Guanyu Zhou will become the first-ever Chinese driver to compete in the Chinese Grand Prix as Renault DP World F1 Team contests the third round of the official Formula 1 Virtual Grand Prix series on Sunday 19 April – the Virtual Chinese Grand Prix.
Test Driver Zhou will once again partner golf legend and DP World ambassador Ian Poulter in the team, repeating the line-up formed for the first ever Virtual Grand Prix – at Bahrain - in March.
Zhou – who won the Virtual Bahrain Grand Prix - is aiming to make it two wins from two appearances in the simulator series on home turf at the Shanghai International Circuit. The 20-year-old Shanghai local got his first taste of his hometown circuit when he drove the Renault-powered E20 Formula 1 car during a demonstration run as a build up to the 1,000th Grand Prix last year.
Zhou’s win at Sakhir - against current Formula 1 drivers, former drivers, junior members and celebrities - was particularly dominant having qualified third on the grid before propelling into the lead early in the race from which he controlled proceedings after the sole, mandatory pit-stop.
Zhou has golfer Poulter for company on the other side of the virtual garage, with the Briton returning to the team after his involvement during the Virtual Bahrain Grand Prix and Formula 1 Challenge Event in March.
Poulter has tasted sporting victory on Chinese soil before having won the WGC HSBC Champions tournament in Shenzhen in 2012 on the PGA Tour.
On his Formula 1 Esports debut, Poulter finished fifteenth in Bahrain before narrowly missing out to McLaren-Renault’s Lando Norris in a one-off, 5-lap challenge race around Silverstone.
Both drivers will race from their own simulators and will go up against a mixed grid which will again include current F1 drivers, former drivers, young driver programme members and celebrities.
After Renault Sport Academy’s Christian Lundgaard’s second place in Australia for the Virtual Vietnam Grand Prix last time out, the team is aiming to make it three podium finishes from three races.
Before the official Virtual Grand Prix begins at 18:00 BST on Sunday, an exhibition race will take place between professional Esports drivers. Renault Vitality will field Nicolas Longuet – who finished fourth a fortnight ago in Australia – alongside Fabrizio Donoso, who impressed on debut with the team in Melbourne.
Guanyu Zhou, Renault DP World F1 Team Test Driver:
“It’s my home race and I’m super excited to take part. Last year I was with Renault in Shanghai where I did a Formula 1 demonstration run on the city streets and also a few laps of the circuit just before the 1,000th race. That was something special and I will remember it forever. Now, I’m happy to represent Renault DP World F1 Team for the Virtual Chinese Grand Prix and being back on the simulator. I’m coming in off a victory from round one in Bahrain, so I want to keep the momentum going and also have a bit of fun. I have a cool team-mate in Ian Poulter again, so we’ll aim to put on a show and target a great team result!”