Graham Carroll: From Winning British Formula Ford To Being Drafted By Max Verstappen

by Aaron Gillard
Graham Carroll - Red Bull eSports

Red Bull Racing eSports‘s Graham Carroll is motivated by his new team as he aims to become the second F1 eSports series champion, after he was selected by Max Verstappen in the Pro Draft.

The 2018 F1 eSports Pro Draft saw forty of the best gamers in the world fight for a place in the F1 eSports series with nine teams selecting in the process.

Some have embarked on their own journey to racing in eSports, but once a former racing driver with a destined future ahead of him in racing soon found himself shaking hands with F1’s own Max Verstappen.

Carroll, who once was a racing driver and won the British Formula Ford championship back in 2008, was selected by Red Bull Racing eSports in the second round.

The twenty-eight year old from Edinburgh had to cut his racing career short after his championship victory due to lack of funds, but Carroll headed into eSports and soon was among one of the fastest gamers in the eSports industry.

In an exclusive chat with The Checkered Flag after the Pro Draft in London, Carroll couldn’t believe the reality of being picked by Red Bull for the second season of the F1 eSports series.

“It’s unbelievable,” said Carroll. “Where eSports is and with Formula 1 at the minute how big it’s going to be, to be Red Bull’s main drivers is just a dream come true.

“I stopped racing in 2008 after winning the British Formula Ford Championship and I got into sim racing. To be thinking I’m Red Bull’s driver, madness. I can’t believe it.”

When asked if he was expected to be picked by Red Bull in the Pro Draft, Carroll replied with: “Honestly I kinda.”

“A couple of wee things in the background but nobody will ever know. It’s hard to say. I kinda knew deep down that I had a chance with Red Bull. Like I spoke to Force India, and then my team manager, McLaren, spoke to my team manager and I tried to push them away and when you push them away and you get to tonight like “what did i do?” like imagine if Red Bull didn’t pick me.

“It was kinda really nervous and I walked up to the stage and Max said to me “We’re always going to pick you but I though I make you sweat a little bit and pick you second”.”

Red Bull eSports Team - Max Verstappen

Joni Törmälä and Graham Carroll were selected by Red Bull with the help of Max Verstappen. Credit: Bryn Lennon/Getty Images/Red Bull Content Pool

Carroll and his team-mate Joni Törmälä were picked back-to-back and were selected by the helping hands of Aston Martin Red Bull Racing driver and F1 race winner, Verstappen.

Being picked by one of F1’s finest talents made the moment even better Carroll admits as he says he can’t wait to get started with working at Red Bull.

“It’s icing on the cake, it really is. What Max has done in the last couple of years has opened so many people’s eyes in F1 and is an inspiration to all us guys here.” Carroll continued.

“To be picked by Max, what a lad as well. He’s just that character, what a driver as well and to be thinking them saying “Oh we’ll see you at the factory etc.” and to be think you’ll be going there, being with them and working alongside them. It’s just mental when I think about it really. I just can’t wait to get started.

“He said “just be prepared for the work to start” and honestly I am really ready for it. The motivation to have Red Bull behind you is just so big.

“I just look forward to get started and they actually said to me in there it’s not just going to be F1 eSports Series, any eSports that’s going on, any other game going on Red Bull are going to push us towards and for me that’s awesome because I don’t just do F1. I do iRacing, rFactor and the lot so to think that you’re going to be backed by Red Bull, I couldn’t stop shaking when they were saying it.”

With competition tight in the eSports series, it’s hard to decide who is amongst the favourites to win the second eSports championship. But Carroll says that with the backing of Red Bull will help his confidence and motivation to make sure he’ll take the winners trophy home when the series starts in October.

“One hundred per cent”, added Carroll. “In the F1 2017 Game, I’ve been quicker in it. I out-qualified Brendon Leigh, last year’s F1 eSports champion in the AOR championship at Singapore the other week.

“It shows that I’ve got the pace but I just didn’t put the time in compare to these guys. Tell you with this t-shirt and this cap at the minute will be my full commitment to do it and motivation is up bigger than I ever had in my life. To have someone like Red Bull behind me, it’s just mad.

“I can’t wait to get stuck in. I’ve tried the new game and it suits me so much more. It’s getting more sim, going towards to sim racing and that kinda suits some of us guys better than these arcade guys so, bring it on and I cannot wait to get started.”

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