Inspiring and accelerating the women of the future is something that is integral to Oracle Red Bull Racing Esports and Rokt. Their campaign ‘Rokt the Rig’ has furthered efforts to enhance the futures of female sim racers alike.
Recently, Females in Motorsport spoke to Laura Craig, Esports and Gaming Executive at Oracle Red Bull Racing.
“In my role as Esports and Gaming Executive, I lead on communications and socials for the sim racing team,” Laura says to Females in Motorsport. “This means I get to work closely with our roster of sim racers and content creators on a wide range of opportunities.
“The main goal is to really showcase the different personalities within the team and for any new fans of sim racing or wider gaming or F1 fans, why we’re the best team and the ones to watch.”
Oracle Red Bull Racing Esports launched 'Rokt the Rig' on International Women in Engineering Day this June, teaming up with Rokt to deliver the initiative. This campaign aims to discover female sim racing talent, with three races aligned with the F1 calendar: Monza, Suzuka, and COTA. To earn a spot, a virtual leader board fuelled by Oracle's data collects submissions from female sim racers. The top 20 contenders have been competing for one of six places in a development programme, designed to nurture upcoming talent. They will then be invited to the Red Bull Technology Campus in Milton Keynes for a day to meet the Oracle Red Bull Racing Esports drivers and staff.
“They’ll receive coaching from our drivers and equipment from our team partners to enable them to become better sim racers,” Laura says.
It's a journey of growth, from digital circuits to hands-on coaching, set to rev up the sim racing world.
Getting the chance to chat with Laura was eye-opening. Not only did it reveal more about her, but it also gave us a peek into the world of Esports. Laura's downtime includes gaming, watching F1, reading and drawing. She also loves making trips to the cinema – a habit she developed while studying for her Masters in International Film Production at De Montfort University.
“I get up in the morning and I’m genuinely excited for the work that I am going to do,” she says. “I don’t think everyone can say that.”
Recalling her first day at the office in Milton Keynes, Laura said it was very surreal.
“Working in Formula 1 has always been a dream, the journey to get here wasn’t easy and my first day was overwhelming, like, this is my new normal” she says.
Esports involves competitive gaming with video games. It features organised multiplayer contests where professionals play individually or as teams, both online and offline. Oracle Red Bull Racing Esports, established in 2018, aims to excel in sim racing. They've thrived in the F1 EsportsSeries Pro Championship, clinching two Team Championships in 2019 and 2020 and a strong second-place finish last year.
“Esports is still quite male dominated,” she says. “In both the sim racers that compete, as well as management and other roles [such as] engineering and content creation.
“What surprised me was being as welcomed as I was into sim racing. I am surrounded by such a brilliant team that I never once felt out of place.”
Following her completion of an undergraduate degree in BSc Communication and Media Studies at Loughborough, and the aforementioned Masters, her academic journey culminated in 2021.
The next summer led Laura to Milton Keynes, where she embarked on a three-month internship within the Oracle Red Bull Racing marketing department, which turned out to be a pivotal chapter.
“I said goodbye to the team in September and then thankfully I was asked to come back,” Laura says.
The time spent with the team was something Laura thoroughly enjoyed and also did really well within as it served as her stepping stone into a permanent role within the Oracle Red Bull Racing team. Laura's trajectory has been firmly intertwined with the vibrant world of sim racing and “the rest is history”.
Describing her job Laura says it is a “culmination of all the things that I love - Formula 1, gaming, Esports, and then marketing - which I think I have a good knack for”.
Laura's affection for gaming and F1 traces back to her dad, who initiated her into it at a young age, their shared passion grew as Laura commandeered her dad's Gameboy.
Although she largely engaged with handheld consoles on a casual basis, the Oracle Red Bull Racing Esports Team’s recent venture to spectate IEM Cologne proved transformative. The experience has given her an “itch” to try the competitive side of gaming, albeit for the thrill rather than full-blown professional pursuit.
Competitiveness is no stranger to Laura, having swam at National level for nearly a decade during her teenage years. This background has primed her for the arena of competition, even in the digital sphere. Gazing into the horizon, Laura envisions participating in regional Esports events. Her game of choice? Pokémon, a childhood favourite.
The fast-paced world of Oracle Red Bull Racing Esports is a place where Laura finds herself thriving. It's a place where ideas turn into action quickly, and ideas you have in a meeting can be executed within a matter of days.
Consistently working and seeing results makes the industry exciting for Laura. Working as a team is crucial, and the sense of camaraderie is strong.
“We all muck in, and our efforts are rewarded when we win,” she says.
Laura fondly remembers her first race with the team in Monaco. A personal highlight for her was standing in the team photo and getting drenched in Red Bull spray. It felt surreal but rewarding after putting in hard work, even if after it left them all feeling a little sticky.
Every morning, she's genuinely excited to tackle the day's tasks, finding joy in her work and the team's collective effort. In the midst of the Oracle Red Bull Racing Esports whirlwind, Laura has found her stride and is driven by her passion for the job.
“When you’re passionate about your job I don’t think it ever really feels like work,” she says.
Part of the beauty within Oracle Red Bull Racing, is the ability to tap into the wider world of Red Bull. With the energy drinks local markets, they are able to collaborate with them for exciting opportunities, like activating with Red Bull Canada at the Peel Street Fanzone in Montreal.
This particular scouting initiative is just one of the things that Oracle Red Bull Racing Esports is doing to highlight women within motorsport and it is exciting the amount of traction they have gained so far – with over 1,500 people registering their interest by mid-August.
For Oracle Red Bull Racing Esports, it is the start of something special, fostering a more inclusive community within sim racing and Laura, along with many others, hopes it’ll be the catalyst for coming years.
“I have a great sense of pride being one of the few females working within sim racing, and I hope to encourage more into the space, by doing things like this and being more public – front facing,” Laura says.
Evidently, motivating more women within motorsports is so important to Laura, as well as Oracle Red Bull Racing Esports and Rokt, and she hopes interviews such as this one will really shed light on the amazing opportunities available for inspired women.
All imagery is courtesy of Oracle Red Bull Racing Esports.