Jed Norgrove was just 11 years old when he won his first sim racing event.
At the time, he couldn’t even reach the pedals without a little help from some added makeshift padding. But somehow, the wee boy from Shropshire beat out 1,200 people of various ages at Game Zone’s simulator competition.
Norgrove was attending the Belgium Grand Prix as part of his birthday gift alongside his dad.
And after clinching a spot in the top 10, he went on to win the final race by 4.2 seconds over his opponents.
The prize? Two VIP paddock passes which afforded young Norgrove the chance to meet the winner of the European GP: Red Bull Racing driver, Daniel Ricciardo.
Now, nearly a decade later, the Shropshire legend joins the Oracle Red Bull Racing Esports team alongside Tom Manley as the latest recruits to gain their wings.
“It’s pretty surreal to be part of the team…a team this successful in sim racing, has won so many championships, has some of the best drivers in the world,” said Norgrove.
“And obviously you look at real life, as well, what they’ve won. It’s surreal to be part of a team of this size.
“Working with the guys in F1 Esports last year, learning from two of the best sim racers in the world is pretty incredible.”
“They’ve all got different attributes which I admire, like their work ethic and will to win,” Manley reflected to Traxion.GG during our conversation.
“Obviously Red Bull, they’re former champions in the F1 Esports series. So, there’s lots to learn and take on board, especially from drivers like Frede, who’s been there for so long.”
Manley admits that though Frede is a sim racer of few words, when he does speak, there’s plenty of wisdom in those words.
“He’s got a lot of good advice.”
Born in Crewe, Manley’s been living in Scotland since he was eight. He began sim racing on an Xbox with a controller in 2015 where he dove into F1’s career mode.
Fast forward to 2023, and he’s living out his own version of career mode.
The two recruits share a passion for Formula One and marvel Red Bull Racing driver Max Verstappen. While the two-time world champ inspires from behind a real wheel, his love for sim racing and dedication to virtual events is admirable, too.
“How successful he is, his mentality and how hard he works…to be able to learn from him and work so closely with all of the drivers really benefits me to continue to develop my skills to then, in the long term, be successful with the team,” Norgrove stated.
His new teammate, Manley, agrees.
“His talent is insane. You just have to admire that.”
Looking at the year ahead, the two rookies hope to prove themselves on-and-off the simulated tracks. Striving for victories is important, of course.
But bonding with their fellow Oracle Red Bull Racing Esports team through unique media events and Twitch streams is something both Manley and Norgrove are excited about as well.
Aside from the racing, the boys enjoy a game of FIFA or Minecraft in the mix and appreciate the time spent at the factory amidst their teammates in what Norgrove describes as a “state-of-the-art facility.”
He’s taking it all in, really. Every bit of what it means to be part of the Oracle Red Bull Racing Esports team is special.
“The main aim is to be successful with the team. That’s all I really want. They’ve shown a lot of belief in me and I want to repay that by being successful with them.”
Norgrove’s come a long way. From VIP smiles beside former Red Bull Racing driver Daniel Ricciardo at just 11 years old, to now suiting up for Red Bull’s esports squad.
Anything is possible—even with a bit of makeshift padding.
Congrats to Jed Norgrove and Tom Manley, the newest recruits to join the Oracle Red Bull Racing Esports team!