Having led rFactor 2 for nearly six years, it came as a surprise for some that Marcel Offermans left the project earlier this year just as officially licenced IndyCar and British Touring Car Championship content came on stream.
But, as it turns out, he didn’t leave the sim racing genre altogether – quite the opposite in fact. He announced yesterday (31st August) that he has founded a new business called The Last Garage.
The venture will develop and consult on simulation software, plus assist other companies with their licencing arrangements.
“For most of my career I have been working on all kinds of software systems, from small and embedded devices to cloud scale applications, from real-time to data processing,” explained Offermans to Traxion.GG.
“Sim racing evolved from a hobby to becoming a full-time job. Things got more serious when I started doing projects for Image Space Inc. with rFactor, such as writing drivers for huge motion platforms.
“That evolved into migrating rFactor and rFactor 2 to Steam and working with Reiza Studios to build the original Automobilista based on its rFactor license.”
From there, Offermans was handed the keys to lead the rFactor 2 project and founded Studio 397 to continue its development. Over five years he and the team worked to increase its popularity to the point where it was purchased in 2021 by the then-fledgling Motorsport Games following a successful 24 Hours of Le Mans Virtual.
Since that sale, the platform has been used for the Le Mans Virtual Series racing esports championship and switched to a seasonal release schedule.
“Earlier this year, I decided it was time to leave Studio 397 and start something new,” said Offermans.
The Last Garage is clearly in its nascent stages, from the outside having only a logo and not much else. However, work has begun behind the scenes.
“It is not the biggest place, but it houses a network of people that are all seasoned professionals,” highlighted the erstwhile figurehead for rFactor 2.
“As we’re just getting started, I don’t have a whole lot of stories yet, but as an example, I am currently helping a company reviewing and improving its software to make sure it’s as robust and future-proof as it can be.
“Another project involves working with manufacturers in licensing and ensuring the best possible representation of its brand in current racing simulations,”
The name for this fresh venture came highlights Offerman’s continued passion for the racing simulation industry.
“The metaphor of the garage nicely captures my intentions. The Last Garage is a place you can go to get expert help.”
In conversation, Offermans explained that his departure from Motorsport Games in May was on good terms. While The Last Garage is initially starting out in a consultancy format, naturally, things may expand from here…
“At the back of the garage, there is another door. It leads to another part of the company called the Research and Development area. What happens there is a secret, so we won’t be going there today,” is the tantalising end to our encounter. Colour us intrigued.
Full disclosure – Traxion.GG is part of Motorsport Games and the Motorsport Games family of brands. All Traxion.GG content is editorially removed from Motorsport Games video game development and created by a dedicated team.