The path to competing behind the wheel of a race car has always been an evolving one, and now we’re starting to see that path change even more drastically. Nowadays, excellent real-life racers are getting their start behind the virtual wheel—and Jimmy Broadbent is the epitome of that journey.
Broadbent is a fairly popular character in the motorsport world, largely due to his vlogs and streams of other esport competition. He’s contested Formula 1's Virtual Grands Prix for McLaren alongside a virtual Indy 500 and 24 Hours of Le Mans. He’s no joke behind the wheel of a sim rig, to the point where Praga has decided to sign him on for their Britcar championship.
Britcar is a British endurance sports car racing series, and it’s set to kick off its first races of the season at Silverstone on March 27. Broadbent will be contesting in a newly formed and specially made Praga category, which is pretty much the peak of the series. It’s like DPi to IMSA.
And Praga, if you haven’t heard, has released an all-new version of the R1. Already a dominant machine, the new R1 is lighter, stronger, and faster than its predecessor. Its turbocharged 2-liter R-A Praga T Engine from Renault Alpine only makes 365 horsepower, but at 1,418 lbs, you’re talking about a car with the same power-to-weight ratio as a McLaren 765LT. That’s pretty impressive, especially considering the fact that the old Praga already dominated the 2020 season.
Broadbent is part of Praga’s guest program, where folks who aren’t necessarily professional racers get a chance behind the wheel. He’ll be partnered up with LMP3 and Ginetta GT5 racer Charlie Martin, who represents the motorsport element of the group, along with supercar influencer Mr. JWW and former-SAS adventurer Jay Morton. Sounds like a hell of a lot of fun to me!
“I’m super excited to be involved with Praga and their guest driver program,” Broadbent said about the news. “The new R1 looks like an absolute weapon! I can’t wait to get behind the wheel and start learning what the car is all about. It will be a big challenge, but the support Praga are providing is incredible and I am really looking forward to getting out on track in the R1.”
Along those same lines, Mark Harrison, managing director of Praga Cars UK, added, “Neither Jimmy nor Praga are under any illusion that this will be an easy challenge for Jimmy, but that is what appeals to him and also fits the brief for all of our guest drivers.”
It’s going to be fascinating to see Broadbent behind the wheel. It’s about damn time we really saw how eSport racers stack up against their real-life counterparts.