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Motormouth’s Mutterings- We Visit The Virtual Race Academy

It’s no secret that Sim racing is good for you if you compete in Motorsport. Max Verstappen is living proof and can still be found on many online races as he strives to perfect his game- pun intended.

Niall Maher and Rob King last year decided to set up the Virtual Race Academy and a deal was struck with Mondello Park to use what was formerly Suite 2 as a base for the project. The next step was to purchase some Simulators or “Sims” as they are known. They now have four full setups in the room as well as their office and a “Control Centre/Commentary” area, which of course is where I come in- more on that later.

I watched the early rounds of the series and found myself hugely entertained. so much so that I turned off the telly and really got stuck in.  The racing is extremely realistic and some of the drivers perform pretty much as they do in real life. Barry Rabbitt, as an example, is new to Sim racing but is almost on the pace of the seasoned campaigners. At the Monza round last week he typically made a superb start to emerge from the first chicane in the lead. Pacesetter Niall Quinn tracked him down and that is when the fun started. Barry went defensive, with the intention of backing Niall into the pack- something he achieved successfully. Then Barry used the age old technique of slowing more than usual at the apexes of slower corners, ensuring that the pack couldn’t get a run on him on the exit. “Rabbitt’s on the ropes!”, quipped someone in the room as Quinn tried first one side then the other.  Eventually, Quinn got the job done on the exit of Parabolica with the closely following David Yamamoto trying to follow him through. somehow though, Rabbitt took it back on the brakes into the first chicane but Quinn’s better exit allowed him alongside again. See what I mean- it’s great entertainment and even more so when you know the names involved. A quick browse at the entry list reveals names such as Niall and Eoin Murray, Shane Rabbitt, Keith and Peter Dempsey,Stephen Kershaw and Veester Max Hart.

Next Wednesday is the final round of the VRA RSR Cup, The newly built Mondello Park (virtual) track is the virtual venue- if you get me. Niall Quinn’s impressive Monza double means he has one hand on the championship but Keith Dempsey is not out of it just yet and has been the former A1 GP driver’s main opposition thus far. Add Niall Murray, David Yamamoto and Barry Rabbitt into the equation and it becomes very interesting. I am returning to the Academy and will be sitting in with Rob (who has been doing a wonderful job) on commentary- and I can’t wait!

You can watch these races live on the VRA Facebook page or of course, on the Facebook page with race 1 going green at 8:30pm.

More on the VRA after the races next Wednesday.


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