CART 88 Has Been Released for rFactor!

No longer constrained to the semi-private confines of the Historic Sim Racing Organization for testing purposes, the highly anticipated CART 88 mod for ISI’s original rFactor has now been unleashed to the public, and you can grab a copy by clicking HERE. A season dominated by Penske’s Danny Sullivan, in which virtually every team on the grid played musical chairs with engine suppliers and chassis, the classic American open wheel racing mod is the pinnacle of what the gracefully aging simulator can do when pushed to the absolute limit by a talented group of modders. HSO have meticulously constructed every single car to take the green flag over the course of the fifteen round championship, including one-off Indy 500 entries, part time drivers, and even brief chassis swaps that only lasted for a partial segment of the season, while also faithfully replicating mechanical improvements teams had made from event to event – such as Teo Fabi’s notoriously unreliable Porsche gradually improving throughout the season.

Part highly detailed rFactor mod, and part virtual museum, CART 88 is as comprehensive of a living, breathing encyclopedia as it is exhilarating to drive; an open wheel counterpart of the mammoth HistorX Touring Car package that has established itself as one of the all time legendary releases for the popular sim racing modding platform. Recently, we caught up with resident HSO physics guru Richard Wilks to learn about how the in-house HSO modders felt when refining the physics, which will be used for a year-long championship that mirrors the real world 1988 CART schedule, with the exception of the East Rutherford Grand Prix.

Hey guys, while you all wait for the CART 88 mod to finish downloading, I’d like to talk about something that came up in a conversation with one of the Historic Sim Racing admins during the testing process for this mod. He was telling me that after he drove the cars, another high profile mod we were running at the time didn’t seem as fun to drive anymore – he argued that it was way too time consuming to create a setup that made the car feel planted and ready to attack the track.

Now we all know the sim racing landscape is awash with mods or even vanilla content that feels artificially difficult or “funny” to drive – sometimes it’s twitch, or demands a great deal of focus, to the point where it’s hard to understand how someone strapped into the thing for real survived more than a handful of laps, when you can’t even make it around the track from the comfort of your sim rig.

I want to stress at this point that I am not talking about raw numbers being right or wrong here, but of the overall feel and connection that you experience when driving a virtual car on the limit. It’s a mix between the last little slice of tire adjustments that admittedly already borders on guesswork (because as I’ve stated before, it’s wrong for any one developer or modder to claim they’ve nailed tires), together with the force feedback, visual cues from the behavior of the car itself, and how this all relates to the way the car was implemented into the software.

You see, the last little bit of testing is the point where not everybody can sit back and analyze if this particular part of the simulation is at a good level or not. My rule of thumb is that a car must feel “natural” for you to drive. If you are a high skilled sim racer, you already know how to drive. Therefore, when you sit and drive it, all the inputs you receive must convey exactly what the car is doing. You shouldn’t have to be “translating” the inputs to what the car is supposed to be doing. To more clearly elaborate upon what I mean with this, imagine you are driving old IndyCar Racing II with a keyboard or a joystick. You are basically translating on the fly what the car is doing in relation to your inputs on the controls. That’s why even if you know how to drive a car, even at speed, you will basically start almost from zero if you choose to play a racing game like this, when it comes to muscle memory, or applying the theory to practice.

So the goal I had in mind with CART 88 was to create cars that are not only realistic in terms of numbers and performance, but also in terms of feel. You are supposed to sit in the car, and be quick right off the bat if you already know what you are doing. A real example is how hard it is to light the tires when exiting the pits in most open wheel mods, when it’s very easy to do in real life. This sounds like a simplistic example, but I knew I was getting things right once I was able to do this out of the pits seamlessly.

Once again, I am not talking about fudging numbers, I am talking about getting the final 1% right, the percent that separates a really enjoyable mod to drive, from just a “good” mod that sits in your already cluttered rFactor install. The the harder the car is to drive, usually as you go back in time, the more important this becomes. During the CART 88 testing process, I went through twenty different tire compounds I had built, all after I had completed the rest of the car, until I achieved the natural feeling I was searching for, making such minuscule changes that despite all of them being realistic from a pure number vs. real life point of view, made a huge difference in terms of car behavior on the limit. And you need this degree of work and dedication if you want to get something right; it’s like everything else in life, you can’t shortcut your way to knowledge.

Cars talk a lot to you in real life, and this is something sims struggle to do, not because they can’t, but because this gets neglected. Now, I know everybody has different equipment and all that, but if you get this right, the car will feel natural no matter what gear you are using, and the amount of input translation goes down to a minimum, making the sim racer feel one with the car on the edge of adhesion.

