Mercedes' F1 eSports champion set for real-life race debut in Formula Ford 1600 series

A TEENAGER is set to exchange the Xbox for the gear box this weekend as a gamer takes on reality for the first time.

Brendon Leigh, 19, will make his racing debut in the Formula Ford 1600 series this weekend at Snetterton.

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2018 has probably been the biggest learning curve of my life… We made mistakes but we always learned from the mistakes! The change from the start of the year to now is mind blowing, We made lots of process in all areas this year but still lots to improve for next year ๐Ÿ’ช๐Ÿค™ 2018 over and out โœŒ๏ธ๐Ÿ˜˜ #newyearseve #greatful #newyear

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Big thank you to @mercedesamgf1 for inviting me to the team Christmas party, Had a blast! Really nice to meet all the drivers and the team

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The Reading native didn't even hold a driving licence when he stormed to victory in the competition's debut campaign in 2017.

Leigh returned the following season to win seven of the ten races in the virtual game for Mercedes – but is now looking to make his mark in the real world of racing.

A former kitchen porter, the 19-year-old will be on the track for the Kevin Mills Racing team on Saturday and Sunday, having already completed three days of testing.

The team boss, Kevin Mills, told FF1600: "He wasn't too different to my other two drivers really.

"His lap times were fairly similar. He'll go well.

FROM GAME TO TRACK

Despite his impressive gaming reputation, the FF1600 team boss had never heard of Leigh until two months ago.

Mills said: "He just asked to come and do a test two months ago. I didn't even know who he was – my son knew who he was, I didn't know!"

Leigh does not have a karting history or much practice on a circuit – but in the F1 game, there is nobody better than him.

Then 17, the youngster battled past the 66,000 people who entered the first F1 eSports competition, reaching the final 20.

The showpiece was split into three races, winning two to claim the title.

The success saw him hired by Mercedes to become their main competitor for their eSports team, and he paid back his new employers.

Having dropped 20kg ahead of the 2018 competition, Leigh eased to victory once again, helping to claim the Constructors title as well.

But now all eyes will be on his ability in a real-life single-seater car when he takes the Snetterton track in Norfolk on Saturday.

What is the next challenge that awaits me? ๐ŸŽ๏ธ๐Ÿ

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Great weekend in Mexico taking part in @raceofchampions Huge congratulations to @velocejaaames for becoming eROC champ ๐Ÿ† Well driven ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ’ช

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Before Christmas vs today. Down over 10kg. Let's keep working harder to get more ๐Ÿ‘Œ๐Ÿ’ช

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