Michelisz tells #RaceAtHome: Team bosses will look to online racing for future WTCR talent
Team bosses will look to simracing talent when considering future signings for the WTCR – FIA World Touring Car Cup.
That’s the view of original online-gamer-turned-racer Norbert Michelisz, who was himself talent-spotted while competing virtually and offered a test at the Hungaroring that ultimately led to his capture of the WTCR title at the Sepang super-finale last December.
Appearing as the Guest of the Week on #RaceAtHome – the FIA Digital Motor Sport Magazine – yesterday evening, Michelisz told presenter Bruce Jouanny that online racers are being viewed as serious candidates for real-life drives.
“This process already started two or three years ago,” Michelisz said. “With the current [coronavirus] situation it will just speed up. Many young people, because of successful real drivers competing online, they just want to join this world. And we already now have a much bigger audience and a much, much bigger group of young people playing. This tendency will last for the future. Because of the very advanced hardware and software environment I believe this will be the most efficient way of finding racing talent.”
What else did we discover watching the King of WTCR on #RaceAtHome this week?
1: Michelisz got his first computer in 1998, his reward for graduating from elementary school in his native Hungary
2: He began racing online when he enrolled at university in the city of Pécs in 2001 because “I had internet connection”
3: Journalist and established online racer Gábor Wéber was his inspiration with the pair competing against each other virtually from 2001
4: Michelisz had never visited Hungaroring prior to Zoltán Zengő inviting him to test for his team at the venue in September 2005, although the aspiring racer did know the circuit “corner by corner” from his online exploits
5: Even when he started racing for real, Michelisz didn’t stop competing online: “I understood from very early it’s a very good tool to keep fit and to keep prepared for the real events. All the racers online are making very similar decisions to a real driver. If you do a lot of kilometres in the virtual road that helps you a lot in understanding how to be successful in reality”
Click here to watch the full interview.