Milldun Motorsport has confirmed that video gamer Mat Simmons and experienced racer Barton Mawer will drive its Subaru WRX STi TCR cars in its first appearance in the TCR Australia series this weekend.
The team has acquired the Subarus from Kelly Racing, which ran them in the first five events of the year before selling them to the Melbourne-based team.
Simmons started out as a gamer, before working his way into professional motor racing via a PlayStation competition.
He won the International GT Academy competition, beating some of the best gamers in the world, before moving on to the Blancpain GT Endurance Series at the wheel of a Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3.
Simmons has already raced on some of the world’s most famous circuits, but when his deal with Nissan ended at the end of 2017 he was left without a drive and he has not raced since, instead returning to gaming in order to keep his skills sharp.
Simmons will join Mawer in the two-car team at The Bend Motorsport Park this weekend, with the Australian having raced open-wheel cars, sportscars and prototypes during the past two decades.
Milldun Motorsport, meanwhile, has carried out two test sessions since taking ownership of the Top Run Motorsport-prepared cars, working around the clock to fix the issues which plagued Kelly Racing when it ran the cars.
“It’s exciting to get my first chance to race in the TCR Australia Series, and a great chance to get back into the driver’s seat,” said Simmons, who will compete in his first race in Australia this weekend.
“TCR has proved to be really exciting, diverse class of racing. There are some extremely good drivers and teams in the field, and it is already regarded as one of the fiercest competitions in Australia.
“I definitely need to pay a big thank you to Milldun Motorsport for the opportunity in the Subaru. The team was great at the test, we all learnt a lot and I feel that they have really turned a corner in these cars.
“It’s also my first chance to race on Australian soil. This is something that I’ve always wanted to do and it’s great that I’ll get to tick this box.
“The Subarus are really fun and very rewarding to drive when you get it right. On the test day, we went through a solid program and we were able to have a positive day.
Milldun Motorsport has done a great job with these cars, and I feel that their hard work will pay off in the near future.”
Mawer admits that it will be a different experience for him in the front-wheel drive Subaru this weekend, having more experience in rear-wheel drive machinery, including competing in the new S5000 open-wheel series recently.
“Racing in TCR is certainly going to be different to what I’m used to, but I really can’t wait,” said Mawer.
“We had a shakedown at Winton, which was good to get a feel for the car, which I have to say is a lot different to the Porsche RP 968 that I last drove at the World Time Attack!
“I actually have an affinity with the Subaru brand. I won the inaugural 10-hour event at Sydney Motorsport Park some years ago, so I’ve always been fond of Subaru and the WRXs.
“Milldun Motorsport has worked hard on the two TCR Subarus, so the plan is to go to the Bend, get a reliable, strong result and show that the cars deserve to be in the series.”