Over the past seven years Richard Towler has emerged as one of world’s top sim racers.  Based in Hull, England, the 26 year old Towler traveled a well-trodden online racing path from Gran Tourismo 2002 to NASCAR 2003 and has been a member of iRacing.com since June of 2008.  In that time he has won 229 of the 294 road course events he’s contested and 53 of 144 ovals.  To save your calculator batteries, that works-out to a 77.8% winning average on road courses, 36.8% on ovals and 64.3% overall.  Did we mention that, overall, he finishes in the top five 86% of the time?

Last year, Towler edged Luke McLean and Shawn Purdy for the inaugual iRacing Pro Series Road Racing title.  At the same time, he more than held his own in the iRacing Pro Series Oval competition, finishing in the top ten in the standings to become one of a handful of iRacers to qualify for both the iRacing Drivers World Championship Road Racing (iDWCRR) and NASCAR iRacing.com World Championship Series (NiWCS).  To date, Towler has faired rather well in both of the online world championships.  Second in the iDWCRR after two events, he leads the NiWCS thanks to a second place at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and Tuesday’s superbly-judged win at Bristol Motor Speedway.screenhunter_27-mar-11-12011

Mr. Towler is, obviously, a busy man.  Not too busy, however, that he couldn’t spare some time for a candid and revealing interview with inRacingNews‘ NiWCS correspondent Jameson Spies.

Jameson Spies:  If you had to pick one discipline, road or oval, what would you choose?
Richard Towler:  That’s a tough one.  I’d go with road just for the simple reason that it’s mentally a lot tougher than oval racing.  You really don’t have time to rest during a 1 or 1 1/2 hour Dallara race and that’s something I’ve always enjoyed.

I should also add the contrast in the communities also makes the road side a lot more enjoyable at times

JS:  Set-ups on iRacing are always the center of conversation, which is harder for you to set up, the Dallara or the COT?
RT:  Both have there own unique challenges but the COT provides the biggest as it’s just a harder car to drive and as a driver you have a much bigger influence in the way the COT drives compared to the Dallara. I think it’s because the Dallara is based around understeer so you really don’t have much of a say with it.  You just have to drive the way it wants you to drive it and, unlike the COT, it doesn’t change over the course of a run so a huge part of the testing process is taken out of it with the Dallara.

Towler en route to his NiCWS win at Bristol in the "challenging" COT Impala SS.

Towler en route to his NiCWS win at Bristol in the "challenging" COT Impala SS.

JS:  You’re currently first in oval NiWCS, and second in road DWC.  Is it possible that you can get both titles?
RT:  I think it’s way too early to start thinking about that as we’ve only ran three races.  I’m not a driver that really thinks about the points long term; I just go out there and treat every race as a single event with the aim to get the best result possible.

JS:  You’re obviously one of the best, what words of advice can you offer to people who are looking to get better, or just starting out in sim racing?

RT:  I’d disagree with the first part to be honest with you.  There’s so many good drivers out there, I never like to think of myself in that way. But my advice to anyone that wants to get better is just be smart about it and don’t fall into the trap that so many people do.   Too many people in this hobby give-up early because of the fear they won’t ever have the success they think they deserve. I’d also say a lot of guys out there make the mistake of blaming everything but themself if they end-up coming short —  it doesn’t matter if it’s setups, driving styles — people will find something to blame.

But the nature of this hobby means no matter what background you come from it’s not about the money, it’s not about joining the best team and having the best cars as everyone has equal equipment and the exact same opportunityies as everyone else.  It’s down to you and only you, which is hard to take for some.”

Towler (#1) is currently P2 in the iDWC standings.

Towler (#1) is currently P2 in the iDWC standings.

JS:  How have you progressed in your sim racing career?
RT:  I started playing video games as many years ago as I can remember but I didn’t end up racing online until 2003. I got together with a few guys I had met while racing online with GTR2002 and we started to organize some races for fun. I was OK at the time and then another friend asked me to run an actual league race with NASCAR 2003 and it went from there.  I had the raw pace, but it took a few years to really refine it I think, and still to this day I think I’m improving, as you have to.  The competition is always making steps forward and the moment you get complacent you fall behind. But saying that, I never expected any real success from doing this and everything I’ve achieved so far and currently continues to be a surprise to me.

