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Do esports have a place in real-world motorsport? – The Traxion Podcast, episode seven

A controversial topic, spurred on by the GT World Challenge using esports to form part of the Teams’ Championship points within 2021 and with many esports competitions previously offering real-world driving or training, we dive in head-first on the latest Traxion Podcast episode.

Does sim racing open more doors? Is there a genuine crossover between the virtual world and the real one? What skills are transferable, if any? To help navigate us through this potential minefield, our very own John Munro is a sim racer and a real racer – which is handy!

Please join the debate, we’d love to hear your thoughts, so please, contact us via social media and let us know what you think. Will esports have a place on a traditional motorsport career ladder?

The Traxion Podcast is available on all major podcast outlets. Simply search “Traxion Podcast” on your favourite podcast service and subscribe to get instant notifications when the latest episode releases.

Hosted by Justin Sutton, John Munro and Thomas Harrison-Lord.

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The Traxion Podcast episode seven, full transcript

Here’s the automated transcript and all its glory.

John Munro:

Hello everybody and welcome along to the Traxion podcast.

John Munro:

Today’s show is certainly going to split opinions. Basically, we want to discuss whether or not sim racing and esports have a place within the real world of motorsport. I personally cannot wait for this one. Joining me today is a man whose real life driving career includes drifting and autocrossing a Nissian 240 SX, Justin Sutton, Justin, how’s things?

Justin Sutton:

I’m good. Thank you very much.

John Munro:

And also joining me is a man who has actually lapped the Nordschleife, albeit in a Fiat Panda, it’s Tom HL. How are you?

Tom Harrison-Lord:

Yeah, I’m very good. I’m happy. Happy to be alive. And also thanks to my better half Lisa for being in the passenger seat the whole time, which she’s braver than me.

John Munro:

Yes, that’s what you want. I’ve been round the Nordschleife with my family as passengers. And the fact that they were passengers made me enjoy it more, way more than if I just be driving on my own. It’s good fun.

Justin Sutton:

I love the Nordschleife so much. It’s my favorite track ever. I desperately want to drive it.

John Munro:

One day. It’ll happen Justin one day it’ll happen.

Justin Sutton:

You could learn on the SIM.

John Munro:

Thank you, Tom. Thank you for that. Yeah. Leading in, this topic in particular, there are so many loaded questions that we could delve into, right? There’s so many different angles to this, does SIM racing deserve a place within the real industry? Is it now a feasible career path? I mean, we’ll come on to a few of them today. Well obviously I don’t want to cover them all because we will be here all day. The thing that actually inspired this discussion, guys and which I’m sure you guys have heard about as well, is the recent announcement that the real life GT world challenge series will apparently become the first in history to have esports results affecting the real championship standings. So to kind of, I mean, I should explain I don’t think it’s going to affect the driver standings or anything like that. It’s just that the teams from the real life series will also enter, their cars into an esports championship that runs alongside it. And they will pick real esports drivers and then the points scored and those races will actually have an impact on the manufacturers and teams championships in the series. So this is probably one of the first times where you have a situation where real life racing is going to be affected directly by esports and stuff like that. I mean, I don’t know where to start with this one. I’d love to hear your thoughts and maybe go to you first Justin, what’s your thoughts on this?

Justin Sutton:

I’m one of those people that actually, so I think there can be a link between esports and SIM racing. Oh my God.

John Munro:

Someone’s got an easy place to pick up from.

Justin Sutton:

Yeah, yeah, yeah. Hold on one second.

John Munro:

Can we get your dog on the podcast?

Tom Harrison-Lord:

I’m gonna actually just quickly let’s leave this in. What’s your dog called?

Justin Sutton:

I’ve got two dogs. One is named Chevelle weirdly enough, because I mentioned the Chevelle earlier. We didn’t name either of them. They’re both rescues. And the other is named Lexi, like a stripper. That was her name, when we adopted her.

Justin Sutton:

All right. Okay. So sorry. Yeah, so I think that there can be a link between esports and real racing. We’ve seen that there can be a link between esports and real racing before we’ve literally seen people already make the transition, but I am one of those people and there are others among me on social media that agree with me on this. I don’t think it necessarily should always be the end all be. You know what I mean? I think some people should be happy to be a SIM racer and I think some people are best as a SIM racer. And I think being a SIM racer should be lucrative enough that making the next, making that step into real life racing becomes necessary or something. I think the, the esports guys should make maybe slightly less, they’re not in as much danger as the real racing drivers, but, they should make enough to survive and it shouldn’t, it shouldn’t be the natural step that, Oh, F1 esports, well, you get to ride in an F1 car, NASCAR, esports you get to ride in A NASCAR our car, and Formula E you get to ride in a Formula E car.

Justin Sutton:

I think we’re getting too much into that and I think it’s good to have some division. So that’s, it’s, i’m a little bit on both sides. I don’t think it should always go that way, but I think there are times when it makes sense.

John Munro:

Tom, what are your thoughts on that?

