Direttore di gara e articolista su e-Racing Series.
SIMCO has been the first non-Italian team to sign up to our eSport Endurance Series championship back in 2018. The Hungary-based team has been a constant presence in our LMGTE field. Last year they fought for the title until the final round in Le Mans, while this season has been a lot tougher for them in a not-so-competitive Aston Martin.
First of all, welcome to this first english interview on our website! Let’s start from the beginning as we are very curious. Back in 2018 our website and rules weren’t really ready to host someone not speaking Italian, so it was a big – positive – surprise to see you sign up. How did you get on our website and how hard has it been to overcome the linguistic barrier?
First of all, thank you for the invitation to the interview. Mariano advertised the championship in one of the facebook groups, we found it there. The website is not too complicated and the forum was structured in a similar way to what we are used to. Our experience is that most foreign leagues follow this structure, so we could easily see through information in the forum. We used the Google translator and sometimes we turned straight to Mariano. Thanks again for having an English topic in the forum.
Let’s talk a bit about your team. We’ve seen the SIMCO name in quite a few endurance championship – When did you start with this type of competition and what do you enjoy the most with long races?
Everything started on December 5th 2010 with the original rFactor, but this is a bit more complicated than just to represent it with a date.
It started with an endurance race between Hungarian simulator leagues and this kind of competition caught our interest. In 2011 a local simulator league (PSRL) announced an endurance championship and it was obvious for us that we need to take part in it. Even though it started as a weekend activity for us, we managed to win the GT1 and GT2 categories and came in second in LMP2. In the 2011-2012 season we attended our first international endurance championship, which was organised by RaceDepartment and we came in second with a skipped race. After this championship we attended a 24 hours of Nordschleife race also organized by RaceDepartment, where we came in second as well. That year proved to us that we can compete internationally.
After this season we continued our journey and we managed to organize more than one good team for these international events.
In 2015 we switched to rFactor 2 and sadly some of our strong and competitive drivers left the simulator scene or switched to other games. This affected the next 2 years for us, so we had a little break on the international and endurance scenes. When we started to reorganize ourselves for the international scene we bumped into your league, which was the most appealing for us from all the possibilities.
The nature of endurance races is completely different than when you participate in a sprint race. It requires teamwork because different people drive the same car. You need to coordinate your car’s setup, especially when it comes to the completely different styles of drivers. Also you need to work on strategy. Not always the fastest team wins the races, but the most consistent who makes as few mistakes as possible.
As the race lasts for several hours everyone needs to stay focused and even in the last hour there might be surprises, as during sprint races in the last few laps. And still you have to get to the end in endurance races. There is also a higher chance of technical issues like in real life. Just here the game, the computer, and the steering wheel are on the tests.
Last but not least, endurance is required, this is what this whole type of competition is all about. You can be fast or slow, if eventually you give up in the early stages of the race after a few mistakes. This type of person has nothing to do in endurance races.
So we think this type of competition needs a slightly more complex package.
Taking a look at last season’s standings, it’s pretty clear that this year’s results have been very influenced by the Aston Martin not being competitive enough. Where do you think your car struggles the most compared to the others?
The car itself is fun to drive, it also responds nicely to various setups. The top speed of the car and it’s ability to take fast corners are the same as the other cars. On the other hand, in slow corners, the mechanical grip seems to be lower than for the rest, and it’s getting worse on stint with worn tires. We would like to tune the car’s differential, because we think we can improve the car’s unstable rear end, but it’s fixed by Studio397, so we can’t change it.
Even with the car not being up to speed you are going to the last round tied for 5th with Pescara ADG with the opportunity to climb the standings even more with a little bit of luck. How has your season been so far and what are your hopes for Le Mans?
After the pre-season test we didn’t expect this from Aston. It’s possible we weren’t thorough enough, so we had to reconsider our expectations. Instead of winning the season, we aimed to be the best Aston team in the field. We might have been able to succeed more or less, so we wouldn’t call the season a complete failure. Our situation was not helped by the fact that Studio397 set the total box time for the car to about 1 minute for one race without any announcement, compared to the times of the other cars of around 30 seconds, which was fortunately fixed in the subsequent patch. There was no written indication of that either, so it is questionable whether Aston may have been tampered with elsewhere, or whether there were unexpected and unannounced changes in other cars. However our results didn’t fully depend on that, it was just a little annoying addition for the whole thing.
Looking at the fight for the title, it will be a duel for the championship between Musto and Leo Racing Team, your rivals from last season. Who do you think will come out on top?
Both teams are strong. Our opinion is that Musto has enough advantage to secure the championship title with a stable race.
However the 12h of Le Mans will follow and everything is possible, considering the Leo Racing Team is a very consistent team, we experienced this last year as well.
Thank you for your precious time, it’s always a pleasure to see your green car in our grid. We end the interview wishing you the best of luck for the Season Finale!
Thank you very much. Grazie ragazzi per l’intervista. 🙂 See you on track.