Ex-F1 and current World Endurance Championship driver Giedo van der Garde has always been a big presence on Twitter. More often than not, his Tweets are light-hearted banter about himself or Formula 1 races. However, a recent Tweet which pondered the difference between sim and real-world racing drew a lot of attention and has left a sour taste in a fair few mouths.
On 30 April, Giedo posted an image of an LMP 2 car going through the infamous Eau Rouge and Raidillon complex at Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium. This particular section of track is well known for its combination of high speeds and sudden elevation changes, and it is a corner which requires a fair degree of bravery to master.
Alongside the image, the Dutch driver said: “To all the sim racers: this is the moment you feel your balls shrimp and feel the difference”. While it may seem, on the face of it at least, that there isn’t much to this statement, some people have taken exception to it. There is something of a history of sim racing and esports as a whole having to assert their validity, so to many this came off as an attack of the legitimacy of sim racing.
Nils Naujoks, a sim racing driver for G2 Esports and all-around veteran of the world of esports racing, had the following to say in response:
The unwritten deal between sim and real world drivers should be this:— Nils Naujoks (@n1lyn) May 3, 2021
Simracers acknowledge the overwhelming nature of the real thing and real racers in return offer the same around the particular challenges of simracing.
We're not threats to one another🤷 https://t.co/6fYpuh6NfE
Naujoks’ views have gathered some support, from his fans and peers alike. Danny Engels, a former esports driver and current Head of G2 Esports added to the discussion. He he was "offended by the implication that sim racers aspire to be real life racers”. For Engels, it was the concept of esports itself that was the appeal, rather than racing specifically.
James Baldwin, a star of the world of sim racing who has also competed successfully in real-world motorsports kept his response brief: “I think we’d be alright m8”. One of the most popular replies to Giedo’s initial Tweet highlighted another very pertinent issue. “If well all only had the money to do those things. Thanks for making people with less feel bad. Good job.” For many, sim racing is a cheaper, and therefore more viable alternative to real-world competition.
There were some positive responses as well. Arthur Kammerer, another G2 Esports driver, queried why so many people were offended by the remark. He also added that he “would love to experience the difference”. All in all, the Tweet proved to be quite divisive, and the response highlights some of the issues of legitimacy and perception that sim racing has to deal with.
What was your reaction to Giedo's Tweet? Tell us on Twitter at @OverTake_gg or in the comments down below!