Justin Sutton:

Well, just enlighten me a little bit, John, about this particular GT World Challenge series. So my understanding and please correct me if I’m wrong is first of all, there’s a lot of people, there’s a lot of division about this form. There’s a lot of unhappy people on the internet, but then I don’t know, today’s another day, so that’s nothing, nothing changes there. But there’s 125,000 Euros of prize money, I think, but then anyone can enter and existing esports drivers can’t necessarily enter, the sort of, the team nominates the driver. So it seems a bit weird how there’s some prize money involved in, is that, is that correct?

John Munro:

That sounds correct. Yeah. So as far as I’m aware, there are, as I say, there’s 125,000 Euro prize pool, I believe. And the it’s gonna be run on Assetto Corsa Competizione, which is of course the official game for that series as far as I know. Yeah, exactly, exactly. And I can see where the links are. I think it’s sponsored by Fanatec as well. So there’s a lot of links there. I think that there’s going to be a lot of people that read this on the surface and don’t really delve into it. They’re just going to be thinking, Oh no, here we are with a video game, that’s going to be ruining championships for people in real life and they’re gonna get triggered. It’s going to be, it’s not as simple as that. Okay. So this doesn’t affect the driver’s standings.

John Munro:

And as you say, it seems like the teams actually have to go out and scout or pick their esports drivers for their teams, right? So effectively their sgining, they’re making signings who are then going to go on and try and get some prize money. The events will be run at the circuits and then it was only five of them planned at the moment to happen. So I don’t think this is going to be the be-all and end-all, I don’t think it’s going to completely destroy the manufacturer’s championship or the team standings or anything like that. But what I would say is if it has any impact in the slightest on positions is going to create so much division. And it’s going to, I think that when you add, having an esports championship, separate as a separate entity on its own, it’s simple because you’ve got the rules, you’ve got the game, everyone knows where they stand.

John Munro:

You can pick your cars or you can have limits and rules on the cars. That’s absolutely fine. But as soon as you tie it to a real life series and actually make it have an impact. So it’s not just running alongside it as a separate series, you’ve got the argument that, say, say a team have been doing an amazing job all season in a Lamborghini. And they’re three points clear in the teams, chat standings, and it looks like they’re going to win the championship. Then suddenly, the esports event goes to a track where the Lamborghini’s rubbish on Assetto Corsa Competizione, their drivers get taken out lap one cause their at the back of the field, they end up rubbish. And the team who were second in the standings had an OP car for that track and the game, even if it’s not in real life.

John Munro:

And then they get loads of points and then it gives them manufacturers points and then they win the real life championship. Like there’s potential for some serious issues here because of the way that games and SIMs work in general. It wouldn’t be a problem if it was specific to the game and SIM, as I say, if the points were all going towards a separate thing, because then it’s a separate thing. As soon as you involve the two, you are going to need to bet that that esports championship is absolutely officiated properly. You’re going to have to bet that it’s as fair as possible that the cars are well balanced. It’s not going to be the most simple thing ever. And I think that, I mean, I love that someone’s trying something like this. I think it’s really, really good, but it just needs to be done so carefully.

Tom Harrison-Lord:

Oh, I’ve got an alternative theory. Well, I agree that it’s got to be very careful and there’s gonna be a lot of uproar and all these ramifications. And at the end of the season, someone might be bothered to check, if all this team didn’t have these esports results, then they would have finished first or third. But how about this? Just to be devil’s advocate for a second as fans and supporters of motorsport, we care about the drivers championship. Don’t really care about the team championship is nice, but we don’t really care. Now manufacturers are paying to enter series. They care about the manufacturers or the team’s championship because they think that’s, what’s going to give them the marketing in the long run. But the GT World Challenge series doesn’t really have as manufactured, backed drivers, but it’s private to your teams, right?

Tom Harrison-Lord:

It’s not an official manufacturer championship. So, this to me has less of a relevance or anger point. If it was the driver’s championship, I’d be more frustrated. And secondly, I think at least to try something different Stéphane Ratel, the boss of SRO, look how he’s taken the series. This guy used to be a privateer and a Venturi in the nineties. And he’s now the boss of one of the biggest GT championships in the world, very successful person. And isn’t afraid of taking a risk. So I would say that’s judging on the seasons racing and then let’s have an argument at the end of the year. Once we’ve seen what it looks like. That’s my opinion. I was very strong.

John Munro:

You said devils advocate and It’s not really a devil’s advocate opinion because I think it’s a very valid point.

Tom Harrison-Lord:

Hypocrite.

John Munro:

Yeah. I mean, I totally agree with what you’re saying. I think we need to wait and see, and to be honest, that the example that I’m going to use, when you hear something new, that’s being trialed and people are, there’s going to be issues on the face of it that make it seem unfair. The first example I’m going to use is a Formula 1 single lap qualifying. So a format got brought into Formula 1 where you’ll have one lap set your time and you would go one by one and set your lap time. You weren’t all on track at the same time. And the obvious questions that spawned from that is hang on a minute. What if you’re out last because you were first in practice and then it rains halfway through and the Minori’s and the Jordan’s are on pole and your Ferrari’s at the back of the grid.

