You knew this one was coming.
I think a whole bunch of our critics here at PRC.net have been eagerly anticipating an article on this subject – or personality, rather – because they just know I’m undoubtedly going to unleash my far-right rhetoric in a profoundly embarrassing manner, establishing myself as little more than basement-dwelling man-child who’s just mad he hasn’t scored a date in a while. And while I fully acknowledge there will be some people who deem this post the final straw in a long list of questionable articles, and vow to never visit PRC again, I can assure you there’s a legitimate point I’m trying to make here – and it’s not my fault if your inner white knight prevents you from seeing things how they really are.
Let’s get the elephant in the room out of the way; I don’t hold female gamers in particularly high regard. While I’ve had the honor of battling the one and only Monica Clara Brand in many iRacing IndyCar events back when she was still an active user on the service, and looking back on that period of time can say with absolute certainty she’s one of the most enjoyable sim racers I’ve ever driven against, unfortunately her formidable talent and friendly demeanor was an exception to the gamer girl stereotype, not the norm. Between Twitch streamers who blatantly abuse the site’s Terms of Service – whipping their tits out and broadcasting fake dinner dates rather than playing video games – all the way to iRacing team owners having a kid with one of their drivers, and the former host of sim racing’s most popular YouTube show appearing on a Sugar Daddy website, it’s hard for me to not feel as if women are incapable of chilling out and being “one of the guys” in a male-dominated hobby. There’s almost always some sort of intrusive, unnecessary storyline that comes along with them, and it’s very frustrating to deal with if you just want to hang out and play some video games with your buddies.
I’d always like to be proven wrong, as a down-to-earth female presence within the community prevents us from venturing too far off the beaten path and opening up about their secret obsession with Paul Menard erotica, but unfortunately we’ve got another personality to add to the list of women who enter the world of sim racing with an ulterior motive.
VirtualR.net describes SimRacingGirl as a “promising new sim racing YouTuber” who aims to be an alternative of sorts to personalities such as Shaun Cole and Matt Orr – veteran virtual drivers whom on top of registering a hell of a lot of time within their simulator of choice, also manage popular YouTube channels that focus on both hardware reviews, as well as in-game commentary. As a presenter and a budding personality, she’s honestly not bad. The soft-spoken Dutch hobbyist known simply as Sinem to her friends takes a very traditional approach to her presentations, combining the delivery and tone of an ESL morning news anchor, with outfits that do not detract attention away from the subject at hand in any manner whatsoever – unlike a personality many will undoubtedly draw comparisons to. There will certainly be no yellow dress episodes, online dating discoveries, or secret pregnancies here; just a woman who appears to be as passionate about the hobby as everyone else within the community. And I can’t really knock that.
Of course, the socially stunted among us sim racers are still fawning over her as if they’ve yet to discover the magic of PornHub, but at this point it’s merely an additional supplement of free entertainment that only the strange world of sim racing can provide. I have learned to sit back and laugh at these pathetic comments, knowing they are the precise answers people are looking for when some question why the genre isn’t growing as it should.
But behind the embarrassing comments left by lonely sim racers on her YouTube videos, and reviews of Fanatec hardware that were otherwise uninteresting to me – but seemed to be highly appreciated by a whole bunch of sim racers – I started to become a bit perplexed by what was occurring in front of me. Look, a few months ago, I caught wind of some Instagram account named SimRacingGirl, and joked to the other guys on TeamSpeak that we should get someone like Sev to start a similar account called SimRacingBoy, where he poses with shitty PS3 racing games in UGG boots, aviators, and a leather jacket. Yet with virtually nobody knowing who in the fuck Senim Temur was, it seemed like overnight, she landed on the front page of VirtualR.