We at the Historic Sim Racing Organization hope you enjoy CART 88.

Weighing in at just over 160 megabytes – a very reasonable size for such a large collection of cars – HSO’s CART 88 release may possibly be the final hurrah for a simulator that will go down in history as one of the most influential pieces of software ever released in the genre.

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Introducing the #2 Slightly Mad Studios Chevrolet SS

It’s finally time to reveal what we’ve kept under wraps for a solid four months: we’ve turned the website into a race team.

Thanks to the support of Ian Bell and the team at Slightly Mad Studios, PRC is now much more than just a highly controversial sim racing blog – with myself taking over the driving aspect, and crew chief duties handled by former ARCA OK Tire Series Late Model winner/competitor turned iRacing Peak Anti-Freeze Series virtual crew chief Dustin Lengert (whose iRacing team Simworx have swept the opening two rounds of the 2017 season, and whom you readers know under the call-sign of Maple), the #2 Slightly Mad Studios Chevrolet SS is the pinnacle of hardcore sim racers crossing over into reality.

While sim racing publicity stunts traditionally consist of past online champions receiving little more than a private test session at a closed facility, this right here is the real deal. With our 2017 schedule set to take us all over British Columbia following the WESCAR Late Model tour (formerly the ARCA OK Tire Series) and miscellaneous one-off events at non-tour tracks, potentially taking us into Washington or Alberta as well, it’s going to be a chaotic summer to say the least.

Thanks to our familiarity with the world of sim racing, what we plan to do throughout the season is give our readers a bit of insight into our adventures from a sim racer’s standpoint – so this’ll include on-board footage with spotter audio, voice-overs, articles detailing virtual setup changes versus reality, discussions on what driving skills transfer over from sim racing to a legitimate competitive environment, and at the moment there are talks to have a guy with a camera come follow us around for a few weeks. Planning this stuff is a giant pain in the ass so don’t throw a hissyfit if something mentioned above doesn’t come to fruition, but the idea is to take PRC into a completely new and exciting direction; aside from the typical news and opinions you’ve come to know/love/hate from us, we’ll do our best to take you inside the cockpit when it’s time to step away from the computer monitor and put on the firesuit.

Obviously this venture would not be happening without the help of Ian Bell, and before the comments section turns into a nuclear wasteland, it’s important to clear up any misconceptions that may arise from the announcement of this partnership. After we interviewed Ian in July of last year, he began seeing PRC in a bit of a different lightgenuinely appreciating some of the lengthy critical posts about Project CARS written by myself or anonymous Reader Submissions – and we began conversing in a somewhat productive manner. Wanting to progress my own amateur racing career beyond econobox racing, and with Ian needing a creative way to promote his upcoming game – which you now know as Project CARS 2 – a sponsorship deal made a surprising amount of sense.

Along with the race car sponsorship, we’ve all been brought on-board by Slightly Mad Studios to help poke holes in Project CARS 2 before it hits store shelves – which regardless of how you feel about the Project CARS franchise, it’s a pretty genius call to recruit the most notorious nit-pickers in the sim community for that task.

In the interest of maintaining transparency with our readers, I am indeed paid by Slightly Mad Studios for my internal feedback, and they have provided me with a complimentary PC to experience the pre-release versions with as little performance hiccups as possible. However, I have it in writing that the abrasive style that fuels entries on PRC will not be hindered by our new partnership with Slightly Mad Studios, and there are no quotas enforced in regards to publishing X amount of viral marketing pieces. Given the non-disclosure agreements in place and all of that fun stuff I have to dance around, you’ll only hear about Project CARS 2 or other upcoming titles by Slightly Mad Studios if there’s an overwhelming request for it, or something major has happened that warrants an opinion piece. It’s certainly going to be tricky to navigate and refine, but everyone involved in this knows that sim racers like reading PRC for the off-the-rails format, and it would be wrong to drastically reshape that.

Lastly, I think it’s important we do everything in our power to prevent sim racers on the outside looking in from believing this opportunity is all the result of pie-in-the-sky thinking and the Lord above merely granting our wishes. What you see in the pictures above is the product of many things going right in our respective personal lives over a period of about 36 months which allowed us to pursue something like this in the first place, as well as enough appropriate real-world racing experience across a variety of cars, tracks, and classes to make this a viable option.

