Every now and then you come across some great people in sim racing, the community is growing and with that so are the people attending events. Welcoming Samuel Reiman to the blogs roster here at simrace247.com.
Part of being an editor for simrace247.com is that you get to meet some interesting people. Myself, Darren have met and support great creators, racers, league owners and so much more. Up until now, I could not say I met someone who used to work at FOX Sports. Well, I guess it’s time to add another feather to the cap and welcome Samuel Reiman to the roster of weekly blogs.
Hello, my name is Samuel Reiman and I am a driver in the Lionheart IndyCar Series on iRacing. As a Brit living in America, I have learned to love all forms of motorsport and, one of the great things about IndyCar racing is that it gives you the opportunity to race on ovals and road courses. The Lionheart IndyCar Series is a well-established series that has been running since 2014. I joined the league in 2017 and got 8th in my first start at Donington.
Boy, if it were only still that easy… But let’s backtrack a bit. I was born in England in 1991, which means I got to grow up watching Formula 1 live with Murray Walker behind the mic and Michael Schumacher behind the wheel. IndyCar and NASCAR also made their appearances on late-night television in England in the late ‘90s and early ‘00s, but my heart was in Formula 1. It should come as no surprise then that the video game I was most obsessed with was Geoff Crammond’s Grand Prix 3, an early F1 simulation based on the 1998 World Championship.
Things changed a bit when my family emigrated to the United States in 2005, and I started to become a big NASCAR fan. Schumacher was starting to get beat in F1 and the thrill of side-by-side racing at oval circuits was starting to appeal to me instead. One thing that bugged me though was the different style of motor racing commentary in the States. I missed Walker’s edge-of-your seat delivery that fans were treated to in England, whereas the delivery in America is more of an analytical narrative. Thinking I could bring in my own creative spark, I went to college in 2009 with the goal of Majoring in Journalism and landing a job in the motor racing media industry.
Astonishingly, this worked! I got my first job with FOX Sports in Charlotte, North Carolina in 2014. This job enabled me to cover and attend various motor racing events across the United States in a journalistic capacity, including the 2016 United States Grand Prix at COTA. Before all of that, however, I had subscribed to iRacing following my college graduation in 2012. My college had a car club called “Madison Motorsports” that had done a track day at Virginia International Raceway in 2011. I had taken part, but I had been disappointed in my performance. I blamed my poor performance, not on the fact that I was turning laps in my 1997 Dodge Stratus – which I had also used for autocross – but because I hadn’t known the track.
Simply put, iRacing was the one video game out there that had VIR on it, and so I wanted to get on it so that I could do better next time. As I played on and learned more about iRacing, I also saw the opportunities to be able to commentate on it. I started calling random sessions on iRacing as a spectator and then sending the YouTube link to the drivers who had been in the race to see if any of them had connections. Again, this worked! Subsequently, I became a commentator for the Global SimRacing Channel (GSRC), and I still call races for them to this day. One of the races I got to call for GSRC was the inaugural Lionheart Retro Series race.
The Retro Series is Lionheart’s secondary series and it features the Lotus 79 at various road and oval courses. I delighted in the action so much that, following that first race, I opted not to commentate for the remainder of this season, but to join the league as a driver instead. My performances throughout the 2017 season were solid and, by the end of the year, I had been offered a position on Lionheart’s IndyCar roster. Unfortunately for me, the competition level in Lionheart has significantly increased over the past few years, with real-world racing drivers such as Sage Karam, Richie Hearn, Tony Kanaan, Matheus Leist and Rubens Barrichello all having made starts in the league. The top-10s that used to be easy to come by for me are now few and far between, and I am just trying my best to put good-enough championship campaigns together to be invited back for the next season. So far it’s going alright. As of the time of writing, I sit 19th/42 in the Lionheart IndyCar Series standings.
As I approach my 30th birthday this September… dang it… I have been trying to get out more to do some real-world motor racing too. I own a 2010 Mazda Miata which I autocross, and I made my first real-world motor racing start earlier this year in a legends car at a modified version of the Charlotte Motor Speedway road course.I was running alright, in about 14th place out of 20 cars, when I lit up the rear tires on the final lap and dropped back to 18th. I guess I’ll have to save up money and try again… While I no longer work for FOX Sports, I am currently enjoying my life being able to commentate on iRacing events on GSRC, compete in the ultra-competitive Lionheart IndyCar Series, and make the odd real-world racing start at autocross events and maybe some more legends races. I haven’t broken back into a real-world motor racing media role quite yet, but that certainly remains the goal.