Supercars Eseries driver Jake Burton swapped virtual reality for the real thing after earning a test with Brad Jones Racing at Winton.
Burton was awarded the opportunity by team owner Brad Jones after finishing fifth in Supercars’ iRacing based championship while representing BJR in a VF Commodore.
The 20-year-old was called up to pilot one of the Albury squad’s ZB Commodores at the Victorian circuit alongside a handful of rising stars, including Super2 driver Jordan Boys, BJR Super3 drivers Josh Fife and Madeline Stewart, Carrera Cup young gun Thomas Maxwell, Formula Ford series winner Angelo Mouzouris and top karter Cody Gillis.
BJR’s main game drivers Nick Percat, Macauley Jones and new signings Todd Hazelwood and Jack Smith were on hand to support the drivers, and permitted under Supercars regulations to conduct 10 laps.
While Burton has raced for real in the Toyota 86 Racing Series, the Eseries driver relished the opportunity to drive a current Supercar.
“It was pretty unreal,” Burton told Speedcafe.com.
“I’ve driven a Project Blueprint car last year so its not my first go in a Supercar, but it is my first run in a current spec Car of The Future model.
“There was a lot to learn for sure as today was my first up against guys like Nick Percat.
“It has generally been quite good and it is an awesome experience to see the differences between the sim and reality.
“This will be the exact car we will have in iRacing in a few days time.
“The reality is real life in its own sense has its physics model and iRacing has a physics model which they generate.
“They try their absolute best to bring those two as close as possible but the reality is it is never going to be perfect. There are definitely a lot of differences.
“Brad (Jones) has been so cool in terms how he has helped throughout this whole process. He made the opportunity happen for the eseries which is awesome and I’d like to think I’ve done a good job for him.
“To come out and make a statement like this and to trust someone – as much as I’m experienced in driving real cars, I only know the car from racing games – is a big deal, especially when it’s the current car.”
Having proven himself in the virtual world, Burton harbours a dream to reignite his own real world racing career and hopes the BJR test will provide a boost.
Drives in the upcoming Bathurst 12 Hour and Kumho V8 Touring Car Series have been earmarked as the next step for the young gun.
Burton is also keen to make a return to the Supercars Eseries with BJR should the team wish to contest the 2020 championship.
“I started sim racing when I was 12 or 13 and at the time I could only race go karts on weekends whereas this would allow me to race on weeknights,” Burton added.
“Over the years I have got reasonably good at it and ran fifth in the Eseries.
“It (competing in the Eseries) was all about trying to get my name out there and make a day like today happen.
“I’m not sure if Brad will do the Eseries again next year, if he does then I would love to be a part of it.
“I want to make the most of every opportunity in real life if I can.
“I wouldn’t mind trying to get something in the 12 Hour.
“I don’t have a rich family like many other people in motorsport so it is all about going out and finding sponsors.
“I wouldn’t mind jumping in a Super3 (Kumho V8 Touring) car which is the next logical step for me to take, but that requires a lot more money.
“I would like to do a round as a tester and look at doing a season in the future.”