For Veloce Esports driver, James Baldwin, sim-racing was a chance to fulfil a lost childhood dream. James’ early racing story was a familiar one of great talent, but limited resources. After success in karting, his real racing career hit a bump in a road when he reached Formula Ford in the UK, but didn’t have the sponsorships to sustain his time in this incredibly expensive profession. Little did he know that his fairytale was just beginning.
James turned to sim-racing to sustain his passion for speed, and quickly found success online and in league racing. When Project CARS2 arrived, his attention turned to the world of esports, where in 2018 he reached his first finals in the A1 Esports League, before winning the Renault Esports Series at Silverstone.
His success caught the attention of the Veloce team and he has gone from strength-to-strength under their guidance and training. He led Veloce to the Finals of the 2019 Playseat SMS-R Series where they finished second, and then to the Le Mans Esports Series finals which they won. Personal accolades followed with a reserve driver spot on the Alfa Romeo Racing F1 Esports team, an amazing win in the eRace of Champions, and to cap off an outstanding year, victory in The World’s Fastest Gamer.
That last title has opened up new doors for Baldwin’s racing career. In 2020 he is returning to real racing with Team Rocket RJN, to drive a McLaren 720S GT3 in the GT World Challenge Endurance Series. We caught up with James this week to find out how he’s coping with the pressure ahead of what will surely be the biggest year of his life.
Last week we saw a big announcement from one of the world’s fastest Project CARS esports drivers as Isaac Gillissen confirmed that he has left VP-Gaming to sign for Veloce Esports.
Isaac was one half of the VP-Gaming team (alongside Darwin Daume) that won the Pro Class championship in 2019’s Playseat ® SMS-R Series. Not only that, but he also found individual glory in the Logitech G Challenge, where he won both the European and Global titles, and he reached the Finals of McLaren Shadow.
His speed and consistency was too good for rival teams to ignore, and Veloce came knocking to sign Isaac for 2020. Now he will have to prove himself all over again in a team packed with big names.
We caught up with Isaac this week to find out what inspired him to switch teams, see how he’s getting along with his new teammates (including former rivals like James Baldwin), and ask him about his ambitions for the future.
It's been an awesome year for Project CARS esports legend, Isaac Gillissen (VP Isaac21). The Dutch sim-racer has stood out from the crowd in the Project CARS esports scene to become arguably the fastest driver of 2019. He was one half of the VP Gaming squad that took victory in this year's SMS-R Championship, and he also scored some superb individual victories by winning both the European and World Finals in the Logitech G Challenge.
The G Challenge win in Las Vegas gave Isaac a shot at this year's McLaren Shadow project - McLaren's annual event to find the latest gamer to join its official esports team. The winner will also receive some real world driver training and motorsport opportunities along the way.
After last week's incredible Project CARS esports action in the European Finals, there wasn't long to wait for the main event. Just seven days later, the top eight drivers in the Logitech G Challenge from around the globe were whisked away to Las Vegas for the Grand Finals. There they had some incredible experiences, including real-world driver coaching in supercars and GT3 machinery, but at the end of the day, they were in Vegas to compete. Four more virtual races in the McLaren 650S GT3 stood between the drivers and the title of Logitech G Challenge Champion. And with that title comes the chance to enter the next McLaren Shadow competition, to battle for a place in McLaren's official esports team.
Tens of thousands qualified for the G Challenge, but only eight remained in Las Vegas. Finalists from Europe, North & South America, Asia-Pacific, and more. Last week's European Champion, VP Isaac, arrived as the favourite, followed closely by his rival THR Wolf. Amongst the other drivers there were serious threats to be considered from the likes of SMS-R Challenger Finalist, THR Operator, and community favourite, Xwolf1369. Your finalists were:
Read on to read our race reports and catch-up with the live-stream...
It has been another superb year of competition in the Logitech G Challenge. A grass roots sim-racing competition to find the world's fastest Project CARS 2 driver to join the McLaren Shadow project. 15,000 drivers entered the competition in Europe this year, and the top 10 travelled to Motorworld in Cologne, Germany to battle for the European championship crown. Not only that, but the top two drivers would qualify for the G Challenge World Finals, which take place in just six days time on November 16 in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Coming into the European Finals, the favourite for victory was undoubtedly Isaac Gilissen (VP Isaac21). As a member of VP Gaming, Isaac made a big contribution to his team's victory in this year's Playseat SMS-R Series. However, he wasn't the only big name to reach the event in Cologne. SMS-R Challenger Finalist, Darren King (THR Dalking) was also on the roster. As was previous McLaren Shadow finalist, Miguel Ballester, and drivers from the Lazarus, and FPR esports teams. The full roster included:
Read on to get the race reports, results, and catch-up with the livestream.