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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.

iRacer Profile: Sandeep Banerjee

by Jason Noble on September 12th, 2009

Sim-racing is not for everyone. Many iRacing members will be the only sim-racer in their household, or the only one amongst their group of friends. Some of you may even be the only iRacer in your town or region. But spare a thought for Sandeep Banerjee: he is the only active iRacer in his country. And he lives in India, which makes him a one in 1.2 billion kind of guy! We caught up with Sandeep recently.

inRacingNews: India has a lot of people but only one active iRacer.  How does it feel to be the sole local representative?

Sandeep: It feels lonely! No, seriously, I’m surprised in a way as I know there are many here that follow racing — F1 mostly as it’s the most publicized and known-about form of racing of course — and computer gaming is big too, but the concept of sim-racing just hasn’t taken off. Most of the racing ‘fraternity’ here is in the south where they have a few small touring car and minor formula racing series at a couple of very basic race tracks that look like British club circuits from the sixties. Maybe those guys sim-race but they probably aren’t into racing online or we’d have seen them show up at some of the leagues or whatever. I can count on one finger the number of guys from India I’ve come across that have done some online racing only to disappear without a trace.

Thanks to Sandeep Banerjee, Force India is not India's only international motorsports presence

Thanks to Sandeep Banerjee, Force India is not India's only international motorsports presence.

inRacingNews: With more than a billion people there must be some great Indian drivers: what could iRacing do to reach them?

Sandeep: At the most, play some commercials during the motorsport broadcasts here or during some of the other motorsports related programs. But it’s probably better to wait for the awareness of racing to build up more to begin with. To be interested in iRacing, you first have to be somewhat of an ardent motorsport enthusiast.

inRacingNews: So are there a lot of motorsport fans in India?  Has the Force India team made a difference?

Sandeep: Like I said, it’s catching on more and more, mostly with F1. But when you run the way Force India have run, it’s hard to expect people to be paying attention for too long. Few people care that it’s a new team and are willing to give them time to learn the ropes. But yeah, Vijay Mallya forming the team, the new F1 race track coming up in India soon, and, of course, Fisichella’s podium at Spa — all of these things have definitely created some new fans.

Personally, I wish Mallya had gone to NASCAR instead as they’d have possibly found more success there. I say that because of the recession in the US: with his deep pockets, Mallya could have hired a lot of the talented people who are out of a job and possibly had some good runs in Sprint Cup. Not to mention popularizing his Kingfisher brand of beer in the US. I could have genuinely cheered them on! I don’t really have that much of an interest in F1 anyway, or road racing in general. But any sort of presence is important. Maybe Mr. Mallya could branch out into other forms of motorsport in the future too, like how Mr. Mateschitz of Red Bull has his hand in just about every series in the world.

inRacingNews: Whereabouts in India do you live?

Sandeep: I live in the island city of Mumbai in western India. It’s the commercial capital of the country and has a very cosmopolitan culture. The weather is typically tropical. Mostly warm and humid with a mid-year monsoon. You’ll see a unique contrast in the city. In some areas, you’ll see the poverty that is, to many outsiders, an unfortunate hallmark of India, but on the other hand, you’ll also see rapid development and progress in all areas of life.

MIS to Mumbai, Sandeep Banerjee is the face of iRacing.com in India.

MIS to Mumbai, Sandeep Banerjee is the face of iRacing.com in India.

inRacingNews: What about your equipment: your wheel, pedals, and so on?  What do you use?  Was it difficult to find the right gear in India?

Sandeep: I just use a standard assembled rig with as many choice parts as I could find. Computer peripherals here cost almost double what they do in the US, but there’s nothing you can do about that other than flying out to nearby Singapore and buying stuff from there. That only makes sense if you’re buying something where the cost justifies the travelling. So I bought the G25 from Singapore as it was only half what it cost here. In the future, I’d like to expand to a full blown rig with triple screens and all of that, once I can afford it.

inRacingNews: Before iRacing, was there a single moment that got you hooked on the sim-racing experience?  Can you tell us about that?

