The surreal story of Andy Soucek for a simulator race: “A pot trip”
Andy Soucek had no simulator at home, like so many professional pilots today. One was installed to try to train in these times of confinement and ‘hallucinated’
“I am literally ‘blown away.’ This goes far beyond what I could imagine. I did not expect what I have found in the virtual world . I did not expect 5% of what I have lived, I am serious. “A week ago, the Spanish pilot Andy Soucek did not have a simulator at home , unlike so many professional pilots today. One was installed to training in these times of confinement due to the coronavirus . Without realizing it, he was enrolled in his first race five days later. When he finished, he received countless calls, even from his official brand, Bentley . This is the experience of someone who has passed from the real to virtual circuits in a few days The story goes on.
“The truth is that I have to ‘thank’ the confinement because I have thrown myself around this time that we were going to spend at home, and because although I had been thinking about it, I did not finish taking the step. And then for my wife, who did not know where she was going when she convinced me to decide on ‘gaming’ seeing that I would not be able to shoot in a racing car in months. Of course, I also thank José’s boys and his team – Sin Team – for all the advice and up to almost 7 hours a day that they have dedicated to me for several days as a coach, choosing career strategies, preparing setups … ”.
“I bought the simulator to train my careers at a private level . But the championship in which I race reached an agreement with Asetto Corsa Competicione , a very realistic game that reproduces our championship and our cars. Before the stoppage of races, the first virtual one was organized in Monza, as other championships have done. Okay, well, I buy the simulator, I download the game and I start practicing. I signed up because it was a solidarity issue, the funds went to the WHO to fight the coronavirus. But suddenly, the snowball grew bigger and bigger: the championship organizers announced on their social networks that they are having a race, and I was the second professional pilot to announce that I was racing. It was one thing to do it private, and another in public … “.
“They are five seconds faster than me”
“I see my times and those of the pilots pointed to the race … Professionals of the simulation games, but also professional pilots, and I see that they are five seconds faster than me . Five! And here the spike begins. freak out, I’ve got into the wolf’s mouth. While rolling I only realize that I am not making progress, and that I have to do an accelerated course. Through Emilio de Villota and other contacts I find someone, José, a specialist of this game in Spain . I contacted him to ask him for help, and he totally turned over, “Soucek tells El Confidencial.
“He took his team of ‘sim racers’. We made a channel in a gamers chat. With the headphones, and while you roll with the car, you share your screen so they see what you do. And look: I had a guy who towards the race strategy; another one, the tuning of the car; another one helped me develop the car from his house rolling with his, and when he found something that worked, he would pass it to me in a document so that he could copy it directly to the folder of my car, I would load it,
I would go out on the track … It would even tell me up to the temperature of the asphalt so we would have the same conditions, and depending on the temperature it would even tell me the pressure drop in each wheel. So, suddenly, without having no idea about sim racing, I see seven guys on the radio to prepare a decent race in front of people who have been playing for years. “The amazement and excitement of the experience these days could be felt in the tone and conversation of the Madrid rider.
“The same behavior as my car”
“The realism of the game is very great. I have bought two fundamental components, the steering wheel motor, which allows exactly the same power steering that I had in my racing car, and I can program it the same and it gives me exactly the same behavior. Every pothole in Monza was the same as in my race car. I said to myself, this cannot be.
I can put 160 bars of pressure on the brake like in a racing car, and I have to modulate it the same, if I brake with abs, the car does not turn me, just like mine … We modified even the camber thinking of the tire at the end of the career. Wait, they tell me, “I have a program to calculate the fuel so that we have five liters left by the end of the race. Andy, put in 110 liters.” I had five liters left when I finished. Then I also spoke to my Bentley track engineer and asked him for the Monza tune-up. It passed me all the configuration of the car, everything, I put it as is in the setup configurator. And the car was the same as in Monza. It was surreal”, He explains confused between fiction and reality.
“The race? As in reality: legal fights where you do not touch unless someone makes a mistake. You have cameras to look at all angles, and you are fighting for position just like in reality. And if you overstep a bit and the other gets in, you don’t hit him. If you put the car in, the other respects you. The spurts are the same as in reality. There are five race stewards who control all repetitions and you can speak to race management during it. On Sunday there were driver meetings with the race director and the stewards, who explained everything to do.
Like a real race. And if you don’t go to the briefing, you don’t run. Even the brands sent emails to the organization to analyze the BOPs and contacted them. Aston martinHe said he was withdrawing from the race because they did not agree with the BOP. That we are not talking about a game of four colleagues! It is that the most important brands in the world are getting involved on one level … It is that a guy from Mercedes was giving instructions to his drivers about fuel consumption in the race, and they were directing their drivers! “He continues.
The best Bentley of the race
With more than twenty professional pilots, Soucek was the best classified among those of his brand . And still without leaving his amazement. “I just got off the phone with the Bentley Technical Manager to thank me for being the best Bentley in the race. He asked me to help them tune up the car because they want to officially get into ‘sim racing’. Bentley! What can they do to have a team that can help them improve, that I can run for them. A pot trip … It is something that for someone who had not done it, like me … You tell me this a week ago you say, “bah”. Other people have called me, Volkswagen has called me , much more people than if I had done a normal race to do more things ”.
And what equipment did Andy Soucek need to assemble a home simulator? “When I went to circuits that I did not know, I would go to Simtech Pro, a specialized company in Catalonia. I used the simulator as a tool to learn the circuits, but I never thought I could simulate a race or a change in the car. I asked them what components needed to convey what I feel in the car.
I was told that the steering wheel motor and pedals. You can spend 30,000 euros, but for 6,000 you already have a good one, with everything, bucket, screen, ‘wheel base’ , all. It is money, yes, but for people who think of making this something serious and having spectacular sensations it seems to me a very reasonable investment. Then, the software cost me 35 euros, you download it from the server and save it … Aleix Espargaró has also done the same, and we are going to connect to play with the same car and the same conditions, “adds Andy.
“I am overwhelmed with the amount of messages. They tell me in Bentley that they have never had such a direct follow-up as they have had with the game. People see it as something closer because when you go to a car race they seem like something unreachable, but you see this close. People have written to me on Instagram and Twitter to ask me. After a real career nobody writes to me . People are going crazy … They have also written me a lot of pilots to buy one, “concludes Soucek, who has perfectly exemplified how someone can recycle on days like these.