One of the most enthralling, likable and watchable drivers in simracing today, it would shock you to think that Joshua Rogers is just eighteen years of age. His burst onto the international stage in mid 2017 only served to prove how strong of a driver Rogers was and will be, made all the more important by his latest success with TTL Esports in the VRS GT iRacing World Championship. (Formerly the Blancpain GT Series)
However Joshua Rogers is more than a World Championship push, granted, he has done very well to be a part of two iRacing World Championships but the documented rise of the youngster residing in Boyne Island, Queensland is seemingly untapped as for the first time, people are starting to see Rogers as one of the best in the world. To when I first saw an understanding of what Josh could achieve actually came in the iRacing Grand Prix Series at Phillip Island.
The drive wasn’t overly spectacular. He didn’t win the event and he managed to qualify only third however you instantly got an understanding that there was going to be more to Rogers than you thought. Call it an aura, there was that gut feeling that he could do better. And that was proven in a host of vehicles. Yes, Rogers was already knocking on the door of Blancpain however he was part of a merger with Jarrad Filsell and Jake Burton from Trans Tasman Racing, and ultimately he would be lost in the shuffle of amazing talent, under appreciated for what he was able to achieve.
One of the first signs that truly showed how good he could be was in the Racespot Raceday Supercup. There he came up against arguably the fastest Porsche 911 driver in iRacing in the form of another young talent, Black Star Racing’s Joni Heikkinen. At Road Atlanta, he was able to beat a driver who in countless races, including domination in the Nordic Challenge, would relentlessly win over a sprint format. Joni since has gone on to secure a Rally scholarship deal, such has been his success thus further cementing Rogers’ position.
Then came WCS qualification and Suzuka became the catalyst of change from hot prospect to wonderkid. Showing mental resiliency through failing old tyres, while established names such as Sebastian Job and Michael Dinkel were losing their heads, Rogers drove a race far outnumbering his years, winning just ahead of VRS Coanda Simsport’s David Williams. This soon followed with a win at Monza and a spectacular comeback drive at Imola. It would have been safe to say if Rogers did not miss the final two rounds of the season, then he would have almost certainly would have been the Road to Pro series champion.
I know that almost every team would sign Josh up in a heartbeat however the one bastion I think will be the toughest to pull Josh away from will be V8SCOPS. I think that this is the series that truly showcases all the characteristics of what makes Josh Rogers the complete driver. Over the 2017 season and into this 2018 season, Joshua Rogers has proven that he can overtake, he can defend, he can play the strategy game and he can go for broke. He has proven he can be the fastest on one lap pace and he has also proved that he can keep up some insane consistency with his pace. Part of this comes down to his background in karting which also eats into a little of his simracing time however I think has proven to be a massive benefit.
Translating what you do on a simulator to the kart track is one thing, to translate it the other way is something completely different. Josh has already managed to score a victory in the Australian Kart Championship which at a national level is tipping him to go down the route of Chaz Mostert and Daniel Ricciardo, funding dependent. He, by no means is the first simracer to be good at karting as most notably, Team Redline’s Olli Pahkala was karting around the same time as Mercedes F1 driver Valtteri Bottas. I think though it is that level of dedication, that desire to improve is what will keep Rogers going for the future.
Josh has got probably another fifteen to twenty years at the top of simracing, and beating Frederik Rasmussen is no mean feat, let alone at the consistent rate he has done over the last six months. Josh’s karting career is probably the only thing that will hold him back from making proper challenges for titles this year however with the way that simracing is starting to form, I would not be shocked if Josh could inspire a new wave of Australian drivers to get into simracing with force.
Josh has the same drive and appeal as Riley Preston, the know how and knowledge of Ilkka Haapala, mixed in with the potential both in sim and in the real world as Mitchell DeJong. Josh could make any platform in simracing his own and the level of versatility he has is staggering. Josh Rogers has the ability to become Australia’s greatest simracer, if not the best simracer on the planet. You will struggle to find a more humble and gracious driver in victory and defeat, and for everyone that reads this, the Genesis of Joshua Rogers is complete, it is now time to see how he copes with the added pressure now on his shoulders.
Rogers can beat Rasmussen, the next challenges for the year, can he beat Jarrad Filsell consistently, and can he beat Martin Kronke?