Nils Naujoks: Returning to simracing like riding a bike

Amongst sim racing veterans, the name Nils Naujoks should ring a bell. Nils was a prominent figure on the Live for Speed scene but took a step away from the sim for almost a decade. Now he’s back and already performing amongst the best in the business.

As of late, Nils has been instrumental in the success of both the G2 Esports and Red Bull Racing Esports progr of which he manages both teams.

In an interview with simRACE247, Naujoks said: “Back then [the late 2000s, early 2010s], sim racing as just being recognised as a possible eSport, competitions were small and uncommon and the prizes were tiny. In one good year, you would have made maybe $3,000 so a long way off paying the bills.

“In 2010 I called it quits because it wasn’t developing as fast as I needed it to [sim racing] to allow me to do it professionally. For me, it was either all or nothing so I chose nothing and instead, chose to focus on my studies.”

Ten years later, with thanks to a friend notifying him of the 2018 Race of Champions eSports competition, Nils has gotten back in the sim rig and restarted his career.

After picking up a new Logitech wheel, Naujoks put in some laps to see where he stood. After around 2,500 laps, Nils found himself near the top of the leaderboard and with an invitation to the eROC in Mexico. The same friend, who was working with G2 eSports, offered Nils a role at the team which has flourished into what it is today.

But after a ten-year sabbatical, how hard could it be to get back and perform on the same level as before?

“I think I had that confidence quite quickly after seeing the eROC qualifying standings where I was up against the guys at the pinnacle of sim racing. I topped the leaderboard so the pace was there quite quickly, but it’s probably more like bicycling in a sense. I’ve upgraded my hardware a few times since then and now it looks like I’m pretty much back in it.”

After such a long time away from the hobby, both hardware and software have made plenty of advances when it comes to realism and accuracy. However, Nils made mention of the fact that the thought process behind driving a car quickly didn’t change.

Nils has recently qualified for the finals of Lamborghini’s the Real Race series. The German will compete against other qualifiers for the title and a ride in Lamborghini’s R&D simulator and track experience at a world-renowned raceway.

Qualifying for the next round of the Lamborghini Real Race series at Nurburgring GP ends on July 2nd with the race held on Sunday 5th July.

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