Though she certainly hasn’t been able to boast the marketing empire of fellow IndyCar-turned-NASCAR star Danica Patrick, fans of American open wheel racing will undoubtedly be familiar with the name Pippa Mann. Finishing a stout fifth place in the 2010 Firestone Indy Lights series – a championship commonly used as a proving ground for the big show – Mann found herself unable to secure a full-time ride over the following seasons, instead making sporadic appearances for Dale Coyne Racing during marquee events such as the Indianapolis 500. The thirty four year old journeyman driver from England earned a fairly stout reputation among the paddock despite her limited track time in the Verizon IndyCar Series, both for her ability to bring the car home in one piece for a mid-pack finish during otherwise chaotic events – such as the notorious 2015 MAV TV 500 death race at California Speedway – and for her abundance of charity work, which usually centers around the breast cancer awareness foundation as you can see above.
Yet in stumbling upon today’s biggest piece of sim racing news, it’s not her on-track accomplishments that reminded me Pippa Mann exists, but rather her comments away from it.
With sim racers patiently awaiting for more news on the long-awaited release of GTR 3 – which was first teased earlier this year – as well as an estimated release date regarding RaceRoom’s supposed implementation of an iRacing-like online structure – again, heavily teased – SimBin UK (and presumably Sector 3 Studios, as the two are more or less sister companies that share technology) have instead eschewed giving their fans any sort of relevant information about their upcoming products, and announced this morning the creation of a women-only eSports racing series. No, I promise you this is not April Fools’ day. This is like, an actual piece of news I woke up to being posted on legitimate news websites.
And like most reading this, my jaw hit the floor several times in rapid succession, because I was left with more questions than answers.
First, SimBin UK don’t actually have a game on the market to hold this competition in. Sure, they’ve announced GTR 3, but all we’ve seen of the title are assets from RaceRoom Racing Experience placed into the Unreal 4 engine for static images, some of which actually display vehicles clipping into the ground – a pretty amateur effort. So I’m a bit unsure as to how they’re going to conduct some progressive eSports competition when there even isn’t a finished game to do so in, and the last public interview conducted with the developers mentioned there were just three people on the staff roster at the time the article was posted. Of course, the news outlets covering this have conveniently glossed over this pretty integral point, instead carefully describing the situation as “SimBin UK are currently working on GTR 3 for a release next year.”
Okay, let’s ask the most basic question: if the company’s first game game comes out next year, but the eSports tournament begins this fall, and this company currently has no games on the market… What in the fuck is going on?
Next, let’s talk about the wage gap that has supposedly been one of the reasons this progressive approach to an online racing league has been taken in the first place. Like Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, and Harry Potter, the wage gap is a myth perpetuated by emotionally fragile children. Here is the Wall Street Journal debunking it. Here is CBS News debunking it. Here is the Huffington Post debunking it. Here is Reuters proving women actually out-earn men in the workplace. And if this random pretty girl from New York state still doesn’t convince you that this is all a bogus narrative pushed by man-hating feminists, think of it this way – if a wage gap really did exist, whether it be in the working world or the eSports kingdom, wouldn’t 100% of the participants or employees be female, as it would be financially more reasonable to just hire an entire workplace or eSports team full of women and pay them less, than to hire or sign any man in the first place?
But rather than allow myself to go on a tirade against social justice warriors and temporarily turn PRC into Tumblr lite, just like their sister company Sector 3 do when working on new cars or physics updates for RaceRoom Racing Experience, we’ll enlist the help of a professional race car driver to outright embarrass SimBin UK’s pathetic attempts at virtue signalling, and explain why a women’s only eSports series is complete garbage.
Three months ago, in June of 2017 – so this wasn’t that long ago and should still be fresh in the minds of most auto racing fans – an article appeared on car enthusiast blog Jalopnik entitled “This Proposed All-Women’s Racing Series is Some Bullshit.” The post explained how that essentially, some wealthy organization obtained twelve older GP2 cars and would put a bunch of female race car drivers currently without full-time rides in what’s more or less a gimmicky support series. The prize for winning the championship, which is said to be held over six events in 2018, is a full-fledged Formula One test.
Basically, they were doing what SimBin UK have announced they’ll be doing this fall in an eSports series, but with real cars.
Janet Guthrie, the most successful female driver in the history of NASCAR, told the Indianapolis Star it would be a “freak show” and that “it automatically implies women are somehow less capable than men.” Pippa Mann, still fresh off her IndyCar experience, went a step further and penned an entire blog post about it titled “The Handmaid’s Racing Series.” And she did not mince words. This is a legendary tirade that’s worth the ten minutes you’ll spend reading it on the shitter.
And yet with all of these professional female drivers – some with multiple Indianapolis 500-mile races under their belts – slamming a real life gender segregated racing championship, explaining how the concept “made their skin craw” and openly refusing to take part while publicly embarrassing all involved within the organization, somehow the buffoons at SimBin UK thought a virtual counterpart would be a fantastic idea.
SimBin UK, despite not having produced a single retail game as of yet, have the audacity to push a concept that professional race car drivers have publicly ripped to shreds in international news when placed in an identical situation, all while daring to claim segregation is somehow “progressive and inclusive.” And this is in a genre of video games where the input of professional drivers is the holy grail of racing simulator development.
We here at PRC have no problem ripping companies to shreds for buggy video games, but this right here is absolute next level hooliganism. SimBin UK have established themselves as the absolute worst developer in sim racing by literally ignoring any sort of relevant feedback from professional race car drivers that may pertain to the situation at hand, and going forward we here at PRC openly encourage our readers to boycott any of their products, or products that may be affiliated with them.
This is farcical.