AN IRVINE teenager living life in the fast lane online hopes that audiences will learn to “appreciate” the dedication and commitment required to succeed in esports.

Lucas Blakeley, 18, has been driving in the F1 Esports Series for the BWT Racing Point F1 Esports Team since 2019 – and now finds himself entertaining fans during lockdown.

Like most sports, Formula 1 has postponed its season due to the COVID-19 pandemic but it has been running an esports pro exhibition series which has seen Lucas compete as one of only 20 drivers worldwide.

In addition, a Virtual Grand Prix series also takes place on postponed race weekends with current F1 drivers such as Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc and McLaren’s Lando Norris competing online with celebrities.

Former Greenwood Academy pupil Lucas said: “During lockdown we are the only form of racing that can go ahead so we are the source of entertainment. It is also an opportunity to open up people’s minds to the idea that esports can be and is very much a real profession.

“If you go onto social media you will always find a few people who say it is just a video game and write horrible things but all of the drivers who are racing have put in a massive amount of hours working with F1 teams and are taking this extremely serious to be the best in the world.

“Some people don’t have an open mind to give it the credit it deserves but within the esports community there is recognition because we all understand what it takes and the dedication and commitment we all put in and we respect that and understand that as drivers.”

He added: “Over time I hope that it is not just core fans that will appreciate esports but more people on the outside will understand and accept that this is a serious business.”

Lucas now has his sights set on the F1 Esports Pro Series which will take place later this year.

He said: “My objective this season is to win races and be on the podium in order to mount a serious championship challenge in the F1 Esports Pro Series.”


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