How rFactor taught me the basics of safely playing WRC in my backyard

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In 2006 the gaming world felt the wrath of Jack Thompson, a disbarred Florida attorney turned activist who went on a rather noble but misguided crusade to ban violent video games from the hands of young children. His basic argument was that violent video games have repeatedly been used by teenagers as “murder simulators” to rehearse violent plans. According to Thompson, “If some wacked-out adult wants to spend his time playing Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, one has to wonder why he doesn’t get a life, but when it comes to kids, it has a demonstrable impact on their behavior and the development of the frontal lobes of their brain.

This nonsensical drama failed to have any lasting affect on video games in the mid 2000’s; games like Grand Theft Auto, Call of Duty, and Battlefield achieved sales numbers previously only thought attainable in the film industry and were frequently populated by pre-pubescent children screaming obscenities over Xbox Live. However, statistical analysis did in fact show that several school shooters during the time period Thompson chose to analyze were heavily engaged in violent video games. Even as far back as Columbine, there were unconfirmed rumors that Eric Harris & Dylan Klebold designed DOOM maps off the halls of their high school. Even if this is just another ghost story from the relic of geocities, Thompson’s claims may have had a point, he just went about getting his point across in the most absolute retarded way possible. He should have claimed video games were sexist instead.

At the time this was all unfolding, and for several years after, late night conversations on Xbox Live with my bros often got weird, and on several occasions this whole violent video game debate was brought up in a pretty lighthearted context. Around 2008 or 2009, Call of Duty’s popularity exploded, and when the most popular video game in the world revolves around shooting people in the face as they curse at you in German, naturally even the parents who genuinely don’t give a fuck begin to take notice.

Our main counterpoint to the whole “violent video games make kids into murderers” argument is that someone should have robbed a bank, successfully evaded police with alien-quick getaway driving skills, and when arrested several months later because he used his Visa to buy Taco Bell, blamed the whole thing on rFactor. The resulting media frenzy painting a relatively unknown racing sim out to be a training tool for hardcore criminals would have made absolutely everyone look fucking retarded and it would have been glorious when my parents sat me down to talk to me about all the time spent playing rFactor.

And they wouldn’t have had to worry, because everyone knows 85% of the time spent playing rFactor is actually spent outside the game downloading and configuring mods.

Five years later, we learned that you can indeed learn how to do illegal things with the help of ISI’s landmark racing sim. Like terrorize the neighborhood with Go-Karts when everybody else who tries to do it either gets hurt or dies.

This “dream” (if you can call it that) goes all the way back to high school. My buddy Keel (I’ll use his Xbox Live name) and I are big car guys, but we both tend to sit on the racing side of things as opposed to working on cars. In 2010 we both really got into racing DiRT 2 against each other on Xbox Live, routinely whipping up on the rest of the field with custom setups. Rally racing isn’t televised here, like, at all, but we both loved that shit anyways.

Most of my life, I’ve lived in southeast Edmonton. This is your standard upper-middle class suburb with one catch; lots of foreigners. As a result, all of these beautiful dog paths and pedestrian walkways carved out through lush forests that split the neighborhood in half are rarely used. You’ll see the odd person out for a bike ride, but the fact is, people just aren’t outside a whole bunch here. And like every fantasy, sometimes you’re just out for a walk on your way to pick up some Doritos, shooting the shit, and then you start saying shit like man, it would be so cool to drive a rally car down here, or even like a Go-Kart or something.

A few years later, you have the money to pull it off and it’s like oh, remember how we talked about rallying through the forest by my place in Go-Karts? Here’s what they’re going for on KijijiWe can afford that shit. Let’s do it.

And then you’re driving home with a kart in the back of your SUV and it still doesn’t seem like a bad idea.

We initially started with a light blue junior kart, and bought a 2001 CRG Rotax kart shortly thereafter. We didn’t know the brand of chassis or make of the blue kart, but it was clearly intended for some sort of junior class. The engine it came with was underpowered, and the dimensions were slightly smaller than your traditional Rotax racing kart.

