23-year-old Cem Bolukbasi revealed at a news conference in Istanbul that he had signed a deal with Charouz Racing System based in Czech and had the ultimate goal of one day racing in Formula One.
Bolukbasi stated, “If I was never in F1 Esports, I would never have had the chance to get into a real car. I would not be where I am now. I think it’s also very important to be the first gamer to do this, because it can give people hope. If people see that one person can do it, they will believe they can do it as well.”
He went on to reiterate that if he could go from F1 Esports to Formula Two, then “anyone can”. Bolukbasi started out by racing in virtual racetracks with the F1 Esports series and went on to make his debut in 2017 and continued for three seasons.
Bolukbasi also won the 2020 Formula Renault eSports Series and was runner-up on the real racetracks in the GT4 European Series that same year. The Turk scored 13 points out of 15 races in Formula Three last year. Bolukbasi also tested an F2 car after the end of last season which took place in Abu Dhabi.
Jason Tahincioglu, son of former Turkey’s Motor Sports Federation president Mumtaz, was the last racer to compete at the F2 level. Tahincioglu raced in what was then known as GP2 in 2006 and 2007 without scoring a point.
Backed by multiple Turkish companies, state agencies, and even Turkey’s Motor Sports Federation, Bolukbasi is expected to make a commendable performance in his first ever Formula One debut this season.
While many sports are focused on physicality, Racing has always required a great deal of mental focus and reflex alongside that. The virtual racing scene has been using force-feedback and similar technology to simulate the physical elements of racing for some time, but this is still a very notable achievement for digital sports, further blurring the lines between the digital and physical.