It’s been a long, tough winter. The kind that changes you. After last year’s iRacing PESC campaign ended, for the first time in over 10 years, we weren’t requalified for the world championship. That meant going through a hazardous qualification process. But hey, it’s the same for everyone, right? For some reason, the races were going to be held in a regular series. That means having to deal with the iRating game. So unless you already belong to the top, you have to grind it. Which comes with a series of problems. Say, you just finished your world championship season. And, oh surprise, you have a family. Suddenly things are getting a little more tricky. You are not a professional, you have a job as well. Is it still the same for everyone?
Having concluded the world championship season barely able to finish a race without being taken out doesn’t really make you confident and you’re gonna start the qualifying season on the back foot, looking to perform as best as you can in a 2nd split where few can really control the car in racing situations. And why would they, even in the PESC, only a handful were able to drive the car to its limit without being a danger on track. Is the car too sensitive? Well, we can say the iRacing tire model isn’t quiet there yet, which surely doesn’t help. Often, the car has to be setup in a way that makes is wobbly, unstable in a straight line. Tires… another subject in the qualifying series. Did you hear about the tire warmup constroversy? People getting banned of the series, then not? Can’t say that was handled very professionally. The whole series. It’s certainly difficult to have the perfect format, but iRacing has the means and skills to do a lot better than this. But do they have a reason to? Maybe that’s a question they should be asking themselves. Somewhere around these lines probably lies one of the main reasons for iRacing competitors’ partial discontent with the brand.
Which leads to another subject. We see the simracing world changing, fast. We see most teams getting more on the professional side, or being swallowed by existing professional esport structures, and the prize money getting higher and higher. Not everyone’s on the same level anymore, it’s like two different games are colliding. The pros, or the ones wanting to get there, within or through simracing, and the ones who are not in it for the same reasons, just wanting to compete because it’s in their blood, their passion. Different means to different ends. Can the two coexist competitively? Are we seeing the end of a certain racing spirit and romantic passion as money gets in the game? Is it going to ruin everything, can we leverage it to our advantage?
That’s a lot of questions and as a team we’re going to have to make some decisions as to where we stand, and which path is going to be ours, as spring is quickly coming. To remember why we’re in it. Could we find a way that would satisfy our competitive spirit as well as our daily lives and means? It’s a hard equation to solve. But we’re up to the challenge and to make the necessary changes… while remaining the team we are that many of you came to like and to like to compete with.
Back to racing, the PESC qualifying season has been tough. Incidents, rallying the finish line with a limping car. Some moments of brillance, as we still managed to take the first place on a few occasions, most recently Ilkka who mentionned it in this tweet. He actually ended his season with 3 wins in a row, but never to score threee digit points. Tough winter.
Davy has thrown the gloves a few weeks back, as actual qualification for the series became impossible for him, besides some good results. He’ll be appearing in special events along the year, when not entertaining his newborn with some piano and guitar playing!
Congratulations to everyone who made the cut, we’ll certainly see some fierce battles in the next PESC ! As for ourselves regarding the world championship, we’ll regroup and put our eyes on the next qualifiers. It’s gonna be difficult to watch this season from the side of the track and see our friends’ glorious and miserable moments but we’ll be there, and we’ll be in again… maybe in an open wheeler? Who knows what the future holds.
Right now, we’re looking at the iRacing Sebring 12 hours, coming up on the 14th of March, 13:00 GMT. We’ll be fielding a GT3 with a Matthias Egger / Fulvio Barozzini crew, as well as a Corvette C7 DP with our specialist George Sandman together with a still young returning veteran, Szabolc Balog ! Stay tuned.
In other news, our friend Mark the magician over at HPP Simulation has come up with a new JVB range of pedals, looking even more extraordinary than before. Extra tuning features, and lots of innovations for a better feel and better performance. You ought to check them out, they look pretty damn awesome as well.
Stay true to the game !