Sandeep: Even though I was already into sims pretty well by then, NASCAR Racing 4 really grabbed me by the kahoonies. It was every stock car fan’s dream come true to see the sublime GPL engine put into a stock car sim (after years of using the outdated IndyCar Racing II-derived engine in all the Papyrus NASCAR sims until that point) and it didn’t disappoint one bit. You had all the tracks from Daytona to Homestead for the first time as well, all rendered in levels of detail that broke new ground for the series.

inRacingNews: Where are we likely to find you in iRacing this year?  Do you have a favourite car or series?

Sandeep: Any of the stock car series. I race ’em all whenever I can.

inRacingNews: And what’s your primary goal in iRacing?

Sandeep: To make the iRacing Drivers World Championship for ovals.

inRacingNews: I see you’re near the bubble, 57th in the Pro Series right now, so good luck.  Next question: what if you could change one thing about iRacing?  What would it be?

Sandeep: More focus on incorporating features we have never seen in sim-racing before, like realistic weather effects and dynamic race track conditions over the course of a run (rubber and oil build-up on track, formation of more prominent racing grooves where most people run, slicker surface from higher temperatures, etc.). Things like that which bring us closer to the real deal: we still have it way too easy in sim-racing!

Look for Sandeep Banerjee -- aka iRacing's Team India -- on the ovals

Look for Sandeep Banerjee -- aka iRacing's Team India -- on the ovals.

inRacingNews: What’s it like to be in Club International?

Sandeep: I’m afraid I’ve never been into the Club aspect of iRacing too much. It’s just hard to as there’s nothing to endear or motivate me to feel any sort of attachment to the club. Since I’ve started sim-racing, I’ve had friends online from all over. I can’t see how that should change just because I’m now put in a club. I suspect many others feel the same.

inRacingNews: Best piece of advice for someone just starting out in iRacing?

Sandeep: Don’t try to learn driving techniques watching other cars online. Netcode and latency make it look like they’re braking later and going through the turns more sideways than they actually are.

inRacingNews: Best piece of racing advice in general?

Sandeep: Patience.

inRacingNews: If you could do a guest race in one real-world series, current or historical, which one would it be?

Sandeep: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.  Preferably in the 90s so I could race with men like Rusty Wallace, Ernie Irvan, Jeff Gordon, Dale Earnhardt, Ricky Rudd and Sterling Marlin in their prime, driving those sexy Luminas, Pontiacs and Thunderbirds.

inRacingNews: When you’re not racing, what do you do?

Sandeep: I’m currently studying animation; have been for the past couple of years. Once that’s completed, I’m hoping to make a career in the industry either in animation or film editing. No other hobbies really. I like to go cycling daily as it’s good exercise and I get to check out what’s up in the neighborhood.

inRacingNews: Thanks for talking to us!

29 Comments or Trackbacks

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  1. Karolis Pranckevicius
    September 12th, 2009 at 8:46 pm

    “Thanks to Sandeep Banerjee, Force India is not India’s only international motorsports presence.”
    these words are totally not true. Narain Karthikeyan, Armaan Ebrahim and Karun Chandhok are (i think) pretty well known international race car drivers from India

  2. Ray Bryden
    September 12th, 2009 at 8:48 pm

    Nice article! Do they carry NASCAR races live in India, or do you rely on Internet streaming or tape-delay coverage? Good work Jason and Sand-man

  3. John Prather
    September 12th, 2009 at 10:33 pm

    This is awesome.

  4. Sandeep Banerjee
    September 13th, 2009 at 4:20 am

    Any way possible Ray, streams, downloads, or on TV if it’s live.

    Thanks to Jason for doing the interview.

  5. Lincoln Miner
    September 13th, 2009 at 4:31 am

    Very interesting interview. Nice work. I’m really surprised Sandeep is the only sim racer in iRacing from India! I’m sure there will be more at some point.

  6. Michal
    September 13th, 2009 at 4:34 am

    I am the only one in Oman and no story about me…..:)

  7. Jordan Erickson
    September 13th, 2009 at 5:30 am

    THE DEEP!

  8. God
    September 13th, 2009 at 7:43 pm

    Sandeep. This is God.

  9. Thomas Hendrickson
    September 14th, 2009 at 8:49 am

    Hey, I knew this guy before he was famous! In V8Thunder! haha

    Cool article…

  10. Mathieu Souphy
    September 14th, 2009 at 9:19 am

    Cool story Sandeep … it’s always a pleasure to race you in V8Thunder, hope to see you on track in iRacing someday :)

  11. Nelson Rivera
    September 15th, 2009 at 12:15 am

    Very interesting read. Good luck to you Sandeep. Your one of the good guys.

