Teenage racing star Zak O’Sullivan has turned to the virtual world to hone his on-track skills following the postponement of the first half of his maiden British F4 season.
The 15-year-old, who has joined the renowned Carlin team for his first year in single seaters, was due to start his season at Donington Park this weekend (March 27-29).
But all UK motorsport has been postponed until at least June 30 due to the coronavirus crisis, meaning O’Sullivan has turned to the burgeoning world of e-sports to make up for his lack of real-life track time.
He has taken part in multiple sim races over the last month on the global iRacing platform, organised by his driver coaches at Kokoro Performance.
O’Sullivan, who was already a keen sim racer before the delayed start to his season, regularly competes with fellow racing drivers and sim racers across the world.
He said: “You only have to look at the names taking part in online racing to show you how popular it is – the likes of Max Verstappen and Lando Norris are on their sims all time time! It’s a great way of staying sharp during this break we’re facing. The standard is really high, too – these are serious racers competing for real prizes. Obviously I hope we can be back out on a real circuit soon but everyone’s safety has to come first.”
Before the enforced lockdown, O’Sullivan impressed at the British F4 media day held at Donington Park, where he set the 4th and 2nd best times in the two official test sessions.
He added: “I’ve said all along that I’m not setting myself any targets in terms of results – I just need to be as consistent as I possibly can when we get racing. My test times before this lock-down were encouraging but the real test will be when the season gets underway for real.”
O’Sullivan was the youngest-ever winner of the Ginetta Junior Championship Rookie Cup in 2019, one of the key support events on the British Touring Car Championship (BTCC) package.