Jon Armstrong is part of an impressive crop of next-generation Northern Irish drivers. Armstrong moved into European rallying, winning the Rookie title in the DMACK Fiesta Trophy in 2016. The achievement earned him two prize drives the following year in the WRC2 class, the tier below the main World Rally Championship.
One year on from his first outing on the German asphalt, Armstrong, with no budget for real rallying, turned his attention to eSports having been inspired to try the WRC7 game after watching the live stream of the 2017 finals. Out of thousands of entries, he finished third during this year’s 13-round eSports regular season, with the top nine making the final in Rally Germany’s service park, alongside the real event. He came out on top, beating some of the fastest Sim racers in the world.
The official World Rally Championship game is one that anyone can purchase on the high street, and anyone can enter the WRC eSports series to see if they can compete. As inclusivity comes, its right up there with any sport in the world. It has the thrill of a real rally, with a multi-stage event to determine the winner. It’s about having the speed and having the mental strength to hold your nerve. The winning drivers in Formula 1’s eSports series are fully immersed in racing experience, getting to stand on the podium at Formula 1’s final race of the year in Abu Dhabi.
Esports are growing, and fast. Premier League football teams are signing players for global FIFA tournaments, and in motorsport, Formula One has followed a similar route, signing Sim racers to compete for a virtual World Championship.