Cam Royal: Behind the scenes of an esports team

Cam Royal: Behind the scenes of an esports team

We had the opportunity to talk to Cam Royal, who is the Head of Talent of Veloce Esports. We spoke about what his role is, Veloce’s return to esports racing under its name and what it takes to get involved in a competitive gaming organisation.

Image credit: Cam Royal

have been a giant in the world of esports racing, accredited by many as being the team that helped push virtual motorsport into the mainstream with both their presence in the competitive side and content creation.

The team have found the majority of its success in the world of F1 Esports, in which they operate three of the ten teams. Those being Alfa Romeo since 2018, since 2020 and Mercedes-AMG Esports since 2021. The last two years were Veloce’s best, with winning both championships with Alfa and Mercedes-AMG respectively, with the latter winning the team’s championship as well.

There’s plenty of work that goes on behind the scenes of a team like Veloce, so much so that along with running three F1 team’s esports divisions as well as the likes of and Quadrant (the lifestyle brand and esports team of ), Veloce took a step back from competing under their own name.

But for the Le Mans 24 Virtual and VCO Esports Racing World Cup, Veloce made a long-awaited return to competing under their own name. They ran up at the sharp end at Le Mans and even finished runner-up on the first day of the ERWC to Unicorns of Love.

Essential cogs

As we have said before, there are many people who do a lot of work behind the scenes of the most prominent esports organisations that often go unrewarded. Former Veloce member Nathan Tague spoke with us in August last year and he has since moved on to . One of the many people he worked with during his tenure at Veloce was Cam Royal, Veloce’s Head of Talent.

Royal was all too keen to chat with us about his involvement with Veloce and all the things that go on behind the scenes.

OverTake: How did you get involved in racing and then subsequently within your role at Veloce?

Cam Royal:

I became involved in the sim racing community through Comrade Gaming where I was General Manager, voluntary work when I was still in education. I was focused on First Person Shooter titles at the time, Comrade were involved in Battlefield, Call of Duty and they had players on Starcraft and Quake too.

One thing that got me interested in the racing space was how lucrative F1 Esports was at the time and when you’re upcoming in the brand management industry, it’s harder to find good areas to venture into, and I think the CRG boys had a lot of faith in me to trust my judgement on things. I think that’s one of the best moments of my career, them giving me the chance to explore sim racing because going from FPS titles to that, it’s a completely different direction.

I ended up picking up drivers for them such as , and many others who are to this day still involved in F1 Esports. I was managing Simon at Alfa Romeo in the most recent season, it’s funny how small the world is in that regard.

We really focussed on community and development of these drivers, to be in a place where they felt comfortable to train. That subsequently led me to get scouted by Jamie MacLaurin (Veloce Co-Founder and Chief Sporting Officer) and I haven’t looked back! Been involved with the talent development side of Veloce since I joined two and a half years ago, now I’m representing all the talent across all the teams we operate, our key content creators, network scouts, overseeing all that stuff to ensure we have good representation in all corners.

OverTake: What exactly is the part you play within Veloce?

Cam Royal:

Head of Talent, so I manage the talent across the books whether it be esports racers or content creators, my role is ensuring we are scouting the best possible upcoming guys in the space. Veloce really prides themselves on content creation, that’s our main driving force as an organisation, but of course we love to win things as well, we had taken a step back from competitive esports but we’ve brought it back this year.

Outside of that, I work on a lot of the strategy, looking for ways we can expand with new opportunities and proposals for new clients, that sort of thing. So even though officially I’m Head of Talent, I’m involved in many different areas and I love the challenge that it presents to me.

OverTake: How do you go about selecting talent for Veloce whether it be as a competitive player or a content creator?

Cam Royal:

It’s kind of hard with this stuff sometimes. On paper, there could be some very good results and an individual can show a lot of promise, but when it comes to crunchtime they can waiver a little bit. So for me the main thing is professionalism, we here at Veloce want to represent us in a professional light, we don’t take fondly to drama. We try to restrict that as much as possible, it’s not a good way for upcoming talent to represent themselves let alone a major organisation.

Then of course, you gain an intuition for who has natural talent and who doesn’t. Especially for F1 Esports, there’s a lot of young guys coming up now who are really challenging the people who have been in it for a while, and we look to really develop and accelerate that young talent coming through because they need to be given the opportunities to maybe get a seat in F1 Esports or get involved with the content we’re making here. All that stuff really accumulates into a nice round package so we’re able to then nurture and keep under us as well, that’s important because we want people to be here for the long term.

