Last Thursday, Formula E: Accelerate came to life on the virtual streets of New York City and in the first of six rounds, it was our very own Erhan Jajovski who made history.
After taking pole position, the 25-year-old stormed a lights to flag victory, showcasing a dominant debut performance to set our intentions straight in the esports arena.
Hailing from Macedonia, Erhan is a familiar face on the sim racing scene and as part of Romain Grosjean’s R8G eSports team, has tasted success in the digital world.
With titles in the GT Pro Series and Sim Formula Europe – and now as Accelerate’s inaugural winner – Erhan looked back to where his journey began which stems from his first-ever racing game.
“My career in esports all started by me playing video games mainly,” he said. “The first game I ever played was Race 07 but I didn’t get my first proper esports experience until 2019.
“That was when I got into esports seriously. It was an ESL-organised tournament, and the final was at MSI’s [Motor & Sports Institute] headquarters in Madrid.
“I think I came fourth in the race but that was my first proper breakthrough. Since then, I’ve been fortunate to have some good results but I think my most memorable moment would be finishing on the podium in the virtual 24 Hours of Le Mans.”
Under the current circumstances of the world, esports has risen to prominence over the past 12 months and has replaced live sporting entertainment due to cancellations and restrictions.
With this growth, increased exposure and heightened popularity, virtual competition has landed in the spotlight and for Erhan, this is a positive step for the future.
“The growth of esports has been really positive to see,” he continued. “When the lockdown came in, there were only sim races that were being broadcast throughout the world – it really exploded.
“We were front-page news and that was really cool. I’m happy to see the industry grow and I expect that it will grow even further.
“One day, I hope that it will bridge the gap between real-life and sim racing. Over the last 12 months, that boundary has become more blurred.
“We have seen sim racers move into real-world racing and that shows that we have what it takes. There is only one obstacle and that is on the financial side.”
As a full-time sim racer, Erhan puts in the practice during the day to ensure that when the time comes, he can deliver but explained that the support of his family means everything.
“Esports is basically my full-time job at the moment – we practice all of the time,” he added. “In my free time though, I like to help my parents at our family store.
“My family are incredibly important to me – they are really supportive of my career and this means everything to me.”