Predominately known for Gran Turismo videos in recent years, prior competitive Forza exploits and over 750,000 YouTube subscribers, Steve Alvarez Brown – aka Super GT – is also extremely experienced in the real world on track.
But, not in cars.
No, karts. Subscribers of his channel will already know that he’s been karting every year since 2001. That means in Mini Max and Junior Max machines, hire karting events like Club100, the Ultimate Karting Championship and even with Formula 1 ace Lando Norris – thanks in part to Brown’s Quadrant connections, the McLaren driver’s content creation offshoot.
So not only is he well versed in virtual racing, but he can, probably, lap Whilton Mill with his eyes closed.
However, his next challenge is set to take things up a level, as he competes in the final round of the Radical SR1 Cup Championship at Donington Park.
“I drove the car for the first time last week,” explained Brown to Traxion.GG.
“I don’t have a huge amount of on-track car experience, just two events, and I’ve never been around Donington before.”
“It’s an absolutely incredible car to drive. Really good fun. Lots of grip, this is the first time I’ve tried something with this level of downforce, so you need to drive a little bit differently.”
Real-world racing experience in cars can be hard to come by. Recently, however, he’s started the path towards becoming a fully-fledged motorsport competitor, following a brief test in Veloce’s Extreme E machine at the end of 2021.
Earlier this year, a weekend in the BRSCC Mazda MX-5 Championship at Silverstone started the ball rolling, and a round of the VW Fun Cup – sharing a car with fellow sim racer-turned-motorsport-competitor Jimmy Broadbent – resulted in a podium finish.
“I’ve just been trying to do something new, something different, as cars were always the next natural step after karting and racing virtually,” continued Super GT.
“I really enjoyed the experience I had in Mazda MX-5s and the Fun Cup earlier this year.
“This will be a little bit faster. I think the racing will be a little closer, plus another track to learn.
The SR1 is a purpose-built race car from the Peterborough-based manufacturer. A featherweight at just 490kg, its 182bhp is paired with a giant rear wing and a large front splitter, resulting in 1.9g of lateral force plus lap times a smidgen quicker than GT4 machinery.
The one-make championship is currently led by Daryl DeLeon. The format sees two qualifying sessions and two races in a single day.
“He’s obviously very talented in the sim racing and virtual world, so it’ll be interesting to see how he performs on track,” said Nicole Van der Walt, Radical’s UK Motorsport Manager.
A short test in damp conditions last week proved to be enlightening and edge-of-the-seat stuff for Brown, as he worked with driver Gordie Mutch.
“During the test, I drove out of the pitlane and as I’m going down the Craner Curves on my first lap, I’m pretty much sideways due to the tyres not being warm, but also the moisture on the surface.
“So that was quite an interesting way to start driving a Radical, pretty much sideways on the second corner…
“Gordie set some reference laps, so I could look at his data and video footage. He was then watching my video, telling me what I was doing right and wrong.
“The main things I’ve also been doing [outside of the test session] are working on my fitness and overall health. When I’m in the car, I want to feel sharp and not lacking physically. I’ve also been watching onboards to try and see the best way to drive the Radicals.”
There will also be some inherent skills carried across from sim racing. No longer just the reserve of simply learning which way a track goes, the competitive online racing scene helps develop genuine crossover.
“The thing that most people expect from using a sim to improve their real-world experiences is usually how quickly they can drive the car. The reality is it’s not really about that.
“It’s all about mental preparation. Instinctive decision making, knowing when and how to defend. Where to overtake. When to look in your mirror, when not to look in the mirror. Not feeling pressure from other cars behind you.
“These are what become second nature when you race competitively online. Similarly, in terms of improving my concentration, it’s key. So, if I practice, let’s say, in a 20-minute session at home, because my races are going to be 20 minutes long, you can simulate keeping your focus.
“I’m jumping in for the final round, so there will be people who have had five rounds more experience than me in this specific car. I’ve got to just jump in and try to learn very quickly. That’s the hard bit, the main challenge, really.”
Alongside trying to net a strong result, Brown will also be filming the whole race and preparation, creating content along his journey and showcasing to his audience the highs, and hopefully not too many, lows of a motorsport career.
“It is crazy, because I was out there on track last week, and I was thinking to myself, ‘I’m actually at work right now’, this is my job. I’m recording content and I’m not just driving it for fun. There have been worse days than that.”
Away from interviews, Brown is approachable and down to earth. If he finds success in the motorsport environment, it will be down to his relentless work ethic, but it also couldn’t happen to a more affable person.
The final round of Radical’s SR1 Cup is across the 17th-18th September 2022 and will be live streamed from Donington Park’s Grand Prix layout on Radical Motorsport’s YouTube channel.