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40,000 fans packed into the ExCeL London for the final race weekend of the 2023 Formula E season. Esports Illustrated’s Charlie Cater was there, and he spoke with NIO 333 Racing driver Dan Ticktum about all things gaming. Ticktum gained popularity in the gaming scene during COVID as he streamed on Twitch to thousands of fans playing everything from Call of Duty to iRacing. Now competing in Formula E, Ticktum believes that gaming is on the rise, and could be a factor in his success.

“When I play Call of Duty, I know it's very different, but you're on high alert a lot, which is obviously how you are in a race. Albeit when I play Call of Duty it's for ten hours, not just one! I think there are definitely some similarities, and I'm sure my hand eye coordination and reactions will have some kind of overlap.”

Ticktum is a big Call of Duty fan. He gained over 12,000 followers on Twitch during his time streaming in 2020 and 2021. He still keeps up with the Call of Duty community, and shares the same thoughts as many other COD fans.

“I've always been a Call of Duty player but it's very dead at the moment. I've just moved house as well so I haven’t picked up a controller in a while, but once I get set up I think I might start playing Apex.”

“I used to play a lot with Jake Dennis in the Blackout days, early Warzone, and a couple of other drivers in F2. I had a brief spell of playing some F1 stuff with Lando [Norris] a bit and iRacing, but yeah, there's not many racing drivers that are that good.”

With racing taking up almost all of Ticktum’s day to day life, it’s not surprising he enjoys switching it up when it comes to the games he plays. However, he’s looking to get into some sim racing soon, and had a lot of experience during COVID to keep him sharp.

“I feel like if I played a lot of racing games I'd want a sim, I'd want something that would be very, very good and I’d spend tens of thousands. At the moment, I've never quite had that money, but one day if I do, I probably will have a decent setup.

I played iRacing a bit a couple of years ago in lockdown. And I enjoyed it, I think I'd like Assetto Corsa looking at the videos of that. I like driving road cars in games if I'm honest. But yeah, if I find a bit more money and hopefully that'll happen one day, then I'll definitely build myself a sim.”

The idea of esports racing professionals becoming real drivers has been a conversation for years. The upcoming Gran Turismo film visits this idea once more, with the plot surrounding an esports competition finding the next best racing driver. Ticktum thinks it’s a no-brainer to give them a shot, and it won’t be long until we see it happen.

“I think there will be some kind of transition soon, and obviously some of them are pretty bloody good, so it would be stupid not to give them a go. I still think... There is definitely a very different technique and talent to being good on a sim than there is in real life.

But there's no doubt that, you know, some esports drivers will be able to translate that to a real car, there's no doubt.”