FIA Formula 2, I think anyone can."

Having seen the likes of Cem Bolukbasi make the leap from couch to track, and Lando Norris showing F1 stars also have the skillset on the simulated races, it could spark a future pathway for aspiring F1 professionals.

 

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