A little just ain’t enough for sim racing Twitch personality JJacoby88. First making headlines in both a positive and negative fashion for constructing the most elaborate faux cockpit our hobby has ever seen via the use of numerous payday loans and credit cards, the twenty six year old Domino’s Pizza delivery driver from Georgia has raised the bar yet again when it comes to going out and executing ideas that probably should have been confined to the comfort of his own private Teamspeak server. JJacoby88’s latest YouTube video, in which he addresses his small audience of Twitch followers and fellow iRacers, now openly seeks sponsorship for the 2017 auto racing season in an effort to drive for a Super Late Model program; lightweight cars that send upwards of 630 horsepower to the rear tires, and are intended for highly experienced drivers only a season or two away from competing in televised NASCAR events.
In short, a random sim racer in his late twenties is basically going out and asking for donations to campaign a car just as powerful – if not more so – than the GT class entries you saw competing during the 24 Hours of Daytona this past weekend, citing his elaborate home simulator setup as his racing experience.
The video itself – which comes in at just under four minutes in length – is incredibly difficult to sit through for a number of reasons. JJacoby88 begins the video dressed in his pristine custom-made Domino’s Pizza fire suit with a freshly baked pizza on the roof of his sim rig, before conducting a series of mock post-race interviews “practicing” for a multitude of scenarios – such as an early retirement or a podium finish – as a sort of “proof” that he’s the kind of personality companies would want to represent them in a public environment. The latter half of the sponsorship proposal includes a set of ridiculously clumsy commercials of sorts, which make heavy use of in-game footage from the iRacing simulator and had me legitimately covering my eyes due to an overwhelming wave of Fremdschämen. I’d love to sit here and say this is one of the best satirical sim racing videos ever conceived, but the description of the video indicates the exact opposite; this was a serious pitch to try and land JJacoby88 a legitimate ride in a car most real-life race car drivers struggle to keep under themselves, let alone a random dude from iRacing.
This guy’s entire pitch is “I play video games, so I should have a shot at driving a category of stock cars typically reserved for the best semi-professional drivers in the country.”
“Hey, guys! If you have a seat that I can fill, I’ll take it! Or, if you are available to sponsor a super late model, I have a program I can get into if you’re willing (please e-mail me at JJacoby88@Hotmail.com).”
Many will immediately point the finger at a spectrum disorder of some sorts causing this otherwise average twenty six year old iRacer to believe playing computer games gives him enough valid experience to be placed on par with regional race car drivers looking for a seat, but I beg to differ. The content from JJacoby88 is simply too composed, focused, and concrete to be the result of any mental deficiencies. Instead, I’m pointing the finger at the iRacing community itself for feeding simple-minded individuals with an abundance of misinformation and wishful thinking, to the point where a portion of the game’s userbase is utterly convinced stock car teams will recruit them from a video game.
After all, there’s a reason we joke about iRacers believing NASCAR scouts are spectating random late-night C-Fixed races on the service.
Registering six NASCAR Xfinity Series starts over the past three seasons of competition, Josh Berry of JR Motorsports – Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s personal race team – is an avid sim racer in his spare time. While he primarily calls the iRacing servers home, during the height of NASCAR Racing 2003 Seasons’ popularity in the mid 2000’s, Berry was once a member of Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s private online racing league, the Dirty Mo’ Posse, or DMP for short. The popular myth circulating within certain iRacing circles, is that Berry was hand-picked by Dale Earnhardt Jr. himself for his virtual performance in NASCAR Racing 2003 Season, and literally handed a real life race car as a reward for his prolonged online success in the legendary Papyrus simulator. This, coupled with highly publicized contests such as GT Academy – in which Polyphony Digital claim winners have no prior auto racing experience despite this being an outright lie – has caused a portion of the iRacing community to believe senpai will notice them and that they’re somehow entitled to a six hundred horsepower race car just for being successful within a video game.
As you can probably guess, there is a significant portion of the story these rabid iRacing members are not being told. Josh Berry was an employee of JR Motorsports dating back almost to its inception as a NASCAR Busch Grand National Series team, and worked his way up through the company over a period of about a decade to the role of part-time driver. Yes, he was obviously friends with Dale Earnhardt Jr. outside of work, and yes, they sure as hell played video games together, but at the end of the day, the guy was an employee of a professional auto racing team who knew his way around a race car, paid his dues within the company, and forked over some of his own cash when asked – hardly a random kid plucked from a private NASCAR Racing 2003 Season league as the myth suggests.
