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April 2014

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iRacing TV

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The Team

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  • David Phillips
    Editor And Chief
    David Phillips is a long-time contributor to print and electronic publications in the U.S. and abroad, including Racer, Autosport, AutoWeek, Motor Sport and SPEEDtv.com, oversees the daily updating of news stories and assigns, edits and contributes feature material for inRacingNews.com.
  • David Judson
    Contributor

    29 years old, Dave Judson lives in Mentor, Ohio. Dave has grown up with racing, watching his father win races and championships at the local go-kart track as a youngster and continuing his love of racing while watching NASCAR, Indycar, Formula 1 and sports cars.
    Judson has enjoyed a successful sim-racing career of his own in the IZOD Indycar iRacing Open and Fixed Setup Series. He has race wins to his credits as well as the Division 1 Championship of the Open Series in Season 1 of 2013 and the Overall Championship of the Fixed Series in Season 3 of 2013.
    Dave has a Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration from Cleveland State University and is looking to expand his horizons by writing for inRacingNews.

  • Matt A Kingsbury
    Contributor

    Kingsbury lives in Fairfield, Connecticut where he currently attends Sacred Heart University. He is a fan of any form of racing, from NASCAR to IndyCar, Formula 1, and especially endurance racing. The summer of 2013 saw Kingsbury attend IndyCar's return to Pocono Raceway as well as the ARCA race at Pocono which Corey Lajoie won and got some pictures (including the accompanying mug shot) in Victory Lane thanks to his aunt!

  • Raymond Kingsbury
    Contributor

    Ray Kingsbury is a motorsport enthusiast and full-time university student, born and raised in Connecticut. He started his own racing career in BMX, riding bicycles competitively on the state level. In eight years he claimed the state championship and was ranked nationally before moving away from the sport. This void of activities led him to rediscover sim-racing in the form of NASCAR Heat. After a championship in the game's most competitive league Kingsbury started focusing full-time on his involvement in Live for Speed. There he founded Last Lap Motorsports which today has more than 20 members worldwide.

    When a few Last Lap Motorsports members decided to give iRacing.com a chance to feed their desire for more oval racing, Ray teamed with his brother Matt, Nathan Lamothe and newcomer Jimmie Jones to enter the ETV! Live Team Series and claimed the title after a dominating performance at Watkins Glen. To this day the team continues in both Live for Speed and iRacing.com and Ray still takes much delight in his own sim-racing career. A reporter for his high school newspaper before moving to university, Kingsbury keeps-up his writing activities by contributing to iRacing News.

  • Jeff Jacobs
    Contributor

    Jeff Jacobs started autocrossing with the SCCA in 1990 while a student at the University of Florida. He has competed in the SCCA's National Tour and ProSolo series since 1995, winning a ProSolo National Championship in H-Stock in 2011 driving a 2010 MINI Cooper. Jeff completed his SCCA Club Racing drivers' school in 2012 at Roebling Road in a Spec Miata. He currently writes a column for the SCCA's Northeast Division in SportsCar Magazine and is the Region Executive of the Philadelphia Region SCCA.

    Jeff joined iRacing in October 2012. After starting with the MX-5 and SRF cars, he has been concentrating on the Ford Mustang FR500S, competing in the iRacing.com Mustang Cup series and the Continental Endurance Sports Car Series.

  • Jordan Hightower
    Contributor

    Jordan began sim-racing in 2005 with the NASCAR Racing 2003 Season sim and then joined the iRacing community in June of 2008. He hails from Fort Smith, Arkansas where he is currently enrolled at the University of Arkansas Fort Smith, after which he plans to attend the University of Arkansas to earn his MBA. Although he enjoys watching and playing basketball, most of Jordan's focus is on motorsports, particularly NASCAR: "Anything that burns gas and goes fast, I like."

  • Scott Kelly
    Contributor

    Born and raised in the greater St. Louis, Missouri area, Scott Kelly has had a love for motorsports ever since his father did the right thing by introducing auto racing into his life. No longer able to quench his need for speed by spectating NASCAR races on TV and watching dirt track stars slide around local tracks, Kelly eventually picked-up sim racing in his teens, wheeling cars found in Ratbag Games' "Dirt Track Racing" and "World of Outlaws: Sprint Cars" while also becoming introduced into multiple Papyrus sim-racing series. Joining the iRacing ranks in late 2011, Kelly set his sights on the short track racing he was familiar with, focusing on the sprint car, while also driving the Legends and street stock in multiple iRacing.com leagues.

