Cem Bolukbasi is a Turkish racing driver who had an unusual start in the sport. While Bolukbasi had some karting experience, his career took off on the virtual circuits when he was signed to race for McLaren during the 2017 Formula 1 eSports Series.

In 2019, the Turkish racer switched to GT cars and competed in a single round of the 2019 Formula Renault Eurocup championship. Bolukbasi would then finish second overall in the 2020 European GT4 Pro-Am Cup category before moving on to formula car racing, where he would finish ninth and fifth in the 2021 F3 Asian Championship and Euroformula Open Championship, respectively.

For 2022, Bolukbasi will compete in the Formula Regional Asian Championship before racing for Charouz Racing System in the 2022 FIA Formula 2 Championship.

“I always wanted to be in F2, but when you are actually there, you surprise yourself because it was always a dream, so it takes time for that to sink in,” Bolukbasi told the official Formula 2 website.

“Although it looks like a very big step, I think it is closer than people think it is, at least that is how it felt for me. Getting used to the top speed is easier than getting used to the downforce of a car. I drove different cars last year, I drove GT4, LMP3, the Euroformula car, the F3 Asia car, so I think that was helpful in me adapting quickly.”

The former esports driver also offered some insight into how his background in the virtual world helped him reach the highs of racing in Formula 2.

“If I was never in F1 Esports, I would never have had the chance to get into a real car. I would not be where I am now,” Bolukbasi told TalkSport in the separate interview.

“I think it’s also very important to be the first gamer to do this, because it can give people hope. If people see that one person can do it, they will believe they can do it as well.

“If I can go from F1 Esports to Formula Two, I think anyone can.”