New Motorsports Channel to Feature Sim Racing, Not NASCAR

TRN

As seen over at Race Sim Central there’s a new motorsports channel coming to the airwaves and they purport to do two very interesting things. First, they pledge to be “devoted exclusively to motor racing other than NASCAR,” an obvious response to SPEED Channel’s gradual morphing into NASCAR TV in the US. Secondly, they say they’ll cover sim racing. A press release up at Torrent Motorsports has the following to say:

With large gains in the popularity of sim-racing, TRN is also seeking to provide the sim-racing community and motor racing fans in general with a venue to showcase this up and coming sport and Mr. Liberatore had this to say about the personal computer based variety of motor racing, “One of the most intriguing aspects of the racing world is the advent of sim racing. It is exciting, fun and growing and will continue have a developing impact on the racing landscape which can be nothing but good for racing”

If you’re a fan of SPEED and the name Liberatore rings a bell, it should. That’s Jim Liberatore, the man who was fired by Fox for resisting the increasingly NASCAR-centric slant of the station. It all sounds promising enough, but is there room for an exclusively niche motorsport channel in the US? We’ll find out when the channel launches this January. In the interim, check out the site’s official page.

Sim Touring Car Cup: Round 6

STCC Round 6 has been completed and the video is above for you to enjoy (also available in higher quality at the official site). Making this event interesting is that a few drivers’ aids have been banned, including auto-blipping and auto-lifting, meaning competitors from this point onwards have to manually rev-match the engine when up- or down-shifting, lest they suffer engine and tranny damage. This round takes place at Blackwood and, as always, is a great watch.

Sim Racing Live Tonight

FLOG

Personally I enjoy watching high level league racing, tracking its progression into a serious form of motorsports…and with any luck you do too (*gulp*). While you have to love the Sim Touring Car Cup’s polished race recaps, there’s just something about watching sports events live. In that spirit, tonight, February 22 at 9:00 pm EST (that’s roughly really damn late GST) check out the FLOG FIA GT Series live broadcast. They’ll be racing at the lovely Spa Francorchamps circuit in some lovely GT-spec autos and you can stream it live from their site.

Direction for Professional Sim Motorsports?

GGL writer Mahmood Ali has written a piece for GameDaily called “That Burning Question: Is gaming really a spectator sport?“. Mahmood talks about the growing popularity of the professional gaming concept, comparing and contrasting it with the real world of professional sports:

In the end, I firmly believe that the future of competitive gaming lies not with television, but with making it more and more accessible to the average gamer. Organizations like the Cyberathlete Amateur League and ClanBase made their bread and butter by providing tiered leagues, ladders and cups that “graduate” players and teams based on their performance. This approach keeps players coming back for more while building up a constantly-replenishing base of casual gamers. It’s up to other competition promoters to follow suit, instead of serving only a select few elite professionals and marketing them as stars to an audience that may or may not exist in mass quantities.

This may sound awfully familiar to fans of “professional” televised poker championships. While there are more and more poker players rising from obscurity to become minor-league stars, the big draw for many viewers is the idea that some Joe can walk in off the street, enter a tournament, and, if he has the skills, make it straight to the top and take home the big bucks. That’s akin to you showing up off the street to an F1 race with your driver’s suit and helmet and being given the opportunity to qualify against the likes of Alonso and Raikkonen.

The burgeoning world of semi-professional sim motorsports could learn a thing or two. While it’s in its infancy, right now most leagues that manage to get a following rely on racers who have proven themselves in prior leagues and made major time commitments to their current ones. It’s already becoming somewhat difficult to break into popular leagues if you lack the right connections, and as they gain in popularity, it’s only going to get moreso. Yes, it must be said that in motorsports (virtual or otherwise) you need to prove yourself a little more than say in a Starcraft tournament, because while you’re competing against other racers you’re also responsible for behaving well; a lack of skill or judgment on your part could result in a ruined race for someone else. The answer is, of course, feeder series. But, today, it’s hard to know where to begin. With any luck in the coming months and years the huge numbers of disparate racing leagues out there will start to come together and pool resources, resulting in a more structured progression from one to the next.

Sim Touring Car Cup: Round 5

It may be cold and snowy over much of the northern hemisphere, leaving many racers at home sipping cocoa and waiting for the spring thaw, but seasons can’t stop sim racers. Becky over at the STCC was kind enough to pass along word that Round 5 has been completed and is now online for your viewing pleasure. Watch the video above and dig another big dose of the same close racing action we’ve seen in earlier rounds, then check out the official STCC page.

Sim Touring Car Cup: Round 4

A few weeks back we brought you coverage of round 3 of the STCC, a Live for Speed-based online league that’s broadcasting some great racing action over the interwebs. The series has a comprehensive set of rules and points covered in their handy guide, but the important bit is that they deliver race recaps that are fun to watch.

Round 4 is viewable above in YouTube-vision, or you can get the higher-res version, along with full statistics, at the STCC website. I won’t spoil the results, but it’s worth watching.