Six gruelling racing challenges were all that stood in the way of the McLaren Shadow Racing Project winner. Hundreds of thousands of aspiring drivers applied for the role of McLaren’s new esports racer, but it was 21-year-old Kevin ‘Siggy’ Rebernak who was victorious on the day.
The Slovenian was the one to watch at the finals on December 14, displaying fine consistent driving skills across four sim racing tasks and two on the track at Dunsfold in the McLaren Automotive 570 GT4. Siggy improved his track times with every lap, claiming the Most Improved Driver accolade at the event, toppling rival Erhan Jajovski from North Macedonia who was close to beating the coaches times on the track.
“I’m happy and also slightly overwhelmed to have won the McLaren Shadow Project Grand Final,” Siggy says. “I’ve been sim racing since the age of 13 but I had no idea it might lead me here. This week really has been a once-in-a-lifetime experience. I see this win as a positive opportunity to boost my career in esports and I cannot wait to get to work with McLaren for the 2020 season.”
Although the hunt for this year’s driver is now over, it’s been a special one for McLaren. This Shadow Project final signals the first time a wheelchair user has made it all the way to the finals. Jan Saathoff, 33, from Germany qualified via Real Racing 3 on mobile, and went head to head with the other competitors using an adapted gaming rig without pedals and game controllers. Although he was not crowned champion on the final day, it’s an impressive feat nevertheless.
For McLaren though, the Shadow Project finals show the team’s commitment to the world of esports, and its attempt to find the next best racing superstar from this newly discovered grassroots system.
Zak Brown, CEO of McLaren Racing says: “The transference of skills between real and virtual racing is key to the McLaren Shadow Project and at McLaren we believe that esports is fertile ground in which to nurture and grow racing talent. Again this year we’ve seen an exceptional field of drivers take part in the competition.
“We’d like to thank all six finalists for their hard work and we are very happy to welcome Kevin onto the McLaren Shadow esports team for 2020. We look forward to seeing what he can achieve with our help and support.”
If you missed the racing action from the weekend, you can catch up here.