How a game helped 20-year-old Trevor Bayne achieve his Daytona 500 win

Trevor Bayne can't legally purchase any victory champagne, but that didn't stop him from joining the elite group of Daytona 500 champions last Sunday. And apparently the rookie sensation, who started competing nationally less than two years ago, made it to where he is with the help of a videogame.

At the age of 20, Bayne becomes the youngest competitor ever to win the Daytona 500. His accomplishment is surely based on many factors - he seemed to have been born with a penchant for racing, having developed an interest in go-karts when he was only five years old. Before he was a teenager, he had won three professional go-kart racing World Championships.

At the age of 13, he moved onto professional race car driving and earned the title of Top Rookie at the Allison Legacy Race Series - the youngest in the series' history. At age 14, he rose to National Champion there, and shortly thereafter, he began racing in Nascar competitions. In 2009, he signed a national, season-long sponsorship contract.

So, basically, the guy can run (drive?) circles around people who have more years of experience than he's been alive. How is that possible? Well, aside from his natural talent, Bayne apparently had a bit of help from a game called iRacing.

Bayne received a subscription to iRacing, a sophisticated racing simulation which stays up-to-date with faithful recreations of all the major speedways, in 2009. He started using that to prepare for upcoming races and his performance improved.

In the 2009-2010 season, Bayne finished in 23rd place. After two years of using iRacing (combined with actual real-world experience), he won one of the most coveted races in the world. He's not the first to use it, either - up-and-comer Timmy Hill has won more than 60 races in the game, and will make his real racing debut Saturday in the Nationwide Series.

Maybe we should check this game out...

[Source: Jalopnik]

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Feb 24, 2011


  • Goug - February 25, 2011 10:15 a.m.

    Reminds me of Jacques Villeneuve, canadian racer. I once read he practiced on playstation 1 Formula 1 games to get to know all the different tracks, as he didn't race on Formula 3000 like most formula 1 racers do. Formula 3000 is slower, for "beginners" only, and takes place on the same tracks as Formula 1. Anyway, even though he knew tracks only through games, he finished his first Formula 1 season in second place, and was world champion on his 2nd participation (1997). It definitely helped him. The fact his father was Gilles Villeneuve (formula 1 champion as well) helped a lot as well, I guess. His carrer went downward from then. Daytona's 500 miles has nothing to do with Nascar, right, it's a proper track? I'm seeing the screenshots on the right, but I'm not sure about that.
  • v8ninety - February 25, 2011 9:39 a.m.

    this is why F1 teams spend millions on creating simulators, they can't test at tracks due to rules but can do as much as they like in simulators. @Larinah Could be a fluke but there were lots of other more experienced drivers who did not crash but were not in the lead pack to take advantage, lets she how he gets on the rest of the season.
  • Larinah - February 24, 2011 11:50 p.m.

    I'm all for seeing a new racing star born, but I'm tempted to say his win was a fluke. There was a massive wreck earlier in the race that took out a lot of the top competitors. I'd like to see what he can do when 1/3 of the drivers aren't taken out by one wreck. Still though, I see a lot of potential from this guy. The simple fact that at the end he was able to keep 3 cars behind him INCLUDING Carl Edwards is damn good, so who knows, maybe this simulator actually works!
  • Alakasam342 - February 24, 2011 10:56 p.m.

    Anyone who buys iRacing will become a professional racer in SECONDS! that's marketing ^.^

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