JS:  Is there anyone that has helped you get to the level you’re at?
RT:  I’d like to thank the guys over at The Drille Aisle for there support over the last 7 years.

Towler can race hard when the situation calls for it.

Towler (#1) is known as a hard charger. Nice livery, by the way...

JS:  You’re known as a hard charging driver, which some people don’t like. Do you ever get worried that you might rub some people the wrong way?
RT:  Sometimes I do worry, it just depends who it is really. I’ve always tried to race fair and clean with almost everyone out there.  The way racing works is it really just depends who it is at the time.  If someone is a fair racer, I’ll race them with the same level of respect.  But if there’s someone that wrecks a lot of people or drives over their head a lot, I’m not going to give them any room out there. In a competitive environment you have to give-out what you get, otherwise people will just walk over you.  So you really can’t let the fear of someone disliking you get in the way of giving them the same treatment they gave you.

JS:  What is the biggest achievement you’ve had in your sim racing career?
RT:  I think winning the iRacing Pro Road Series is up there, it was a really tough season with a few problems that meant I had to really push to win it at the end.  But saying that, I don’t really get hung up on achievements as they’ve never been why I do this.  So it’s difficult to really think back about them.

Towler cites the inaugural iRacing Pro Series Road Racing title as his biggest online racing achievement . . . so far.

Towler cites the inaugural iRacing Pro Series Road Racing title as his most satisying online racing achievement . . . so far.

JS:  What do you get out of sim racing?
RT:  A lot of fun!  I’ve always been interested in cars and motorsport, so sim racing has allowed me to really experience something that I wouldn’t of got to chance to in real life.   And also it’s one of the few things I’m good at. I’d have to say my biggest thrills just come from driving a car on the limit, one that your one wheel moment from throwing it all away but you don’t.  Also just the thrills of the on-track battles, no matter if I came out on top or not. Thankfully iRacing have allowed the hobby to grow and the future is looking really good right now as none of us thought we’d be sitting here talking about us virtual drivers racing in an official NASCAR series.

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Cool 😀

Jeffrey Rietveld
March 11th, 2010 at 6:56 pm

It was me that took that photo of Richard at Hull police station. The criminal!

Police Constable Plod
March 11th, 2010 at 7:10 pm

Great interview. 🙂

Sandeep Banerjee
March 11th, 2010 at 7:32 pm

Nice interview. Richard has been a leader at iRacing in both results and input to help make iRacing a better sim.

I think the Pro Series win last year was a fantastic accomplishment in what at the time was the best collection of sim drivers ever assembled. That said, this year’s DWC and NIDWC are better still, because they have the top 50 racing each other every week instead of having up to 4 races per week.

Next year the NIDWC and DWC should be even tougher as more of the World’s best sim drivers migrate to iRacing to prove themselves against the best on the most visible sim stage on the planet. I imagine the gap between 1 and 40 will get smaller every year from here on out. Should be very interesting. 🙂

Lincoln Miner
March 11th, 2010 at 7:45 pm

Excellent interview. Richard still had time to join us for a Club England race last night and we had a blast as he worked his way through from the back of the grid. Richard is not only an incredibly fast driver he has an amazing all round ability at racing. An iRacing star in the making!

Tony Rickard
March 11th, 2010 at 7:49 pm

you da man! 🙂

ryan terry
March 11th, 2010 at 9:09 pm

What hardware setup are you running?

Ryan
March 11th, 2010 at 10:25 pm

What annoys me is you still have not apologised for wrecking me out of the pro series and still have side digs at me by saying if I was a “fair non wrecking racer” you wouldn’t have divebombed me. Everyone who saw the incident knows it was a poor showing, and despite having 2 stupid T1 moves I never pulled any type of divebomb or wreckless manoeuvre on you ever in simracing.

Whenever I have ever made an error in life or sim racing I apologise, and everytime I got caught up in any incident in the pro series I wholeheartedly apologised immediately after.
The true classy drivers out there admit when they are at fault and it shows your character that you can’t even admit it was a mistake and that your sorry. The fact that you genuinely did not give a toss and in fact tried to justify it by blaming me for past experiences says alot.