Unfortunately, that side of the story is rarely told to the iRacing members who need to hear it the most. The result is an extremely awkward auto racing equivalent of playing street ball with your friends, and hoping LeBron James will walk by the court and give you a try-out with the Cleveland Cavaliers; iRacing nerds are now publicly humiliating themselves on YouTube, totally convinced that this is their ticket out of being a Domino’s Pizza delivery driver.
Now I want to take a step back and actually evaluate JJacoby88’s sponsorship pitch, because while it’s easy to rip on the guy for having his head in the clouds and being misled by a community full of misinformation and wishful thinking, it’s much more professional and reasonable to sit down and assess why this whole endeavor would be silly for any wealthy company to take him up on.
First, there is video footage of JJacoby88 admitting his massive racing simulator setup was funded with payday loans and alternate credit cards. If I were a sponsor contemplating dropping five figures on putting some guy from iRacing in a top level race car, my first question would be to find out how financially responsible he is. I’d want to make sure that money wouldn’t be squandered or abused, but instead put towards their racing operation in a meaningful and resourceful way. If your driver is willing to spend thousands upon thousands of dollars of money he doesn’t have on an expensive toy for his bedroom, risking his overall financial security to play a video game, how can I be sure my money would be allocated properly in the real thing?
Next, while Jacoby may be somewhat proficient in iRacing, all mechanical engineers know modern simulations are an approximation of real life vehicle behavior, and they’re not always one hundred percent accurate. As a sponsor, how could I be confident this guy wouldn’t tear up race cars week after week – or worse, seriously hurt himself behind the wheel – if the simulation software doesn’t properly replicate what it’s like to drive a real race car at competition speeds? Aside from my own personal complaints about iRacing’s tire model, any average team member who can use Google would be able to see social media comments discussing something called New Tire Model Version 7 and think “gee, it must not be very realistic if they’ve had to go through seven versions of it.”
That’s red flag number two.
Third, and arguably the most controversial (or hilarious, depending on your stance), would be Jacoby’s obvious decline in performance after purchasing his new simulator setup. While he claims that the preposterous simulation center within his man-cave has made the driving experience exponentially more immersive, his driving performance has tanked significantly since adopting the full chassis setup and virtual headset, falling almost 2000 skill points beginning at the precise moment he unveiled his simulator to the general public. If this sim racer cannot properly adapt to his own private simulator, as a sponsor, how can I be sure he’ll suddenly adapt to a six hundred horsepower race car, and a field of competitors that will kick the shit out of him in the pits if he collects them in a wreck?
These are all very real questions that sponsors would ask.
Lastly, I want to focus on a topic that was a bit overlooked by our readers the previous time we covered JJacoby88’s pursuit of stock car racing stardom here at PRC.net: the role his parents are playing in all of this. JJacoby88 is not a pasty white kid with an undying love for NASCAR, he’s a twenty six year old man who appears to be more than capable of holding down a full time job at a company where you’re forced to interact with a shitload of different people throughout the day, nearly ruling out any claims of crippling spectrum disorders whatsoever.
I would like to know why his parents are willingly helping to humiliate their son with the use of social media, rather than teaching him this is very strange, and very wrong? It takes maybe two minutes of research for a grown adult to realize that awkwardly citing video games as previous auto racing experience – and your adult son dressing in a fake firesuit with the insignia of his minimum wage job – will not result in a flurry of semi-professional stock car teams sending you rookie contracts to drive a race car more powerful than most street-legal Ferrari’s or Corvettes sight unseen. I’m perplexed as to how not one grown adult within the immediate family has said “stop, this is really weird”, but instead continued to help this guy make an ass of himself in front of an international audience by assisting with the creation of these comprehensively delusional YouTube videos.
This goes for the several iRacing members close to him as well, who may have egged him on or even fed him ideas for this pitch; for a supposed ultra-hardcore group of auto racing fans who have in some cases followed stock car racing for decades and should know how the hierarchy works, it’s asinine for them to now believe a random computer nerd putting himself out there asking for a Super Late Model and citing “iRacing” as his experience is anything other than batshit crazy.