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We talk esports vs. a pro racing simulator with Jaguar’s Mitch Evans

Until COVID-19 turned up and ruined things, Formula E’s sixth season was going pretty well for Jaguar Racing and driver Mitch Evans. Because the series started its season in November, there were already five races in the books by the time the real-world action had to be suspended. When it’s safe to start up again, Evans will do so from second place in the championship, in part thanks to a win in Mexico in mid-February. More recently, he’s been stuck at home, like many of the rest of us. And the last few weeks have involved learning a whole new set of skills as Formula E has temporarily decamped to the world of rFactor 2 to keep fans entertained until the real cars are safe to dust off again.

Unlike some of his contemporaries, the switch to esports wasn’t something Evans has been training for this whole time. “I’ve not being a huge gamer before, so this is new territory, and it’s taken me a long time to get used to it,” Evans told me. In fact, he didn’t even have a gaming rig at home until Formula E supplied all its drivers with identical Playseat rigs, gaming PCs, and Fanatec wheels and pedals.

That’s meant quite the learning curve. “There’s a lot of guys out there that are really quite experienced in that field, and honestly, they are extremely fast on it. So a lot of it is obviously trying to work out how the game works and the physics around it to try and get around certain things which wouldn’t really correlate into reality,” he explained.

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