Off the bat, it had problems, eventually boiling down to simply needing a clutch replacement. We didn’t know this at time because we’re retarded, and ended up shelling out for a brand new Honda GX160 multi-purpose engine. Seemed like a loss at the time, although this guaranteed reliability in the long run, especially during the winter months when we wanted to play in the snow. One gear, direct drive, with a 77km/h top speed. Grip for days; it was like an arcade game.

We spent far too much time working on the blue kart after the initial purchase to get it up and running, making Keel and I impatient, leading us to buy a 2001 CRG chassis 125cc Rotax kart. Electronic start, required us to mix our own fuel, 3-speed automatic, and was geared for a 170km/h top speed. The guy we bought it from advised us to heat up the tires before you do anything stupid. We also got eight spare tires along with it. Apparently the guy was going through a divorce and needed to liquidate as much as possible.

It needed its own battery charger, but it ran like a dream. Flip the switch to turn on the electronics, hold the button down until the engine makes noise, press the throttle to move forward, and steer in the direction you want to go. It was like strapping a rocket to the back of your bathtub. About as safe as that combination, too.

We ran the whole operation out of Keel’s backyard. His parents didn’t care as long as we kept our shit organized; they were happy to see us outside after several long summers playing the latest iteration of NHL in his basement. They watched us work on it, they knew how fast the karts went, and they knew what kind of attention we were attracting. None of this bothered them.

Most of our work was done during the day, and most of our “runs” were at night. Night time allowed us to go virtually anywhere without dealing with traffic; you can’t put your foot to the floor when people are out jogging and shit. Not that there’s a lot of them, but all it takes is one old lady to stare at you like a deer in the headlights.

Because it was mid-August, we’d get started around noon. Bread was busy fixing up the blue kart, so the first kart we did much of anything with was the Rotax kart. Mixing fuel came first; YouTube tutorials turned this shit into eleventh grade Chemistry class. You get that shit poured in, and then you fire it up in the backyard, popping the throttle every once in a while like a Nitro warmup to make sure everything is circulating properly. Then you turn the kart off and go inside.

Google maps was our next stop, and of course you have to look for a place to drive the thing. Street view helped immensely. You’re basically looking for stretches of road, or just streets in general, that allow you to put the throttle down all the way, just enough to get up through the gears. Technical sections aren’t fun, and wide open sections increase the risk of something going wrong. We sort of did this in t-shirts and shorts.

The next step was to bust out some racing vidya. Not so much to get a handle on the physics; there aren’t a lot of racing sims for the Xbox 360, but rather to train our eyes to interpret things at speed. The Rotax kart wasn’t just innocent fun past 60km/h. It got interesting at speed, and you needed to train your brain to move that fast with all the shit whipping by you. We weren’t David’s Farm tier.

After that, we’d decide where we’d want to try ripping around at night, and that meant the three of us would grab munchies and go for a slow, tedious walk, pointing out every conceivable piece of debris that could fuck with us. Every crack in the pavement, bump, or piece of garbage was carefully scrutinized (or discarded).

Most of our activity occurred after 11pm, when the block had quieted down and traffic was kept to a minimum. Sometimes you can figure it out by distant traffic noises alone, other times you have to physically walk to a main street and count the cars passing by, then kind of extrapolate those numbers and think about how many cars of those turn off into your neighborhood, then how many of those cars head towards your street…etc…

When it’s clear, you go out and do your thing.

Keel’s house is stuffed way inside a nice subdivision, far from main roads/arteries, and a couple alleys made a nice little 40-second loop that rarely had any traffic. The layout was basically a big square, all with slightly different turns.

The start/finish line was in the alley behind his house, you’d shoot down the front stretch featuring a gradual incline, ending at Turn 1 which was reminiscent of Circuit of the America’s. Like CoTA, you couldn’t cut the corner due to somebody’s gravel driveway, and the rocks would often get you loose on exit. Following T1 was the downhill short chute that lead into a slightly banked T2 that was damn near impossible to fuck up. A good line through this section was reminiscent of Indianapolis – you could go full throttle and it would stick. Always.

