Fanatec Esports: Baldwin earns UK’s first-ever medal

Fanatec Esports: Baldwin earns UK’s first-ever medal

Team UK racer James Baldwin earned his nation’s first-ever FIA Motorsport Games gold medal with a flawless performance in today’s Fanatec Esports final at Circuit Paul Ricard.

Starting from pole position, the 25-year-old multiple SRO Esports champion led the pack into turn one and was never headed through the 60-minute journey.

The victory for Baldwin came after race-winning quarter-final and semi-final triumphs. He took the gold medal with a 2.942 second margin over Team Netherlands Chris Harteveld, with Team Spain’s Alberto Garcia Gomez in third place.

Both Baldwin and Harteveld drove the Assetto Corsa Competizione version of the McLaren 720S GT3 machine. Garcia Gomez was the sole Lamborghini Huracàn GT3 Evo racer in the top 10 after a McLaren-dominated final.

The remainder of the top five included Team Australia’s Philippa Boquida in fourth place and Team Czech Republic Martin Kadlečík in fifth.

The Team UK victory came after Motorsport UK scored its first-ever FIA Motorsport Games medal with third place earlier today in the GT discipline with Iain Loggie and Sam Neary.

Baldwin’s gold medal adds to his impressive career stats, which include two championship victories in SRO Esports, winning the World’s Fastest Gamer competition in 2019, and taking an on-track British GT race victory in his first-ever GT race in 2020.

“That feels good. That was such a stressful race because with 10 minutes to go, I already had three track limits warnings, and a fourth one would have earned me a penalty,” Baldwin said.

“I was lucky I had a gap; otherwise, Chris (Harteveld) would have got me. At the moment, this feels like my best-ever esports achievement – the crowd, the flag, and how tense it was. Plus I’ve won a gold medal.

“It was quite a big responsibility to represent your country in sim racing when you consider how many of there are in the UK. I’m really happy.”

Great fightbacks in the race included impressive performances from two racers who were serious medal contenders. Team Czech Republic’s Kadlečík started from the front row after winning his semi-final but was 14th on the opening lap after contact. He crossed the line in fifth at the chequered flag.

Team Brazil’s Igor Rodrigues was the fastest man in qualifying, but he too was forced off track on the opening lap down to 20th position. His comeback drive took him up to 10th place at the finish.

Click here to re-watch the live stream.