John Munro:

Now, that’s motorsport. That’s a part of motorsport that we accept, the World Rally Championship. If your first out on the road on a gravel rally, you’re going to lose a minute and a half to your competitors because you have no grip. That’s just the way it works sometimes. And that’s not frowned upon, I mean, it’s discussed and debated, but it’s not necessarily frowned upon because that’s part of the sport and, someone needed to take that leap in the first place for it to be okay. If that makes sense. The single lap qualifying someone had to say, you know what, it’s fine. If someone gets screwed over by it, it’s fine. And I kind of think that that is the, a similar situation with this. I feel like someone’s got to try it. And I think it’s really cool.

John Munro:

And I think it could definitely inspire some other ideas or at least more thinking along those lines, especially it’s going to improve both sides of things because it’s going to bring more real life racers towards esports and maybe towards ACC, but it’s also gonna bring ACC fans and esports fans towards the GT World Challenge so I can see why it could work. And it’s definitely got us talking. It’s definitely made the series more popular. So i’m with you, I’m with the devil here. I think that let’s see how it plays out. Let’s not get too worried about it. I know I made a strong case. Like I was quite strongly opinionated about it. They need to get it right. I still think they need to be careful with it, but, I don’t think we should all start setting fires before the, before it’s actually begun.

Justin Sutton:

I think it should be its own championship. I think it should be its own championship personally. I’m happy for them to do it, but I think it should be its own standings and maybe have its own well, does it have its own prize pool? Is that, is that right? So it’s a completely seperate.

John Munro:

Drivers get money for their performances. So that’s, that’s good.

Justin Sutton:

And so it affects the, team standings, but that also affects money as well, too. So I don’t know. I wish it was separate, I love that they’re bringing the drivers to the track and I would assume that they’re going to be driving that track while they’re there at that track.

Tom Harrison-Lord:

Probably.

Justin Sutton:

So, you’re at Silverstone, cause that is like exactly what I’ve always wanted, F1 esports to be, if you really truly want your esports to be the pinnacle of racing, SIM racing, esports, ship the guys around, have them race on Saturday night after qualifying at the track, put it up on the big screen invite people who were there to see qualifying earlier to come check it out, no additional costs whatsoever broadcast it to everyone. You do a 100% races or maybe 50% races.

Justin Sutton:

And yeah, you just make a huge spectacle of it rather than having it in a tiny little theater in the middle of England and running weird 33% distance races and all that kind of stuff. Like that’s not, that’s nothing special. I mean, Gran Turismo has a better production when it comes to putting on a show and stuff like that. I like that they’re doing that and I like that there’s money involved. I like that they’re scouting the drivers as well, too, because that’s much more natural as well. That’s how drivers get picked up in the real world. They can come from any number of series. They don’t have to like go through some sort of qualifying event with 10,000 other people to try and prove that they’re good enough for the team or whatever.

Justin Sutton:

And I think that’s starting to lose its value. If I’m honest, we’re at a stage now with SIM racing as an esport that we know people’s names and stuff like that, people are established and stuff like that. It’s not just a bunch of kids in their mom’s basements. And we have no idea who they are. These are now like grown ass people who are really, really into their racing. And they’re really hard to get, they’re putting thousands of hours into these games and stuff like that. And it’s, we know who they are and they’re getting well-known across other things. So I just wish it was a separate championship. I don’t, that’s the one part that I get hung up on. I like everything else about what they’re doing. I just don’t like that it affects the team championship and I wish it would separate it out.

Justin Sutton:

Interesting. Yeah. I think also just, I think you touched on something there as well, just really quick. Let’s cover this this. I think one element of the frustration online is are they like your opinion? They’re just, you know, it affects the team championship, but then I suppose without that, they wouldn’t get the big sort of exposure and debate about, I mean, listen, we’re talking about this, this championship, but this esports temperature right. In a world where there’s so many of them out there it’s hard to break through now, but then yeah, I understand. I can see where you’re coming from with that though. I, I could see how that’s, that can be on a knife edge, but the other frustration is that people are saying, well, hang on a minute. I can’t enter, I’ve got a copy of the game and I might be good. You know, he’s sort of closed off to everybody. If the teams are just sort of looking for who’s best, it’s not like an online leaderboard where anyone can enter. So that’s, that’s another, uh, why did debate for esports at the time is

Justin Sutton:

Why do you think, um, how do you think they’re scouting just out of curiosity and this is open to most.

Justin Sutton:

Yeah. Like just looking at mine,

John Munro:

I think there’ll be, I think they’ll all need to speak to the right people and I’m sure that there’ll be someone within the series itself that helps them get in touch or find the best ways to Skype people. And I think we’ll get, I mean, with the price pool, that’s on offer, they’ll get some serious talent, you know, I think there’ll be plenty of names that we know that will be involved in that series. Um, and I think that’s, I, I liked that it’s different, obviously, you know, I know what you mean, talking about the leaderboards and not anyone can just join in. That’s fine. But most industries are like that. It’s not as simple to get into as wearing a leaderboard is same. You know, you talk to Justin talks about real racing and how it’s kind of skating in a sense. It is in a sense on some situations when it’s manufacturers involved.

