In the leadup to the second season of ESL R1 in 2023, we interviewed Spring Major qualifier and FURIA driver Caique Oliveira about his sim racing efforts and his hopes for the R1 Fall Season.
Earlier this year, the brand new ESL R1 sim racing championship began on the still-unreleased Rennsport platform. One of the big headlines from the inception of R1 was the addition of mainstream esports organisations entering into sim racing. This included the likes of MOUZ and Heroic, but most prominently FaZe Clan and FURIA.
We’ve already interviewed one of FaZe Clan’s Spring Season drivers Ulaş Özyıldırım, who very nearly made it to the Spring Season Major. But whilst FaZe failed to have a driver make it, all the other teams did. FURIA’s Caique Oliveira was one of those in the top 24, and he’s back for a second season starting 31 August.
Prior to the Major, Oliveira was also runner-up in the Porsche Esports Carrera Cup Brasil on iRacing to now fellow FURIA driver and PESC race winner Gustavo Ariel. He also placed fifth in the GT World Challenge Esports America Series’ Silver class on Assetto Corsa Competizione.
With the season getting underway soon, we were intrigued to learn more about Oliveira. The FURIA driver was kind enough to let us interview him.
OverTake: How did you find your way into sim racing?
I started playing Gran Turismo on the PlayStation when I was three or four years old, kind of found my love for racing there. I didn’t have the full sim racing setup for a while, no wheel and pedals.
So it was all just a journey into sim racing through driving games just playing career modes and stuff like that on simcade titles. I got a basic setup in 2011/2012, but then when I finally got into sim racing, there was a very big focus on it as a whole as it coincided with the pandemic.
With all the real life drivers racing with us sim racers, I wanted to get really stuck in with them. I had gotten a Logitech wheel not long before and started to compete on iRacing and ACC.
OverTake: What would you consider your biggest achievement before R1?
I would say driving in Le Mans Virtual with FYRA SimSport. We were one of the main teams with the Aston Martin GTE, and it was quite daunting for me. It was my first big online race of this scale, and we had just the most intense preparation in the lead up to it.
The whole team was confident, even that we could take the win. We were fighting with the team that ended up winning in the early stages. We did get unlucky, you know how it is with rFactor 2 with the disconnecting.. but yes, this was my highest profile event and biggest achievement.
Plus it was always a dream to race Le Mans.
OverTake: You’re racing for FURIA this year, has it been a bit of a culture adjustment? Considering how many people love FURIA in Brazil?
Yeah, it’s insane to see the energy of the fans, how passionate they are for FURIA. Especially the Counter-Strike team, and it cascades to all the other esports so if they see you on the street wearing FURIA merch, it’s always recognised in Brazil.
So when you say to the people on the streets that you play for FURIA, they always respond very well. Plus, the ones who are running FURIA are always eagerly watching and keeping tabs on their teams no matter how much smaller it is in comparison to the bigger forms of esports.
When it comes to support, we’re one of the strongest in the world of esports.
OverTake: When we interviewed one of FaZe Clan’s drivers, he said they don’t really have any plans to expand their sim racing presence outside of R1. Would you say that’s the case for FURIA too or may we see them in other championships?
I’d really like to see FURIA expand into other championships. R1 will obviously remain the main focus, but with the new Le Mans Ultimate title being used for the next season of Le Mans Virtual, I’m hopeful we can compete in that. Also the Porsche TAG Heuer Esports Supercup.
There’s certainly interest to expand but we haven’t committed to anything. We’ll see, but for now it’s purely R1 for FURIA as far as sim racing goes. Just a matter of how well we can do and what makes the most sense cost-wise.
OverTake: After the Spring Season and one-off event, what are you hoping to achieve in the second half of 2023?
From an individual standpoint, I’m improving a lot and getting more competitive. Before and during the Major, I got some solid results. Plus, since it’s my first year competing on an international level, I am getting more and more used to the whole environment.
We have two new drivers in the line-up who joined us in the one off event, Gustavo Ariel and Lasse Bak. They are still relatively new to Rennsport whilst Lasse Sørensen and I are both already well acquainted with the platform, so we are helping them improve.
The hope is we can qualify for the Major at DreamHack Sweden of course, get as much of the prize money as we can for the teams and drivers championships. I’m very confident we can do well this season.
Which team do you support in ESL R1? Tell us on Twitter at @OverTake_gg or in the comments down below!