Following a nearly perfect run in the 2021 The Real Race EMEA region, Jordan Sherratt is one of three regional The Real Race winners after months of racing on the Assetto Corsa Competizione platform. Sherratt, a setup builder for Coach Dave Academy and a former Formula 4 driver, is somewhat new to the competitive simulation racing scene. You could never tell by the way he was able to obliterate his competitors in the 2021 competition.
Sherratt wound up winning 15 of the 17 race events over the course of the EMEA regional season. Also the pole winner for nine out of 10 event weekends, Sherratt proved to be a dominant force all year long. I put together some questions for Jordan to talk about last week (15th December) but unfortunately I fell ill the night before. The always fantastic Tom Harrison-Lord filled in and spoke to the champion, filling about 30 minutes of Jordan’s time with great conversation.
From the sim to the real world, talking differences between simulations, and his current day job, the pair talked about a bunch of different content related to Jordan’s real and virtual racing career. Check out some of the highlights from the conversation below.
Tom Harrison Lord: How are you doing today, Jordan? Is that your sim rig there?
Jordan Sherratt: Yeah, I’m sitting in it. It’s like my home, I would say. Like, I don’t actually have a desk. My rig is in my room, and my bed is over there.
It’s pretty much what I do. I actually work in the esports scene for Coach Dave Academy. I do that during the day.
THL: Very interesting! What do you do there at Coach Dave Academy, specifically?
JS: I’m sure you know, they do setups, so I create setups for ACC. What’s actually interesting about that not many people know what goes into creating setups. Nobody knows that there are actual engineers that work with us. Engineers that work for Williams Esports, Zansho Simsport, so yeah, it’s pretty cool.
THL: So you work with them on a daily basis to get the right setup for certain cars, conditions, tracks…
THL: So you’re well-versed on Assetto Corsa Competizione then?
JS: I would say so. I have enough hours in the game.
THL: What got you into motorsports, in general?
JS: My Dad actually raced for fun, and so did his parents. They used to do those Stock Cars, the Demolition Derbies where they drive around and crash into each other, back in the 60’s and 70’s. I’ve pretty much grown up into a racing background. I was fortunate enough to do racing in the real world, for a long time, since I was six. I did quite well in those things, I went on to Formula 4. It could have been more, but sometimes, things just don’t go your way. I can’t say the reasons why.
THL: What was it like to compete in the F4 US Championship? Didn’t you win a race at VIR (Virginia International Raceway)?
JS: That was actually interesting. We were on a team that literally learned everything themselves from Karting. Basically, my sponsor, he wanted to do F4. He didn’t want to spend a lot of money, so he just got all of the karting guys on his team, he bought the Formula 4 car, and we went racing. Not even with a proper engineer, but just a mechanic, so he knows how to at least make the car safe.
THL: When did you pick up sim racing? What led you to going online and racing virtually?
JS: I used to play Gran Turismo for fun back on the PlayStation 3 back in the day. Nothing serious, just having fun with friends at my house. I had the G27 wheel which was huge back then in 2013 or 2014. When lockdown hit in the beginning of 2020, I had nothing to do. My brother pulled out my old rig that I had… he was actually the one that got me the urge to drive pretty much. From there it just took off. I used my old wheel last year. That’s how I got into sim racing.
THL: What did you enjoy about The Real Race last year that made you want to come back and try again?
JS: Obviously, last year, experiencing the whole trip and the people behind Lamborghini, you know, when you look at cars, you never really appreciate the car until you actually go and meet the people behind it and how it’s built. You feel a part of the family. Why I wanted to come back, last year I was still new to sim racing and I was still learning sim racing at the time when I was racing against Nils (Naujoks).
JS: I was still learning everything. This year I knew I was a lot better. Better equipment doesn’t really help but I just felt better and more confident in myself. That’s why I wanted to come back and win. Obviously, lastly, the esports drive, to become the official driver. That’s pretty much my goal. I’ve always worked towards that, even in real life. Trying to get that in the virtual world is something, you know? Maybe it could bring something in real life. That’s pretty much why.
