A Northamptonshire teenager won an Esports competition and bagged a £250,000 prize to train to become a Formula One driver.
Monica Boulton Ramos, from Towcester, beat off hundreds of entrants to the top prize in the ROKiT Racing Star competition held at the University of Bolton’s National Centre for Motorsport Engineering on Sunday (May 15), where she emerged as the outstanding female competitor.
The 16-year-old stayed calm to win both races and take the top prize at the competition.
Alongside preparation for her GCSE exams at Sponne School in Towcester, Monica will now be plunged into the exotic world of motor racing, being trained physically and mentally for competition on the track next year.
Monica said: “I am still speechless.
“I had performed well in the qualifying races online and thought I had a chance but the competition from the other girls here in Bolton was tremendous and I am just delighted I have come through.”
Monica’s parents, Stuart and Sonia, were on hand at the University of Bolton’s huge atrium, to cheer their daughter on, although the tension over the two days of competition was draining.
Sonia said: “It was exhausting.
“She has been dreaming about this event but now it has come true.”
Stuart is a senior engineer with the Mercedes Formula One team based in Brackley, so racing is in the blood, but, unlike many of her rivals yesterday, Monica is new to the world of esports racing.
The Sponne School pupil had tried many sports before attending an event for aspiring girls in motorsport called ‘Dare to be Different’ run by Susie Wolff, the wife of Toto, the head of Mercedes Motorsport and a familiar face in Formula One.
Monica’s first call after winning was to Susie to share her success.
Monica will now be handed over to Motorsport UK, the governing body for motor racing in Britain, and the Hitech Race Team Academy, which is based at Silverstone, who will begin the arduous process of turning a talented esports gamer into a fully- fledged racing driver. She will be tested physically and trained in the cockpit of the 160mph Formula 4 car before applying for a coveted full racing licence.
The ROKiT Racing Star programme will then cover all her costs in a sport that usually requires drivers to find tens of thousands of pounds worth of sponsorship.
The competition was the brainchild of Bob Fernley, former deputy team principal of the Force India Formula One team, which is now Aston Martin and based at Silverstone.
Mr Fernley said: “Women are hugely under-represented in motor racing, and I wanted to give an opportunity to a new talent.
“Monica fits the bill. She is a talented gamer and now we want to take that talent and translate it into performance in a real car in the real world.
“It is the opportunity of a lifetime, and I am sure she will grasp it.”
If Monica is successful, she will be on the grid for the 2023 ROKiT Formula 4 Championships next season aiming to progress to the ultimate goal – Formula One.