Igor Fraga, the 20-year-old Brazilian racing driver outraced more than half a million competitors to be crowned the winner of the McLaren Shadow Project Esport racing competition.
After qualifying for the Grand Finals by finishing in the top three places on the first day, the second day saw Fraga beat rivals Miguel Ballester, Spain and Nuno Pinto, Portugal, over 12 laps of the Sebring International track using PC sim racing title rFactor 2.
The victory means Fraga will now claim a seat on the McLaren Shadow Esports team and access to McLaren’s Esports development programme to further improve his talents by working with the McLaren F1 team.
If you missed the Grand Finals you can watch a re-run of the action below.
Fraga’s journey to McLaren Shadow champion has taken him from karting through Formula 3 to Esports. Fraga already holds a number of Esports titles including the FIA Gran Turismo Nations Cup and now McLaren Shadow Project Champion 2019. Regarding real-world racing, Fraga recently finished fourth in the US-based USF2000 Championship and has previously won multiple karting championships and a class win in Formula 3 Brazil in 2017 – impressive stuff.
Speaking about the competition Fraga said:
“Winning the McLaren Shadow Project is a dream come true. McLaren has a great history and is a team I am so proud to now be part of. I believe that it was my desire to win and the hard work I put in both on and off the track that made the difference. For me, gaming has to have some competition involved. You don’t win all the time, but if you can see that you’ve grown, it gives you more motivation to overcome your struggles. I can’t wait to get started!”
Ben Payne, Head of esports at McLaren said:
“Huge congratulations to Igor, the competition this year was unbelievably tough. We took the finalists through four days of rigorous testing both on and off the track. To triumph, Igor not only needed to demonstrate the speed and agility required by all top racing drivers, but also the mental and physical resilience required to compete in esports at this level.
“Unlike any other esport genre, the transference of skills between virtual and real racing are both direct and profound, and Igor showed skill in both. We look forward to welcoming him into our McLaren Shadow esports team, and to seeing how he develops through our dedicated esports driver development programme – the opportunities are endless.”
Zak Brown, Chief Executive of McLaren Racing, said:
“Congratulations to Igor, we’re looking forward to welcoming him into the McLaren family and putting him through his paces. This year, McLaren has reinforced its commitment to esports and the phenomenal number of entries, over half a million, proves our instincts were correct – esports broadens engagement in motorsports and enriches our passion for the sport.”
I wouldn’t be too surprised if we see Igor Fraga in real Formula 1 again in a few years.
That being said, McLaren is doing something wrong here. Their video has only 29 comments ans was seen 26k times. The final race had 1 overtake before the first corner and that was all the action for 12 laps. For sponsors McLaren were accepting Logitech and the guys had to use G29 wheels on rF2. It’s a pretty depressing show.
I admire the fact that they ran a live show over several platforms, however, it does need some fine tuning – that first race was very confusing for all.