The backstretch was downhill, and of course if you nailed the exit of T2 you’d have an insane amount of momentum. T3 exited the alley onto the main street, a corner you’d have to slow right down for because there was no way to take it at speed due to the transition from alley to public road and the kart not having a suspension. T4 lead us back into the alley and featured a similar transition that unsettled the car. It was an oddball layout like the defunct Nazareth Speedway, except you died if you clipped one of the garbage cans on the side of the road.

We went a few days with the true oval layout before it was obvious we weren’t hitting the limiter even with our gigantic runs coming out of T2. On separate occasions, both Keel and I locked up the brakes going into T3, and we would have been dead if we slid sideways into the street at 60km/h while a car was coming.

Except this wouldn’t have happened to begin with, because we were smarter than that.

The neighborhood kids loved watching us make laps, and we got them involved. They were our corner workers. Arms up in an “L” shape meant we were clear to attack the corner at speed. No arms up meant slow the fuck down because there’s a car around the corner.

Even after the T3 lock-ups, another problem presented itself: Canadian roads are shit and there are giant holes everywhere. Hitting a bump at 120km/h in a back alley was going to kill us before we figured out we were sideways. To remedy the situation, we went full Herman Tilke, found a couple small traffic cones, and built our own makeshift chicane right in the middle of the stupidly fast backstretch.

This worked for all of about 40 minutes. Both Keel and I figured out a line through the chicane where you didn’t have to lift, and instead could flick the car hard left, then hard right, and still make it through. We realized this chicane was really fucking dangerous when on one lap, I launched one of the traffic cones into somebody’s yard by nicking it with the rear tire.

So that was the end of running laps on that layout.

A guy I’d met through iRacing a year or so prior lent us a helmet with a GoPro mount, as well as one of his old GoPro’s, because he seemed to like what we were doing and didn’t want our brains splattered everywhere. Keel had an old laptop handy, and we’d run five laps, then go inside with a stopwatch, look over the footage, time our best lap, then go back out and do it all over again with a different driver.

My 37.xx holds up to Keel’s 39.xx on the makeshift oval by his house.

Aside from sliding sideways into the street after a blown braking point, we began venturing out into the neighborhood once the sun went behind the horizon, and a big challenge we faced was finding adequate headlights.

We made a trip to Canadian Tire to pick up some high quality flashlights to zip-tie on the sidepods as makeshift headlights. Bread got the positioning and angle pretty solid, but on the first test with them, and I’m serious, the first test, it was a straight line jaunt down a 1km pedestrian walkway out in the open that ended in a different part of the neighborhood. Really simple, non-risky route.

I opened it up a bit. It shot to 60km/h like nothing. Opened it up a bit more, suddenly I couldn’t see shit and backed off. Got out from the tree line and brought it back to speed again (so around 80-90km/h, highway speeds on a sidewalk). Flashlights die completely. I look beside me as I’d thought they’d fallen off. Nope, still there. Drove it to the rendez-vous point, shut the kart off, and they turned back on.

The vibration rattled the internals of the flashlights so badly that the batteries inside lost contact with each other. Keel drove the kart back to his house and suffered the same fate. The flashlights were almost totally busted after about three minutes of use.

To solve this problem, Keel got a pocket-sized construction light, and Bread zip-tied the battery component under the steering column, and mounted the light on the front clip. We now had a working headlight that could easily be turned on and off while driving.

But this drilled home how fucking fast we were going. Even at 40% throttle on a test run, brand new flashlights were getting shaken to death.

we had to apply shit we’d learned watching Dust to Glory because it was going to save our asses.

First of all, yep, what we were doing was illegal. In Canada, everybody has some sort of pleasurecraft that they dick around with after work. It’s the nature of the beast. Everybody has a dirtbike or pocketbike or ATV or snowmobile… etc…but of course there’s laws that say you can’t ride that shit in certain places, or that you need to get it registered before you can drive it on public roads…

We didn’t adhere to any of that. Canadians are understanding, and nobody will call the cops on you for doing something awesome unless you run over somebody’s grandma. Hell, even street hockey is technically illegal up here. Do people give a shit? Nope, unless the kids start robbing people or selling crack.