  12. Ant Collett
    September 16th, 2009 at 3:11 pm

    Nice story, thanks Jason.

    It got me thinking surely there are more Indian sim racers than Sandeep. So i did a bit of digging & guess what? I found most of them!. Seven Hundred & Eighty Three Indian LFS sim racers.

    I would guess they just cant afford it but they are out there.

  13. Bart Van Nevel
    September 17th, 2009 at 6:04 pm

    Nice to see a profile article from you Sandeep!

  14. Andy Kirschetorte
    September 18th, 2009 at 2:41 am

    Really excellent read. Great stuff Sandeep…

  15. Sandeep Banerjee
    September 18th, 2009 at 10:16 am

    Thanks guys.

    Ant, isn’t LFS a pay-and-play software too? I know it’s certainly not free to buy the initial software so it can’t be an issue of not being able to afford iRacing because at the very least, they could’ve tried the iRacing 1-month trial which gives 3 cars and tracks. I would assume those are more likely numbers of those who tried the demo as the demo was put on a lot of companion CDs to computer magazines here so a lot of people might’ve tried it out just like any other game demo on the CDs.

  16. Mahesh Rumale
    September 18th, 2009 at 1:12 pm

    Hey, I am an Indian. I am currently in the US but still an Indian racing on iRacing. And to add to the subject more Indians watch F1 than Sprint Cup or Nascar. Quarter of the Indian population who watch any motor sport wouldn’t even know anything except F1 and Rallying. Since F1 is telecast-ed in India and Rallying has been one of the more well known sport in India.

    Nice to know more folks are out there, and here I was thinking I was the lone guy. Hehehehe :)

    Personally I like Road tracks more than the ovals.

    Cheers Sandeep.

  17. Sandeep Banerjee
    September 18th, 2009 at 2:01 pm

    Nice, Mahesh! Where in India are you from?

  18. Rick Savage
    September 19th, 2009 at 3:26 pm

    Great interview and write-up Jason..

  19. Robin Clarke
    September 20th, 2009 at 10:53 am

    Sandeep may be a minority in India, but his name has been a part of our community for many years now.. Great read on an outstanding competitor and gentleman. Regards ~

  20. Sandeep Banerjee
    September 21st, 2009 at 5:34 am

    Thanks Robin, you’re too kind.

  21. Mahesh Rumale
    September 23rd, 2009 at 1:21 pm

    I am from Bangalore.

    I hear you are the man to beat in iRacing. I will look you up and add you as a friend. Hope to learn from you and meet you some day on track (virtually that is). Though we seem to prefer different kind of tracks, you never know.

    • Akshyansh@gmail.com
      April 5th, 2012 at 5:14 am

      Hi Sandeep,
      Could you please guide me on joining iracing ? It has been four years now that I have been watching NASCAR sprint cup series and playing Nascar Thunder 2003 on my pc. I feel pretty confident about my driving skills.
      Could you tell me what all i need to have before I join iracing ?

  22. Paul Kelly
    October 27th, 2009 at 8:44 pm

    Go, Sandeep, go! A good friend of mine grew up in Chennai. He now lives in the USA and is a big motorsports fan. I need to get him on iRacing!

  23. Tony Gardner
    December 22nd, 2009 at 4:49 pm

    Great Story

  24. Dick Housey
    April 30th, 2011 at 1:37 pm

    I liked this interview. Sandeep has given a little insight to his part of the world. I know from the forum, he is an intelligent and friendly read. Good Luck Sandeep 1 in a Billion!

    Dick Housey

  25. Lee Ward
    May 23rd, 2012 at 8:14 pm

    Glad to see that WR Racing put you on the right track :)

  26. praveen
    May 27th, 2012 at 6:47 pm

    firstly thanks to u mr.sandeep as u are the one from india in iracing.
    even i am intrested in racing and willing to move on to iracing. but situations demad ,so at present i try still for iracing in future

  27. Mudit Grover
    May 5th, 2013 at 3:35 pm

    I am from India as well.. Looking forward to iRacing.. Order a new set of gaming wheel. I have been playing LFS and now getting to iRacing.

    Glad to see a “Extreme” Sim racer from India.

    Very exciting.

    Thanks