    Kelly brings not just his enthusiasm for racing to the highest-rated motorsports simulation, but also his B.A. degree in English; he covers the action seen in the iRacing.com Sprint Car Series, while also placing the spotlight on various leagues within the service. Enjoying his start to a career in motorsports journalism, Kelly also doesn't mind visiting victory lane from time-to-time.

  • George Wood
    Contributing Writer
    After beginning his racing career with go-karts at age seven, George then turned wrenches on street stocks until he could finally turn the wheel. Following the successes of his friends and family, George has since retired from real-world racing, where he is now a science and mathematics faculty member for several local community colleges. When George isn't grading laboratory reports or iRacing, he is performing at bluegrass festivals in the Northeast, making fishing lures, playing golf, and rooting for his beloved Baltimore Orioles.
  • Chris Hall
    iRacing.com Series Writer
    Chris Hall has been writing since the nineties and moved into motorsports reporting in 2005, covering series such as ALMS, British GT, FIA GT, Le Mans and 2CV racing for Full Throttle magazine, Motorsport.com, The-Paddock.net, GTGateway.com, L' Endurance and, of course, inRacingNews. During 2008 and 2009, he worked with the RSS Performance Porsche Carrera Cup Team (and former British GT(C) champions) as a data engineer for a variety of drivers and models of 997s.
  • Jason Lofing
    iRacing.com Series Writer
    Jason is 21 years old and was born and raised in Elk Grove. California. A big time NASCAR fan, he hasn’t missed a race on Sunday in years. Lofing is also a huge San Fransisco Giants fan and tries to take in at least a couple games a year. Other than sim racing, his biggest (and far more expensive!) hobby is photography. Although he is rather new to sim racing, Lofing has already accomplished some pretty impressive results, qualifying for the 2011 iRacing Oval Pro Series in Season 1, 2011, winning the inaugural Landon Cassill Qualifying Challenge and finishing runner-up in the second one.
  • Dylan Sharman
    Contributing Writer
    I was born in Adelaide and we moved-out for Angle Vale for a few years until I was about 7 years old, when we moved to the Barossa Valley where I live now. I'm 19 years old and currently traveling back and forth weekly as I'm studying for a Diploma of Furniture Design and Technology.

    I've always had a love for racing as my close family did some racing and we were always out at the local dirt track. I joined iRacing back in 2010 and slowly but surely got the hang of it as this is my first experience with sim racing and am loving it each time I race. I've won two SK Modified titles (almost had three in a row but finished P2 in 2011 S4), an iRacingNews Challenge championship (2012 S1 Mazda) and was also an AustralAsian Intel GT Series Finalist.
  • Katier Scott
    Contributing Writer
    I am a veteran sim racer who first started racing way back in 1993 on the SPRTSIMS section of Compuserve with a league who can trace themselves all the way to the present. Within that league I act as Chief Steward and try to bring the unique viewpoint that this experience gives me into my articles.
    I have a BA (Hons) in Journalism and Editorial design and have been writing for seven years and currently cover the Lotus 79 CTC and Radical series alongside my freelance work. Living in the UK, as well as motorsports I love Photography, Arts and Crafts and reading.
  • David Ifeguni
    Contributing Writer
    I was born in New Haven, Connecticut in 1988 and moved to Midland, Michigan when I was two years old. I stayed there until third grade when I moved to Farmington Hills, Michigan and now I currently live in Naperville, IL where I'm attending Metea Valley High School as a 9th grader. In the past, I have participated in soccer and this year I plan on joining swimming or water polo. My family includes my 15 year old sister, a 7 year old sister and my mom and dad. I have been writing since 6th grade and have participated in many writing contests in my school and have received several awards for writing.
    My fascination for motorsports began when I was nine. The first NASCAR race I watched on TV was the 2009 Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Infineon Raceway, won by Kasey Kahne. My favorite NASCAR drivers are Kyle Busch, Dale Earnhardt Jr, and Jimmie Johnson. I have watched all the races in the NASCAR Sprint Cup, Nationwide and Camping World Truck Series since 2010. I currently have three wins on iRacing, two of them in the Nationwide car at Daytona and one in the Street stocks at Charlotte. My favorite car and type of track on iRacing is the Nationwide Series (B Class) car and superspeedways.