John Munro:

So if you, if your IVD or if your Porsche, you’re going to pick people to represent you, and you’re going to pay them salaries and it’s going to be contracts and stuff, but also a lot of, and I think way more than more than many people realize a lot of more sport and racing drivers, it’s not like that tall it’s about who can bring sponsors. You can get the sponsors who can buy their way in through whatever means. And that might be because they’re amazing and people are willing to put that money into them, or it might be because they were amazing at something else, made a fortune and had the money that the team wanted to be able to drive. So it’s not quite as simple as that in real life usually. And one thing this did make me think of though, uh, you know, w we talk about the price pool for the individuals who are going to be in the, in the esports league that runs alongside it.

John Munro:

There’s 125,000 euros. So as an esports driver, you can go and make some serious money in this, right? You can, you’re really good. You can go and you can make money. That’s true. A lot of the drivers and the real series. Now, I don’t know the details of the contracts and GT world challenge. I’m sure a lot of them are paid salaries. Manufacturers are paid by sponsors, whatever it is, but I’m sure there will be some people that are buying their way onto the grid and not really earning money from it, even if they’re really good, you know, it’s more a case of they’re they’re able to race rather than they’re making a living from or they’re running, uh, who knows at that level. I couldn’t possibly comment for sure. However, what, what did bring up for me is, would you say that as a young driver, it’s possibly even more realistic to aim for a career in SIM racing than it is to aim for career in real racing? Is that a better making career path? What do you guys think?

Justin Sutton:

Ooh, Ooh. I’ve, I’ve, I’ve met a nice first time going first. It’s all right. Just in my head, but, Oh man, that is a million dollar question, right? Oh, I still think that you could be much more successful in much higher paid in motor racing, as opposed to SIM racing. However, the chances of doing that, uh, diminishing all the time. There’s lots of pressures in the mid-spot world. Anyway, you know, there’s no, um, tobacco alcohol sponsorship, the oil sponsorship will soon be disappearing. Uh, there’s environmental reasons why companies might not want to sponsor it. Although on the flip side near electric racers have a lot of sponsorship and lots of paid drive opportunities, right? Extremely informative, very well paid gigs, actually for all of those drivers. Um, but you know, if you think about operations of stock spot, formula one auditoria cars, whatever. Yeah. You do need to find the sponsorship back in, and that’s a lot of effort.

Justin Sutton:

Whereas if you’re just really good and naturally talented, you could do SIM racing, win races. As you say, John, and earn a living. Whereas a lot of racing drivers don’t earn a living and they have to do other jobs outside of the racing to pay for things, right. Drive a training during the week meetings, all this stuff. Whereas you could be a paid SIM racer who enters three or four series a year and win lots of money. What I would say to that is to contradict myself again, or maybe go around in a big circle of jibberish. Uh,

Justin Sutton:

There are an explosion of esports series, or there is an explosion of post series, sorry, but the, they will only be a finite amount of paid gigs, all paid money for the top three. And if more and more people enter esports because it’s also accessible, will it then become harder to earn the prize pool because we’re up against different competition? I don’t know. Yeah. I would agree with that. And I would say anybody who essentially, I would say if you’re a racing driver, you should be dipping your toe in SIM racing right now, especially after 2020. So if you’re a SIM racing driver, you don’t necessarily, you’re not necessarily going to be making that transition over to real life racing. You might never find sponsorship as you guys have pointed out. It’s extremely difficult to just get into, you know, uh, re real life racing as an actual, you know, form of income to support you for, especially for years on end and that sort of thing.

Justin Sutton:

So I think, um, there’s going to be a lot more real life racers coming into the world of SIM racing, which could potentially be really bad news for these guys that are trying to make money off of SIM racing. If all of a sudden you’ve got essentially ringers coming in, you know, guys that literally drive that car in real life, uh, coming in with their $10,000 motion simulators and like, Oh, I’m here to absolutely destroy all you kids with your thrust master wheels, you know, all that kind of, I kind of shocked though. I would argue.

John Munro:

Yeah. People that do that. My actually, I mean, look at it this way. Look at it from another perspective, you’re a real life racing driver, right? You’re good. But you have been working your butt off every single year to try and get sponsorship together. Your family have spent all their money. You’ve been racing in a high high series, you know, touring cars for three, four years. But every single season, you are panicking trying to get sponsors to be on the grid for the next season. You’ve got no money to spend on anything else. Then, you know, what’s wrong with someone like that who was maybe even someone who was a champion or someone who was, you know, say a runner up or winning races being like, you know what, I’m really good at this. And I, and I cannot make my living this. I CA I matter of fact, you just won’t say to me, why don’t I now go and try and make more money in esports, you know, why don’t I turn my attention to esports because I know I’m good.

John Munro:

And then looking at the progression rate of prize money and price pills, and offer any sports, if you were to, if you were to make a graph from where we were 10 years ago and where we are now in terms of the amount of money that can be won by a driver over a course of a season and some racing, I think it would be huge. I think it would be really steep. And if we keep on going this way, if esports keeps on going in this direction, yes, you’re right. There will be more, people are grown level of more, more talented people from everywhere coming in, which will make it harder to win. I think there’s a lot of series nowadays where, you know, someone who, who would be finishing 10th, if they’ve done it 10 years ago, they would have wiped the floor with everyone.

