News Release

Shanaka Clay i Don t Intend On Settling In The Midfield

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If you don rsquo t yet know the name Shanaka Clay chances are you will soon From karting to car racing and now F1 Esports ndash the Sri Lankan Briton steps up to the plate for this year rsquo s F1 Esports Pro Series What can we expect from this series debutant SHANAKA CLAY WE HARDLY KNEW YE On paper ndash at least in the Pro Series ndash he rsquo s a ghost The 2020 series will be his first adventure on the main stage He joins Lucas Blakeley and Daniele Haddad at BWT Racing Point F1 Esports Team And though he rsquo s a newcomer to the series he rsquo s a born racer who rsquo s loved F1 for a long long time ldquo I live and breathe racing rdquo He began ldquo There rsquo s not a day that goes by in my life where I don rsquo t think about racing even if it rsquo s just going to the shops I have to get there as quickly as possible within the speed limit of course rdquo ldquo My favourite current driver has to be Lewis Hamilton partly for the British heritage there And then in the past he teamed up with Jenson Button who is my all time favourite That was a dream for me rdquo ldquo My favourite sporting moment is probably Canada 2011 It rsquo s a bit odd to say now because it rsquo s Vettel ndash my future team mate who lost that race and I was cheering when Button passed him on the final lap Anything that could happen happened in that race rdquo Outside of racing Clay has plenty of other things to keep him occupied ldquo I do play other games I used to play FIFA a lot I dropped it recently but I rsquo ll certainly be getting the new one Call of Duty Black Ops II was an absolute banger the more recent ones are pretty good too Dead by Daylight is fun too rdquo ldquo Away from gaming I like cooking a lot It rsquo s handy because I can rsquo t rely on my mum all my life My signature dish is probably pan fried duck with croquettes and dauphinoise potatoes It rsquo s quite easy but it rsquo s super delicious rdquo ldquo I rsquo ve been wanting to get back into fitness lately as well Ever since I stopped real life racing my fitness has dropped rdquo he explained 160 Indeed Clay is not just a digital racer rather a hybrid of on track and virtual He has a highly successful karting career at his back and it could prove to be a huge asset going forward WELCOME TO THE NEW AGE The world is changing of this there are no doubts Working from home is the new normal Video conferencing is a daily ritual whether you like it or not Going digital it seems is the done thing And even without a global pandemic taking your racing skills to the virtual frontier is something that is becoming an increasingly common move ldquo When you chat to racing teams you can give them your whole CV and they rsquo ll have hundreds of people who race but only a handful who have experience in Esports That sets you apart these days because as technology and media advances Esports is only going to grow and that rsquo s what the teams are realising rdquo ldquo If you rsquo re in esports now and capable on the sim you can transfer it to real life and vice versa It rsquo s transferrable whichever way you go and I certainly think it rsquo ll be more so in the future Cem Bolukbasi is a good ex le of that so certainly more Esports drivers will be given the chance to step into the competitions in real life and I rsquo m all up for it rdquo Real world racers like Bolukbasi and Igor Fraga who recently completed his first season in FIA Formula 3 cut their teeth in F1 Esports before landing full season rides in professional series Clay himself has already had a taste of the big leagues facing some familiar names in his past ldquo I started in 2008 By 2009 I rsquo d been through the British ch ionship of 60cc cadet karts up against the likes of George Russell Lando Norris and co in my category I rsquo ve had a bit of a run in with the current crop of high level drivers who had deeper pockets than me 160 ldquo By about 12 13 I was doing 125cc Rotax class across Europe and the UK won a few club ch ionships and came second in the Belgian national ch ionship and have a tonne of other club ch ionships as well I rsquo ve also competed at the world ch s Again Russell was there I rsquo ve been all over really rdquo Raw skill is one of the most defining factors when it comes to racing But so too is budget and sadly Clay and his entourage had to press pause on the on track career ldquo Around 2016 I hit the top of where I was but couldn rsquo t afford to go any further and there wasn rsquo t a lot of point carrying on at the current level not really improving But we rsquo re looking to get back into real life motorsport in the future hopefully the opportunities will present themselves rdquo CLAY M TO FAME Due to COVID 19 the 2020 Pro Draft took a slightly different route to the previous year with no knockout racing to showcase the talented drivers on offer It meant that teams had to do their research The closest available races to analyse were the Pro Exhibition races and Clay had a pretty handy ace up his sleeve in that department ldquo I found out I rsquo d be driving pretty late rdquo he said ldquo Williams suddenly needed a driver for the Pro Exhibition and social media blew up with my name but even then I wasn rsquo t expecting the opportunity All of a sudden a few days later I was racing Azerbaijan is probably one of my worst tracks and I was against the best in the business I got points but I was gutted because that rsquo s not where I was aiming to be ldquo I was aiming to win and that rsquo s what I converted on the second try rdquo 160 160 INSANE Pole and the win in the F1Esports Pro Exhibition Race 🇨🇦 To win against the best in the game is an amazing feeling to say the least Big thanks to everyone who rsquo s helped out and shown support recently It rsquo s nice to show some of my potential on a stage like this💪 pic twitter com/VpcqWPmshN mdash Shanaka Clay Shanaka Clay June 14 2020 Clay therefore has the most recent win in any F1 Esports race with his victory in the Canada Pro Exhibition race a solid marker to lay down in front of his rivals ldquo It rsquo s given me certainly an advantage against those who haven rsquo t done those races I won rsquo t have as many nerves going into my first race as I rsquo m starting to get used to racing against these top level guys now rdquo And all this without having ever taken part in the series before Much like team mate Blakeley Clay was passed up for selection in the previous year ldquo It rsquo s incredible to think I rsquo ve been picked in the Draft especially after not getting in last year after I got to the Finals It rsquo s so much sweeter now that I have the opportunity to race against the best so I look forward to it rdquo WORLD HOLD ON With the best of last year rsquo s high flyers plus a whole host of hungry talented racers joining the fray the 2020 Pro Series is sure to be a close fought affair It rsquo s not yet clear who will emerge as the title favourites but as we rsquo ve explored we can glean some insight from the Pro Exhibition races staged during lockdown ldquo My new team mates are a couple of extremely talented guys and they rsquo re extremely easy to work with I think we rsquo re gonna be a very dynamic team loads of strengths coming from each side so keep an eye out for us ldquo Certainly at the end of last year the performances started picking up and in the Pro Exhibition Lucas and Racing Point won the unofficial ch ionship and collected the most points so I think it rsquo s certainly showing an intent of where we rsquo re aiming to be rdquo In terms of ch ionship rivals and ch ionship challengers there are plenty of names who are on Clay rsquo s radar ldquo Jarno Opmeer will be a good shout for the title He had some good performances last year and seems to be even strong on this game so certainly one to watch That Alfa squad is one of the strongest for the teams rsquo title You have to watch out for Frede Rasmussen and you can never count out David Tonizza he rsquo ll be looking to do the double ldquo Personally though I don rsquo t intend on settling in the midfield I rsquo ll be giving so many hours and so much dedication to this and I rsquo ll be aiming for the top I don rsquo t expect myself to be any lower than that That goes for the whole team too after that strong momentum they built last year and I think Racing Point are underrated we have a good opportunity to show everyone why we shouldn rsquo t be rdquo Nothing but the best will do then Will Clay and Racing Point be able to start on the front foot Tune in to the first races of the 2020 F1 Esports Pro Series as we go green on Wednesday October 14 You can check out all the action live on Twitch Facebook YouTube and also with select broadcast partners on TV The post Shanaka Clay 039 I don rsquo t intend on settling in the midfield 039 appeared first on F1Esports News

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