Now let me explain why I was caught off guard. This community is small enough as a whole, where if someone starts their own website, or they start writing for a website, or whatever – Will Marsh of SimRacingPaddock, for example – most people know their background, their history, and just generally who they are in the world of sim racing. When Will started SimRacingPaddock, I knew him as a guy who was a long-time iRacer that also did some background work for Inside Sim Racing, and he was one of the many people whom Darin got pissy at and told off. And it’s the same with myself – a lot of you came to PRC because you thought it would be hilarious to read a bunch of elaborate ramblings from the guy who was banned from iRacing. Maybe you liked some of my reviews at RaceDepartment, others may have raced me in private leagues… The point I’m trying to make, is that it’s very rare to start up an operation as a complete nobody, and suddenly receive coverage from major sim racing outlets.
Even rarer, is to just sort of show up in the community completely unannounced, and land endorsement after endorsement from major players in the industry, to the point where your living room is basically full of stuff that most of us have to be on a private mailing list to receive. Bored out of my mind at work, I scrolled through SimRacingGirl’s Facebook fan page, and for a span of about two months, it’s nothing but “look what came in the mail today.” Brands such as Fanatec, Thrustmaster, and Vesaro all basically shower her with elaborate sim gear the majority of those as new to the genre as her couldn’t possibly afford or even contemplate purchasing, and most established personalities could only dream of receiving for free. It would be completely understandable if she had an audience in the tens or even hundreds of thousands – as Inside Sim Racing managed to achieve during their prime – but we’re looking at someone who was lucky if she got ten likes on an Instagram picture, or more than five comments on a YouTube video. This supposedly warranted many hardware manufacturers literally throwing brand new sim gear at her.
People this new to the scene, with virtually no following and (at the time) four YouTube videos, simply do not receive shipment upon shipment of expensive Fanatec and Vesaro gear. The process of merely acquiring a review copy for an upcoming game is a pain in the ass, and that’s not just from a PRC standpoint, that’s from people who actually run respected outlets who don’t shit on games for making Jimmie Johnson’s car the wrong shade of blue. Personalities this new and relatively unheard of also do not receive lucrative sponsorship opportunities despite an objectively minuscule audience. Call me jealous all you want, this is nothing short of suspicious, and y’all know it.
I think it would be understandable if the name Senim Temur was synonymous with three-time iRacing champion, and she was overcoming her social anxiety by branching out to YouTube videos, but neither myself nor the guys tasked with lurking the various sim racing forums know who the hell she is, and more important why several hardware companies are burying this random girl in top of the line sim gear.
Now I could stop there and let you all take in the sheer absurdity of what you see above – sim gear manufacturers delivering a constant stream of pricey hardware to the apartment of a random YouTuber nobody’s ever heard of – but I can actually take things a step further.
Combing through the several YouTube comments just to see how SimRacingGirl is perceived by the community she’s suddenly found herself at the center of, a few odd users suggest for her to enter the world of PC sim racing, as in her earlier videos she’s strictly a PlayStation 4 owner, with titles such as Project CARS, Assetto Corsa, and F1 2016 powering her hobby. Despite virtually no audience, no ad revenue coming in through her YouTube videos (it’s one dollar per thousand views), and barely any real following to speak of whatsoever aside from numerous high profile endorsements from reputable hardware brands, she suddenly acquires a top-of-the-line gaming PC to boot. Again, nobody really knows who this girl is, and at the time her YouTube channel hadn’t exactly taken off by any means, but she’s able to land several major sponsorship deals in a row, and swims in expensive sim gear that’s quite frankly beyond comprehension for someone this new to the hobby.
All of this is of course a total coincidence; acquiring sponsorship upon sponsorship for your quirky, unknown sim racing YouTube channel is perfectly normal in this hobby, and everyone from Joe Nathan and Will Marsh to Empty Box and GTSpeedster have entire spare bedrooms full of unused, pristine sim gear that retails for hundreds upon hundreds of dollars. This is just par for the course in sim racing, it’s the reason everyone starts a YouTube channel with videos of their shitty third split iRacing races, and not suspicious in the slightest.
Or it’s a very elaborate viral marketing scheme, and someone did a relatively poor job of covering their tracks.