John Munro:

You know, I think that’s the thing, but then there’s more money go with that. And that’s, what’s attracting people. So, you know, I could see there’s a couple of different ways of looking at this because you’ve got the pro driver becoming an esports driver to make money. And I want to use an example as well, looking at someone who I’m sure a lot of you will know of a James Baldwin. Now, James Baldwin started racing in real life last season, British GT. Do you guys think, you know, he’s an esports driver, he’s clearly one of the best in the world and he’s proven it on multiple occasions, multiple platforms. Now, does he have more of a chance of making money in real life racing or like, or would he be better off sticking to esports because he’s clearly talented in real life. He’s proved as well.

Justin Sutton:

I’d say I’m going to jump in on that one. I think his ceiling is bigger online and that’s because James has done the correct thing and you see a lot of esports drivers doing this. Now he’s a content creator. He’s a streamer, he’s a YouTuber he’s diversifying. And that’s something you can do as a SIM racer is that you can also be a content creator. If you’re a real life racing driver, you could also be a SIM racer, I guess, but instructor rare that you’re yeah, yeah. Or an instructor, but it’s rare that you see somebody who’s a real life racing driver, uh, SIM racing esports driver and also a content creator with a hundred thousand subs on YouTube or something like that. You know, that’s a very rare, I mean, that’s like Nico Hoka Berg. No, no. Or, sorry. Rosberg I meant to say Nico Rosberg but no, he doesn’t do esports so I don’t think there’s anybody out there actually that’s like that, but, um, but no, you’re, you’re exactly right.

Justin Sutton:

It’s, it’s, it’s good. Actually, that esports is now a place that someone can go to after having that hard time in real life racing or whatever, you know, it’s, it’s almost like, uh, one final safety net, you know? So like you get kicked from F1 and you go to IndyCar, you get kicked from Indy car, you go to something else. And it’s just like one more thing that people can do. But I think James is one of those people where actually, I think he, he stands to make more as a SIM racer, just purely because he’s put in so much effort to growing his audience on that platform in particular.

Justin Sutton:

Interesting. I think, Ooh, I’ve got a couple of points that, you know, my brain’s firing off in all different directions. So bear with me. I do apologize. One is just circling back to the, uh, racing drivers who announced SIM racing, uh, Mitchell D young American driver. He was a red bull driver in the global Rallycross series, which then folded, I think troubles Travis. Australia’s trying to start some Rallycross, uh, again, this year in America, which would be good, but for now he’s out of a drive, but he’s taking part in the iRacing [inaudible] and doing very well is taking part in that, in the tag higher posh Supercup and he’s in championship contention as we recalled this, uh, episode. And so here’s someone who has been successful in racing driver, and now he’s also successful in SIM racing. Um, and that ties into my next point, I guess, a little bit in that I still think that every esports driver who’s doing very well is doing it as a way to prove that drive inability.

Justin Sutton:

I think every esports competitor who’s who’s does it full-time and they successful still wants to be a racing driver. So maybe there are exceptions, but I think you’re mostly right about most of the field that most of the field is doing it because they want to be picked up by a race team. And, Oh, we’ll put you in a rail car, or there’s an opportunity for you to do some rail driving and therefore going back to James Baldwin. And he, I hope he does very, very well in real life and still continues the same reason as you say, just in he’s diversified. That’s great. It’s still clearly, really, really desperately deep down inside wants to be, you know, the next GT well challenge champion in real life. Right. And so maybe it’s a question of maybe one as much as a racing driver ever, but these guys are all doing the esports to earn a living and then also somehow find the opportunity to do it in real life, perhaps.

John Munro:

Um, I mean, it all depends on the manufacturers. Yeah. So like, if, if someone like Baldwin was to get picked up by a manufacturer, uh, and they would pay his wages because they’re the ones with the money, right? The manufacturers, the ones who can pay to pick and choose they’re cherry, pick the drivers. I may have the money to go with that. And even then they, they use big sponsorships and stuff to fund that. Um, so if he could get picked up by either a sponsor, but more importantly manufacturer, like what we’ve seen in GT Academy with Nissan, picking up Yan Martin, bruh, and, you know, look as hard and there’s all those kind of people, and that’s definitely a viable way in. But the problem with that is it’s so rare. It’s not often that you can go from an e-sport series to having a manufacturer back to drive that you don’t just lose the flick of a wrist.

John Munro:

You know, I think that that was GT Academy was one of the rare examples of that. But normally if it’s an opportunity, it’s normally, you know, you win this, this competition and you get a test drive in our car, or you get to compete in one round of the season or you get a seasoned scholarship in something. And I think that, you know, having been within the industry for a while now, a lot of that is selling the dream. That’s not quite as simple as it looks. So you think, you know, you’re an esports driver and you think, right, I’m being told if I win this, I get to test this car. And what if I prove to them that I’m quicker than Lewis Hamilton, and then they want to sign me or I get sponsors. And it feels a lot of the time, like, as you say Tom, so some racers will, will want to make that step. And we’ll be constantly trying to prove themselves in order to get an opportunity in real life. And of course it does happen. It has happened and it can happen, but it’s so rare. And I think there’s probably more people expect that there’s ever going to happen to. Um, it’s, it’s a really interesting topic. It’s a really interesting topic. I also want to look at, sorry, let you go on you go.

