First, let’s not kid myself here. There are multiple real racing series, where real drivers post articles about real racing and real issues and concerns. Concerns that can literally mean life or death. And the world ignores them. I was shocked to see the abysmal turnout at some high profile races this weekend. Probably the most disappointing (at least watching on TV) was the return of IndyCar to Pocono. The main grandstand on the front straight never looked much more than half full. And there are men and women out on the track travelling over 225mph with average lap speeds north of 210mph, literally in the backyard of the Andretti family. And the world rewards such efforts with a collective yawn.
Try harder world.
I, on the other hand, am infinitely less interesting than the lowliest kart racer mixing it up in a rental kart at an indoor kart track. And, no one is going to read that guy’s blog. “Got passed on the last lap for 3rd place just as I was driving past the soda machine on the front straight.”
Nope: I’m not reading that. And I know you’re not reading that. If you’re in my target audience of motorsport fans, you have a wealth of options available on the internet and on TV so overwhelming that a great kart racer, a great racer in ALMS, an up and coming stock car driver or IndyCar racer is not going to get much attention. So, who is going to follow the antics of some idiot attempting to qualify for a reality TV show?
I don’t know.
But I do know this. There are about a million of us trying. Out of that group, I’m rated 1291st (as of this writing) in my region and about 13,000th overall. I’m in the top 2% of all online racers trying to win this competition. And it’s a competition that realistically takes the top 0.01% of all competitors and gives them a shot in a real car on a real track. And, it changes my life when I compete and prepare to compete.
This past weekend I improved my 2013 5K PR to a pathetic 26:12 seconds. But that’s about 20 seconds better than I ran a month ago. And, I have another race this weekend. I’m eating healthier. I’m drinking less. I’m working out. I’m remembering my karting lessons about not hanging my hands off the wheel. Focusing on being precise with my left foot braking on a brake pedal that’s little more than an on/off switch. OK, I’m obsessed.
Obsession is something people like to read about. Obsession makes you crazy. Obsession gets under your skin and makes you want to scratch and scratch and scratch. I’m sure all of those real racers out there feel this obsession, ten fold over what I feel. I hope they start writing more about it because I’d love to read those articles rather than the usual “We were tight in turn two, then we made some adjustments and we were loose in turn two.”
Yesterday I pounded around a virtual map of Silverstone for about two hours and managed to skim another second or so off of my lap time. This brought me from about 3,000th place in the USA to closer to 1,000th place. Since it’s been 24 hours, that time has probably been beaten by a few hundred other virtual racers. Maybe individually we’re boring, but as a cultural phenomenon something interesting is happening here. We’re like the virtual zombie army from World War Z threatening to crash the gates of the racing for dollars party. Someone once said that there is probably a kid in an African village some place who can drive better than Jackie Stewart. Well, if the world is ever going to find that kid, GranTurismo is the way it will be done. Watch out for us boring zombies.