PressClub Canada · Article.
Finale of the DTM Esports Championship: a profile of the guest starters for BMW Motorsport SIM Racing.
27.10.2020 Press Release
The grand finale of the DTM Esports Championship gets underway at 19:00 on Tuesday evening. At four events, professional sim racers teamed up with six professional racing drivers to go head to head with BMW DTM drivers Lucas Auer (AUT), Timo Glock (GER) and Sheldon van der Linde (RSA) in action as team captains. Ahead of the final event of the season, we would like to present the BMW Motorsport SIM Racing guest starters.
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Munich. The grand finale of the DTM Esports Championship gets underway at 19:00 on Tuesday evening. At four events, professional sim racers teamed up with six professional racing drivers to go head to head with BMW DTM drivers Lucas Auer (AUT), Timo Glock (GER) and Sheldon van der Linde (RSA) in action as team captains. While ‘Team Sheldon van der Linde’ is currently in pole position in the title race, the event will once again feature a guest starter in the virtual BMW M4 DTM, namely hybrid racer Cem Bölükbasi (TUR). He follows in the footsteps of influencer Jimmy Broadbent (GBR), BMW works driver Beitske Visser (NED) and tennis pro Florin Mergea (ROU). Ahead of the final event of the season, we would like to present the BMW Motorsport SIM Racing guest starters.
The grand finale of the DTM Esports Championship livestream: www.twitch.tv/bmwmotorsport .
Jimmy Broadbent: the Influencer.
Jimmy Broadbent is not only an enthusiastic sim racer himself, but, as a YouTuber, also delights a community of more than 500,000 fans with his races and coverage of sim racing and Esports. He is an established name on the scene and a welcome guest in all virtual racing series. Broadbent had often worked with BMW Motorsport SIM Racing, even before his appearance in the DTM Esports Championship.
His summary of his guest appearance in the DTM Esports Championship: “The sim racers who compete in the DTM Esports Championship are like aliens to me. It is incredible how quick they are and what they are capable of. I think I am pretty good in a simulator, but these guys are in a different league altogether. My community really enjoyed seeing how I got on compared to sim racers and the real DTM drivers. They were just as impressed as I was by the extremely high standard of the championship.”
Beitske Visser: the female racer.
For many years, Beitske Visser has shown that she is more than capable of winning races at the highest level. She demonstrated her talent again when she successfully progressed through the BMW Motorsport Junior programme and was promoted to a BMW works driver. Visser finished runner-up in the inaugural season of the W Series in 2019, which saw some of the best female racing drivers in the world go head to head on the same bill as the DTM.
In 2020, she won the title in dominant fashion – not, however, in the real W Series. Her title came in the virtual W Series, which was launched as a result of the pandemic. Not only in that series, but in numerous others, she has shown that she is one of the best professional racing drivers on the sim racing scene. “I have always used a simulator to prepare for my real races,” said Visser. “However, during the pandemic I installed one at home and started to race online. It is something I really enjoy, and helps me to keep stay sharp.”
Her summary of her guest appearance in the DTM Esports Championship: “I really enjoyed my start in the DTM Esports Championship at the Zolder circuit. The BMW M4 DTM is cool to drive. The standard of the professional sim racers was extremely high, but I had a lot of fun.”
Florin Mergea: the tennis pro.
Florin Mergea is not only an ambassador for BMW Romania and one of the world’s best tennis doubles players, but he is also a passionate and ambitious sim racer. As a tennis pro, Mergea has reached two grand slam semi-finals in doubles and won silver at the 2016 Olympic Games. He is now preparing for the Olympic Games in Tokyo (JPN) in 2021.
During the current pandemic, he has taken his passion for sim racing to a new level. “Only in the last year have I started to invest more time in sim racing, due to the pandemic. Before then, it was just a pastime between tennis tournaments,” said Mergea, who this year competed in the Racing League Romania Season 5 powered by BMW. Since 2014, he has owned his own simulator at home, which he has consistently improved. Now, sim racing is more than just a hobby for the Romanian. “The mental aspect of sim racing helps me with my tennis, because I learn to focus fully for a longer time without the breaks that I get in tennis. That is something I would not otherwise practice so intensively,” Mergea explained. And he already has a vision for his future after tennis. “Once I call time on my tennis career, I can imagine getting involved professionally in sim racing.”
His summary on his guest appearance in the DTM Esports Championship: “I have been an ambassador for BMW Romania since 2015 and have always been a fan of the brand so I was delighted to be able to try out the BMW M4 DTM in the DTM Esports Championship. It was great fun. For me, it was a fantastic experience to appear alongside professional racing drivers and sim racers in the same race.”
Cem Bölükbasi: the hybrid racer.
Cem Bölükbasi is at home in two different worlds – the real world, and virtual motor racing. Unlike Beitske Visser, whose involvement in sim racing is in addition to real motorsport, both fields enjoy equal standing with Bölükbasi. “I started out in real racing, until at a certain point I was no longer able to get together the budget I needed to continue,” said Bölükbasi. “That was when I started sim racing. It was in 2015. My professional sim racing career began in F1 Esports. Back then, I was the first person to sign a contract with a professional Esports team.” In 2018, he finished second in the F1 Esports world rankings. His success and activities on various social media channels allowed him to amass a large fan community. His YouTube and Instagram accounts have well over 100,000 subscribers.
Despite his success as a sim racer, he has also been a regular on the real racetrack again since 2019. “The Borusan Otomotiv team gave me the opportunity to return to real motor racing and to compete in the GT4 European Series with the BMW M4 GT4,” said Bölükbasi. “They put their faith in me and said ‘Wow, that guy is good in the simulator. Let’s see what he can do in a real race car.’ I can only thank them for that.”
Just last weekend, he claimed a class victory in the BMW M4 GT4 at Spa-Francorchamps (BEL). Now he competes on Tuesday evening as the fourth guest starter in the virtual BMW M4 DTM in the DTM Esports Championship.