Justin Sutton:

No, no, just quickly on James Baldwin, he won the world’s fastest gamer. Right. Which then opened up dolls for rail race drivers, but there’s only one of those competitions. Every it’s like you say, it’s very rare. So really, if I was an esports, uh, pro and my, uh, SIM driving is better, but I’m not [inaudible]. Um, I would, if I’d won some prize money, I would put that towards some test days myself to prove then, okay, I can do it. And then hopefully that opens some doors, but you don’t, you don’t see much of that in the minute. I don’t think because obviously if you didn’t pro you need to, you need a wage to pay the bills.

John Munro:

But, but what I would argue to that is as a better alternative, that’s probably realistic. Don’t, don’t go and become so good at esports and spend the money on the time on that, that you get a dry from manufacturer testy or something. What you need to do is make yourself a personality, make yourself the money through esports. So, and look at Jimmy broadband, for example, okay. Um, make your money through, through esports and some racing become a content creator, become famous and become someone that people in sponsors want to get behind and help because it helps them. Right? So it’s mutually beneficial. As I know it is an esports, you’re almost better pursuing a career path of professional eSports and content career turned into racing driver. Then you are, esports being good enough at driving to prove myself as a racing driver. Does that make sense? I don’t think it’s necessarily about how good you are

Justin Sutton:

Broadband. For example, has got, um, a drive this year in the car and the Prague, which I’m sure is part of a combination of his talented, but listen, he’s reaching a certain number of people on the progress car company to mixed race cars and go-karts wants to promote that product. Right.

John Munro:

And that’s, and that’s great. And that’s um, so it’s so nice that to see that it’s possible for someone who, who puts in loads of effort and work into some racing and gaming can actually open up those kinds of opportunities for themselves. And that’s great. I think it’s full, full credit to Jimmy and I, I think it’s unfair for people to be annoyed about that because they might feel it doesn’t deserve it or whatever it is. I think that’s rubbish. I think it’s great. Um, what, what I would say though, and this is kind of, we were talking earlier about, you know, drivers that are coming through my career, maybe looking to esports afterwards. And, uh, you know, what about looking at youngsters nowadays? You know, looking at as a young kid who wants to get into racing, the traditional method was always to go through carting and try and get your sponsors there.

John Munro:

And that’s where a lot of the right people were and stuff like that. But even karting is super, super expensive. Like we’re talking top level carting, we’re talking hundreds of thousands, right. And, and, and you can still only win. If you have the new tires, every rent you have the best engine, you have the best team behind you. You get the most testing. It’s all, all money now is esports as a much more accessible platform for youngsters. Um, better way of starting your real racing career nowadays than go-karting or karting, I should say. I shouldn’t say go-karting. Um, is that more of a realistic proposition as a youngster to try and get yourself spotted or just try and improve your skill level? And I opened the floor to you. I’ll start with you, Justin. I,

Justin Sutton:

I think it is, um, just cause yeah, it’s the, the, the ceiling is so much lower or the, the ground level rather, um, is so much lower in terms of the amount of money that you need in order to kind of dip your toes in it. So yeah, if you’ve got a kid that’s under the age of like 10 or whatever, who is really into racing and, you know, maybe that’s a career path for him or at least a hobby path, um, or her, um, then, you know, I think gaming is the place to start now. Certainly. Um, cause yeah, it’s, it’s a lot cheaper. I mean, you could, you could pick up a, a really nice gaming PC for the same cost of, of an entire go-cart. Um, and yeah, that’s only, you know, as you said, you know, there’s a lot of things you have to replace and there’s fuel and, and, and just getting to the track and stuff like that.

Justin Sutton:

And especially nowadays as well with the, um, you know, with the situation we’re in the global pandemic and all that kind of stuff, it makes even more sense now than it did than it did back then. And more esports events are cropping up for a lot of different games. You can be, you know, you could be the fastest person in WRC nine, for example. Um, and you know, you’re not necessarily the fastest SIM racer on the planet, but you know, you’re able to make some money from it. You know, if you can find that, that one that makes you happy and simultaneously you’re, you’re successful and, and talented at and all that kind of stuff. I do think it is a better, uh, a vendor, a better door because yeah, it’s just, it’s just so much cheaper and you can start with a console. You know, it used console in a, in a used video game.

Justin Sutton:

Uh, somebody who’s picking up four games for 15 pounds out of a bin, you know, something like that. It gets, it could start there for all, you know? Um, but the equivalent of that is going down to like the goat, the go-kart track, as we would say, uh, going down to the go-kart track, it just, you know, paying for some laps and just going around, but nobody’s going to get spotted that way, you know, driving against your parents, for example, when you’re, you’re like many kilograms, lighter stuff like that, it’s always the droplets. That’s what I thought would happen. Yeah. I mean, I thought I was really quick and a go-kart, you know, but someone broke it to me that actually, in fact, it’s just that, um, I’m a lot lighter. So, so yeah, it’s, I think it is a good, a great place to start, but, um, you know, eventually if you want to get into real racing, you’re going to have to do some, some real racing at some point.

