When it comes to influencing the type of person he wants to be, Lucas Blakeley remains firmly in the driving seat.

It would be understandable if the 21-year-old were to become swayed by the welter of congratulations and acclaim that have come his way as his motorsport career – both simulated and in real life – continues to steadily progress.

Winning the F1 Esports Pro Series world championships in December has brought a number of ancillary benefits, including a multi-year extension to his contract with McLaren Racing, getting to power around Silverstone recently in a real-life Formula Ford machine, and rubbing shoulders with F1 legends Mika Hakkinen, Sebastian Vettel and Valtterri Bottas.

It would be easy to see how Blakeley could have his head turned by all of that but he remains determined to stay grounded. Still living in the family home in Irvine, there is little flashy about his appearance or demeanour as he repeatedly thanks those around him for helping him get to this point.

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A small band of close friends from school ensure he does not get too big for his boots but there is a steely insistence that, no matter where this journey ends up taking him, it will not change his core beliefs.

“I’m not someone who gets carried away,” he says. “I try to be anti-ego if I can. There’s way too much ego in our community at times. People blind themselves with it and to me that’s not a nice look. I try not to be that person as for me that’s a weakness as much as some people might think it’s a strength.

“If you’ve got a huge ego you’re not going to tell yourself the whole truth every time. I try to be realistic. It does mean that you have to pluck confidence from a more natural source but ultimately that’s what’s been successful for me over the last few years.

“I still live at home with my family and they’ve been on this journey with me for so long. They’ve always been my number one supporters and shared it all with me. I was never Mr Social at school but I’ve got a few close friends still from the days.

“I’m so different now as a person than I was back then but still grateful to have a great network around me. I get on with a lot of drivers as well as I think it takes too much energy to hold grudges. As someone who overthinks a lot, I try to make some things very simple. You don’t need that negative energy in your life.”

Anyone sniffy about sim racing and how it compares to its real-life counterpart need only watch Blakeley’s reaction to becoming world champion, a visceral, piercing roar that he lets out over and over again at the sheer relief and joy at achieving his goal.

There will likely come a day when he eventually moves on from esports to pursue more on-track pursuits but for now he remains hugely grateful to the opportunities this life has given him.

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“It’s nice to be able to look back on what was a crazy rollercoaster of a season,” he adds. “From a certain perspective I felt like my whole life had been building up to that moment when I won the world title. People might just say, ‘what do you mean? You were just playing a game’.

“But you have to put it into context. I started karting when I was seven years old, chasing the dream of one day racing in Formula One like every other kid before I had to stop after a while as it’s an expensive sport. I’ve always played the F1 game and sims and thought I was pretty good at it and then F1 esports came along and the penny dropped for me. That sparked my journey from 2018 onwards to get to this point.

“I’m really passionate about it and really live it when the results go well. That’s just my nature. And then last season, I was leading the championship from the start which meant I had everything to lose and my rivals had everything to gain. I had to not crumble under the most pressure I’ve ever felt in my entire life and had to dig so deep into a realm of focus and drive that I didn’t even know I had in me.

“It got to a point where all that work over months and years culminated in that final corner and I knew I was going to become world champion. And at that point all the sheer, unfiltered emotion just flew out of me.

“You get a few naysayers who have watched that clip and asked why I was getting so hyper. But I think it just shows how much it all meant to me. I wanted it so desperately.”