Darren Cox

Creator of GT Academy - the project behind the film Gran Turismo

Darren Cox

Darren Cox

Darren is a pioneer in both the F1 digital media space and the racing gaming world. Regarded as the ‘godfather' of racing esports, he led the charge towards using gaming as a route to new audiences for Motorsport before founding his independent F1 media company. Darren tells many stories of innovating within and with big Brands against internal resistance from conservative influences that naturally attempt to slow down progress towards ‘risky’ new media plays.


Innovation and Disruption
New & Noteworthy
Resilience and Wellbeing

Travels from

London, UK


Darren’s professional motorsport journey started when in 2005 he conceived an idea well ahead of its time. He asked the question – could a Playstation gamer transfer from his sofa to the race track?

Such has been the success (and drama) of the project and results on and off track that a full blown Hollywood movie is being launched in cinemas by Sony Pictures and Columbia Pictures in August 2023. Darren is played by Orlando Bloom. He is adamant they look very similar on stage and screen! ‘Gran Turismo’ tells the story of how Darren fought to launch and keep the ‘Gamer to Racer’ concept against pressure from Nissan and Playstation and some big challenges including a fatal accident involving one of the gamers.

Later in Darren’s career, as founder and CEO of a start up independent F1 media group he drove the business to lead in terms of results and reputation in the F1 paddock within 3 years, exploiting the tsunami of interest generated by Netflix. Innovatively using separate brands to target two different audiences he instilled a ‘digital content first’ mindset into his organisation that drove both brands to top all KPIs for views, listens, visits and engagement.

As well conceiving GT Academy and other start up motorsport brands Darren is also behind landmark projects and concepts such as the Deltawing Le Mans entry, a new Marketing media awards platform for Motorsport and has run esports teams for Mercedes F1, Racing Point F1 (Aston Martin) and Fernando Alonso.

Darren talks with openness and humour about ‘failing to win’ but ultimately delivering breakthrough innovations despite inherent industry inertia. His stories of building a F1 media group from scratch with the challenge of COVID balanced by the opportunity that Drive to Survive and new F1 owners Liberty provided, illustrates some of the best insights on how the new F1 media landscape can be exploited by brands.

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