Note: This post was created 4/4/2010 about a race which happened on 2/19/1999. IGPS was the first simracing league I ever joined and my first race was this one at Kyalami. It should be noted that the video is created from the server replay and that my ping to the server was probably about 0.4 seconds at the time (I was located in England, the server was somewhere in the United States). This meant that the movements of the car were exaggerated and at times unrealistic to the view of the server and other drivers (some others also had a ping over 0.3s – meaning an in-race lag of 0.7s or more was common). The basic rules of the league were that you could reset (get a fresh car) for everything except complete engine failure and being flipped upside down.
My main goal in this race was to try to stay out of everybody’s way. I’d done quite a lot of offline racing since the release of Grand Prix Legends, and this left me totally unprepared for the nightmare of lag which I was about to encounter. In the turns – and sometimes on the straights – the location of an opponents car was unpredictable. Their internet connection totally determined how accurately the simulation was able to place their car on the race track.
I managed to qualify fifth on the grid, setting a time of 1:23.30, a time I found especially gratifying and considering I was using automatic gears at this time in my simracing career, not too shabby!
The start was clean, but before the race Graeme Nash had already disconnected and on the run to the first turn Richard Busch blew an engine. I entered turn one in third and afraid of hitting the person ahead I almost lost control trying to avoid a possible collision. This bottled up the guys behind and left Jack Rambo nowhere to go except off the road – which is where I went shortly afterwards, dropping down the order a little.
Eventually getting back on track and running well, I caught Bill Tillman who was running fourth in his BRM. We had a decent on-track battle and although I was a little faster, I kept making errors and losing the position again.
By the end of the race I had managed to put together a string of enough clean laps to be in fifth behind Joe Dawson in the Lotus 49. Luckily for me though he spun off the track on a turn that had given me a lot of trouble and I managed to finish fourth out of the ten entrants, one lap behind the eventual winner Harjan Brand.
I grew up in a household where waking up at 2am to watch races in Australia or Japan were the norm. We were huge fans of motor racing, so playing racing games seems like a natural extension of that.
My first racing game addiction was with Geoff Crammond's 'Formula 1 Grand Prix' released in 1992 on the Commodore Amiga. This game kept me going for a long time thanks to various editing tools which were available, and I continued to play it until I owned a PC. After that, I played through most of the Papyrus and Image Space Inc. titles, but have most fond memories of Grand Prix Legends.
I founded a major sim racing site that led to my employment at iRacing, Image Space Inc. and later on, Studio 397. The difficulty in working in the industry is how little time you often have to play your own games. Quite often I escape with space games instead!
Tim is British and lives in the United States with his wife and kids.
He works for software developers Image Space Inc. and Studio 397 on their racing simulations, and is a fan of Gaming, Motorsports, and photography.