JOHOR BARU: Automative engineering student Aiman Haziq Aidi is hoping to jump from the virtual racing world into a real race car soon.
The local 22-year-old is quite well known in the region for his exploits in the online racing games where he has notched up numerous wins with the most recent being the Motorsports Association of Malaysia (MAM) Lockdown Virtual Championship held from March 31 to April 19.
He beat 210 participants from Malaysia and Singapore in the event, which also attracted professional drivers, and took home RM500.
“I am a huge fan of motorsports since I was 12-years-old and have been active in go-karting before going into simulation racing, ” he told StarMetro.
Aiman added that among the highlights in his involvement in virtual simulation racing was some five years ago, where he beat the time set by two Formula One drivers.“I took part in the Formula One simulator challenge held at Sepang International Circuit in 2015 where I beat the time set by six-time world Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton and Aston Martin Red Bull Racing driver Max Verstappen.
“It was quite surreal for me to beat the qualifying times in a simulator as I really looked up to the two drivers, in particular Hamilton, ” he added.
Aiman, who is pursuing a degree at the Tokai University Shonan Campus in Kanagawa, Japan, said that his dream would be to take part in a real racing setting soon. To this end, he has competed in several Formula Junior championships, including at the Tsukuba Circuit in Japan last year.
He added that practice and determination helped him to push for victories in the racing simulation tournaments and hopefully, it would help him do the real thing.
“Hopefully, I will be able to race in the GT3 category, which is a racing category for touring cars, at the Sepang circuit and Suzuka circuit as those two are my favourite tracks in the world, ” he said.
Meanwhile, his father, Aidi Abdullah, 47, said that he was proud of Aiman and all of his achievements and success.
“Racing simulators are great for developing skills needed in a real racing environment, especially for youths, ” he said.
Esports Johor co-founder Megat Azimin Megat Amanuddin said that athletes such as Aiman were an inspiration for the gaming community.
“Aiman is an esports star known at the international level where he showed that a local was able to compete not only with other gamers but also professional drivers as well.
“The ability to balance his hobbies together with his university studies is something I believe all of us should strive to achieve, ” he said, adding that the support Aiman received from his father, Aidi, was also much appreciated by the esports community.