At the same time, there are always a few ninnies who think they police the neighborhood, people who can word shit in a way that’ll get the whole SWAT team after you if your radio in your truck is too loud.

So we needed ways to have an advantage if the police decided to tango.

At first, we experimented with in-car radio, which was really just an iPhone wedged under somebody’s nuts and the wired earbuds/mic that comes with it turned up to max volume. This actually worked incredibly well, although it was dropped because once we made a few night time adventures, we realized that we weren’t generating any heat and were free to do as we please without police intervention. A bit anti-climactic, but we tried it and it worked, so that was cool. It was there if we needed it.

The next was plotting “cooldown spots”, similar to Need for Speed Most Wanted. A place where if either of us saw sirens, the kart could NOPE the fuck out of there at light speed and drive to the cooldown spot, and the chase vehicle could innocently drive around, stop at Tim Horton’s, and then go pick up the kart after X amount of time. All of us knew the neighborhood as we’d grown up there, so we decided on the woods behind a certain school as the “cooldown” location.

The chase vehicle also included a spare tank of gas, as well as numerous tools to fix things if they broke. The driver of the kart always had his possessions stashed inside a ziploc baggie inside the chase vehicle to avoid shit falling out of your pockets at 110km/h, and our phones were always inside one of our shoes. One, to avoid losing that shit from our pockets, and two, to encourage smooth, gentle pedal applications.

The chase vehicle, a Red 1992 GMC Jimmy with the seats in the back folded down (so we could load up and fuck off if need be), didn’t always follow the kart. Keel was our late-night guy, and sometimes he’d simply out-run the truck, only for us to see him a few minutes later ripping by us going the other direction. It was common knowledge to all of us that even if we lost visual contact with the kart, if you wanted a ride home, you didn’t venture too far from the chase vehicle. Most times we simply had faith in everybody being on the same page.

We’d also rehearsed throwing the kart into the back of the SUV. Not to NASCAR pit crew lengths, but we all had a part and I think we were able to do it under 20 seconds.

Since there were no gauges on the kart, we had no idea what speeds we were hitting. One night, we tried to clock this with Bread’s truck on a long curved road, and as his dash read 112km/h, Keel was in front of us with the hammer down, pulling away at light speed; the frame bottoming out and throwing sparks like a 90’s F1 car.

Later that night we decided to do a proper top speed run in a different section of the neighborhood, in front of my own house which featured a very long, flat road. Instead of having a chase car follow the kart and attempt to keep up, we’d use an iPhone speedometer app and shove it under Keel’s balls, then get the reading after a few passes.

Like good little boys, instead of doing this on cold tires, I drove the kart from Keel’s place to my place, taking the scenic route and passing by a few parties or packs of kids on the street. Most waved or gave us the thumbs up, and we honked back at them. A couple times I opened it up, and you learned right quick not to get too throttle happy in the wrong spots. Manhole covers snuck up on you, and on the sidewalk next to a main road, you didn’t just see streetlights passing you by; you heard the sound of the engine echo off of them for a fraction of a second. Something that no sim has replicated as of yet.

So we got to my place and set up shop in the back alley; my parents really weren’t too happy that this is how we chose to spend our time, but whatever, that’s their problem. Keel jumped in and we configured the speedometer app, and let him rip up and down the street a few times. By the third time, my mom came out in her jammies and threw a shitfit, promptly interrupted by Keel ripping by at what we recorded to be 137km/h. Upon getting the fuck out of there after my parents threatened to call the police, Keel confessed that he was at 50% throttle once it shifted into high gear because he couldn’t fucking see or breathe at that speed.

Bread had a blanket in the back to prevent blood from going everywhere, and we all agreed that if one of us wrecked badly, we’d just leave the kart smoldering and rip over to the hospital. The cover story would depend on the extent of the injuries.

RunningMap.com allowed us to plot out routes without the unnecessary bullshit that comes with Google Earth, as well as save routes and calculate distances. Again, we all knew the neighbourhood and had a pretty good idea of what we wanted to accomplish. Escape routes and cooldown areas were always identified. The idea was to keep the distance around 6km max to avoid running out of fuel, losing concentration, or running for too long to attract negative attention.

