James Baldwin is crowned the 2019 eROC champion having beaten Brendon Leigh in Mexico at the Race Of Champions.
Veloce Esports‘ Baldwin won the honour of competing and representing Team Sim Racing All Stars alongside last years’ eROC Champion and McLaren Shadow Esports driver Enzo Bonito.
Baldwin had to compete with fellow Esports drivers Sebastian Job, Nils Naujoks and F1 Esports Champion Leigh to earn a spot in the final two, where they would have to tackle the real-life Race of Champions circuit at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez in Mexico.
The four drivers were trained by stunt driver Terry Grant and were judged by Motorsport legends David Coulthard and Tom Kristensen, who scored the gamers on their track awareness, positioning, car control and pace on the real-life course. Afterwards, the gamers competed against one another on the sims, using the Assetto Corsa version of the ROC Mexico track.
The scores from both tasks were added up and saw Baldwin and Leigh qualify for the final challenge: a race against one another on the simulators and in real-life KTM X-Bows on the ROC Mexico Track, where Baldwin was successful against the reigning F1 Esports champion.
After being crowned eROC champion, Baldwin partnered up with Bonito for the Nations Cup, where the pairing competed against the best drivers in the world. The pair surprised the competition with Bonito beating former F1 driver and FIA Formula E champion Lucas di Grassi, whilst Baldwin beat Mexican wildcard winner Ruben Garcia Jr.
The British gamer said that winning the eROC in Mexico felt ‘unbelievable’, despite having not done well in the assessment tests early on in the day.
“It feels unbelievable. I’m still trying to process it. This morning I knew the assessment didn’t go too well yesterday, so I knew I had to make it up on the sim and in the real-life car on the track,” said Baldwin.
“In the end everything went really well, it just went how I thought it would in my mind. I had a positive mental attitude and it paid off.”
Baldwin is now eligible to race in the Race of Champions on Sunday, with a qualifying race to take place between himself and Bonito. The winner will proceed into the rest of the tournament.
Last years’ champion Bonito transferred the skills he learned from eROC and from Grant into real-life racing and says that Baldwin could follow that same step
“Last year was one of the first experiences I’ve had in a proper racing car and I had no idea what to expect. At first I was completely lost, but Terry Grant gave us exactly the tips we need, helping us understand everything.” added Bonito.
“With more time in the car you start getting the feeling, to the extent that at times it felt like driving a simulator. So I just did what I’d been doing at home… if anything the feeling was even better because the feedback doesn’t just come through your hands but your whole body.
“If James can take some tips from simracing and transfer it to the real racing, like I did last year, he’ll enjoy it and he’ll be fine!”