Mia Rose may not be a household name in sim racing (yet), but she should be after a masterclass performance throughout the Le Mans Virtual Cup series this past season.
In fact, Rose became the first female to win in the event after claiming the final round at Bahrain International Circuit in December 2022.
The Australian sim racer basically held onto the lead for the entire race. Near the end, Zoltán Várkonyi was hot on # 19’s tail. With class and precision, Rose ultimately crossed the finish line, claiming her victory in the series.
“It was more like half excitement, half relief,” she laughed.
Just over a year ago, Rose competed at the Le Mans Virtual Cup at the Nürburgring and came sixth.
“This was the first ever season I had put in all this work and it was a new track to everyone, new combo and to just come out of the gate and be the pace…when it happened, it was just excitement.
“I finally showed off what I can do on rFactor 2. But at the same time, it was relief that I’d put four months of work into it and then topped it off with a win.”
Nine points separated Rose from a seat at the 24 Hours of Le Man Virtual 2023, with Várkonyi and Shaun Arnold claiming the two guest spots ahead of her.
“I don’t care. I smashed every goal. That’s all I came in to do.”
Not only is she smashing goals, but Rose is also breaking down barriers within esports, too. Alongside her team, Queens’ Design, she’s driving change in an industry that—if I’m being completely honest—lacks inclusivity and diversity.
I recently wrote a piece about Screen to Speed, a first-of-its-kind all-female tournament in iRacing and learned that while 50 per cent of gamers are women, there’s a mere three per cent representation currently in esports.
Queens’ Design’s goal is to “be the beacon in the sport which will bring an audience that has been consciously ignored and excluded, and that will captivate part of the already present audience by setting itself apart from other outfits.”
The team is by and for women, gender, sexual and romantic minorities (GSRM) and BIPOC people.
Team manager and Mia Rose’s partner, Aenore Rose, says the push to create Queens’ Design really came from disappointing past experiences with existing sim racing teams.
Their bright pink car is a statement of intention itself, actually. “It’s everything we are told does not belong in motorsport, everything we are told is not accepted or acceptable, up to and including the drivers in that car. ‘Enough’ we say. It’s high time these mentalities were confined to the bins of history,” reads the team’s website.
Mia Rose’s # 19 car stood out beautifully in Bahrain, especially when passing the chequered flag.
With her huge win at the LMVC, she’s paving the way for diversity in esports by highlighting inclusivity at one of the biggest virtual events, too.
“What Prismatic Motorsport and Queens’ Design are, are essentially, I like to say queer, but LGBTQ teams. In Prismatic, they have a lot of trans women. Here at Queens’ Design we’re the same, as well,” said Rose. “We’re an all-LGBTQ team showing off that marginalised people, especially in sim racing, can go further.”
The Australian began her journey in motocross and after suffering a concussion, she bought an Xbox One. Forza Motorsport opened her eyes to the online world and ever since 2017, she’s been sim racing.
In 2020, Rose became the first woman to win in-class at an SRO esports event. She’s a two-time SRO Esports Asia champion, which has led to some welcomed public exposure. Something she says has also spiked after the Virtual Cup win.
When it comes to goals, the 21-year-old hopes to race in the Le Mans Virtual Series and 24 Hours of Le Mans Virtual, as well. She wants to make sim racing her full-time gig and hang up the apron on her current job at Kmart Australia.
“Esports are very different to what it was when I started, you know, five or six years ago. A lot of leagues are more inclusive, so that’s something that I’ve really seen improve and I love that a lot.”
I asked Rose who her biggest inspiration has been throughout her career in sim racing, and she humbly replied that she takes a little bit from everyone, but ultimately gets out there and does what she wants to do.
Which is incredibly inspiring. I mean, it’s the beginning of a new year, after all. If you need a little nudge to do what you want in this life, let Mia Rose be your motivation.
“If you do find a women’s group in sim racing, go and join it. Don’t be scared. We don’t care what gear you have. If you’re a nice and inclusive person, we’ll let you in with open arms.”