The main “stage” we’d fantasized for so long was the forest route that passed in front of my house, which we nicknamed Harwood Forest after the demo stage in Richard Burns Rally. The stage began with a really simple tarmac section to heat up the tires before transitioning to a dirt path that followed the tree line all the way to the next major street. Upon reaching this street, you’d drop down into the forest itself and come back towards the starting area via tons of elevation changes and rhythm sections. On a bike, it was awesome, but I don’t like riding bikes. I like cars.

We walked the entire stage two or three times, physically measuring if our kart could fit through certain tight sections, as well as strategically re-arranging certain objects, such as picnic tables, so we wouldn’t clip them. I personally walked the route myself every day for a week straight to make sure it was doable. I had no reason not to; it was literally right out my front door.

Due to this stage not having a lot of room for error, we also had to identify “crash zones” – places where if you came up on a pedestrian at the wrong time, it was a viable option to biff it into the trees.

Keel ended up busting up the Rotax kart during his run of Harwood Forest, so I had to resort to the underpowered blue kart that Bread had gotten running in his spare time. My entire lap of Harwood Forest I’m about to describe is on YouTube.

We warmed the engine at my place, and I drove the first half of the stage backwards on my way to the start line in order to warm everything up; most notably the tires, as I’d be travelling much slower in general (or at least I thought I would be) and the kart didn’t weigh as much. The first thing that hit me was that it was chilly as fuck. It was now the middle of October and doing this in a t-shirt and cargo pants was a mistake. There is nothing to say about the warmup segment because I was literally idling through most of it and scrubbing the tires. A few people waved and I took note of some of the pedestrians I might encounter.

We turned the kart around and checked over everything. Due to most of the stage taking place entirely in the forest, there wasn’t really a way to rescue me if I fucked up early on. Everything checked out, so Bread fired that shit up and I jumped in. Because I’m a mouthbreathing retard, I wore a bandanna like the old school GPL guys.

The initial tarmac section went quicker than I personally remember. I wasn’t prepared for this much front grip; every line I took, the kart stuck, and it gave me a lot of confidence. About thirty seconds in, I merged onto the street for a short blast and blew by a guy in a Hummer. The transition back onto the sidewalk went as planned, and I got to experience my first gentle left-hander on dirt, at speed, on slicks. About as close to WRC as you could get. This was a timed run and I was really hoping I could beat Keel’s 7:09 he’d run a couple weeks earlier.

I got fucking sideways and saved it with relative ease. This happened again in the next two corners, and I couldn’t believe how easy it was to get sideways and keep it sideways. The more you pressed on the throttle, the more sideways you got. Didn’t want to be sideways anymore? Lift off completely. I was shocked at how simple it was, but also knew that showing off too much would instantly put me in my place. So I made a silent promise to myself to make a safe lap to put a number on the board.

The first half of the stage, the section next to the treeline, was full of technical 90 rights and 90 lefts, some sections barely wider than the kart. This progresses to long, flowing corners made difficult by the enormous amount of leaves that were fucking everywhere, and in some spots on the video all you see is motherfucking leaves on the ground. Regardless, as this was a path I’d constantly been on all my life, certain apexes and turn-in points had been ingrained into me since I was a kid riding bikes. Most of the lines translated quite well, coupled with stuff I’ve picked up from racing sims.

There’s a part during the first half where it opens up for a bit, at a place called Casa Road. I held it wide open, but the bumps were so violent that they left bruises on my torso that didn’t heal for a few days. At the end of the first half, I threw it sideways as I went parallel to 34th street, and put on a show for the cars that happened to be beside me. I have to stress that it basically felt like an Open class car from DiRT 3, like having magnets for tires.

