By Louis Nahser
Williams Esports driver Louis Nahser is mainly known for being one of the best iRacing drivers in the world, having won races like the Watkins Glen 6h and the GT500 at Simracing Expo in the last two years.
Less known is that he is in his final year of his Sports and Events Management BA in Iserlohn, Germany. It was while studying that the opportunity arose for an internship with Williams Esports on site at the team’s HQ in Grove, giving him the ability to combine his passion for event management with his passion for sim racing.
Here’s what it’s like to be in Louis’s shoes in his intern position with Williams Esports, as per his own perspective.
DAY STARTS AT 09:00
Living together with the Operations Manager of the esports team, we usually leave our house at around 8:30 am. Entering the office at 9:00 am, the first thing on the list is to turn on the sims, lights, projectors, signs as well as the main PC in the Esports Lounge.
The Esports Lounge is the area on site in Grove that the Esports team operates. There’s a broadcast suite, content room, twenty Playseat sim rigs, three pro sim rigs, a theatre area and the team’s offices.
Each morning this has to be done because we are always ready to welcome unexpected guests to the lounge. Since the Esports Lounge is representing the whole esports team, it has to be kept in the best condition at every point of the day.
I always make sure to prepare an efficient working environment for the rest of the day. My key to a productive start is simple: Coffee!
15 minutes later, it’s lights out and away we go! Next up is final organisational preparations. Here, I pick up everything which is still yet to be done from the previous day and implement it in my daily schedule.
09:30 – MORNING MEETINGS
Today, we are hosting an event for some corporate clients. It is common at the Williams Esports Lounge for companies to book their away days here as they can have a go on the sims, look round the museum and also use excellent board rooms and presentation areas.
To ensure a smooth running of the events in the esports lounge, Jonathan Hall, the Events and Activities Executive, is briefing the event technicians about the schedule for the day and things to look out for in today’s event.
Following the meeting, around 9:45 am, we set up the esports lounge to the requirements of the customer. This includes checking each of the sim rigs thoroughly, including both hardware and software checks.
10:30 – BUSINESS TIME
Today’s corporate event will be quite challenging. Showcasing the esports business in an appropriate way to create potential further business partnerships is the day’s goal.
After a short briefing with the guests, in which the Event Manager explains to the guests what really distinguishes Williams Esports and gives them a short introduction into the general esports ‘world’, everyone is ready to jump into the rigs so that we can adjust everything to their liking.
Once this is sorted, we are ready to jump into the race lobby and let them race each other. Whilst the race is under way we are making sure that every customers wish is fulfilled. We are even running a little broadcast of the race which is intended to entertain everyone who isn’t racing at that time. Additionally the guests can have a race on the scalextric track.
This goal can only be achieved by creating a pleasant networking environment for the guests. While the event is underway, Jonathan is coaching and entertaining the guests, trying to build an individual connection to each attendee which he can build on further after the event has finished. In the meantime, the event technicians are making sure that everything runs smoothly in the background.
Until the end of the event at 12:30 pm, we are in constant contact with the experience centre hosts to make sure that we meet the schedule.
13:15 – LUNCH TIME, LIVERY LOADING
Williams Esports is located on the same site as the Williams Racing F1 Team, so we head across the road and walk through the factory to have lunch in the canteen. As a fan of the sport, it is still a surreal experience to walk past all of the machines that help to build the car which races in the biggest and most complex motorsport competition world-wide.
Post lunch, some team management tasks are on the agenda. For the upcoming Sebring 12H race the liveries and set car number have to be checked. In addition to that, every driver has to be invited to the car in which they are participating in.
The last step is to upload all the paints for the desired cars to the website of the broadcasting service provider.
14:00 – SOME WORK, SOME PLAY
The broadcast meeting, between the content production team of Williams Esports and the external broadcasting production team, covers all the important content as well as technical points for the stream later today. Bringing together all the inputs from both sides is crucial to improve the quality of the team’s Twitch stream.
Subsequently after the meeting, which is about 45 minutes, all the points which are yet to be dealt with have to be sorted. Today we are streaming a new tournament format on our Twitch channel called Total Madness.
I am responsible for the software side, game-wise, meaning that I am running the iRacing server and making sure that the timetable is respected. To make sure that everything runs smooth I am running a test session prior to the event.
After everything is sorted and I have a bit of idle time in the schedule, which today was around 15:15, I am switching the office for my rig and wheel for some laps to get myself up to speed.
Practising is the key to success as in any other sport. Especially through the increasingly more professionally held driver roles in the esports scene it gets tougher and tougher to stay competitive without spending exorbitant amounts of practice hours.
17:00 – FINAL PREPERATIONS
After a fair bit of practice on track, I am having a pit stop and going back to management responsibilities and joining the tech check of the broadcast team.
During this meeting, I begin to sort the software side, game-wise, and set up the required game server, while listening to the Team’s Press Officer brief the drivers who are taking part that day.
With a few minutes left on the clock before the stream goes live I can relax a bit and go through everything I need to look at while the stream is going on.
18:00 – LIVE FROM GROVE
The first ever Total Madness tournament is now live! While the broadcast team is preparing the first scene switch and the introduction through the commentator, I am shortly briefing the participating drivers about every small piece of information they require for the stream.
Now that it’s time for the first heat, I am fully concentrating on the server and the communication with the broadcast team to deliver the best possible streaming experience for the Twitch audience.
19:30 – WINDING DOWN
After one and a half hours the whole show is over, and with everything going smoothly and the team being happy, we have a very positive debrief of the whole event with the broadcast team. This provides the basis for the planning of the next stream / tournament as we are always looking for ways to improve.
Now that everything is sorted it is time to go home, right? Absolutely not! It’s time to go to the gym, which is also located on site.
Working out not only helps me stay physically fit, but also helps me to switch off for some time to not mentally burn out. After demolishing my legs to the max it’s time to have a shower and return home for a well deserved dinner.
Joining the esports business in 2020 as a professional driver, I could have never imagined my journey to be unfolding in the way it did. Williams Esports formed a foundation to support esports professionals besides their driving activities and I am proud to be part of that process.
Drawing attention to the possibilities offered by Esports businesses is very important for me personally. Esports has taught me so many things in life, and has helped me develop my character. Meanwhile It is one of the fastest growing business sectors world-wide.
With the structural development boom still continuing after covid subsided, I think you can confidently say that esports has a bright future ahead. That’s why I think that you should take your chance to shape the esports industry now, before someone else does it!
Images provided by Williams Esports. For more information on the team, check out their website and be sure to follow the official channels. Also, give Louis a follow on Twitter to keep up to date with his sim racing career!