Born in 1982, Massimiliano Rizzi has been a part of the iRacing community since September, 2011. He is one of a very few members of Club Italia who hasn’t even touched a road car — officially at least —  in the nearly three years he has been on iRacing. He is an avid oval racer, and his results show that he is a successful one too. In 522 starts, he has taken the checkered flag first 40 times and has been in the top five at the end of each race 43% of the time.

When he isn’t sim-racing in Sivigliano in Northern Italy, Massimiliano is a system architect and has been in IT since 2001. Perhaps the most enjoyable thing he does on iRacing is race against his brother, Francesco Rizzi, who joined iRacing two months after he did. You can learn more about Massimiliano in this week’s Get to Know…

Q: How long have you been sim-racing?
A: Well I usually say that my sim-racing career started in 1996 (I was 14 years old) when I purchased NASCAR Racing 2 from a store in my town. But let me tell you a story: when I started sim racing as an Italian/European I didn’t even know what NASCAR was, in fact I purchased NR2 in replacement of another video game (TOCA Touring Car Championship I believe) because my old computer was not powerful enough to run that game, so I had to grab another one because the local store would have not refunded me, so I went back home with NR2. I’ve raced a lot (offline since I had no fast Internet connection at home yet) with NR2 and NR2003, then I went to purchase some later titles (IndyCar Series, NASCAR 05 and 07) but never really liked them compared to the series of video games developed by Papyrus.

Q: How did you get started in iRacing?
A: I actually got started through YouTube. Like I said before, I soon became a huge NASCAR fan thanks to the series of video games developed by Papyrus. A few years later I started having enough of those arcade video games developed by EA so I decided to take a look around at another sim with no luck. I actually had already heard of iRacing on the site; however I stupidly thought it was some kind of flash-based online games, so I never ever did more research about it. Then in August 2011 my brother and I found some iRacing videos on YouTube and we immediately got hooked. I subscribed instantly and my 21-year-old brother Francesco went onboard just a couple of months later. What a pity I did not search for more information about iRacing before!

Like his namesake Massimiliano “Max” Papis, Rizzi has found a home in NASCAR.

Q: Which race car driver in any racing series do you like the most?
A: This is a hard question to answer. Since I am Italian and I am also a huge NASCAR fan, I would say Max Papis. He obtained great achievements in his career especially after permanently moving to the U.S. and he has become the first Italian driver to compete full time in NASCAR series.

Q: What type of hobbies do you do outside of iRacing?
A: I actually don’t have other hobbies outside of iRacing. So what else do I do in my spare time? I spend a lot of my time reading technical documentation and searching for information in order to develop expertise in my job and keep pace with the constantly growing virtualization and virtualization backup market. I also love going out running and preparing myself for a half marathon distance.

Q: What is your greatest accomplishment on iRacing?
A: I honestly believe that my greatest accomplishment on iRacing has yet to come. If you ask me to bring back some memories, I say that one of my best moments on the service so far is definitely finishing my first ever Daytona 500 last February in fifth position in the Saturday’s fixed top SOF split and with the car in one piece.

“In my opinion each and every (Formula One) race is becoming seriously boring and the constant rule changes are a joke. As a result, I am watching a lot of NASCAR racing . . .”

Q: What car and track combination on iRacing would you like to drive in real life?
A: I would say a Gen-6 Car on one of the two huge two-milers, Fontana and Michigan. They both allow for great speed and NASCAR action thanks to their wide track and multi-groove racing.

Q: What type of racing do you like to watch on TV?
A: As an Italian/European, I have always watched a lot of Formula 1 racing since I was a kid, however in my opinion each and every race is becoming seriously boring and the constant rule changes are a joke. As a result, I am watching a lot of NASCAR racing (mainly Sprint Cup  and Nationwide). The downside is that the only way to watch NASCAR races from my country is streaming over the Internet.

Q: How do you think your fellow iRacers see you?
A: I know it may sound too obvious, but I believe and hope that my fellow iRacers see me the same way I want to see them. A clean, fair and respectful driver and someone who is worth adding to the iRacing Friends List.

Q: What are three things that people on iRacing probably don’t know about you?
A: This is a though question. I would say that the most hilarious thing my fellow iRacers don’t know and would never imagine about me for sure happened to me back in 1996 when I went back home with my copy of NR2 (see above). At that time I had no Internet connection at home yet and I had never heard about NASCAR racing, so when I played the video game after installing it on my computer at first sight I thought NASCAR cars were a sort of fantasy cars always turning left in strange oval tracks! I realized later that everything was absolutely real and started living my passion for NASCAR.

Rizzi’s “office.”

Q: What is your favorite racing series on iRacing and why?
A: I am trying to get more used to the Gen-6 cars handling and control of the throttle in order to be even more competitive as time goes on, but until now my favorite racing series on iRacing is definitely the NASCAR Class B Fixed because I feel that among the NASCAR cars offered by iRacing the Nationwide car best suits my driving style and preferences.

Q: If there was one thing you could change about iRacing, what would it be?
A: Well I actually love everything about iRacing, so it’s hard for me to find one thing I would like to see changed. Though there are some aspects I would like iRacing to adjust/improve. Just to name one, SR loss System when you get into an accident and you are not at fault.

Q: What is one thing that you love the most about iRacing?
A: The thing that I love the most about iRacing is the possibility to compete full time in the top three NASCAR divisions, not to mention I can do that online against drivers from all over the world as well as against my brother Francesco sitting in his own room.

Q: Overall, how do you rate your success on iRacing?
A: Well I am pretty happy with my iRacing career so far (especially in the last year), however I am fully aware that I still have a lot to improve on. I know where I need to improve and I’ll do my best to get the most out of iRacing career.

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