On the left is a man with bright red hair in a red shirt, with a prototype racing car on the right.
Image credit: iRacing.com

The First Year of my Sim Racing Journey

2023 was Luca’s first year involved in PC sim racing, and he ended the year competing in his first 24 hour race, the BritCar Silverstone 24!

My final Sim Racing Journey article of 2023 and it is amazing to see how far I have gone from the start of this year. To bring you all up to speed, despite being involved in writing about sim racing professionally for a couple of years, I had not taken the leap into PC sim racing myself. I believed it would be a huge waste of money.

Well I caved in and finally got a PC to race on the likes of iRacing, rFactor 2 and Assetto Corsa Competizione. I have absolutely loved it, and I am so glad I took this leap. Since my last entry into this series, I have raced in a few major events that I would love to talk about, but I fear this article will get too long!

There is though, a set of races that I took part in at the start of this month that I am keen to mention.

First 24 hour Enduro

On the weekend of 2-3 December, I signed up to compete in the BritCar 24 hours of Silverstone with United Sim Team. It was a big leap for me, as I had opportunities to do 24 hour events with the team. But I did not feel like I was ready for the Nürburgring and Spa 24 hour iRacing Special Events.

However, I was fully committed to Silverstone and had zero hesitations. I would share driving duties with my team managers Yvonne Houffelaar and Sophie Aeronwen, and also other UST drivers Sara Dove, Esmeralda van der Naald and Ola Särnkvist. There was a slight issue though that I had failed to account for.

The event was taking place during 2023 Season 4 Week 12, and I had wanted to do that week’s VRS GT Endurance Series race on the Nordschleife. So I scheduled to do that race with another teammate of mine, Patrick van den Berg. I was really jumping in at the deep end here.

A bright orange and dark red Mercedes AMG GT3 with mountains on the side.
In both races, I would drive the Mercedes AMG GT3. Image credit: iRacing.com

Sophie had arranged us to take the wheel in hourly increments, there or thereabouts. Very rarely would we double stint, I did my first two in the middle of the first six hours. It was rather uneventful, and I arranged to be on hand to take over once we finished the VRS race. Which in stark contrast to the start of the BritCar event, was very eventful.

There was no qualifying and we started last, most likely because of Patrick and I having the lowest average iRating in the field (thanks to me). I clashed with someone on the fourth lap and incurred a lengthy repair (took longer than a lap of the track!). I thought it was a disaster, but we somehow managed to go from 60th on the grid and brought it home in 27th at the end!

Back in the BritCar event, we were settled in the mid 20s overall in position. I took over for another stint in the early hours, which is when I got tapped in the rear on my out lap by an impatient lapping driver. I pit again to fix the damage and continued without a hitch. Afterwards, I went to bed whilst Yvonne and Sophie stayed awake.

Do not ask me how, but Yvonne and Sophie had kept themselves awake for something between 18 and 24 hours whilst the rest of us slept. They kept going by some miracle, I even got a little concerned for them. I was relieved when Sophie ended her last stint shortly after we awoke meaning they both could get some much needed rest.

Approaching the end of the race, I was unbelievably nervous for us to not get a penalty. After Sara took over from Sophie, we reached 100 incident points since the start of the race so we got a drive through. Every 25 after that was another, and we were just trying our utmost to not exceed 125.

We never did thankfully, and after doing my last stint, Sara brought it home and we finished 23rd. It was a genuinely overwhelming moment, a bit like when Top Gear did the real life BritCar 24 hours of Silverstone. That was a huge achievement for me, since I was the only one on the team who had never done a 24 hour event before.

It should mean that I am well prepared for what I intend to do next.

What Is Next For Me?

For those who have been reading these articles since I began back in February, you will know my reason for finally getting involved in high level PC sim racing. I will undoubtedly have mentioned it one too many times, but I always beam with pride to say that I was involved in conceptulising two major sim racing events.

Both events are by VCO Esports, and they are the multi-platform Esports Racing World Cup/Esports Racing League, and the 24 races in 24 hours event INFINITY. The vision that both me and VCO’s leader Florian Haasper share is why I am now eager to add my name to the list of drivers who have raced in both ERL and INFINITY.

ERL did not happen this year for a few reasons, and INFINITY was set to run in September but that has also been delayed. As disappointing as it was, it has given me time to really sharpen my skills and knowledge on all the relevant platforms. Now I really feel ready to take them on.

Same can be said for all these iRacing Special Events I aim to do and I now feel ready for. Spa 24 hours, Bathurst 12 hours, Nürburgring 24 hours, Daytona 24 hours, I would love to have done the Sebring 12 hours but my best friend Nadine who is from the Netherlands is visiting that weekend. She is one of the very few people I would put over sim racing.

There is also something else I have been pitching since early 2022 that may hopefully materialise next year. I will not say what it is, all I can say is that it will be an event like no other. So stay tuned for that.

Thank You

2023, my first year doing PC sim racing properly. So I want to dedicate a segment to all the many people who have played a part in it, I know I run the risk of missing some people out here but you all know who you are.

Firstly to my colleagues here at OverTake, the line-up may have changed a bit since the start of the year but all of whom are a joy to work with. Next up are Yvonne and Sophie of United Sim Team, who let me be part of the outfit and allowed me a chance to participate in races, learn and achieve things I could never do solo. Same goes for all the other UST drivers who I frequently interact with.

Then there are the many communities who have hosted me. Just to name a few, there is RaceAsylum, RCCO and SOP Motorsport, plus so many others that I do not want to risk naming a load of but forget one or two. Finally of course, all the people across the sim racing community who put up with my fanboyish ways.

Here is to an amazing 2024 with so many more of you. With INFINITY and ERL hopefully taking place next year, I am very much looking forward to what happens next.

What sim racing events should Luca get involved with in 2024? Tell us on Twitter at @OverTake_gg or in the comments down below!

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