The second half of the track was a bit trickier; now that I was dropping into the forest, I had to deal with constant elevations and something I call steering by trajectory. Basically, when you drive a car, you steer in the direction you want to go and the car goes in that direction. However, when you’re driving off-road, you don’t always have perfect grip – you’re sideways a whole bunch and the car’s momentum carries it into a general direction rather than a precise placement. Instead of slowing the fuck down until you have grip, you need a mixture of Scandinavian flicks and feint braking to give the car a certain attitude in the middle of a corner while retaining speed. Instead of aiming the car at a precise line, you’re aiming the nose of the car a couple seconds into the future, as if you’re in one continuous four-wheel drift and need to prepare about a second and a half in advance. Very similar to 1960’s Grand Prix cars. Real ones, not the deathtraps in GPL.

I turned my brain off and made the rhythm section look easy. I didn’t show off by holding massive drifts, but there are some corners where I’m nicking the inside tree and it’s like oh shit I got pretty close there. Near the end of the run where a guy tries to slow me down, I’m so focused on making a clean lap that I simply steered around him.

I finished with a time of 5:54, over minute faster than Keel’s time.

Bread lived in Leduc and not five minutes from his house was the recreation center, which had a complicated parking lot that was completely empty past midnight. We made our own layout and spent several hours there simply lapping the night away. My quick lap was a 24.xx, to his 26.xx, as it was his kart that he’d bought off myself and Keel.

The layout reminded me of a backwards Silverstone short layout from Forza 2. It was blindingly fast and had only one braking point – if you took a few corners wide on entry you could run almost the whole lap full throttle. Nobody ever bothered us when we were out there past midnight, even though we were right in the middle of a sleeping community.

Once. In Keel’s neighborhood we were doing some sort of test pass on the Rotax kart, away from his place. From what I can remember, something happened that caused me to abandon the run and kill the engine. I wanna say it was the positioning of the new light on the front clip, maybe it wasn’t reaching far enough forward for the speeds I was hitting – I don’t remember. Either way, I shut the kart off while I was rolling, parked my ass about 50 feet from the road, still partially concealed by the darkness of the dog park, which wasn’t lit. Shut the lights off and dug out my phone to call for a rendezvous. Bread didn’t answer, neither did Keel. Sat there for a minute mashing the redial button. Looked up and saw a cop car slowly creeping by the dog park. All they had to do was shine a light towards my general direction and they would have seen some dude sitting in a fucking bright yellow Rotax kart, right in the middle of the path. Bread finally showed up a few minutes later and we packed it up for the night.

There was also another moment, we crashed a coworker’s house party as he was a couple blocks from where I was living at the time. Bread originally pulled out the kart and ripped up and down the street a few times to demo it, but drove off in the distance and I didn’t hear from him for something like 25 minutes. When he finally called, he was at a convenience store on the other side of the neighborhood, convinced the cops were looking for him. They weren’t, thankfully, and we promptly loaded up and ripped home. We later learned that the police were on their way to the house party we’d just crashed, as the homeowners were having a domestic dispute.

His route was as follows:

My favorite moment from all of this is a bit of an odd one, but Keel and I were doing quick bursts around the neighborhood one night – just loops starting and ending at his house. Instead of heading south along the dog park, we followed the sidewalk north, where it turns into a regular sidewalk and loops around to follow 34th street southbound.

I gave no fucks and opened it up on that run. When it looped around and went parallel to 34th, I slowed down a bit and pulled alongside a white Honda CRX who was merging off the Whitemud. He looked over at me, I looked back at him, dragged the brake a bit so I was in his blindspot, and then stood on the throttle. I didn’t see him anymore. That’s the best way to describe it; I jabbed the throttle and the CRX was no longer slightly ahead of me.

I don’t care what anybody else says, racing sims are on on par with driving a real car. Everything you learn from Richard Burns Rally and rFactor works in a real car. The end, no questions asked. The only difference separating myself from other leaderboard drivers is that I was bored enough to drop the $$$ on doing this for real. All I did was apply what I learned from racing sims into doing something incredibly risky and dangerous. Instead of mangling my body and suffering from severe brain damage for the rest of my life, I’m still here. That speaks volumes.

