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In the world of Joshua Rogers, PESC champion

At just 20 years of age, Joshua Rogers has stormed through the pro sim racing scene in 2019, winning the VRS GT iRacing World Championship, the Porsche SimRacing Trophy at Nürburgring and topping it off with the recent Porsche Esports Supercup (PESC) title.

Prior to his title success, we caught up with him at the IAA Motor Show 2019 in Frankfurt to talk about sim racing, his training methods and ambitions for the future.

A beating heart for motorsport

In the city of Gladstone, Australia, resides one of the fastest sim drivers on the planet. Joshua grew up with a motorsport background, competing in karts at both national and state level.

“Motorsport has been in the background my whole life, and it’s translating into sim racing now,” says Joshua. While karting, he played various racing games for his own entertainment, but he didn’t try sim racing until 2014. “It was just with a few mates having a bit of fun. Back then I never took it seriously – it was just something to do on the side of karting to try and relax a little bit and enjoy life a little more. Obviously, it’s changed a little bit! The tables have turned and now we’re doing this competitively.”

Going professional and making strides

The focus on sim racing turned serious when he qualified for the World Endurance Series in 2017. From there, things started to go up a notch every year and in 2019, Joshua was picked up by top iRacing team, Coanda Simsport. “This year has been a huge leap, coming onboard with Virtual Racing School and Coanda Simsport. I can’t ask for any more this year.”

Competing abroad, online

Competing in sim racing while in Australia comes at a disadvantage; being based there means that the online connection to EU and US championships provides an additional challenge.

“The ping can be a challenge. And we’re obviously racing in European and US time slots. Being at home is a little bit trickier in that sense – you’ve got to be up and racing from midnight. If the race is six hours long, then we are up until the sun comes up so it can be a little difficult to manage, including making sure that you’re not going to be over tired as that obviously leads to mistakes.”

While unusual in the sim world, the challenges around different time zones faced by Joshua are not uncommon in motor sport. Joshua explains how he prepares ahead of race events: “Sleeping more, a little bit of coffee, a little bit of energy! Usually trying to and slowly work your way into a different sleep pattern a few days in advance so you kind of feel a little more awake around race time.”

A glimpse into Joshua’s daily routine

While it may seem like Joshua is often behind the wheel of his sim rig since turning pro, he embraces the challenge of balancing his time with his studies and other commitments. “I’ll get up in the morning and do all the regular things. I study Digital Media at university. I combine studying with not only practicing for races, but also working for the Virtual Racing School.

“Usually this is what my day looks like. You do get some free time and during that I would go hang out with friends or whatever, but for the most part it’s quite serious and you’re always trying to push yourself to the next level.

It can be tricky to juggle throughout the year as you’re always trying to practice and do as much as you can. When you’re doing 15-20 hours a week of practice and you’re doing 7-8 hours of university every day, it takes up a lot of time and energy.”

The relentless search for more speed

When Joshua is not able to get behind the sim, he is still training. Visualization is the name of the game, with a focus on picturing multiple scenarios in his head, or by analyzing video replays over and over.

“You kind of visualize a lap, even when you’re watching something over and over again, as it will still get into your system. However, it’s not as efficient as actual driving.’’

If you have watched Joshua at an event, you will see little emotion apart from one of seriousness. While very focused, he admits it can be hard to keep things inside. “At least for me, I like to be very focused. I don’t tend to show much emotion when I’m driving. If you win and something goes well, it’s kind of hard to keep that in! Keeping calm and collected when things go wrong is really important for the rest of the race. Otherwise mistakes happen and you don’t want that.”

Approaching the Porsche Esports Supercup series

The addition of the PESC championship led to a shift in priorities for Joshua as the majority of his practice with the sim was geared towards the PESC. This was the series he wanted to cross off his bucket list.

“You have a prestigious brand like Porsche behind it that makes it that little bit more special, and being the inaugural series as well makes it just that little bit different. I tried to approach the task like any other – we all compete to win, and to get the best out of ourselves. Ultimately at the end of the day, that’s what it is all about.”

The future of sim racing

Still at the tender age of 20, Joshua finds himself in a good position to grow within sim racing. He hopes the sim racing esports scene will continue to grow and remains hopeful of having more offline sim racing events: “Thankfully I’ve had a little bit of experience in offline events – all through other Porsche events, which is a credit to show what they’re trying to do for us.

“Being 20, I feel like this is the right time to try and ride the wave and see where it goes. There are opportunities you get that you might not get every day so you’ve got to take them with both hands. If it develops further, and if this could become my job, I wouldn’t say no! Obviously, university is still something I enjoy. If I had to, I wouldn’t be upset if that was my career either, but sim racing definitely takes the cake.”

2019 has been a breakthrough year for Joshua Rogers: proudly crossing off his bucket lists of the VRS GT iRacing World Championship, the Porsche SimRacing Trophy held during the ADAC SimRacing Expo at the Nürburgring, and recently being crowned Porsche Esports Supercup champion.

With the championship season over, he will dedicate more time to his studies. And while he may want to step back a bit, that doesn’t mean he will slow down in his approach to sim racing. Expect to see him among the top contenders for the championship of the Porsche Esports Supercup 2020 season.