The Brazilian Gran Turismo ace: Igor Fraga

The Brazilian Gran Turismo ace: Igor Fraga

Igor Fraga started virtual racing at the age of five. Today, he is one of the best GT players worldwide.

Igor’s first steps into racing

Although Igor Fraga was born in Japan in 1998, both of his parents are Brazilian. He tells that when he was young, he used to watch documentaries about Ayrton Senna. Seeing the Brazilian legend race fueled his passion for motorsports which would take him around the globe very soon.

Igor got in touch with racing like many other great drivers: When he was just three years old, he already took a seat in a kart. This is where he learned the basics of racing and started to compete in several competitions at the age of five. Throughout the years, he won seven national karting titles before moving to international tournaments.

Around the age of fifteen, he moved from karting to open wheel cars. He raced in Formula 3 Brazil from 2015-2017, participated in the US F2000 National Championship in 2018 and made his debut in the Formula Regional European Championship in 2019.

In 2020, he earned a seat in the FIA Formula 3 Championship, where he will race against David Schumacher and Niko Kari.

An esports all-round talent

At the time when Igor Fraga started with karting, his parents also bought him a PlayStation wheel. His father wanted him to learn the basics of racing on screen before taking a seat in a real kart.

Igor’s passion for virtual racing and later on esports would open many new doors for him. It’s esports where he celebrated his greatest victories.

In 2017, the Brazilian took part in the very first season of the F1 Esports Series and even qualified for the great final in Abu Dhabi. But while he loves to race open-wheel cars on real tracks, he did not have much success in this event.

Igor moved away from F1 and took on a new challenge with Gran Turismo. Today, he is one of the best drivers in the game.

In 2018, Fraga made an incredible run to the top of the leaderboard in GT Sport. He won the first ever FIA-certified GT Nations Cup Americas and later on became the FIA GT Nations Cup world champion.

One year later, the Brazilian reclaimed his title in a very controversial final event. In the last race of the competition, Fraga brake-checked his opponent Mikail Hizal behind him several times. This led to the German losing so much fuel that an overtake for the rest of the race became impossible.

After the race, the stewards investigated the incident and agreed that Fraga had acted unfairly. He was given a five-second penalty which ultimately didn’t change the final result.

During the podium ceremony however, the situation was very tense. Hizal and Fraga, who had even been team colleagues in another competition, wouldn’t look at each other a single time.

Winning the ultimate prize in esports racing

In 2018, McLaren wanted to find the greatest esports racer in the world. The prize of the competition was invaluable. A seat on the McLaren Shadow Esports team and access to McLaren’s esports development program which included working with the F1 team.

Igor had already beaten more than half a million online contestants to take part at the final event. There he had to face six other racers from all over the world in a four-day battle.

The finalists of course had to compete against each other in various racing games like Forza Motorsport 7, iRacing and rFactor2. But there were also some special races, like a VR race in Project Cars 2 and a tablet race in Real Racing 3.

In addition to gaming, the contenders were also tested in their physical and mental strength. A fitness test, a simulator session and a real-world session were part of the competition.

After a rough start in iRacing, Igor quickly began to dominate the competition and reached the podium in almost every discipline. He won the great final and the ultimate prize in esports racing.

“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!” – Igor Fraga after his win

It seems like Igor will hardly be stopped both on the virtual and the real asphalt. In 2020, he already won the Toyota Racing Series and is looking for another shot at the GT world championship.

Born and raised close to the Nürburgring.