Three cars. On the left, a red and white Audi R8 GT3, in the middle, a BMW M4 GT3 in an ultra dark blue and red colour scheme, on the right a Porsche 911 GT3 in a black, white and orange livery.
Image credit: ESL / Competition Company

ESL R1 Gamers8: Who is Racing for $1 Million?


With the joint biggest prize pool in sim racing up for grabs this weekend, who will be competing for the twelve ESL R1 teams? Here are the drivers racing for a share of one million dollars.

Just short of two months ago, the top 24 drivers from the ESL R1 gathered in Munich for the Major to see who would become the Spring Season champion. The likes of Josh Rogers, Dáire McCormack and Luke Bennett got into Finalist Mode. James Baldwin was one corner away from winning it. But, it was Marcell Csincsik who took the all-important victory to become champion.

With the Fall Season beginning next month, the ESL R1 drivers don’t have time to rest on their laurels. Especially as there’s a one-off event taking place this weekend. What’s more, it features a prize pool double that of both the Spring and Fall seasons. For the first time since the 2017 Vegas eRace, sim racers are competing for $1,000,000.

The same twelve teams that competed throughout the Spring Season remain. But some have shifted their line-ups around.

Who Are the Drivers?

In terms of the teams that have completely stuck to their guns, they are as follows; Apex, Redline, MOUZ, Heroic, Porsche Coanda and Mercedes. This includes the likes of regular season round winners Max Benecke, Josh Rogers, Luke Bennett and Marko Pejic.

There’s also James Baldwin, of course, who will be eager for redemption after being involved in an incident with Erhan Jajovski whilst one corner away from victory. Speaking of R8G Esports, Thibault Cazaubon – who drove in Rounds 7 and 8 – will join Jiri Toman, Jajovski and Spring champion Csincsik.

But now for some teams with some new names. G2 Esports retain the services of Isaac Price and Major race winner Joni Törmälä who did the full Spring season. Additionally, 2020 Porsche TAG Heuer Esports Supercup champion Sebastian Job, who after only three rounds just missed out on qualifying for the Major. Their big new name though comes in the form of many-times F1 Esports runner-up Frederik Rasmussen.

FURIA have kept Major qualifier Caique Oliveira and mid-season hire Lasse Sørensen, and have acquired the services of the top two Porsche TAG Heuer Esports Supercup rookies: Lasse Bak and Gustavo Ariel. FaZe Clan still have Ian ‘Crimsix’ Poulter and Ulaş Özyıldırım – their only driver to make it to a Final – but have picked up two big new signings ahead of Gamers8.

Veloce have loaned their driver Gianmarco Fiduci, a RaceRoom specialist. The WTCR Esports runner-up will compete for FaZe in the Fall Season as well as at Gamers8. For the final FaZe seat, F1 Esports race winner turned real life Super Formula driver Cem Bölükbaşı will hop in.

BMW Team BS+COMPETITION has seen a bit of a shake-up. Ryan Barneveld and Ibraheem Khan were both part of the musical chair rotation of drivers during the Spring Season. They will be joined by GT World Challenge Esports Asia championship contender Ferris Stanley and SimRacing World Cup runner-up Pedro Sánchez Albert.

Lastly, there’s Williams. McCormack, Le Mans Virtual winner Kuba Brzeziński and mid-season call-up Jack Keithley remain. They’re joined by iRacing 24 hours of Nurburgring winner Daniel Pásztor.

How to Follow

The event is held 27-30 July, it will be streamed to the Gamers8 Twitch and YouTube channels as well as ESL R1’s own Twitch and YouTube channels. The broadcast team will feature a bunch of sim racing experts like Lewis McGlade, George Morgan, Arjuna Kankipati, Ewan O’Leary, Rory ‘EERIEISSSS’ Alexander and even Jardier!

EDIT 27/07/2023: The format of the event has been confirmed. Days 1 and 2 will be individual driver-centric, with Group Stages and a Final. Then for Days 3 and 4, the competition will be team focused, also with Group Stages and a Final.

Who do you think will win the ESL R1 Gamers8 event? Tell us on Twitter at @OverTake_gg or in the comments down below!

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