We were not handed a race car for winning a private sim racing competiton, nor are we merely YouTube personalities with a lot of ad money and little in the way of knowledge to tackle the challenges of campaigning a Late Model Stock Car; Dustin is a former race winner turned crew chief in a series that has produced drivers who have eventually made it to ARCA and the NASCAR K&N series, and I paid my dues & proved jumping in some kind of a real car wouldn’t be a complete disaster by winning Rookie of the Year (and nearly the championship as well) in a smaller class. While to the uninformed it may look like we found a magic genie to make our late night Teamspeak pipe dreams come true, the reality is we worked our asses off to grow the website into an entity that made waves within the community, marketed ourselves to a sponsor who viewed the size of our audience as an asset, and then had the means to put it all together lined up when the funding came through.

The idea behind this adventure is to represent sim racing to the motorsports world in a way that legitimizes sim racing as a driving tool, and reversing the multiple PR disasters that have been created thanks to placing computer nerds in the seat of high performance race cars when some of them didn’t even possess a valid driver’s license.

Welcome to the show.

 

New Company Name, Same Horrid NASCAR Game

So the NASCAR license did change hands. Sort of.

The downfall of NASCAR games started with an European shovelware publisher known as Eutechnyx acquiring the right’s to America’s most prominent auto racing series, a bizarre decision considering the team’s lack of any reasonable proximity to the reference material, as well as NASCAR’s non-existent popularity across the Atlantic ocean. After a predictable string of horrible releases that quite frankly embarrassed both casual and hardcore NASCAR fans alike, key staff members jumped ship from the eternal dumpster fire responsible for Ride to Hell: Retribution and Auto Club Revolution, promptly rebranded themselves as Dusenberry-Martin Interactive, promised a substantial increase in the overall quality of future products, yet slapped NASCAR fans in the face by re-releasing NASCAR ’14 with an updated driver roster, calling it NASCAR ’15, and still crediting development of the game to Eutechnyx, at least according to Wikipedia.

With critical reception consistently falling below 50% with each yearly release, Dusenberry-Martin Interactive then hastily went out and recruited Monster Games, developers of the critically acclaimed NASCAR: Dirt to Daytona over a decade ago on significantly different hardware – supposedly giving them just six months to slap a game together. The result was a complete disaster; NASCAR Heat Evolution used engine sounds and car performance attributes from 2000, did not feature caution flags in online play, and in the end was a product so horribly unfinished, you’re unable to crash out and retire from a race. I have been sent over the catchfence at Daytona, only to head into the pits and regain the lead eighteen laps later. I’ve tried several times to enjoy Heat Evolution for what it is – a lighthearted NASCAR games with authentic liveries and tracks – and it’s just not possible. I always find myself heading back to the EA Sports offerings of the early 2000’s.

Unfortunately, what I’m about to write is not a poor April Fool’s joke. Once again, key staff members have jumped ship from the eternal dumpster fire responsible for NASCAR The Game: 2013 and NASCAR Heat Evolution, and rebranded themselves as 704 Games. Under the new moniker, a sequel to NASCAR Heat Evolution will be released this fall – the sequel to a game where the car is sent barrel-rolling if you do so much as brush the wall.

Seething rage does not begin to describe how I feel about this announcement; what appears to be largely the same group of individuals responsible for the officially licensed NASCAR abominations dating back to 2011 have basically taken to re-naming their company every couple of years to continue churning out garbage NASCAR products under the guise of “next year’s game will be different, we promise, see, we have a new company name and a totally different mentality”, a line of games no fans have ever been satisfied with and openly blast on the game’s official subreddit by comparing it to games released a decade ago – which has sinced moved to a new subreddit to reflect the change in the company’s name.

There is no long-winded rant to follow this news. This is silly, and it needs to stop. The NASCAR license needed to change hands, and this wasn’t the way to do it. Obviously I can’t sit here and label these guys as scam artists or anything, but as a consumer, what I’m seeing is the same company changing their name every few years to retain the license through what I assume must be some sort of loophole, only to push out horrid video games that upset fans and tarnish the image of the brand. NASCAR console games used to be absolutely awesome time-killers with compelling on-track action and an insane amount of shit to do after the festivities in victory lane – unfortunately, this is now no longer the case. Don’t give these guys your money for the sequel to Heat Evolution, and maybe NASCAR will figure it out for themselves that shit needs to change.

It used to be so much better; there’s really no reason for NASCAR games to go backwards despite extreme advances in technology.

