Next time someone tries to tell you video games can’t you anything, just tell them all about the time that Esports racing champ Enzo Bonito beat a pro racing driver – in an actual, real life race.
The unbelievable scenes occurred during the recent Race of Champions in Mexico, an annual event that sees stars of the motorsport world get together, including Lucas Di Grassi, a former member of F1 team Virgin Racing, and currently a Formula E driver.
— #ROCMexico (@RaceOfChampions) January 19, 2019
Bonito swapped out his digital wheels for real ones and took on Di Grassi in a quick race. Both racers smashed through two laps, but it was Bonito behind the wheel of a KTM X-Bows sports car who emerged victorious by half a second.
Clearly, spending endless hours playing super realistic racing sims worked in Bonito’s favour. There’s also the chance that Di Grassi underestimated his opponent’s abilities IRL, of course.
Bonito’s victory can also be seen as a win for Esports as a whole. Despite the massive popularity of the pro gaming scene, there still seems to be a certain unwillingness among some to accept Esports as a “real” form of sport.
Hopefully the fact a pro simulation racer just beat an actual pro racer will go some way towards ending that particular view, but I tend to doubt it.
For Bonito, this is just another string to his already impressive bow. In addition to holding multiple world records, he’s also the Porsche E Carrera Cup champion and Iracing GT3 Season winner. Seriously, some people are just annoyingly good at everything.
Ewan Moore is a journalist at UNILAD Gaming who still quite hasn’t gotten out of his mid 00’s emo phase. After graduating from the University of Portsmouth in 2015 with a BA in Journalism & Media Studies (thanks for asking), he went on to do some freelance words for various places, including Kotaku, Den of Geek, and TheSixthAxis, before landing a full time gig at UNILAD in 2016.