We welcome Billy Strange to the team here at simrace247. Billy is a great voice in the sim racing community that hits hard with facts, opinions and more. Perfect!
Many will know of Billy Strange, but if you do not, he is one of the greatest voices in the sim racing community. If you want to know about something in sim racing and have a straight up answer and opinion, Billy is your man. He is a perfect fit for us here at simrace247, where he will drop by with more for the future. But what does sim racing mean to Billy and what got him started?
As I sat at my kitchen table with my brother on the phone, my dogs started excitedly barking and the door from my garage swung open and in walked my parents. I quickly switched the phone to speaker as our Dad approached.
All of us had participated in a league race earlier that day that I had organized and we were discussing what went well, what didn’t and if there was a way I could improve it. The race was 100 minutes around Daytona Road Course as the sun gave way to night with GT3’s and P2’s screaming around the track…with AI.
11 of my friends and family gathered to battle 33 AI in a low pressure hang out to celebrate one of the best parts about sim racing, the fun of dicing it up against other cars and mentally staying alert against the track you’re racing on.
It was no surprise that when our Dad sat down at the kitchen table he lightly said, “That was awesome” so as not to interrupt my brother who was on the other end of the phone, but to convey the excitement from the race earlier in the day to me.
My Dad will be 70 this year. He had a fairly storied career locally racing flat track motorcycles, modifieds, super modifieds and sprint cars on dirt short tracks all before the age of 38 when he retired from racing. My Dad also loved other hobbies to take up his time when he wasn’t racing like slot cars, model kits and radio controlled cars…as well as video games.
Really, it’s my parents fault that I love motorsports and video games. He’s no stranger to the evolution of racing games over the years and last year he finally decided to give sim racing a try.
Dad joined my league and I worked with him to get him up to speed and overcome the huge hurdles of sim racing like setting up the wheel and pedals properly, discussing frame rate and response times and navigating the nauseating amount of options that can be truly overwhelming.
Through it all, he’s maintained a positive outlook. After every race we’d chat and he lament some of his poor choices while driving and what he considered mediocre results. Dad would quickly wrap it around how much fun he still had though. This happens every race. It’s not annoying, it’s not frustrating and it’s not cheesy. It’s great.
One of my favorite things about this hobby is to hear about how much fun someone is having with a sim no matter if I happen to like the said thing or not. That’s the good part; there’s a ton of options out in the wild now no matter if the sim or game is new or old. Are there problems? Sure. Could things be done better? Absolutely.
Taking a page from my Dad’s book; it’s still great in the end. He’s a highly competitive person that’s won countless amounts of races from motorcycles, to cars, to r/c and slot. He doesn’t like to lose, but my dad always frames it as “If I can have a good battle with someone and I’m learning and improving, that’s the fun part for me.”
His first road race was so much fun, he can’t wait to do it again. Neither can I.