Where Real and Virtual Roads Cross
Assen, Netherlands, third round of the FIM Supersport World Championship. It is the home race of Michael van der Mark, son of Henk van der Mark, winner of the 1984 motorbike 24 hours of Le Mans. After qualifying only in 12th position, he raced through the field and rides his PATA Ten Kate Honda home in 4th, the worst result so far in his rookie season. The 2012 UEM Superstock 600 European champion, who is born in Gouda, the city the cheese was named after, defended his second position in the world championship, keeping himself infront of three-time Supersport World champion Kenan Sofuoglo and Supersport British champion Sam Lowes.
Happy With today’s result! Fight hard for it! Thx to the complete team!! – Michael van der Mark on twitter, @mickeyvdmark
Two years ago, he was active also on other tracks, he only visits occasionally nowadays: He owns a Live for Speed license and is still part of the team Ready2Roll (better known as a part of Genuine Racing). His father, who owns a transport company, is also member of the team. Two years ago he started RoadRunner Team, a classic motorbike team, and is back on track. Today the elder van der Mark sponsors a Live for Speed championship organised by Genuine Racing.
The van der Marks are not the only real life racers who have a history in Live for Speed. A few years back Marc VDS Racing Team driver Nick Catsburg was racing in the most prestigious LFS leagues for Sonicrealms Racing. Maybe the most famous one is Williams F1 driver Valtteri Botters, who raced for spdoRacing.
Norbert Michelisz’ sim-racing history is slightly different. He was a Grand Prix Legends driver, but unlike others his career started because of sim-racing. In an interview with ‘b92.net’ he explains he met Gabor Weber, who became SEAT Leon Eurocup champion later, online. After a while Weber saw the talent of Michelisz and contacted the Hungarian team owner Zoltán Zengõm with whom Michelisz won the Yokohama Team Trophy of the FIA World Touring Car Championship last year.
Nowadays Nissan helps selected virtual racers to start their reallife carreer with the Nissan GT Academy, in iRacing many reallife racers like V8 Supercar driver Shane Van Gisbergen or NASCAR fan favorite Dale Earnhardt Jr. can be challenged – it also uses these prominent users of their software to advertise it – and Adrian Sutil has also been seen at a sim-racing event for charity in rFactor.
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