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Daniel Harper to battle mentor Charlie Eastwood for first time in eSport series

 

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Revving up: Charlie Eastwood

Revving up: Charlie Eastwood

Daniel Harper

Daniel Harper

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Revving up: Charlie Eastwood

It was Charlie Eastwood who championed the cause of Daniel Harper, pushing for him to take over the Porsche GB scholarship role he had just vacated.

Despite Harper being just 16 at the time, Eastwood, then the reigning British Porsche Carrera Cup champion, believed his fellow Ulsterman was a rising talent they had to consider for the lucrative two-year apprenticeship.

He was right, of course, Harper going on to emulate Eastwood and win Britain's fastest one-make series in 2019 with record-breaking performances.

And tonight they will race against each other for the first time - virtually, of course - in the eSports Championship at Silverstone, the first of five events being run by the elite British Racing Drivers' Club to raise money for NHS charities.

The 40-strong line-up is a who's who of British racing, from touring car champions Jason Plato and Steve Soper to Le Mans winner Anthony Davidson to Indy 500 winner Dario Franchitti.

Eastwood has moved on to race - and win - for Aston Martin in the World Endurance Championship but remains a mentor and fan of Hillsborough teenager Harper, who late last year was selected to join BMW's famed junior team on another two-year scholarship.

He had just begun training alongside his new team-mates Max Hesse and Neil Verhagen in Italy and then Germany when Covid-19 struck and they were forced to return home.

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Like Eastwood, who is isolating in England with his pregnant fiancée Cat Scott, Harper has been maintaining his fitness regime and taking part in simulated races around Europe while waiting for the call to go back to Germany.

He's delighted to be included in the BRDC eSports Championship, saying he is "excited to be joining the grid and competing against some absolute icons of British racing".

Eastwood has emerged as one of the leading SIM racers in the UK and is currently third in the All Stars Pro Cup as well as helping Aston Martin into second place in the teams' competition.

The BRDC series, which is being run in partnership with Silverstone-based simulator and driving coach specialist iZone, will be streamed live with tonight's race getting under way at 7pm.

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