Why Frank Biela believes Audi should do esports racing
The German eX Prix at the Nürburgring is presented by Biela Racing Team EURONICS promoting “Planted”. Five time Le Mans winner and DTM Champion Frank Biela founded the team three years ago. The German is still strong ties with Audi and strongly believes esports racing would be a perfect fit for the brand with the four rings.
Biela will be racing himself in the Final of the World eX Championship at the Nürburgring. Live on motorsport.tv, YouTube and Twitch on Tuesday (December 20) from 19:00 UTC.
How did you get involved in esports racing?
I got into esports a long, long time ago. Actually, even during my career, I was sometimes doing some simulation, some testing at the PC to learn a track – before going testing, for example. Of course, possibilities were very restricted. And then when it developed and you got more possibilities, more platforms to go with, it became more and more interesting for people to actually race each other. Then we founded the club and the team and the last few years it went really well. It’s a very interesting thing and I still like it a lot.
How do you see the status of esports racing at the moment?
I think esports is more and more accepted also in real life, in the real racing world. You need the same skills, so it’s also possible to translate everything from a simulation into real world. A few decades ago, we were always talking about karting and let’s say 80% of the good drivers in karting could make their way into real motorsport. And I’m pretty sure it’s very similar in esports. Maybe not 80%, but I’m pretty sure 60 to 70% of the people can do it. And because, as I mentioned before, skills are similar or the same that’s something very interesting. And I also think it’s a good way to get into motorsport.
Are you happy with the development of Biela Racing Team EURONICS? What are the main series you are competing in?
Biela Racing is a club, founded three years ago. A group of people, some friends, we decided to build this team. Actually, mainly for iRacing. We are involved a lot into this kind of races, big events or private series or championships. Two years ago, we also decided to participate in the World eX. So, from that point of view, I think the development of our team and of our sim racing club was very successful so far.
Is it true you are developing an own steering wheel for esports racing? If yes, can you tell us a little bit about it?
Yes, I’m actually interested in building my own steering wheel. It’s a bit too early to tell too much about it, but I’m very interested in it. It’s an interesting project and I hope during the year 23 we can show something and hopefully going on the market. with it.
Biela Racing won two races in World eX in Season 1. Why has the team struggling a bit in Season 2?
Unfortunately, we are struggling a bit in the World eX. It’s difficult to say why. I mean the thing is not so many people (in our team) are concentrating on the World X Championship, unfortunately. They are very busy with other things, building setups and testing for other championships. With World eX it’s a similar thing: You have to put a lot of effort into it, you have to test a lot. That’s what we try as good as possible. Unfortunately, in the second season we were not so successful. There’s a last chance and I hope we can get a good result in the in the final race.
The final race is taking place at the Nürburgring. How do you like the track? What are your best memories from racing there in the real world?
Nürburgring is definitely one of my favorite racetracks, no doubt. I started my career at the Nürburgring more or less. In those days in the smaller categories, it was mainly Nürburgring or Hockenheim and Zolder maybe. Especially in Formula Ford it was good fun. The first steps were done at the Nürburgring. It’s a very interesting racetrack, I have very good memories. Definitely the main event was always the 24-hour race and I participated a lot at the beginning of my career. Then later on I was involved in different projects. I was abroad or overseas and unfortunately did not so many racing at the Nürburgring anymore. But I have good memories. It’s a very nice racetrack and I’m looking forward to race on it in the World eX Championship.
Any chance one of your cars can still make it to the Super Final?
Of course, I hope we can make it in the Super Final. But it’s a tough way. It’s a long way and you also need a bit of luck. I mean, I don’t want to say we are always the unlucky ones because mainly it’s putting some practice and effort into it to get a good result at the race event. So that’s what we are going to try, no doubt. And let’s see where we end up.
You have a long relationship with Audi Sport. Are you still working for Audi? If yes, what are you doing?
Yes, I’m still working for Audi, mainly for the Audi driving experience. Right now, we offer a lot of different driver trainings from a simple beginner training with a few exercises up to racetrack trainings and probably the top of everything, which is ice driving on the ice and snow in Finland where you definitely need a lot of car control, and you can learn a lot up there on the ice. That’s very good fun. I’m quite busy. I’m involved a lot in this kind of thing and the season will start again early January.
The Audi Formula 1 show car is already available in the virtual world. Would you like to see more involvement from Audi in esports racing?
Yes, I think Audi should be more involved and I hope they will be in the future because all my life I was listening to marketing people because of motorsport and different championships. What do we do? Why do we do it? And one thing has always been we have to go for the young target group, young people and what’s easier than reaching them, getting them through sim racing, I mean, they get in touch with it very, very young. I mean, 10, 12, 14 years, whatever. I think it’s a very easy way to get young people into motorsport or getting their interest in the brand. I think, it's the way to go. A lot of people do it and a lot of manufacturers do it. I think it’s time to go for Audi as well. It’s definitely not too late, but still they are not involved too much so I hope they gonna change their minds pretty soon and we will see more activities from Audi or Audi sport in esports. It would be very good.
Biela Racing is promoting “Planted” in World eX. How important is the message of racing for the climate and climate protection for you?
I think it’s a very important message. With the classic motorsports like my generation knows it, we have definitely more and more criticism, and things have to be more sustainable. Everybody knows that we do have a big problem, so we have to do something for the climate, and we have to change our mind and we have to do things different. And that’s the message we would like to send. And one way is of course going esports. I think it’s a very interesting, very competitive way of doing motorsport. It’s a different way, of course. It’s a new way but very, very competitive and very interesting. And besides sim racing in real life, of course we have to change things as well, and we know it everywhere and in different categories and championships they get new rules and they, they have to take care and they have to take the right decisions for the future. With our project World eX #racingfortheclimate we might be a part of it, or well, we should be a part of it. That’s why we are here and that’s why we want to send it send that message.
Any experience with electric cars in the real world?
In real life, I do not have too much experience with E-mobility on the private side, but I have with Audi. At the Audi driving experience I got in touch with it a lot, of course, and we also do a lot of scenic drives, which is mainly electric or e-mobility right now. Of course, with the latest models and products. It’s definitely the future. It’s a nice way to travel, there’s no doubt. I know that a lot of people think and say that’s only something for smaller cars for the city and so on. Of course, in the big cities it makes a lot of sense, but it also makes sense in any kind of individual mobility. It takes a bit more planning and maybe organization. If you do a longer trip that’s down to infrastructure, which is quite okay right now, but still no way it should be. But I think that’s definitely the future. When I get in touch with it, it’s very impressive and very interesting.