Would you like to run some laps around Watkins Glen this week? Or maybe Road Atlanta next week? Whether you’re quarantined or not, you can do it without leaving home. All you need is the right sim racing setup; the National Capital Chapter provides the opportunity.
As noted on BimmerLife late last week, the National Capital Chapter has begun a sim racing series using M8 GTEs running on the iRacing platform.
Events, staged on Thursday night at 7:00 PM eastern time, are open to all BMW CCA members. You do not have to be local, and you do not have to be a sim racing expert to play. All entrants are welcome. You need an easy-to-get iRacing subscription and a sim racing setup that includes a steering wheel and pedals.
Scott Kim, Darin Treakle, and Stephen Tenney, who are spearheading the program along with National Capital Chapter president Paul Seto, all use a Fanatec steering wheel and pedal set. Their monitors vary, and their race seats run from a desk and office chair to a full sim rig. All three have experience on real race tracks as well as simulators, and all say that sim racing is a great tool for learning their tracks and polishing their skills. Treakle, who has raced with SCCA for ten years, says, “When going to a new track, it will build muscle memory and help speed up the process of learning the actual track in a real race car. You can also try different lines in the sim to see if one works better than the other and then try it at the real track. The racing in iRacing is really good and competitive and I have also used it to work on defending my position with the placement of the car.”
With everyone staying at home now, and with pro race series worldwide running their own series, there has been a run on sim racing equipment. Many HPDE participants and BMW CCA Club Racers have equipment. If you have it, you can join the National Capital Chapter’s program today. Tenney emphasizes that “Anyone who already has equipment shouldn’t be afraid to come out.”
Sessions last two hours, with ample practice time before qualifying and a race. New participants can engage as much or as little as they want on any given evening. Contact the chapter at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
If you do not have equipment now, you can order it, expect a wait, and sign on Thursday night to watch the action on YouTube. Go to the National Capital Chapter Facebook page to get the link. Sessions begin with practice.
The series ran at Virginia International Raceway last week, is running at the Glen this week, and is going on to run at many of the great tracks in North America. A July 16 event at COTA has been added to the schedule shown here, and plans for a Fall league are in the works.
The goal is to form a league, attract a wide range of competitors, and institute an award program. Kim notes that, “Right now, because we started somewhat late, we want to build a consistent fan-base, and reach out to the community as much as possible. For example, PCA (Porsche Club of America) has a legitimate, officially-sanctioned sim racing league with their 718 GT4 car, while SCCA and other organizations are hosting their own events across the world.” Looking toward the future, he notes that, “Once we have a solid base, I would love to do more competitive events with different chapters, and eventually roll out a national level like PCA is doing. If we have enough drivers each week, we will probably divide into different skill levels and host more races each time.”
Like all forms of sim racing, the NCC program offers a great outlet for track fanatics during the pandemic. And like other sim racing series, it will no doubt continue to offer entertainment and value long after the pandemic has run its course.—Brian Morgan
[Photos courtesy Scott Kim, Darin Treakle, and National Capital Chapter]