Dream Time at Sebring

by Michael Wu on February 5th, 2013

In late January I had a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to participate in the first ever Skip Barber IndyCar Academy Shootout.  Recent graduates of the Skip Barber Three Day schools were invited to apply to participate in the Shootout and I was fortunate to be one of the 33 selected . . . at no cost!

A little background on myself:   I’ve loved racing ever since I was a kid, but I never had the opportunity to get involved until I graduated from college and got a real job.  In the past few years I’ve dabbled in the driver’s seat here and there, mostly in indoor/rental karting and some SCCA club racing.  I dreamed of moving-up the ladder and was always looking for an opportunity but never found one . . . until this past weekend!

Although I don’t have much physical world racing experience, I have been been active on racing sims for over 10 years, starting in Grand Prix Legends and Nascar Racing 2003, then moving on to Live For Speed before finding iRacing in 2009.  I’ve always felt my sim-racing has helped the physical world racing I’ve done.  With a free ride in the Skip Barber Racing School Summer Series on the line for the top driver in the Academy, I prepared more then ever on iRacing.  Specifically, I struggled with braking during my three day school at Lime Rock, so I upgraded to a load cell (pressure sensitive) brake and switched from left foot braking to right foot braking to accurately simulate what I would be doing in the real car.  After turning many laps on the Sebring Modified track in the virtual Skip Barber F2000 car, I felt confident in my track knowledge and car control.

Preparing for the Skip Barber IndyCar Academy on iRacing was a confidence booster . . .

So the first day of the Academy finally arrived and consisted of a vehicle dynamics talk, two autocross sessions in the Skip Barber F2000s to re-acclimate with the car and practice without penalty (which I took advantage of!), a drive around in a van, a sponsorship discussion, a track walk and the first of four on-track sessions for three of the four groups of eight drivers.  Unfortunately, I was in the fourth group and wouldn’t get my first run on track until Saturday morning.  I did take the opportunity to watch the other sessions with a few of the other racers in my group and it was apparent we were up against a lot of talent and potential.  Some guys were really pushing it and laying down some solid times right out of the gate.

Without an on-track session, the highlight of the first day was IndyCar driver Townsend Bell’s presentation on motorsports sponsorship.  I had heard Townsend was among the best at the business side of racing and an engaging speaker, so I was very interested to hear his story and get his insights.  I’d thought a lot about sponsorship over the last few years and Townsend’s talk helped me confirm what I’d thought about and heard here and there over the years, and put all the pieces together.  It was a great opportunity to hear his presentation and pretty inspiring too

“I’ve always felt my sim-racing has helped the physical world racing I’ve done.”

Saturday morning and, finally, my chance to take to the track in the first session.  After a few lead-follow laps with one of the instructors we were let loose.  For whatever reason I felt more calm and relaxed in the car then I ever have.  I started pushing pretty early and felt confident.  Everything was coming together.

The dynamics of the iRacing Barber F2000 and the real world car are pretty darned close.  The technique required to drive the car, with an emphasis on front to rear weight transfer, particularly with brake release is very similar.  And of course iRacing’s laser-scanned track is very accurate — although iRacing is not going to teach you to deal with the g-forces and the bumps of Sebring’s Turn One, which are so jarring that I could barely see the curb on the exit of the corner!

Anyway, things were going great until I came through Turn One and saw a car parked on line at the exit of the fastest turn on the track.  I was able to swerve and go off track to avoid it . . . but just barely.

“The dynamics of the iRacing Barber F2000 and the real world car are pretty darned close.”

I rolled into the pits for the required safety check and the instructor asked me if I’d seen the yellow flag.  No I hadn’t!  Turn One has a long runoff and the flagging station is all the way at the end of it.  Having never been on the “real” Sebring, I neglected to scope-out the flagging stations on the van- around, the lead-follow laps or my first few laps on the track: a big mistake!  Lesson learned but, fortunately, no one was hurt and there was no carnage from the mistake.

