"You could hop into different sim racing platforms if you have the talent and dedication" Gianfranco Giglioli

Gianfranco Giglioli (Age: 24, Italian) professional sim racer for Lamborghini Esports. His career spans multiple platforms, Gran Turismo,  rFactor 2, F1 series, and Assetto Corsa Competizione. It all started at 14 when he got his first set of wheels with Gran Turismo, and joining the Italian professional scene in rFactor 2. A year later, in 2015 and took home trophies after trophies. At 19, he decided to take it seriously in competitive sim racing when the Formula 1 Esports Series launched in 2017. He managed to get into the world finals in the 2017 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, finishing 8th overall. Gianfranco believes that if you have talent, you should do well in every simulator as long as you give yourself time to adapt.

The Attraction of Assetto Corsa Competizione

Gianfranco was absorbed into the game after seeing SRO organisers organising the 24 hours of Spa and the championships for the GT world. It further boosted his interest when they invited a real racing team to their championships. The exposure to what ACC provides caught the eye of Gianfranco. Gianfranco believes that Assetto Corsa Competizione feels satisfying to race with, and it’s a top-notch sim racer. He admires the small details you get in it. The temperature, tyres, track details, weather and realistic setup, make it the top simulator in the market right now, vastly different to the F1 series as he doesn’t feel the realism of racing in it. 

He noted that ACC is the path he wants to take. He isn’t the biggest fan of the engine physics and braking of the F1 series game. The realism of driving is the direction he wants to head. Gianfranco knows ACC needs much more preparation from reading telemetry and having engineers help analyse data for the best setup. These detail adjustment, similar to real-world racing, excites Gianfranco. He mentioned he hasn’t touched the F1 series after leaving Ferrari esports in 2020 until now. 

Difficulties in switching from F1 series to ACC

Although Gianfranco mentioned that you could hop onto different platforms if you have the talent. It isn’t all fun and games. He spoke about not understanding anything from another sim when transitioning to ACC and had to start the learning process all over again. Even though he has some experience in ACC, his main focus was still on F1 during 2017-2020. After a total of 4 years within the F1 scene. He decided to leave it entirely. “It is very difficult to adapt.” From understanding the physics of how a car does a turn to bakes and acceleration. The muscle memory of playing F1 constantly overtakes his body. Gianfranco needed time to adapt and overcome his body with his mind. 

When Gianfranco started to head into some events in ACC in 2019, winning his first series with the Lamborghini in The SRO AM races in MONZA, he was invited to race with Thrustmaster with an invitation from Lamborghini 2019, making his first splash within the ACC scene.

Daily plans as a professional driver

Gianfranco does not have a fixed training schedule and practices mostly independently. He prefers solidarity as he could develop his setup, practice analysing telemetry in different conditions and learn the full preparation process. Gianfranco only trains with his teammates when important races are ahead and shares setups when needed. This independence is a rarity to many sim drivers, especially for a Lamborghini sim driver. But for Gianfranco, the solidarity helps him distress and makes him enjoy driving much more.

Besides his practice regiment, Gianfranco further comments about sim racing software trending to become more realistic. Realism will be the direction for the sport, especially when the FIA motorsports switches from the Gran Turismo Series to Assetto Corsa Competizione is the perfect example. The sport will only get more popular as audiences in streams like the similarity in the broadcast of real racing. It will only be a matter of time until someone pushes all sim racing communities into one, and he estimated it might be in the next 5 years.

Family Support

Gianfranco’s father is a mechanic that worked at Ferrari and is now in Lamborghini. His parents are supportive, even getting his sim rig, but have no idea how serious he is in sim racing. By 22 years old, Gianfranco received a sponsorship with Thrustmaster and a contract with Ferrari. The big brands asserted to him and his family that sim racing would become his path. In the last few years, he was entirely focused on putting more time into sim racing and competing in more races.

When his contract ended with Ferrari, he started working on the assembly line in an electronics factory. He mentioned as a child, assembling mechanical stuff was interesting, and his current job is perfect for him. Though, we would like to progress into the automobile industry as he furthers his career, similar to his dad working as a mechanic in Lamborghini.

Personal image and Content 

Gianfranco mentioned the importance of social media; it’s part of the career. Youtube channels and live streams are common among all esports drivers. Gianfranco sees a lot more funds funnelling into the scene and creating content to keep up the hype. However, creating content is rather time-consuming. The time needed to record and edit videos was too much for him in the past, and he slowly lost interest to keep pushing for content when he started to work in the factory. Now, Gianfranco tries again to make content that may cater to a mass audience and work with brands, as well as collaborates with Lamborghini on his new tutorials.

Over the years, Gianfranco has accrued a large variety of transferable skills that he could use to develop his career. Just from checking out Gianfranco’s LinkedIn. He has skills from consulting and nature photography to print designs. He mentioned all the skills he has acquired came from his passion for sim racing. Gianfranco has self-taught most himself most of his skills. It started when he was young and recorded races with his phone and shared it with his friends, but Gianfranco wanted the videos to be more attractive, so he learned how to use editing software and learnt the process through different video tutorials. He believes in sim racing, every interview piece and video helps to gain more exposure to present himself, and he wants to take advantage of that.

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Driving the Porsche

Gianfranco had his dreams since childhood that sim racing and videos game would make the bridge for him to participate in real racing. Well, It sort of happened. He had the "Porsche driving experience" in 2021 as he won the Porsche Esports Carrera Cup Italia 2020, the winner of the series received a prize for the experience. There was a lot of nerves for him as he had his driving license since 2016 but rarely drives on the track. Gianfranco thought the car’s steering wheels and pedals were a piece of art, and the 450 HP naturally aspirated engine was very powerful. 

His whole driving experience had 4 sections: acceleration and braking, driver reflection, drift test and full drifting on track. At first, fear took the better of him. But after 2 sessions, He began getting used to the car and did 8 laps total. One of his best moments was drifting the Misano. The car was built for testing and after 4 small tests. Gianfranco manages to go full throttle drifting.

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The Instructor of the driving experience was Simone Laquinta - The champion of the Porsche Carrera Cup Italy. The class was with other paid students, and he saw more fortunate people that could pay, driving all day. Even though they were having trouble handling the car, most of them could not drift at all. At this moment, he was proud of his sim racing experience. Gianfranco with only minor training over the wheel. He was about to drift. “This guy is good”- Simone Laquinta. Once Gianfranco got over his fear, driving in a real car wasn’t so much different compared to the simulator. The only difference is feeling a bit more G-force in you, and driving over 220km/h could go wrong anytime when you are not in a game. Any crashes you get, and it's game over.  During his time he was experiencing the Porsche. He did get the opportunity to sit in the Lamborghini Huracan STO/ in Imola and compared to Huracan. The Porsche feels easier to drive. The Huracan felt like an F1 car on the limit, slipping and sliding around.

Current World Ranking

Gianfranco believes he's at least in the top 40 sim racers in the world in general. He noted that he has experience in many different simulators, joining big teams like Ferrari and Lamborghini. Two of the supercar brands in the world. He knows you need to be top tier to join them. Citing recent performances. His team won the 12 hours of Bathurst in Lamborghini. Lorenzo marzi at the end of the race was speaking for us in the post-race interview, like 2 minutes, talking about the Lamborghini esports project and how he is proud about his drivers: Jordan Sherratt, Gianfranco Giglioli and Giorgio Simonini.