You may not be able to feel the g-forces, but in both the real and virtual world, you control a car the same way: steering wheel and pedals. Some games do an incredible job of translating your inputs into realistic on-screen behavior. If you can’t figure out how to use this to your advantage, it’s literally because you’re not sitting down to think about what you’re doing wrong. I’ve seen tons of guys who are supposedly good drivers sit down in a racing sim and go flying off the track, turn one lap one, trying to take a hairpin corner in fifth gear, and then whining that the game isn’t realistic. And then you watch the replay and it’s like “dude, you didn’t even hit the brakes and you were doing 270km/h when you tried to turn.” And they sheepishly say “oh.”

The blue kart drove like the 2009 Corvette C6R from the rFactor EnduRacers mod. Had loads of front end grip and kicked the rear tires out if you asked it to. The Rotax kart was more on par with the 2001 Corvette C5R from the SCC 2001-2003 mod – it was tight all around and didn’t have much low end torque, but if you nailed the line on exit you’d get a bit of a wiggle to know the car was happy. If I drove in bumper cam with automatic transmission, it felt like the karts. It shouldn’t have, but it did. Before most “stages”, I’d spend about an hour on rFactor running laps with either the C6R or C5R. When jumping into the kart, it was like “oh, this feels familiar and isn’t really all that terrifying and I’m not going to die today.”

And then I just sort of went out and did it and then came home a bit later for dinner.

Keel was a good driver by default – he didn’t play a lot of racing sims but kept pace with me on Xbox Live and ran within a tenth of me at the indoor karting compound on the north side consistently. The numbers from when we timed things on the street stacked things in my favor, but Keel was a lot more courageous than I was. I liked him running paths, laps, or routes first, because he would find adequate lines that I wouldn’t. He could think outside the box when it came to competitive driving, because I’m way too fucking technical thanks to all those damn no fun allowed racing sims. The only problem was, he ended up wrecking the Rotax kart and that kind of hurt his pride a bit – and it was such a petty wreck too – he clipped the rear end on the side of a footbridge and it bent the axle out of whack. We didn’t upload this to YouTube because we didn’t want to give off the impression that we could fuck up. Same thing with skateboarding videos, you don’t show vids of your guys bailing and eating shit. Why would you here?

Bread struggled. I think the more we got into the karting thing, the more scared he got over it. He admitted he was frightened to drive his own kart sometimes, which kind of put him in his place. He was the kid that does 40 above the speedlimit everywhere and doesn’t care how many tickets show up in his mailbox – driving a kart around the block shouldn’t have been a big deal to him, but somehow, it was. It’s interesting how anybody can put the pedal to the floor on the highway and feel like a bigshot, yet the moment they’re tasked with driving something that takes a bit of skill, their lack of confidence and experience shows. Put your money where your mouth is. I did. Keel did.

We couldn’t find a way to repair the Rotax kart that wouldn’t have cost a fortune – the chassis was over ten years old and some parts just didn’t exist anymore. Keel didn’t feel a need to keep pouring money into it and figured we’d all hard our fun, while Bread was happy to work on his blue kart over the winter. That was, until he ran into money troubles and other issues. Money troubles can bring out the worst in people; suddenly the sociopathic tendencies came flooding out and this caused him to change into a totally different person; one that wasn’t wise to associate with. During this rapid change in behavior, Bread sold the same kart he’d poured a whole bunch of his time, effort, and resources into. The kart was still his Facebook profile picture, three months later. Why? No idea.

But there were two things in the works that could have made the next summer even more ridiculous.

One, was attempting to have a live co-driver reading out pacenotes via in-car radio. How far along did we get into this idea? Pacenotes were made and it snowed the day we were supposed to attempt it.

Two, would be livestreaming every single karting run in high definition on ustream from an on-board cell-phone camera. I shouldn’t even have to explain how awesome this would have been, especially since we had everything ready to go, and it was called off and sold at the last minute by Bread, who needed money for Runescape premium items.

Thankfully I survived this ordeal, as I use my spare time to terrorize Europeans on R3E.

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5 thoughts on “How rFactor taught me the basics of safely playing WRC in my backyard

  1. This kinda makes me want a go-kart, but I’ll just use the GSCE karts to get my fix for now, if I can find a ‘street’ course of some sort.

    Like

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