Melbourne is abuzz with all things Formula 1 this week with the Melbourne GP on this Sunday. As part of the festivities Alienware has teamed up with McLaren Shadow, the virtual racing esports programme. Until the 13th of April users will be able to test out one of the Alienware Racing Rigs and race a lap of the Albert Park track at Fortress Melbourne.

Earlier this week, McLaren driver, Lando Norris dropped into Fortress Melbourne to show off what he could do on the virtual track. His time, as I witnessed last night was around the 1 minutes 22 seconds mark. Since then, the best time set was at 1 minute 21 seconds by another player (and quite a few others). Of course, the eSports rig Lando was using was different to that of his F1 car, and it seems he used manual gears but from last night’s experience, players were using automatic gears.

Lando has always had a thirst for gaming and said:

“And it’s helped me since I started, so in 2008 2009. In fact, I started gaming and playing Gran Turismo when I was four years old, so it’s actually where my racing career and appetite started, racing against my Dad. So, I love gaming and my own simulators because overall, I love racing more than anything else, and I love playing on a simulator and just trying to get as much of that real sensation as possible”.

Adam Lee, Alienware General Manager ANZ said:

“It’s not often that you get the opportunity to go toe-to-toe with a professional athlete with a long list of outstanding achievements, but yesterday at Fortress Melbourne for the Defy Your Boundaries: Take the Wheel event we were thrilled we got that chance. At Alienware we like to encourage gamers to defy their boundaries and it was great to see Lando Norris defy his on the virtual track, ahead of showing us what he can do on the real-world track this weekend.”

The setup is available to test out for free at Fortress Melbourne using one of four state-of-the-art, custom-built Pro Sim Alienware driving rigs where participants can compete to set the day’s fastest lap. The rigs are built using Alienware Aurora R13 gaming desktops and Alienware 34 Curved QD-OLED Gaming Monitors.  Daily winners will be competing for official McLaren Team merchandise, as well as bragging rights — certainly not me with my time last night affected by those pesky sand traps around the course.

If you want to see how your e-driving compares to a professional F1 driver, head on down to Fortress Melbourne, 23 Caledonian Ln, Melbourne before closing on April 13.