OverTake presents our Hero of the Month for February: Low Fuel Motorsport founder Boris Schalk.
Image credit: Boris Schalk
The online racing experience is only ever as good as the people you share it with. More often than not, finding similarly skilled and clean players to race against often falls on the backs of people who give up their free time to operate community leagues.
But many casual sim racers don’t want to get involved in semi-serious competitions and just want to hop on to their favourite sim and be immediately placed with likeminded opponents whenever they feel like it. iRacing has had a system like this for years, but many other titles have been lacking this feature and as a result, many independent services have sprung up to provide sim racers with consistent matchmaking.
One of those is Low Fuel Motorsport, providing over 80,000 players across ACC and rFactor 2 with a platform to race whenever the mood strikes. LFM was the idea of software developer Boris Schalk, leading a small team of sim racing enthusiasts on a voluntary basis to help the sim racing community race on the titles they love.
For both Schalk’s tireless dedication and selfless service to the sim racing community, we are making him our Hero of the Month for February!
Longtime Racing Gamer
Schalk’s start in racing games came in the 1990s when his father got a laptop from work. On there, he would play Grand Prix Circuit from 1988 for hours in utter amazement of the game. It was really a product of its time, and even with just eight tracks and three cars, he would rarely tire of it.
This was only the start as he would then pick up the MicroProse Grand Prix titles, the EA Sports F1 games from the early 2000s and into the modern era with Codemasters. Schalk branched out beyond the F1 niche as he would also play the likes of TOCA, GTR and the first rFactor.
Schalk was involved in a lot of organised league competitions but when he tried iRacing, he came to really appreciate the automated online system. When Assetto Corsa Competizione released in 2018, Boris began racing on that but missed the convenience of iRacing‘s system, something ACC lacked.
Beginnings of LFM
When the pandemic happened, he decided to get back into streaming sim racing after putting it on hold for a while. Boris was operating an ACC league through RaceApp and he was keeping track of the races and championship through Excel files. It was stressful to say the least.
As a result of that, he decided to create an automated competition system to organise and keep tabs of online ACC racing. Schalk got to work throughout 2020 and began assembling a small team, which culminated in Low Fuel Motorsport launching in December that year.
He considers his personal highlight of his time running LFM is the fact that it continues to grow at an incredible rate. It’s difficult for Boris to name one particular event throughout his time operating LFM as it’s a collection of many small moments merging together. The integration of rFactor 2 was a noteworthy moment though, with many considering it a major revival of rF2‘s online side.
At the same time, it’s also quite tricky to keep the service running smoothly. Schalk is still working as a software developer throughout the day, and he’s simultaneously juggling that with LFM duties. He recalls how difficult a task it was to implement the safety rating system to the service through ACC‘s code.
LFM isn’t a paid service so the income the team receives is through generous optional donations and purchasing merchandise. Whilst they do benefit from those payments, nobody has to part with any cash if they want to utilise LFM.
Jack of All Trades
Aside from sim racing and his current occupation as a software developer, Schalk is a keen musician and produces his own music which you can find on SoundCloud. He began in the music industry, both producing and DJ-ing professionally for over ten years and credits German Techno DJ Chris Liebing as his idol.
Other pastimes of Boris’ include skiing, cycling and also going for long walks with his dog. He values the time he gets away from all of his responsibilities.
But that workload should be getting lighter. Boris predicts in May that he will have a strong enough income from LFM to be able to leave his software developer job. He’s hopeful that it means he can focus solely on LFM and subsequently make the service even better.
Thanks to Boris Schalk and the team at Low Fuel Motorsport, the sim racing experience is made that little bit better. As a result of the dedicated people who take on these thankless tasks, everyday really is well and truly race day.
Follow Boris on social media:
Are there any personalities in esports racing you would like to nominate for the next edition of Hero of the Month? Tell us on Twitter at @OverTake_gg or in the comments down below!