OverTake presents our Hero of the Month for March: racing game streamer and F1 TikTok star F1elly.
Image credit: F1elly
The online motorsport community has often been guilty of hostility towards people who want to get involved in the sport and don’t know a whole lot from the word go, and its no secret that this sort of gatekeeping is typically more prevalent when it concerns women. Regardless of whether anyone wants to become a viewer of Formula One or stream racing games online, the overly-serious nature that certain aspects of the online racing space seems to pride itself on has left many hopeful fans feeling often rejected from the community before even getting started.
But one woman from America is challenging these attitudes: F1elly. Whether she is making humourous F1-themed skits on TikTok or streaming a racing game, she’s just being herself and having a whale of a time with her community. Her content includes learning about new forms of motorsport or even getting tutelage from F1 Esports pro drivers, even if she is the first to admit she isn’t that skilled on driving games.
F1elly’s uncompromising and infectiously enthusiastic and energetic manner in which she creates her content and engages with her community does wonders for people who believe that they can’t become a part of the online racing space. That is why we are making her our Hero of the Month for March!
Unlike many people who become motorsport fans, Elly never grew up watching the sport. With her parents, she would typically watch the likes of Baseball and Hockey, but it wasn’t until a former boyfriend of Elly’s introduced her to F1 that she became intrigued. At first, she was watching it and wondering what was so entertaining about the whole thing, but then she heard the radio transmissions and thought it was cool that drivers were able to communicate the things they were doing in the car.
She began to latch on to the humourous aspect of the ever-serious sport and soon her interest in the sport began to overtake that of her then-boyfriend. She would watch a lot of YouTube compilations of drivers being unintentionally hilarious, especially Kimi Räikkönen with his ‘Kimi-isms’ and short, deadpan answers.
Making an impact
Elly began to make F1-inspired TikTok skits and she garnered quite a large following. When the off season was coming up, she didn’t know what she would post whilst waiting for the new season, so her followers suggested she play the current F1 game – which was F1 2020 at the time – and make content on it.
She got herself a Logitech G29 after a recommendation from one of her followers along with the game, but let it gather dust for a while as she was having difficulty setting up her Twitch streaming software. Eventually, a friend of hers was able to help complete her setup and taught her how to race on the F1 game. After getting to grips with the game, Elly diversified into other driving games like Euro Truck Simulator, Wreckfest and iRacing.
Elly even had F1 Esports drivers like two-time champion Brendon Leigh and Red Bull’s Marcel Kiefer join her streams. Their skills and attempts to help her improve may not have had much influence on her, but it certainly made for funny videos and interactions.
When it comes to the highlights of her time online, Elly has said that creating her Discord server and engaging with all of her followers is the most fulfilling and enjoyable aspect. Prior to going viral on TikTok, her social media presence was pretty much nonexistent. She initially went to university, where she earned a degree in business and worked in healthcare marketing.
Even though Elly’s career hinges mainly upon posting on social media, she often finds it hard to feel fully comfortable expressing herself. It doesn’t help when there are negative, sexist comments below videos of her having fun on racing games about how women shouldn’t play driving games or be at all interested in motorsport.
But she never allows these comments to get to her, and for all the negativity Elly is often on the receiving end of, it never eclipses the positives for her. She finds comfort in talking directly to everyone within her community on Discord, and having them all onboard to help her learn about all the forms of racing she is interested in during her streams.
What does the future hold?
Elly has just moved to Austin, the host city of the United States Grand Prix. She’s been with the esports and content creation outfit Veloce for a while, featuring in many of their videos such as Backseat Driver and Quadrant’s continuation of the Veloce Not The GP series on their YouTube channel alongside lots of big names in the online racing scene. However, she recently moved on from Veloce to pursue new challenges.
On top of all this, Elly is interested in expanding her streaming portfolio into the likes of IRL and cooking streams, and has also expressed how keen she is to develop her own project car. After getting into racing as a light-hearted fan, she’s certainly eager to get more up to speed on cars in general, sharing her journey with her followers.
In short, F1elly has shown that the worlds of motorsports and driving games aren’t exclusively for all the racing encyclopaedias and serious drivers out there. To anybody reading this who is wondering if they should become more involved in the racing world because you have fun watching races or playing games: don’t let the aggressive and gatekeeping side of the community dissuade you from engaging, there are always likeminded people out there for you.
With personalities like Elly at the forefront, it’s a sure sign that more and more people are feeling like they can be themselves in this community. As Elly put it, all she’s doing is being herself and that’s enough to let other people know they can do the same thing. Elly is a true inspiration who, when she shines her own light, she gives everyone else encouragement to do the same. As we liberate ourselves from our fear, our presence automatically liberates others.
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Are there any personalities in esports racing you would like to nominate for the next edition of Hero of the Month? Tell us on Twitter at @OverTake_gg or in the comments down below!