My, how things can change in a week. What was once deemed to be fake news by the man at the center of the story himself has now evolved into a full-on admission of guilt, with the sim racing community reportedly consuming record amounts of popcorn as the story has developed in an increasingly bizarre fashion with each passing day. Partaking in an impressive multi-year exercise in fraudulent activity, Scottish sim racer Josh Martin promoted himself to the outside world as a prominent eSports superstar in a quest to attain sponsorship from major sim hardware companies, public appearances at gaming conventions, multiple interviews with the British Broadcasting Corporation, and even claimed to have landed multiple drives with real life team owners due to his sim racing prowess – but upon conducting a proper background check, we here at PRC learned he was little more than an elaborate bullshit artist. Every single aspect of his eSports persona, including his official-looking website that implied he was on the path to being the next Jann Mardenborough or Lucas Ordonez, were extremely liberal interpretations of the truth, if not outright lies.
The world records were bogus accolades in which he was the only participant. Support from Caterham’s Formula One team was merely them responding politely to a piece of fan mail Josh had sent. The eSports championships he had claimed to win in abundance were instead private sessions of Formula One 2013 he’d won against his mates, and the car he’d announced he would be driving in several different news articles had instead been placed up for sale – the team owners dragged into unknowingly marketing a fraudster from a community they didn’t quite understand or care to learn about.
Though ProRace UK’s own Craig Harper took to the comments section of PRC last week to aggressively defend the team’s new eSports Ambassador, labeling those with genuine questions about Josh’s fraudulent-like backstory as “haters” and “trolls”, those same “haters” and “trolls” were proven to be correct in their analysis of the situation, as Josh Martin removed virtually everything off his personal website and issued a public apology for his behavior, which you can read in full by CLICKING HERE.
Refusing to drop the role-playing element of his fictionalized sim racing career, Martin’s piece reads as if it were a professional PR response, angering users on Reddit even further by appearing to provide “justification for willingly misleading people” rather than a genuine apology, at least according to a user under the name of 1Operator. The sim racer in question goes on to state “this does not sound to me like someone who is sorry for what they’ve done, but instead just sorry they got caught/exposed.” I agree with his analysis, as the careful wording of his apology, plus my own investigation into the story of Josh Martin’s fabricated sim racing career uncovered such widespread deception and dishonesty over a period of several years that were in some cases aided by his teammates and online friends, there is simply no way the guy woke up one day and had a sudden change of heart.
In fact, when Josh’s public apology had been linked to certain groups on Facebook, teammates of Josh’s arrived to attack other users and discredit the expose him again, even though Josh himself had already admitted the article’s we’d written about him were truthful, removed all content from his website, and issued some kind of public apology for his actions. This clearly displays that this magical adventure was not the work of a delusional sim racer completely detached from reality, but a group of sim racers working in tandem to benefit from fraudulent behavior.
As the story has spread like wildfire throughout the sim racing community, we have learned even more about Josh Martin’s antics, some of which remained private knowledge until today. A former league member claims Josh had promised them TV time on the European auto racing network MotorsTV that never materialized due to MotorsTV already having a contract in place to televise iRacing events (not to mention the Emails he used as “proof” being doctored), while another told a story of Martin offering paid private training and setup building sessions to drivers who were faster than him. A third, the man who designed Josh’s team logo, contacted me on Twitter to say that Josh merely took a conceptual design, promised “income and exposure” from his sponsors, and ran without paying him.
An anonymous reader of PRC has also discovered that the entry level BMW race car Josh had posed with in November of 2016 had been listed for sale as early as October of 2016, indicating that both Josh Martin and ProRace UK’s Craig Harper knew that contrary to the media frenzy and multiple BBC interviews discussing his transition to real racing, Josh would not be driving the car in 2017, but continued to publicize the endeavor anyway for a period of several months, intentionally misleading potential sponsors and sim racers interested in the story.
Though it is unlikely Josh acquired sponsors through his relentless self-promotion with ProRace UK, any sponsors who did financially contribute to Josh’s real-world racing career after being persuaded by the promotional campaign now have a pretty open and shut legal case. The classifieds page claims ProRace UK had been forced to sell the car due to a driver situation, and also reduced the price of the vehicle due to the HMRC bill. The articles about Josh hadn’t even been written yet, hell the promotional pictures might not have even been taken, and they already knew they weren’t going to be racing the car, but then they went ahead and embarked on a massive media tour anyway knowing it was a sham, dragging the sim racing community through the mud in the process.
Maybe the European auto racing climate is different than here in North America, but this is the kind of shit that gets you laughed out of an entire racing community over here.
Lastly, one of Josh’s female acquaintances – presumably his girlfriend, but I’m not quite sure – has arrived on PRC to defend Josh even though the same public apology we’ve linked to on Reddit has also been posted on his respective Facebook pages. Posting under the name of Alexis Summers, the Scottish girl can be seen aggressively lashing out at our articles exposing Josh as an elaborate sim racing fraud, a bizarre move considering he has already admitted the articles were factual and taken down his website in response. However, coupled with the behavior of his teammates displayed above, I am under the impression that the public apology was a cold, calculated move to appease the larger sim racing community, while in private a much different story has been told to his friends, family, and sim racing teammates – one which portrays him as the victim.
Though his website has been almost completely erased and a public apology issued on several different social media platforms, Martin is still scheduled to appear at a video game convention taking place this July in Aberdeen, operating under the name of 4TheGamers Game Con 2017. Given the drastic difference between Josh’s personal stance on the allegations of fraud among his family, friends, and sim racing teammates, versus his public wishes to disappear from the spotlight for a period of time and re-emerge as a “true talent”, it remains to be seen whether Josh will attend this convention as originally planned, or responsibly back out of the event himself.
One of the most bizarre, hilarious, and confusing stories ever to manifest in the world of sim racing, the saga of Josh Martin has been nothing short of a wild ride. Knowing what kind of people naturally flock to sim racing, it’s not a stretch to imagine some sim racers may be overly delusional in their accomplishments or see the hobby as an extension of a career they were unable to pursue away from the keyboard, but Josh Martin’s multi-year trip spent angering league after league and community member after community member while convincing international news agencies he was an eSports phenom is no doubt the stuff of legends. Crafting an intricate web of lies dating back to a time when Codemasters’ Formula One 2013 was a brand new, $60 product you could purchase from Wal-Mart or Best Buy, Martin’s inexplicable mix of delusion, deceit, dishonesty, and brainwashed followers will remain unmatched for years, if not decades.
Knowing how long he was able to remain undetected – those with genuine questions relentlessly attacked by his online teammates and various acquaintances who were no doubt instructed to provide false anecdotal evidence in support of his character – we may never know the full extent of the damage he has done to the sim racing community. Thankfully, we can at least say that period has now come to a conclusion.