The divide between gaming and sports has been slowly closing over the years and in certain pockets of society, like Formula 1, they are now one.
In a remarkable story, an Esports racer has been signed to Formula 2 team Charouz Racing System ahead of the new season.
Cem Bolukbasi previously competed in the F1 Esports Series and he puts this huge move down to that, saying:
"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."
Bolukbasi then went on to say: "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."
The Turkish driver competed in F1 Esports from 2017 to 2019 where he experienced success then took the step up, into real-life single-seater racing in the 2019 GT4 European Championship.
As well as speaking very highly of his gaming roots and the impact that had on him getting to this point, Bolukbasi thanked the Charouz Racing System for trusting in him upon joining the team.
It is no surprise to hear the 23-year-old say that he ‘can’t wait to start working with the team, the season ahead is gonna be very long and demanding and establishing the best possible relationship with all the guys is going to be crucial for the final outcome.’
When playing the F1 games and racing against the likes of Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen, the dream to share the grid with them is exactly that, a dream.
Said dream is being realised by Bolukbasi now though and he is just one step away from the big time. That isn’t to disregard F2 though- he will still be racing at an insanely high level and he is ‘fully determined to give 110% to learn how to master it and prove [his] potential as a driver.’
The 2022 F2 season will get underway in Sakhir, Bahrain in mid-March. Having finished tenth out of eleven teams last time out, there is a lot of work for the Charouz Racing System group to do and it’ll be fascinating to see how Bolukbasi and co fare this year and beyond.