Justin Sutton:

Yeah, Tom. Yeah. I agree. The, uh, racing in games and simulators is essential for any upstart, uh, if someone’s starting out now, right. But there also comes a point where you will have to get someone truck experience and prove that you’re good enough. So I do agree though that the SIM racing of, or just even playing a video game on a console, gets you into the process of learning what the Reece in line is on breaking points and where the trucks go. Then you can play online and you can race against other human beings and lens racecraft right. Um, but just go back to it almost comes back to what I was saying earlier, where at some point some of these esports players will have to prove themselves in real life if, if that’s what their dream is and the same for a young person. So, um, esports, um, video games open up the floor massively provide an opportunity for those who would never have done it in the past, but there still comes a point where you need some on-track experience. If that’s your end goal,

John Munro:

I can talk from a lot of personal experience here in this particular topic, transferable skills, right? Cause I, I have, I have, for those of you who don’t know, I’ve done some racing for many years and I started with some racing, but then I went on to do real life racing and ditch to some racing for years, and then, uh, COVID-19 happened. And, uh, the, uh, the real racing slowed down and I was able to get back into SIM racing again. So I’ve kind of beat around the Bush with this. And it’s always an interesting topic. We talk about, you know, you need to learn that real experience to get good and stuff like that. And then karting and some racing are very, very different. You learn some skills that are similar. I think racecraft, if you SIM race a high level, you do learn race craft and you don’t learn the danger and the fear of driving, but you learn how to overtake and defend and how to manage a race situation.

John Munro:

Um, what I would say in terms of transferable skills, some people say, Oh, you’ll learn so much more from cartoon because you’re really there. You’re really feeling it. And you can take that to the car. However, I don’t necessarily think it’s that simple because the way you drive a cart is very different to the way you drive most cars. Now, when I started racing, I started off in the British sprint championship in a single seater, a bike engine, 1000 CC, a single seater he’ll claim in sprint car. And so it was very, very quick, you know, not 60 in like 2.4 seconds or something crazy and a rocket ship. That was my first experience of being in a car. Now, when I drove that the first event I did was Croft and I knew Croft from years of SIM racing, uh, and esports, and I also knew single seaters like that from years of some racing.

John Munro:

And esports. So when I turned up to my first event, I was in the class and my dad was also racing that day and he couldn’t get it into for the life of him, how he’d managed to beat him. And it’s because I knew Croft from SIM racing. I knew where to break. I knew my lines and you have to get the most out of a single seater. And even though I’d never driven anything in my life, I was able to instantly get on the pace because I knew the skills involved with carting I’m rubbish at carting because I didn’t carry it when I was younger. And I go out in a cart, race against characters and I would be useless. I would be way off the pace. So they’re very different skills in my opinion, but it doesn’t necessarily mean just because car things in real life, it doesn’t mean that it’s going to be a better skill.

John Munro:

And when you actually come to racing and you know, in reality too, I mean, carting, one thing you do really learn is how aggressive and cut-through and competitive, real racing is because you, you know, you could think you’re good. Like Justin said, you know, you can race against your family and your friends and be three seconds quicker. Uh, and then if you turn up to a proper, serious cart race against, you know, people that are in GP three or three-year FTE or anything like that, it’s absolutely incredible how quick these guys are. Absolutely phenomenal. I have to say I had a similar experience where I raced against a bunch of people that were in S3 at the time, and it was my first car race having got into it by breaking the world record on their SIM. And, uh, it was a real eye-opener to how quick these guys are absolutely phenomenal. So yeah, I think there’s so many different angles to this. I really do. Um, I mean, do you think that this, this change that we’re talking about from karting to some racing potentially, or this merge, do you think this has already happened? Or do you think this is something that’s still, you know, gaining momentum? Because I feel like we’ve been saying it for a while now.

Justin Sutton:

It’s kind of already happened. And I think 2020 really facilitated that in a huge way. Um, just yeah, the, the pandemic and everything has really changed things around. Um, I can tell you by the way that, um, my very limited real-world racing experience, it has never gone well whatsoever. So I, yeah, I don’t think that it is one of those things that actually does transfer over. I’m terrible in a cart, absolutely terrible in a right-hand corner, I’m riding the brake all the time for some, you know, just my left foot just goes down through the right hand corners and I’m just riding the brake, even if it’s a flat out quarter

Justin Sutton:

Personally. And I bet you, Tom hasn’t either. I wonder why.

Justin Sutton:

Nope. I have no idea. I have no idea, but I can tell you, yeah, I was absolutely terrible. And that was after having been a SIM racer for a few years, you know, driving around on my DF GT, just, you know, nothing too crazy. Um, and then before SIM racing, I did some autocross as well. Um, and I was absolutely rubbish there as well, too. Just got completely annihilated by people in very similar cars who were much, much faster than me. Um, but I didn’t do it very often. I, you know, I, I went like just a hand, a handful of times and my car wasn’t, you know, I was on like the cheap tires, uh, just cause I was like a starving teenager and stuff like that. So I was on whatever, all weathers I could, I could afford and, and that kind of thing.