Advocating for Stagnance

Once again, the sim racing community displays their bizarre mentality which prohibits the genre from moving forward.

While racing simulators can be a traditionally dull affair, devoid of life, fancy progression systems, and interesting diversions aside from the sterile on-track experience, the men and women at Codemasters are making an effort to change that with the upcoming DiRT 4. With a portion of the team – who have grown quite large since acquiring a major slice of Evolution Studios – working hard to make the simulation physics even more realistic than the sideforce-heavy driving model in 2015’s DiRT Rally, another part of the gang are hell-bent on crafting a compelling campaign experience to go along with the ruthless rally driving sim racers are eagerly anticipating to get their hands on this summer.

Codemasters’ latest blog update details the in-depth Team Management feature which will be available in DiRT 4, adding elements not seen since 2007’s Race Driver GRID into the core gameplay experience. Not only do we anticipate DiRT 4 to be the most realistic and authentic off-road sim ever created, but users will also be able to acquire crew & staff members, sign sponsors, design their liveries with a large roster of in-game templates (akin to the original GRID), buy & sell cars, as well as develop facilities to upgrade your vehicle at a quicker rate. You’re no longer just a rally driver; you’re running your own rally team. The giant inflatable Monster Energy cans and avant garde menus of past titles that shot you right into the action will now be replaced by a comprehensive meta-game that will serve to compliment what you accomplish behind the wheel, and sure, some people will have more money than they know what to do with only a few days into owning the game, but the existence of such management features greatly helps to flesh out the world of DiRT 4.

However, this hasn’t sat well with some sim racers.

Codemasters are going above and beyond with DiRT 4, introducing several elements which serve to substantially lengthen the longevity of the game and give some sort of underlying purpose to your on-track activity, and sim racers are actively saying they would rather have a mundane simulator devoid of life and meaning. While mainstream sports games such as FIFA, NBA 2K, and Madden are praised for their pseudo Twitter feeds, extensive visual customization, financial negotiations, in-game radio shows, and even cutscenes to enhance the immersion factor, a racing game developer attempting to add genre-appropriate elements like managing a pit crew, signing sponsors, designing a livery, and keeping an eye on your finances, have been scoffed at by snobbish sim racers, who would seemingly prefer these games to be permanently stuck in 1998.

It’s a very confusing phenomenon, to say the least. In terms of raw staff size, Codemasters may possibly be the single biggest racing game developer thanks to their recent acquisition of the staff from Evolution Studios, so it’s not like the simulation elements are being cut from DiRT 4 in favor of the management meta-games – it’s merely the icing on the cake of an already impressive package thanks to a random stage generator, 50 vehicles, and three distinct racing disciplines. Yet sim racers are actively voicing that they don’t care for these features in the slightest.

It’s extremely ironic how hardcore auto racing fans, who obsess over real-world silly season sponsor announcements, draft up fantasy liveries for their favorite drivers, and use sim racing as a way to live out their childhood dreams of running a race team with their friends, actively dismiss a solid attempt by a developer to include these elements in their newest game; instead crying that these features aren’t welcome.

This is proof that the sim racing community is absolutely off the rails, and I pray to God that developers are selective in what community feedback they choose to take into account; sim racers are whining that a developer went above and beyond to create a well-rounded experience from the paddock to the podium, instead implying the genre should remain stagnant. Thank you, Codemasters, for making a very tangible effort to create a compelling experience both on and off the track. Please don’t listen to these clowns, you’re on the right track with DiRT 4.

Doing It Right: How Sim Racing Can Improve as an eSport

While the Visa Vegas eRace, Eurogamer Assetto Corsa Championship, and the iRacing World Grand Prix Series may be known as the absolute pinnacle of competitive online sim racing, virtual auto racing as an eSport simply hasn’t taken off in the slightest. Despite hundreds of thousands of viewers tuning in to watch world class Counter Strike or League of Legends matches, what’s arguably the most difficult and skill-based genre of video games existing on the planet – hardcore racing simulators – are struggling to reel in any sort of audience whatsoever. Attempt after attempt is made to thrust sim racing into the eSports spotlight alongside much larger titles, but regardless of who exactly is behind the organization of it all, and the simulator chosen to hold the specific competition in question, the end result is always the same; nobody cares who wins, the on-track product is unexciting, the commentators far too enthusiastic for the event, technical issues destroy the flow of the broadcast, and barely anybody tuned in to begin with. League of Legends matches are occasionally covered by ESPN, but sim racing events draw a crowd on par with high school volleyball matches – and that’s pulling from a worldwide audience?

