An image of Joseph Loake alongside a picture of his Formula 4 car.

Joseph Loake: “Consistency Main Benefit from Sim Racing”

Real world British F4 racer Joseph Loake is also very active in esports, having competed against many F1 Esports drivers. We spoke with him about how his sim racing impacts on his track driving.

Image credit: RC Sim Photos / British F4

A couple of years ago, a real life racing driver being involved in sim racing was perhaps something to marvel over, but it’s now very commonplace. Many drivers, whether established pros or hopeful upstarts, are now more involved than ever in the online racing scene.

British F4 driver Joseph Loake is one of those many drivers, having competed in the same championship that McLaren’s Lando Norris won on his way through to Formula One. He was fifth in the standings last season, having won four races including two he converted from a double pole in the Brands Hatch finale.

But despite his concentration on real world motorsport, his efforts in esports are no mean feat.

Loake achieved many strong results in his time competing in World Online Racing’s top PC tier, and he even competed in the top Xbox tier championship with the likes of F1 Esports Pro Championship 3rd place finisher Thomas Ronhaar and Xbox Challengers champion Tom Manley.

He even contended for the title against Manley, only winning one race fewer, but having missed more rounds, he ended the season as the runner-up, 41 points behind. But now, Loake has began prioritising iRacing and even participated in the British F4 Esports championship. He finished 13th but was only ten points behind F4 Racing Star winner Deagen Fairclough.

With quite the impressive portfolio both on track and in the sim, we reached out to Loake as we were interested to learn how he balances both his real world commitments and keeping up his virtual racing footprint.

OverTake: How long had you been racing in real life and also on video games?

Joseph Loake:

I think I began playing racing games after getting into real life driving, I’m not 100% sure. When I was 10, I started in karting and moved into cars aged 14 in the Fiesta Junior championship. Then in 2021 I moved into British F4 and have done two seasons now.

As far as sim racing goes, I think it was 2019 when I began taking it seriously and got involved in competitive leagues on the current F1 game.

OverTake: In esports, what would you say has been your greatest successes?

Joseph Loake:

I would have to say Tier 3 of Premier Sim Gaming Leagues, my first season after moving onto PC from Xbox. I was put there to evaluate how good I was compared to the other PC players, but I could only make it to five out of the eleven races.

I won three of them which was the same amount as the driver who won, and got third in the championship only 38 points behind. Considering I did less than 50% of the races, it definitely feels like the best thing I’ve achieved in competitive online racing.

OverTake: How do you find a balance between your real world racing program and doing the practice and competing in esports events?

Joseph Loake:

It’s really difficult. Understandably, I have to prioritise real life racing which meant I was turning up to a lot of online races with no practice. But luckily because I did it so much that I kind of got into the habit of hopping on and immediately being quite quick.

I would be a couple of tenths off to start with, but I would often be up to speed within two or three laps and be back into the rhythm of it. Of course if I had a bit more practice then I could be even quicker but it’s just not possible.

When I competed in PSGL Tier 2, I turned up for the round on the Canadian GP track and I did just two quali runs as practice before getting third in qualifying. I also very nearly won the race but just came up short behind Iker Baena who competed in F1 Esports Challengers.

He was practicing for four days straight, so to be just behind him was very encouraging and if I could put the same amount of time and effort into the game as the others do, maybe I could be up there. But of course, my real life racing takes precedence.

OverTake: What are the benefits driving wise that you personally see for your real-world racing by remaining involved in esports?

Joseph Loake:

So on the F1 game, I mainly do that because I’m decent on it rather than for gains in real life, but I have started doing a lot more iRacing and that is where I feel I have really seen improvements in my consistency for real life racing.

Sims are fairly realistic but they’re not the exact same as driving in real life, there’s no risk factor for example. At the end of the day, it can only replicate the experience as much as possible, not to be the real thing.

I have found the official F4 races on iRacing around Bathurst are really good, very enjoyable so I have been doing a lot of them. Just because it’s such a difficult track, you’re always pushing and I have gotten to the point now where my lap times are all within a tenth of a second. Considering it’s such a long and tricky track, I’m very impressed that I’m managing all that.

So I’d say consistency is where the sims help me the most since we have unlimited practice time on there.

OverTake: Does your presence in sim racing increase your marketability? Since you’re always looking for new people to sponsor your racing programs.

Joseph Loake:

I don’t know. Sim racing does help get my personality out there a bit, I like to think I’m a nice outgoing person who people would want to back and get behind, so it can help. I stream on Twitch a lot which can show two sides of you, the nice guy but also your competitive side which may be very serious. When you’re in a high pressure situation, sometimes you can let it get the better of you.

But in terms of increasing one’s profile to the point of getting more backing, it doesn’t really help that much. Most people who are involved in esports don’t really have too much to give in comparison to how much is really needed to go racing at the level I’m involved in, sponsoring an F4 campaign and stuff like that.

You may have sim racing companies come to you and say they can provide you with X amount of money but it could never touch the surface. So that’s where the issue lies, because of how expensive motorsport really is.

OverTake: What are you hoping to do this year both in real world racing and virtual racing?

Joseph Loake:

Real world racing I can’t say too much officially as I haven’t had my plans confirmed yet. But what I can say is that whatever I end up competing in, it can probably be easily guessed by now. Hopefully, I’ll be challenging for the championship and I think I’m capable of it, last year in F4 was a season that if we had began how we ended then we probably would have been contending for the championship.

We had such a poor start to the season and we got super unlucky in the middle, getting impeded in qualifying and being in the wall at Oulton Park through no fault of my own, someone just being sat in the middle of the racing line whilst I was on a hotlap.. especially difficult being in a team that didn’t have the funding of some of the bigger teams and getting to grips with the new car, it wasn’t ideal.

Come the end of the year, we were there. Showing how much potential we had but just couldn’t unlock it. Hopefully, we can challenge for the championship this year.

For sim racing, I would like to get into more esports competitions on iRacing, no longer doing any racing on the F1 game. I’m aiming to compete in the 24 hour Special Events like Daytona, hope I can do well in that. Just get my name out there on iRacing a bit more, perhaps also getting involved with an iRacing-focused team as well.

Who are some other real life racing drivers who do sim racing that you would like us to interview? Tell us on Twitter at @OverTake_gg or in the comments down below!

Biggest esports racing fan in the world.