If there was a “longest tow” award at Friday’s iRacing.com Intel® GP Series World Final in Hannover, Germany it would be a dead heat between Ian Lake and Mitchell McLeod. The two Australians quite literally traveled from half a world away to participate in the Super Bowl of sim racing, which is scheduled to take place on Friday, March 4 at 10:00 am CET (4 am ET). To either catch a live broadcast of the race or a replay go to https://www.iracing.com/multimedia/live-broadcasts/
Their epic journey to compete against nine of the world’s best sim racers in Star Mazdas in a 30 lap race around a virtual Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca is just one of the unique dynamics of the event.
“I think every part of this competition is adding its own spice to the event,” says McLeod, a web site designer who hails from Tongala, Victoria. “The car is quite easy to drive, but difficult to be really fast in, especially around Laguna Seca. Having nine other guys in the race, and being some of the biggest names in sim racing, it’s going to be an entertaining race for any motorsport fan and I’m honored to be part of it.”
“It’s going to be an entertaining race for any motorsport fan and I’m honored to be part of it.”-Mitchell McLeod.
Lake won the Australasia qualifying round in December, beating nine world class sim racers from Australia, New Zealand and Japan including McLeod. Although he did so in a Star Mazda at Laguna Seca, Lake earnestly maintains he has no special affinity for the car or track.
“The combination of Star Mazda with Laguna is probably one of my worst combination car/tracks in iRacing,” says the car courier from Wollangbar, New South Wales. “The Star Mazda is a car I had previously driven very little before the Intel GP runoffs and Laguna is a track which requires a fair ‘whack’ of track time to get the fast times due to all the momentum corners.
“However, I have developed a setup which really suits the car and track.”
Evidently. The setup suited the Star Mazda and Laguna Seca well enough that Lake bested McLeod by nearly four seconds over the 20 lap qualifying race . . .
Four seconds over 20 laps would hardly be described as “massive.” However Lake would, in fact does, use that word to describe Intel’s support of the iRacing.com Intel GP Masters.
“It’s pretty massive, actually,” he says. “The Intel Extreme Masters is known by a lot of gamers and to have a race simulator (competition) is very special.”
“The Intel Extreme Masters is known by a lot of gamers and to have a race simulator (competition) is very special.”-Ian Lake
He’ll get no argument on that point from his countryman.
“It’s great to see (Intel’s) commitment to gaming,” says McLeod. “Events like this just prove they’re here not only to make a quality product but to get involved in the community that supports them probably more than any other.
“I think this just shows how far sim racing has come,” he continues. “I no longer see it as a game; it’s more its own sport now with real life pro drivers using it as a training tool, (there are) huge sponsorship deals and the competition is tougher than ever. You need to spend a lot of time refining your skills in terms of racing, and also learning about the car setup and things like that. We can thank iRacing for turning our passion for racing games into a whole new sport!”
Like McLeod, Lake sees the iRacing.com Intel GP Masters as a watershed moment for sim racing.
“I always believed that sim racing is the next best thing to real racing, especially for those that don’t have the financial backing to race real cars,” he observes. “And reaching parity with the other genres out there which require exceptional skill such as quake3 and counterstrike is pretty epic.
“iRacing should be very proud of getting this on the world stage of gaming. And I hope we drivers showcase sim racing and iRacing in the best light possible.”
You can watch Lake, McLeod and eight more of the world’s best sim racers showcase their skills in the iRacing.com Intel GP Series World Final on www.iRacing.com this Friday at 10:00 am CET (4:00 am ET) or during one of the subsequent replays. For more information on the Intel GP Series World Final — and a special promotional offer for new members — see https://www.iracing.com/intel-gp-series/