Vettel. Ricciardo. Verstappen. If one thing is clear, it’s that the Red Bull Junior Team is effective! World champions, race winners, and future stars are common among their alumni. And now, former F1 Esports competitor Igor Fraga joins the ranks.
Already announced at Chaorouz Racing System for the 2020 FIA Formula 3 campaign, Fraga now has the backing of Red Bull Junior Team as well. This means that once the series begins, as well as a new livery, he’ll come with even more impressive credentials than before.
He’s now the fourth member of member of the Red Bull Junior Team in F3, with competitors Liam Lawson, Dennis Hauger (both at Hitech Grand Prix), and Jack Doohan (HWA Racelab) all part of the stable.
The Japanese-born Brazilian shared his happy news on Instagram, saying: “[I’m] very happy and honoured to join the Red Bull Junior Team! I’m very thankful for the chance, and I will make sure to make most of it.”
He’s only 21-years-old – but Fraga already has a quite considerable trophy cabinet, both on-track, and digitally. He was a key figure in the inaugural F1 Esports Series in 2017, and since then has gone on to taste success in pretty much every series he’s attempted. Most recently of course, he won the Toyota Racing Series in New Zealand, fending off Lawson for the title in the process.
A double-helix career path is not a conventional one. Most drivers stick to their guns in terms of what they know – be that single seaters, sportscars, esports, or what have you. Not Fraga, who has twinned his esports career with a promising fledgling single seater journey. It sets him as something of an anomaly. But who knows… could this be the blueprint for the racing driver of the future?
The young gun shared his thoughts in an exclusive interview with Formula 3 at pre-season testing in Bahrain.
“Esports has growing a lot in recent years, and I think it can be a new path for young drivers coming up.
“It’s much easier to start with in terms of the costs, because you don’t have to have a place near you to get involved. I think this could really help to discover new talents. It needs to keep improving and advancing, but I believe this day will come!”
Though he only took part in the first F1 Esports Series, he was keep to emphasise its importance in putting him on the map.
“It definitely helped me in terms of visibility, and my driving skills, because to compete at those kinds of levels, you always have to challenge yourself. If you don’t keep improving, other people will improve and be better than you. That high level was something that helped me learn a lot.”
So, the future is bright for Fraga. It’s unclear right now as to when the 2020 FIA Formula 3 season will commence, but when it does, be sure to keep an eye on his progress. Red Bull’s Esports programme has already tasted success, with Frede Rasmussen, Joni Tormala and Nicolas Longuet lifting the teams’ trophy at the 2019 F1 Esports Pro Series Grand Final in December.
Perhaps one day, Fraga will have some Red Bull-backed silverware in common with them…
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