Video games are more realistic than ever before, and this is potentially giving gamers experiences that are the equivalent to completing an action in a real-life situation. This raises the question of whether video games a good training tool for many skills and activities. Recent events show that playing video games could give people the edge over people who have years of experience in a sport.
A shocking victory took place on a Mexican track recently when an experienced Formula 1 driver was defeated by a man who had no other racing experience than playing video games. A 23-year-old gamer called Enzo Bonito took on ex-Formula 1 driver Lucas di Grassi on the track and took a surprising victory. The monumental race, called the Race of Champions, took place on January 19th and the results shocked the sports commentators who attended the event.
Most people had expected that di Grassi would easily take the win, especially considering his vast experience in the motorsports industry. The former Formula 1 racing driver is currently a competitor in the Formula E championships.
Bonito’s only prior experience of racing is using video games. Esports such as this have become increasingly popular and gamers are forming teams for tournaments. These tournaments have staggeringly high prizes, with some topping $100 million. Therefore, gamers take these esports tournaments extremely seriously.
The Race of Champions first took place in 1988 and has become an annual event. Racers from all disciplines of motorsports are invited to race against each other. 2018 was the first year in which virtual racers were allowed to take part.
— Formula 1 (@F1) January 20, 2019
Virtual motorsports differ from real-time strategy games or first-person shooters in terms of the details of the games. Just some of the details included in virtual racing include the handling of real-world cars, the suspension design, and tire wear. Also, virtual racing pros use a steering wheel and pedals and not a mouse and keyboard. This simulates the real-life activity of pro-racers on the track.
By comparison, motorsports professionals spend years training and perfecting their skill. They gradually rise through the different championships based on their performance. The fact that Bonito was able to win a race against professionals who have trained on the track for decades shows that sim racers are picking up transferrable skills that they can use in real-life situations.
Although Bonito’s win shocked many motorsports experts at the trackside, it was less of a surprise to those involved in esports. Major strides have been made in sim racing in recent years, including the launch of the first esports race team in 2016. When more esports teams were established, a greater network of racing leagues and competitions were established.
Ray Alfalla, an iracing champion, was not surprised at all by Bonito’s victory. He used social media to express his views on the situation. He posted that he had believed for a long time that sim racers have the potential to race as equals alongside motorsports professionals. He was pleased that more gamers were getting the opportunity to compete in this way. Alfalla also expressed his pride in Bonito’s win.
The phenomenon of switching from video games to the track also works the other way. Many real-world professional racers have now become hooked on racing video games and have joined teams. They have shown exceptional skill when competing in online racing platforms.
While many people had suspected that there was the potential to pit real-word racing drivers against sim racing drivers, there were very few who believed that things would go this far. Perhaps most surprising of all was that Bonito continued to enjoy a winning streak. The day after defeating di Grassi, he went on to win a race against Ryan Hunter-Reay, who is a three-time winner of the prestigious Indy 500.
The news of Bonito’s wins now raises the question of whether there are players of other esports who have the potential to compete alongside professional sportspeople. There are many that believe that if transferrable skills are used in both sim games and in real-life sports, then there is the potential for the two types of competitors to compete alongside each other in the future. Although this could not apply to all sports, the possibilities are exciting.