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Sim racer makes the leap from virtual F1 to the real F2

The wheel deal. 

Cem Bolukbasi, a 23-year-old Turkish racer who started his career in F1’s esport series, has just signed on for a full season in F2, the feeder series that supports motorsport’s top tier and has supplied the likes of Lando Norris, George Russell, Charles Leclerc and Lewis Hamilton.

Bolukbasi took part in the 2017 and 2018 seasons of the official F1 esport series, which led to two seasons of real racing in GT4 and a successful switch to open wheel racing last year. He’s signed on for the full 2022 F2 season with Czech outfit Charouz Racing, who’ve previously fielded the likes of Enzo Fittipaldi and Callum Illott in the series.

Bolukbasi isn’t the first sim racer to make the jump to real-life racing, of course, with a number of notable cases headed up by Jann Mardenborough, the Welsh driver who forged a successful career in Japan’s Super GT after winning Gran Turismo’s GT Academy.

It’s a two-way street too, with current F1 world champion Max Verstappen dedicating a serious amount of time to his virtual pursuits with Team Redline – where he’ll be seen competing in this weekend’s 24 Hours of Le Mans Virtual.

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