You don’t need to be any sort of part-time detective to figure out where this is heading. Upon heading to the official Vesaro YouTube page – a company who specializes in constructing unique high quality consumer or commercial simulation rigs, as defined by the customer – you can see SimRacingGirl sporting a Vesaro shirt and acting as a booth professional for the company; the sim racing equivalent of the models you see at car shows paid to supervise the product and regurgitate facts you can probably read yourself from the specifications sheet. In the video, they try and make her out to be this up-and-coming YouTube personality, but let’s be real here – if 500 views on a video of you playing Assetto Corsa qualifies you as a YouTube personality, I’m motherfucking Anderson Cooper. This girl is employed by Vesaro.
For those who aren’t familiar with the name, Vesaro is a sim racing brand which allows you to visit their website and build your own cockpit from a list of preset designs and pieces of hardware – such as wheels and pedals – before bundling everything together and shipping it to you in one package. Their prices are astronomical, and they have no explicit ties to one company or another, so you can just as easily request them to ship you a Logitech wheel with your Vesaro rig, as you can with a wheel from Fanatec. They are, effectively, a middle man of sorts, tremendously jacking up the cost of building a sim rig by several hundred euros. Their pricier designs are simply insane, with an advanced level option coming in at over five thousand euros.
Their newest venture, based on my assumptions from the information I’ve been able to display above, is to take some sim racer’s girlfriend or wife, shower the couple with boxes upon boxes of pricey sim hardware, place her in front of a video camera, instruct her to record positive reviews of products from companies Vesaro is partnered with while basically regurgitating the product specifications, and pass off this blatant exercise in viral marketing by pretending she’s some sort of sim racing YouTube personality – using the whole minority figure in sim racing angle to keep the masses reluctant to ask questions due to the pretty face on screen. Capping off the long list of hilarious potential FTC violations is the fact that her newest review is of a product that has been on store shelves for four goddam years – the Fanatec Formula Wheel rim – which demonstrates that she probably isn’t even aware herself that this wheel has already been evaluated many times over. Combined with the sudden abundance of top tier sim racing equipment appearing in her pad, VirtualR’s insistence on promoting her content despite practically no tangible following, and the complete lack of anybody within the scene knowing who in the hell this girl is to begin with, it’s fairly safe to assume Vesaro have been caught in the act.
Now, as much as I’d like to thank the guys at Vesaro for luring the beta sim racers among us out of hiding, and giving them the perfect platform to post a whole shitload of embarrassing comments that demonstrate their complete lack of skills with the ladies, I’m more disappointed in Senim than anyone else.
In a form of entertainment that has already struggled with several prolific women attempting to exploit the scene for their own personal gains rather than “hang with the guys”, and in an extremely niche genre where genuine critical feedback is commonly tainted by sponsorship dollars, it’s extremely dishonest to show up posing as a hardcore member of the community who appears to be acting in the best interests of sim racers, only for it to come out that you’ve been bought and paid for since day one. For a genre that already has a difficult time accepting women due to minority iRacing team owners getting knocked up by their drivers, or hosts of YouTube review shows moonlighting as sugar babies, all this does is legitimize the concerns of people like myself that a lot of female gamers aren’t here to just chill out and play video games.
There is nothing wrong with showing up with a modest rig, and making a few YouTube videos proclaiming your love for what’s otherwise a male-dominated hobby. That’s fine. What’s clearly over the line, however, is partnering with a company mere days after creating your social media accounts clearly intended to capitalize on little more than girl power, and proceeding to upload positive reviews of products from companies your sponsor is partnered with, under the guise of being some quirky new YouTube personality who just happened to discover sim racing, all while your Facebook page is loaded with pictures of you showing off the thousands of dollars in gear that was handed to you. That’s dishonest as fuck.
But there’s a silver lining to all of this, and I think it’s really important to mention it as the article comes to a close: the average sim racer is tired of this shit.