THL: How about the next step when you are to face off against the other regional winners?
JS: I don’t really have much detail about the rest. I don’t know when we’re going to Italy because of Covid, but there’s supposed to be a shootout.
THL: So I could go a number of different ways based on what you’ve given me so far, but what drew you to pick up Assetto Corsa Competizione?
JS: Well, that’s a very hard question to answer.
THL: Oh, really? Do you enjoy it? Is it something you would deem a good sim platform?
JS: Yes, it’s the most realistic platform or game out there, I feel. That’s as far as how ABS works, like if you compare to iRacing, iRacing doesn’t do that properly. You have to brake at 50 percent, at least ACC’s got that right. The reason why I got into it, there was a race in South Africa that was at the beginning of January when lockdown happened. I had some friends doing the game that were like ‘why don’t you come and try’? Back then I was so slow, like, I’m very competitive in nature. I just started grinding, working hard, getting connected with the right teams, and I slowly but surely built myself up.
THL: Are you racing on any other sims or is ACC the main priority?
JS: ACC is the main priority, but with Coach Dave Academy on iRacing now, as far as setup making, I was doing a little bit of that. Doing a bit of everything, I’d say.
THL: Are there any comparisons between what you’re doing for The Real Race and any prior on track real world experience you have?
JS: I never really had a GT experience, so it’s hard to say, although I did drive the Super Trofeo when I went to Italy last year.
THL: Nice. How was that?
JS: That was fun. Going back into the real seat is quite nice, you know? Feeling the power in the car and how it feels.
THL: Going through your stats from the season, with so many wins and poles, how do you mentally prepare and how much do you practice for such domination?
JS: Naturally, I have a lot of hours in the game and I do it mostly every day, right? So I’m already so used to it. The amount of hours I need to put in is not as much as anyone would think. At the start of the competition, I was driving hard. I drove every week, trying to be as best prepared for the start. That would sort of set up my season. I would practice about 10 hours before the race.
THL: What are some of your philosophies to setting up a car? Are there certain characteristics you’re looking for?
JS: It varies from car to car. Applying the real-world philosophy to ACC in terms of setups works to a certain extent. However, you have to be more experimental in terms of extracting unrealistic time from the setup. It’s really hard to explain.
THL: That’s alright. It’s detail though? There’s a lot of work that goes into it, would that be fair?
JS: Yeah, 100 percent. Experience helps in that. Comparing that to last year, where I wasn’t experienced, it made a bit of a difference this year. I was able to track more and make the car better through a stint. That also makes a difference. You can’t just take a setup and do 10 laps of the same lap. That’s impossible. That’s really good though, in terms of the game getting that right.
THL: Would you say there was any different, in particular, that helped you succeed better in the 2021 The Real Race versus 2020?
JS: I would say confidence. After my first year of sim racing at the highest level, I was learning something brand new, and I really didn’t have the confidence. I didn’t know how fast I was. I wasn’t always driving against Nils, I wasn’t driving against others at that level. When I actually saw I was faster than Nils in some of the races but I didn’t put it all together, I somewhat started to put confidence in myself. The next year I could come into it with much more confidence.
JS: Also, there was more prep work. This year, the weather conditions could have been wet or dry or whatever, so I literally prepared for everything. I never had to stress and make something work last minute.
THL: If you were to become the Lamborghini Esports driver, what would that mean to you?
JS: It would mean quite a bit. Even though it’s esports and the online scene, even in my real world racing, I wanted to get somewhere where I could be paid as a driver. For example, becoming an IndyCar driver was the goal when I was racing in the US. It was a realistic goal in terms of finances and sponsors to get there, I would say. Obviously, that didn’t work out, so this would mean a-flippin’-lot. It would mean a hell of a lot. It’s like the ultimate goal of any sim racer to get to a drive like this.