Erebus Academy’s Jobe Stewart says online racing will give him a leg up when the Toyota Gazoo Racing Australia series heads to Winton this month.

Although the 17-year-old acknowledges that sim racing is very different to being on track, he says there are many benefits to it, particularly during the foundational stage of his Toyota 86 career.

“I think practice on the sim definitely helps my racing,” he said.

“If I’m going to a track I haven’t been to, I can jump on the sim and do a few laps around there.

“Then when you go to the track, you already know where it goes so you don’t have to relearn all that, which saves a bit of time.”

It will be particularly useful for Stewart when he heads to Winton after a three-month break in the calendar, and to a track he has never raced before.

“I’ve been to Winton a few times to practice,” he said.

“I’m feeling pretty confident going into this one, I think it’s a better track for me than Bathurst. I like the tight, twisty, short ones.”

With six years of sim racing experience, Stewart continues to develop his skills whilst managing his karting and Toyota 86 commitments.

“I started at home on a little laptop and a cheap steering wheel that I found from a mate,” he said.

“Over the years, I started to progress, got better equipment and got faster. I’ve started taking it more seriously in the last couple of years.

“As soon as COVID started, there were so many different series and so many different people from real racing jumping on and having a crack.”

The sport was largely impacted by the pandemic, which saw Stewart compete in a number of online events last year, including the Erebus Junior Esports Competition.

The 17-year-old will hit the track for the second round of Toyota 86 at Winton Motor Raceway, May 29-30.