Kicking off shortly before Christmas Holidays, the PRC.net V8 Supercars World Tour was intended to bring the readers of PRC.net together on Saturday afternoons to drive a car some loved so much, they paid extra for it, twice. After a summer-long crowdfunding campaign saw the Holden Commodore V8 Supercar become the poster child of Reiza Studios’ future projects, the obvious next step was to create a platform for people to race this thing competitively. As many pointed out to us, pickup racing simply no longer exists in this genre, because the majority of sim racers prefer organized league racing.
So, we created a league. There would be no entry fee. There would be no need to sit down and paint yourself a car. There would be minimal downloading of third party mods. It would take place on a website where detailed statistics and moderation would be taken care of by someone other than us, to ensure we weren’t simply banning people we didn’t like. The fast guys would be encouraged to share setups publicly, so new drivers could get a handle on these cars with a competitive setup right out of the box. There was virtually no effort required to sign up and race. In fact, our guide to getting started on Race2Play was so slick, one guy actually criticized us for discouraging people from spending money on the site, just because we knew people would see Premium Membership and get scared at what that meant.
For the first event at Suzuka, we had 35 entrants, more than the maximum amount of cars Race2Play allows on the grid to ensure server stablilty. Yet when it came time for the event to begin, only fifteen drivers showed up. We chalked this up to a very real mismatch error that prevented a large portion of drivers from joining the server. The next week at Kyalami, again we dealt with a mismatch error, and again we were only able to pull in fifteen drivers. Yet both races played out exceptionally well. No intentional wrecking, great battles all throughout the field, and everyone who showed up agreed it was worth the 90 minutes they set aside for Stock Car Extreme that weekend.
However, today at Barbagallo, we only managed to bring in nine drivers.
It’s obviously a confusing scenario, especially as the series is set to begin a month-long trek through prestigious North American circuits. With Mosport, Road Atlanta, Road America, and Portland composing the next chunk of the schedule, the series is instead seeing a gradual reduction of participants. In fact, out of the twenty five drivers who have started a race in the PRC.net V8 Supercars World Tour, only four of them have attempted all three races.
To throw an even bigger curve ball into the mix, according to our League webpage on Race2Play, 94 drivers have seen our site advertise this league and said “yep, I’m in.” However, only 26% of them have bothered to come out for a race.
I’m puzzled. When this car first dropped on the masses, a flurry of YouTube videos and comments advertised this car as the definitive version of a Holden Commodore touring car.
The league isn’t going to be cancelled or shortened to accommodate the much smaller than expected grid size, but it is definitely frustrating to see the hypocrisy of the sim racing community at play once again. Everyone has no problem throwing copious amounts of money at a crowdfunding campaign just for one car that EmptyBox makes a video about, but when it comes time to actually race the damn thing, less than ten people show up, and only five or so can last the entire hour without stuffing it into the wall.
Sadly, we are not the first series to struggle with participation numbers, as Andy Graydon’s Showcase Sim Series was forced to cancel their V8 Supercars season after just one event, citing multiple factors contributing to the low turnout.
Am I missing something? Is it suddenly trendy within the sim community to brag about how much money you’ve donated to a company, and then not actually play the game?