/end rant

Luke McLean
March 12th, 2010 at 6:48 am

get over yourself

Puke McLame
March 12th, 2010 at 7:11 am

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_lGXnEl_46I

We never got an apology for this. True class, eh?

ak
March 12th, 2010 at 7:27 am

I did apologise for that actually. Check the thread about it 🙂

I have ever right to defend myself when its got a picture in this article of Rich divebombing me and than him basically saying I deserved it because I am a wrecker which is a load of shit 🙂

Luke McLean
March 12th, 2010 at 7:36 am

i guess i missed that thread lol

ak
March 12th, 2010 at 7:41 am

what else could I say about it? What I did at daytona was stupid. Driving drunk is not smart lol

Luke McLean
March 12th, 2010 at 7:43 am

Ryan Im using a Logitec Driving Force GT with BRD Speed 7 Pedals. PC is a Core Duo 2 at 3ghz, 4Gb ram with a ATI 4870 Video card.

Richard Towler
March 12th, 2010 at 7:56 am

Got a big enough head there Luke? Get over yourself, my god.
Wahhh wahhh wahh cry me a river

Whiner McLame
March 12th, 2010 at 1:46 pm

Police Constable Plod said
“It was me that took that photo of Richard at Hull police station. The criminal!”

Oh man, thank you it made my morning 🙂

Nicolas Bihan
March 13th, 2010 at 2:14 am

I never showed any type of big head once, I am a humble guy 🙂
and lol@ richard abusing me under an aliases *rolls eyes* cya at Zandy!

Luke McLean
March 13th, 2010 at 5:01 am

This right here’s a conundrum, fellas.

Rick Mast
March 13th, 2010 at 10:33 am

Do you Richard have any real track racing experience, and have any of your iracing skills translated to that?

Dace
March 13th, 2010 at 12:27 pm

No real racing experience here at all, the only slight thing I can claim is when i was between 16 and 18 I did some karting during the summer holidays. I did have a pretty good feel for the kart from what i remember but as it was just part of a program to keep kids out of trouble during the summer it wasn’t anything to be taken seriously.

I’d really like to find out one day though

Richard Towler
March 13th, 2010 at 2:45 pm

What a good looking young man.

LOL

Floyd L Poindexter
March 13th, 2010 at 5:14 pm

Never cared for people who use fake names to bash people, Ball less move on your part Mcballess. Luke chill, looks like you earned your rep and bashing him in public makes you look like a tool and your better then that. Congrats to Richard Towler on his championship.

Robert Dunn
March 13th, 2010 at 7:21 pm

Dude Poindexter, Keep that stuff to yourself

Robert Dunn
March 13th, 2010 at 7:23 pm

Very nice article JS!

Dale Earnhardt Jr.
March 13th, 2010 at 8:28 pm

I can’t believe you still dont have an apology for that bullcrud divebomb Luke. It was really a situation where Richard showed his absolute lack of class 😉

David Beattie
March 14th, 2010 at 1:14 am

Thankyou to everyone for the positive feedback. I really enjoyed talking to Richard.

Jameson Spies
March 14th, 2010 at 1:30 am

Great article, good luck in the future Rich. And keep bringing us awesome articles, this site is great!

Steve Nelson
March 14th, 2010 at 1:38 am

I agree entirely with Luke. Richard may be fast, but he is FAR from a classy racer. He drives like someone you never want to race against, no respect what-so-ever.

Great article Jameson.

Luke Fan
March 14th, 2010 at 1:49 am

Good job on the article Jameson

Robert Dunn
March 14th, 2010 at 3:07 am

Great Article, Good Job Jameson

Josh Parker
March 14th, 2010 at 2:48 pm

Where am I ??!?!??!!

RTBalls
March 14th, 2010 at 3:22 pm

Beginning landing procedure.

RTBalls
March 14th, 2010 at 3:23 pm

Landing procedure failed.

RTBalls
March 14th, 2010 at 3:23 pm

If this argument continues it may end up in a celebrity boxing match! I did just have an idea though, one on one hosted session, Luke V Rich, Skip Barber @ Brands Hatch, bring it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Michael Quayle
March 15th, 2010 at 2:33 am

Nice article and nice accomplishments. And I like that RT is very active in the community. Good stuff!! Congrats on all the success so far!! 🙂

Marc Payne
March 15th, 2010 at 3:09 am

hey guys
i’m going to join iracing.com
I just wanted to know, does it hold races in GMT time zone and at reasonable times

Ryan Morgan
March 16th, 2010 at 9:55 pm

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