Rudy van Buren has won the inaugural World’s Fastest Gamer competition to be named a simulator driver for McLaren in 2018 after beating over 30,000 contestants.

The Dutch 25-year-old, who became a Dutch karting champion in 2003 before giving up racing at 16, beat fellow finalist Freek Schothorst to claim the prize of becoming one of McLaren’s simulator drivers for 2018.

van Buren sees the World’s Fastest Gamer prize as his ‘second chance’ back into motorsport and an opportunity to reignite his racing ‘dream’.

“You search for a replacement because you’ve still got that racing feeling inside you,” van Buren said. “You want to go on but there’s no option or route available. That burn inside to win, doing a lap quicker and quicker, lap after lap, it’s a feeling that you can’t express.

“Every boy that starts karting dreams about F1, and at a certain point that dream just vanishes. Now by winning World’s Fastest Gamer, I can relive that dream.

“This has been the most incredible experience and words can’t describe how I feel right now. To think that I came to the McLaren Technology Centre for the very first time last week but am leaving here today as McLaren’s newest employee is mind blowing.

“I can’t thank everyone enough for giving me this amazing opportunity; just being here, meeting the team and competing with some amazing people has been an unforgettable experience. It really has been the toughest job interview I’ve ever faced, but with such an incredible reward at the end of it. Now I can’t wait to get started.”

McLaren’s Executive Director Zak Brown has praised van Buren’s strong attributes which helped him fight through the competition to become a member of the Woking-based squad.

“My congratulations to Rudy he really showed the mettle, determination and ability to succeed,” Brown said. “This was an outstandingly tough contest, one where we went to great lengths to stretch our contestants beyond their limits.

“He’ll be a real asset to the organisation as we develop and refine our 2018 car throughout the next season.”