So how do we fix this?

Let’s throw some ideas out there.

And we’ll start by talking about the broadcast crew. Right now, the biggest problem is commentators either go all out and pretend online races are these ultra-serious life changing epiphanies in a desperate attempt to build a portfolio for some kind of real life commentating gig, or it’s absurdly obvious that the commentary crew is sitting in a dark basement waiting for mommy to cook them some hot pockets – and I think on an iRacing stream this actually happened once, where one guy freaked on his roommate for busting into the room during a broadcast.

The commentators need to approach the event with the mentality that it’s an organized event with a big prize on the line, but at the end of the day remember it’s also just a video game where some guys are turning laps in their pyjamas and they can be free to joke around, use slang, and call the action as if they’re genuinely just happy to hang out and watch a race. Two guys who are fantastic at maintaining this balance are Shaun Cole and Ian Plasch – the former being the personality behind The SimPit, whereas the latter is a popular iRacing streamer with his own fanbase. Personally I love listening to Shaun as he really gets that it’s just a fun hobby at the end of the day, whereas Ian is still young enough to appeal to the younger, eSports centric audience.

The reason I suggest to stay away from serious-minded commentators, is that occasionally things can and do go wrong during the on-track action, and it creates a really poor suspension of disbelief effect. Deep monologues discussing alternate race strategies do not go well with cars glitching into the track surface and shooting off into the stratosphere, followed by commentators awkwardly trying to decide if they should explain the game suffered a technical issue, or pretend there was a sudden “mechanical failure” – as they’ve done in the past with iRacing server failures. A laid-back, casual voiceover is a much more acceptable pair for the random carnage sim racing sometimes provides.

Next, let’s talk about the competitors themselves. I’m going to catch a lot of flak for this one, but let’s go there anyways. No matter how many huge eSport racing events are held, one thing has never changed – the drivers are boring, lifeless personalities. I’m sorry guys, the majority of sim events I watch, it’s a flock of faceless Europpean forklift drivers. You have to captivate your viewers, establish heroes and villans – which in turn allows the audience to either identify, support, or root against the numerous drivers on the grid – and that simply isn’t happening in the genre at the moment, so nobody is even caring who wins these competitions. Go watch the Visa vegas eRace again, it’s ten guys who all sound the same, look like they just finished their shift at some obscure Finnish warehouse, and were told to quickly get into this weird Firesuit to pretend they’re real race car drivers. Sorry, no, this is silly. Unfortunately if you want to grow sim racing as an eSport, you’ve got to move away from “the best sim racers in the world”, because as a viewer they have the personality of an Ikea dining set.

Look at the biggest personalities in the YouTube realm: BlackPanthaa, EmptyBox, SlapTrain, xMattyG, tiametmarduk, Yorkie065… all of these people alone have exponentially more viewers than the iRacing World Grand Prix Series. Round them all up and put them into a Championship with a few top-caliber drivers such as Bono Huis and Greger Huttu. As a viewer, I now want to watch SlapTrain get the shit kicked out of him and piss myself at the various fanbases for each sim racing YouTuber fighting in the chat after a wreck, which means the story of Greger Huttu winning his 19th championship or whatever is supported by equally compelling sub-plots. Right now, there is no drama, because nobody cares if Ray Alfalla wins 1, 5, 10, or 20 races in iRacing because he’s literally some dude from Cuba who doesn’t even have a driver’s license. However, there are 1.4 million people subscribed to SlapTrain, and 51,000 people subscribed to EmptyBox. A whole bunch of those people are going to show up to see them rub fenders.

Imagine if every single Formula One driver on the 2017 grid was Kimi Raikkonen. Twenty-two Kimi’s all giving one sentence interviews in simple English does not make for good television, and when you’re trying to grow sim racing as an eSport, it does not indicate to potential sponsors or those on the fence that they should tune in next week as well. That’s what outsiders see sim racing as right now. That needs to change.

So the idea would be to go out and get all of the prominent YouTube personalities, and mix them in with a flock of very talented sim racers, to sort of balance out the grid with a pack of drivers who can run at the front and set an example of “this is what top level sim racing looks like.” The personalities give people a reason to cheer for their favorite YouTuber, and at the end of the day the series still has credibility thanks to the cluster of guys running at the front.

