Reader Submission #4 – Penalties are the Least of RaceDepartment’s Worries…

Yesterday we ran an article about the strange, unjustified penalities RaceDepartment stewards handed out after the opening round of their BMW 235i Series for Assetto Corsa. Three of the top four drivers including Hany Al-Sabti, Jack Keithley, and Paul Patrick were given a combined total of eight minutes worth of penalties for non-intentional track boundary violations that gave them no clear advantage over their opponents. Even drivers who benefited from the revised running order voiced their complaints that the penalties were too harsh, and two teams withdrew entirely from the series.

Today, we received a submission from a RaceDepartment staff member who wishes to remain anonymous, regarding the events leading up to the bizarre penalties and the state of RaceDepartment as a whole. It’s important to note that while we share a positive relationship with RaceDepartment and the guys behind it, what we’ve been told and shown is too important to sweep under the rug or downplay.


Greetings to Chris and James,

A few of us saw your article and agree with how you feel. You and many other drivers are 100% right in that the penalties to Hany, Jack, and Paul were not warranted. 

I managed to get some information from the parties involved, and here are the original penalties that were agreed upon by the stewards:

1. Hany Al-Sabti: 8 seconds – Cutting
2. Jack Keithley: 14 seconds – Incident with Niki Djakovic & Cutting
3. Paul Patrick: 20 seconds – Cutting
4. Niki Djakovic: Warning – Cutting

I don’t agree with Paul’s penalty, but the stewards still tried to blame the incident on him. Obviously these penalties are much more reasonable than what RaceDepartment ended up doing. I have absolutely no clue as to why things escalated so badly. Most staff members thought Bram’s idea for complete disqualification was not reasonable and I guess a compromise was made? In my opinion, things got political too quickly and the huge penalties were designed to appeal to certain teams and drivers. It’s quite the norm for this type of stuff to happen at RaceDepartment, and staff are encouraged to lie to protect each other in public, even when someone is wrong or they don’t agree with what’s said after having read what some staff members have posted.

I think the bigger problem surrounding this chain of events is the toxic environment RaceDepartment has become. If you speak to anyone who’s been involved with RaceDepartment previously (most have moved on with their own projects), they have all had issue with RaceDepartment because of one man, Bram Hengeveld. It’s a recurring theme time and time again when RaceDepartment gets itself into a twist. And each and every time Bram is the one asking why it’s happening and then labeling everyone else haters who have an agenda against him.

Going even further, after having spoken to some of the older ex-staff members, there are stories flying around that a select few current staff members are allegedly pocketing the income from RaceDepartment for themselves. These select few staff members, whose sole income is from RaceDepartment, have managed to buy themselves new cars and pay for their own accomodations meaning some serious money is being made here. This would be fine in most circumstances, except RaceDepartment is a registered business in the Netherlands. RaceDepartment is not a hobby like some sim racing sites, but a full-time job. None of the listed staff members are paid any sort of formal wage, and are instead considered volunteers – something that goes into a really interesting legal grey area and someone will get sued if they can make sense of that landscape.

After trying to fact check with other ex-staff members, they too voiced concerns that a select few staff members may be pocketing the money. By law, the Netherlands requires any business to be paying staff at least minimum wage of 1,500 EUR per month as dictated by Dutch law. Also, there are no set working hours, which are also required by Dutch law. You can’t just decide who is a volunteer and who is a “true” staff member worthy of receiving payment. Someone will inevitably explore this legally.

I still contribute to the site because there are many good people involved as well, but the ugly politics are starting to take center stage and it’s easier to confront them immediately than pretend everything is fine.

Alright then, I guess that’s three points we can respond to.

One, the original penalties seem pretty reasonable. Unfortunately, as I saw with my own teammate during the qualification round of the Game Stock Car Extreme series, the fast guys occasionally do cut the track. A 20 second penalty makes sense, even if the cuts were miniscule. Destroying the chances for certain front runners to compete for a championship definitely implies there’s some sort of political manipulation going on.

Two, I haven’t encountered any problems with RaceDepartment, but when I wrote for them, I had my own agenda. Bram was fully aware that I would pump out articles on my time, and I made an effort to totally ignore any internal politics since any content I submitted was out of sheer boredom. This appears to have been the right approach when dealing with the site judging by everything in the submission.

Three, if the stuff about RaceDepartment potentially violating Dutch business laws is legit, it’s probably not going to be very long until this all ends up in front of a judge.

As always, if you have your own piece of news you wish to share, head on over to our Submit page.


11 thoughts on “Reader Submission #4 – Penalties are the Least of RaceDepartment’s Worries…

  1. Just wow, none of what is said there is true. Racedepartment doesn’t have an income high enough to even pay one person, even if they wanted to. And Dutch law doesn’t say anything about it unless you have a contract, which none of the staff have.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. This entire claim about breaking Dutch law is extremely extremely inaccurate and I would suggest you take this article down before you find yourself in hot water. Claims like this could not be further from the truth.
    As a former staff member myself on the site, I know exactly where the money (which the site makes is so where near enough to fund wages) goes.. on servers and maybe the odd bit of advertising.
    Whoever made this article has not only crossed an ethical line in purposefully attempting to harm the image of a site that does so many great things for the community… but this article itself could face tribunal for stating blatantly obvious false claims against the site.
    I usually like this site, but this is absolutely terrible journalism, backed up on nothing more than a hunch.


  3. So we go from talking about penalties straight into speaking about how finances are handled? There were some very valid points here, until you get to the part about finances.


  4. It is really disappointing the fact that a pretend race series is taken so seriously and “politics” are considered to apply. I am referring to the especially hard, targeted(?) penalties. There is no contract renewals for the next year for the pretend drivers, no career involved. They should enjoy the competition and accept the rules whatever they may be. Or else they should play in single player mode and feed their egos.
    Also the staff member’s letter seems overly bitter and misinformed. I’m not aware of Dutch labour laws, but if no work contract has been signed and someone is just contributing to a website from his sofa, I can’t see the argument standing (or even reaching) in court. And the fact racedepartment’s revenue can sustain and buy people (plural) cars? C’mon….


    1. Those sorts of claims couldn’t have come from just one person. Sounds like it’s more than one person working in cahoots with each other to try and tarnish the names of a community and its members.


  5. Come on guys this is an absurd article, fair enough have a discussion about the penalties given, but do you seriously think RD makes that much money to buy staff cars & property??
    Your article lost all its credibility…….


  6. One unverified anonymous source – check
    Wild accusations – check
    No fact checking or interviews with the accused – check
    Does the same shit gamergaters accuse Kotaku of doing – check

    Well played lads, you’ve got a prime career at the Daily Mail Online!


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