Max Verstappen has heaped praise onto sim-racer-turned-pro-racer Rudy van Buren amid the Dutchman’s appointment as simulator driver at Red Bull.
The 30-year-old is a part of Team Redline’s Esports project, which features Verstappen as well as McLaren driver Lando Norris.
Redline has contested the Virtual 24 Hours of Le Mans in the last couple of years since its introduction amid the COVID-19 pandemic which started in 2020.
Van Buren joined the Porsche Supercup Germany in 2019, and has scored 319.5 points since, including 84 this year in his Huber car.
He has been racing in the main fold of the Supercup this season, scoring points twice in six races in what continues to be an impressive transition from gaming to real-life racing.
Red Bull have brought him on board as their sim driver, giving them some invaluable data from the test runs in their state-of-the-art facilities in Milton Keynes.
This data is used to help Verstappen and Sergio Perez out on track, as they decipher the right set-up, the right line through corners, how best to look after the tyres and much more.
And it has certainly played its part; Verstappen and Perez have won 10 races between them this season, with the reigning champion taking his fourth pole position of 2022 at this weekend’s Dutch Grand Prix.
With a big championship lead under his belt, Verstappen spoke about his relationship with van Buren.
“I know Rudy, already for a long time,” he said, quoted by GPFans.
“Of course, we also do our sim racing together in the same team with Team Redline.
“So already there, you know, we basically build up a good bond, and he’s been doing it for a while unofficially, already in the simulator.
“And yeah, we do talk about stuff.
“Of course, during a race weekend a little bit less, because sometimes he’s busy as well, and you just focus on your own jobs.”
The Dutchman details the sort of work van Buren will get up to as he helps the Red Bull drivers perform at their best.
“I explained my feelings of what I need from the car,” explained Verstappen.
“What is really good about Rudy, everyone has their own driving style in his simulator or in real life as well, but he can also put himself in someone else’s driving style and knows what that person particularly needs from the car.
“And I think that’s why he’s such big value as well on the simulator.”