Now the next topic to address is the officiating, and this is one of the most important parts of the whole series – it has to be FUN for all involved. Look, thanks to my connections to certain people within the world of iRacing, as well as some of the individuals who have sent me screenshots of the internal iRacing World Championship forums over the past few months, it’s time to let you all in on something that isn’t much of a secret to the top ranked drivers on the service – Shannon Whitmore is a power-tripping asshole. The eSport series officially sanctioned by NASCAR and sponsored by a major automotive brand is basically one guy in a private section of the iRacing forums ruling the championship with an iron fist, and it would be absolute chaos if I could run wild with the print screen key and post it all on PRC. Some of the participants in the iRacing series are under twenty years old, really just kids who happen to kick ass at a NASCAR video game, and yet the head steward power-trips like a middle school teacher unsatisfied with the fact he’s on his third career choice. It’s absolutely, one hundred percent not warranted.

Thankfully, older iRacing members can act as role models or support systems for the younger sim racers, but holy mother of God, the stuff I’ve seen is insane. You CANNOT treat your sim racers like this as a steward. Officials have to remember that this is a GAME and eSports competitiors are just here to have fun and compete for a bunch of money, because they happen to be absurdly good at driving fake cars. If the competitors aren’t having fun, the on-track product will suffer.

So what cars, and what tracks? Formula One, NASCAR, and IndyCar are suffering from dwindling crowds in recent years because people have lost the passion they once had for it, so why are organizers believing that Virtual NASCAR or Virtual Formula One will catch on to some extent? Nah man, change it up. I’m not saying GT3 cars at Bristol Motor Speedway is a good idea, but the rumors about NASCAR going to Circuit of the Americas, or IndyCar going to the Daytona Infield Road Course, now’s the time to try it – this gives viewers a reason to tune in as it’s something unique that the real world of auto racing isn’t giving them. And if the event goes well, congratulations, you can now show IndyCar that an event at the Daytona Infield track went well, you had all these viewers, and the real thing just might be every bit as compelling.

There’s also the option of developers creating a special eSports-centric race car to level the playing field and prevent any one driver or team from dominating and turning the race into a snoozer; look at Gran Turismo 6’s Red Bull X1, for example (but maybe not as extreme). Send a car like that to the Nurburgring Nordschleife in the rain, or if a game allows for it, Spa in the snow with special snow tires. Why shouldn’t the iRacing World Championship Grand Prix Series head to the Nurburgring? Nobody can get hurt, and it’s still within the realm of possibilities; let’s do it.

Lastly, let’s talk about the reward, and the inevitable follow-up. Sorry mates, I don’t care if some pasty white dude from Europe wins 250k USD. Sure, the Visa Vegas eRace put up a huge prize, but what is the winner going to do with the money, hookers and blow? We don’t know, only a few of us ever found out thanks to keeping up with obscure sim racing news websites, and that’s lame. Even with iRacing, they put up $10,000 for a championship win, but it doesn’t go anywhere. Three time NASCAR Peak Anti-Freeze champion Ray Alfalla was interviewed by Shaun Cole of The SimPit a few months ago, and it eventually came out that the multiple iRacing championships he’d attained hadn’t led to much of anything.

This isn’t exciting for the viewers. If nothing is on the line aside from a novelty cheque that’ll go towards copious amounts of takeout and an escort or two, nobody cares about a sim racer having his life changed by a five figure prize pool.

So let’s throw ’em in a race car. Organizers of an upcoming eSports series need to track down an amateur team willing to give a complete rookie a shot, and throughout the season have one of the team members come into the commentary booth as a third booth personality to evaluate the drivers from a racing ettiquette standpoint – and this means everything from throttle application, line choice, respect for other drivers, strategy… the whole nine yards. Whoever wins the championship receives a test day with said amateur team (so we’re talking Formula 4 or Clio Cup here), and that too is broadcast live as the final episode of the online broadcast – you spend all these races rooting for a guy, and the end payoff is seeing the guy you cheered for strap his ass into a modest race car and try his hands at the real deal. If he passes the test, he’s got a ride, and if he fails the test because he’s too fat to fit in the seat OR the skills just didn’t transfer over in the manner he intended, he walks home with $20,000 in prize money.

Provided the resources are directed into the proper areas which are lacking, sim racing can take off as an eSport, but right now organizers seem to be throwing multiple piles of shit at a wall and hoping it sticks. Unfortunately, it’s not – 22 virtual Kimi Raikkonen’s are parading around a circuit, and giving viewers zero reasons to tune into each broadcast. The ideas I’ve outlined above are ways to try and turn it into something more, but they’re just that – ideas. Maybe somebody will be crazy enough to try them.