I ended the session with a best lap of 1:22.06, third fastest in my group and fifth fastest overall.  Considering I had no experience on the track while some of my competitors did, I was very happy with the result and I knew the iRacing practice had definitely helped.

For the second session I pulled out of the pits but only made it a few corners before my car stalled and wouldn’t restart!  I was stranded on track and had to change cars.  Fortunately Michael Culver, the Skip Barber CEO, happened to be at that corner and gave me a quick lift back to the pits.  There I jumped into another car and, after the mechanics helped with a quick pedal adjustment, I got on my way.

Townsend Bell’s presentation on motorsports sponsorship was one of the off-track highlights of the IndyCar Academy experience.

I know mechanical problems are a part of racing and something we have to deal with, so I tried to not let the situation affect me . . . but I don’t know how good of a job I did.  I felt I drove “safely” and was a bit tentative in the car ending the session with my best lap over a second slower than my first session!  For the second run I’d slipped to the 12th fastest lap time overall but held on to third fastest in my group.

For the last session of the day I knew I had to drive the track with the same confidence I had in the first session. From the instructors’ feedback I also knew there were a few specific places I should work on to pick-up some time.  I attacked the course and was pretty happy to turn a 1:22.335, sixth  fastest overall and P3 again in my group.

The third and final day came and there would be one more on track session.  The scores from the first two days – based on fastest lap times, average lap times and instructors’ subjective ratings — were posted.  I was seventh overall, which I made me pretty happy.  But being 30 points out of the lead, it was apparent I was not going to win the grand prize unless everyone ahead of me in points crashed on their “out lap” in the final session.  But that was OK.  I just wanted to do my best in the final session and break into the 1.21s.

The session felt good and I drove the best and most consistently I had all weekend.  My best lap was 1:22.036 (!), just barely short of my goal but I’d ended the academy with competitive lap times and no spins or crashes.

With the on track sessions completed we had some down time for lunch and then listen to a few speakers while the judges submitted their points and calculated the results.

David Phillips, editor of inRacingNews.com and a motorsports journalist that I have read for years took a few minutes to speak.  It was great to chat with David over the course of the weekend and have him cover the event for Racer, racer.com and inRacingNews.com.  He even agreed to let me post my write-up of the event on inRacingNews!

With Shootout students Mac Wolff and Javier Cantu-Lucero

Tyler Clary, Olympic gold medalist in the 200 meter backstroke in London and fellow competitor in the Academy also spoke with us.  Tyler really impressed me.  Of course people might think he was only there as some publicity stunt, but after seeing him turning competitive lap times and chatting with him, it was clear to me that he really shares the passion for racing like all of us and was deserving of his spot in the Academy.

Finally there was a Q&A session with team owner and former IndyCar racer Bryan Herta, together with current GP3 racer (and likely future star) Conor Daly.  They shared their backgrounds and what they thought it took to make it in racing.  Again it was a great experience to hear them speak.

Then the time came to announce the winner and, to nobody’s surprise, it was Andre Gomes.  I knew Andre was a top sim-racer from our experience competing against each other a few years ago in the iRacing.com TDI Cup.  Having met him last fall in the Barber School at Lime Rock, I realized he would be the favorite to win the Academy Shootout.  He was on a whole other level compared to anyone else I’d ever seen; it was clear that his skills and talent on the simulator translated to the real world phenomenally well.  Congrats to Andre and I’m looking forward to seeing him win in the Skip Barber series this summer . . . and maybe further up the ladder too!

In the end, I finished in eighth place — not bad against 32 of the top aspiring racers in the country — and had a blast.  I have to thank Skip Barber Racing School, the instructors and all my competitors for making this event as great as it was.  It was a dream-come-true for me and something I will remember for the rest of my life.

Photos courtesy of Skip Barber Racing School/Brett Johnson

2 Comments or Trackbacks

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  1. Jon Hall
    February 6th, 2013 at 12:13 am

    So jealous. Sounds like you had a great time.

  2. Andre Gomes
    February 7th, 2013 at 12:57 am

    Michael, great write up. It was really nice to see you got picked for the shootout and I enjoyed racing with you!