Veloce has done so much in the past 3-4 years, we want to maintain our presence in this space whether it be competitive esports or content creation. Especially within the motorsport world, a lot of people now know us which is phenomenal, and that’s a level of expectation we want to have on our competitive players and content creators now as well. Whether it’s someone who has been in the space for a long time like or if it’s someone like DurkChocolate who is a relative newcomer to the scene, they need those platforms and springboards to really accelerate their careers, that’s what we are here to do.

OverTake: What have been some personal highlights from your time within the team?

Cam Royal:

Probably the launch of YAS HEAT as I was involved with that brand since its inception, even the strategy behind it and how we go about selecting talent to represent them, building up the teams and the infrastructure. We also did a really awesome collaboration piece with Quadrant at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix most recently, which for me was only the second Grand Prix I had ever been to.

That was really awesome, a mega highlight for me. All the work that you do whether digitally or in the office then becomes super tangible when you go to a mega event like that. Also it’s awesome to see a client’s feedback from building a brand like YAS HEAT, they really do appreciate what we do and likewise we appreciate the opportunities that they give to us and our talent to represent them.

The experiences that being part of Veloce offers, as a business, I don’t see any other organisation that networks better than what we currently do. Whether you work in marketing or the talent department, Veloce and the senior leadership team provide you with so many opportunities to really accelerate your own career.

This was my first job outside of university so for me to be working on strategy, talent management, sometimes partnerships and marketing pitches of a major gaming organisation immediately, they give me the freedom to do that, they have faith in me so it has accelerated my own career progression.

OverTake: Veloce recently returned to esports racing under their own name. What do you see now for the future of the organisation both as operating customer teams and under its own name?

Cam Royal:

2020 was pretty much Veloce’s last year racing under its own name so for us now, January 2022 with the 24 hours of Le Mans Virtual was our first race back in competitive esports and we showed a lot of pace. We were probably in the running potentially for P2 but at least P3 was basically secured, the team put a lot of effort into that.

But obviously we had our mishap near the end which is just unfortunate, being so far into a race like that, fatigue just comes into it and mistakes can happen so, it is what it is. However, the main goal for us was just to flex and show our muscles, that we are here to compete, we are here to challenge the likes of Redline, hats off to them as they prepared tremendously for all these major events recently.

So that is definitely a goal for us, to contest with Redline and resume that rivalry, that’s something that I personally am super excited about, I love bringing competition back into what we do. With the Esports Racing World Cup, we saw some amazing driver lineups and the way things worked across the numerous sims, and the format for that tournament was super interesting, especially for us. We have five drivers in our roster for Veloce who all participated in the event.

For Assetto Corsa Competizione we did very well, just missing out on winning on that platform and on rFactor 2 we kind of surprised a lot of people with how well we ended up doing. On iRacing though it was kind of more our weaker area, but considering with that game, the amount of players that specialise in it makes it a very harsh title to compete on if you don’t have the vast amount of experience.

So for us, it’s about building and strengthening ourselves on our weaker platforms, and we’ve identified what those are now. That’ll be our main focus throughout this year, we want to be competing in iRacing Special Events as well as remaining on ACC and rFactor 2 as well, nothing is off the table. It goes without saying that F1 Esports is our main priority, we’re very excited at what the future holds in esports racing for us, we want to get our competitive credibility back and become a fan favourite once again.

OverTake: What advice would you give to someone who wants to find themselves in a role within an esports organisation?

Cam Royal:

Be prepared to do voluntary work, a lot of the leading people in the gaming world had to do the same and they all came from a place of passion. Find an opportunity to build up your credibility, have fun with it, don’t limit yourself and be willing to experiment in different job roles, different ways to go about the esports industry.

If you like design and want to be a designer, videography, management, look into what it all involves and don’t be afraid to talk to people like a couple of guys who reach out to me regularly for advice. These are the type of people who will get the jobs because they’re forging the network connections with people already existing in the industry whether they be in Veloce or other major organisations like 100 Thieves, FaZe Clan whatever it may be, just go for it.

Someone will end up replying eventually and take notice, you will get a lot of value out of that interaction whether it’s a new connection, advice or an opportunity to represent a brand. Be concise with what you’re doing, be strategic with your moves and see where it takes you.

Which members of esports organisations would you like us to interview? Tell us on Twitter at @OverTake_gg or in the comments down below!

Luca
Biggest esports racing fan in the world.