Justin Sutton:

So, you know, I was a little bit down on pace when it comes to that sort of stuff, but also I was just bad. It’s not, it’s not a hundred percent transferable. And I think there’s been situations. I forget who it was. There was that really, really popular. I racer, uh, that went and did some real life driving at road Atlanta one time, remember Hutu that’s right. And he got sick. He got like, like he, he almost threw up or something. Um, yeah, exactly. So just because you’re good at some racing does not mean you’re going to be good at real life driving just because you’re going to real life driving does not mean you’re going to be good at SIM racing, but it’s certainly possible that you could be, you know, that you could be good at both things. It’s really, really weird. It’s a different, it, they share a lot of skills, but at the same time they don’t share a lot of skills. It’s really hard to talk about for people who aren’t familiar with both real, real racing, but it’s, it’s nothing like, you know, people that play call of duty and stuff, you know, there is zero skill transfer to real life shooting of guns and call of duty. But there is some transfers between SIM racing in video games. You know what I mean? So it’s similar but different it’s it’s an interesting one

Justin Sutton:

For me. They’re just, they’re supplementary things. If I was wanting to be a racing driver, I see time is King. And so I would same gives you the opportunity to test more practice model in between races, right?

Justin Sutton:

Yeah. All the real drivers they test on a simulator. It’s not for no reason.

Justin Sutton:

Yeah, exactly. So, so it gives you more skills and it helps you build upon things. I just think sometimes it’s, it can be difficult to sync. Right. Okay. I’m going to, I want to be foreman one more champion. I’m only going to do SIM racing instead of go-karts and that’s going to be a bit tricky.

John Munro:

Yeah. I think there are. Yeah, I think it’s, yeah, there are transferable skills. Um, there are definitely things that transfer and there are things that aren’t, you know, they, I would always say that the, the knowledge transfers and the ability to learn how to go faster transfers, but not the feeling you don’t get. The, the fear is the biggest one for me. When I first drove a real car, even if you’re driving like a, an a Mazda MX five or read some really Olten, you do that in a SIM and it’s boring because it’s slow. And it’s like, Oh, I’ll get to the next car in a hurry up, blah, blah, blah. You take, you take Island band flat out in real life. And it is terrifying and you don’t get that fear. So Justin’s right in the, you know, there’s no guarantee you can be amazing on a SIM and you could suck in real life.

John Munro:

You could also, and vice versa. We’ve seen it multiple times. We’ve seen good drivers in real life, terrible in a SIM. And, but then recently, like I’ve been doing a lot of racing with Jenson button. Who’s obviously a really good real life racer, if you might have heard of him. And he is doing an amazing job of becoming an esports level driver on, on the SIM, you know, an ACC is been putting so much time into it and he’s getting right into the engineering of it. And he is at the level now where he could go in any esports competition with likes of James Baldwin and not be far off. And he will be winning races and stuff. He’s really can transfer the skills. So, Oh yeah, absolutely. Anyway, you know, he’s, he’s right up there at the top with all the, all the quickest guys in the team and stuff like that. He’s right there. And he’s putting in as much time as anyone else. So I think it, it, it varies from case to case, but there’s definitely possibility to transfer scores.

Justin Sutton:

You said there about, um, the fear that’s, that is the main thing. I think that the feeling and the emotion on the field, and then the boom of the inertia is very hard to replicate. I know there are some really good motion seams. They’re not affordable for everybody. Uh, but even so it’s, you know, in the back of your mind in a sense that if you crushed, you’re not going to hurt yourself. But when I, let me tell you a story, when I was driving my feet, ponder on the Nurburgring in the red, I knew every corner and apex and breaking point because it’s perfectly replicated in video games. Right. So I knew exactly which corner was coming up. So therefore I had advantage over some other people who were there, right. Which is great, but Oh my God, that the, the, the fear inside you, when you go around the carousel, because you think if I go off here, you know, I could hurt myself. I’m a partner. I also have to pay the bill also, how am I going to drive the car home from Germany? You know, if it’s done, you just don’t get that sense. And you never will.

John Munro:

No, the fear is the biggest thing is the biggest thing for me. And I think arguably driving and real life is actually easier than driving on a SIM because you’ve got more feelings. So like car control and learning stuff, it’s actually easier. And that’s what makes it hard for some real life drivers to go into the SIM, however it going from SIM to real life. Um, you may have the skills to do it, but trust me, you’ll go out there in the first lap and you will be miles off the pace. And you might, you might think us weird. I’m only a second off the pace of the SIM. Why am I 10 seconds off the pace in real life? And it’s because of the fear and learning that feeling and getting used to it. So, yeah, I mean, we, we could talk about this all day, but I I’m aware of the time.

John Munro:

So I’m gonna gotta wrap out there guys. Thank you so much as always for joining us. And of course, a thanks to you guys at home for listening, make sure you subscribe via your favorite podcast service or on YouTube to catch future episodes as they are released. Also, don’t forget to join us on social media attraction, GG where I’m sure Justin will be sending many tweets your way or Facebook, wherever you call them some Instagram things, uh, and visit our website. Of course, traction.gg for all your basic good news and updates where Tom will be helping, sorry yet. And until next time, keep it pedant. Thanks for listening and have a great day.

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