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The following article is contributed by Aliff Damean Tham @ Damon
A couple of weeks ago, on the 7th of April at TAGCC, I was approached by a friend who wanted to present me with an opportunity for something I had an interest in for a while. This friend was from a team called Hoshizora Shinsei, a pro simulation racing team. He invited us to take part in an event organized by RaceRoom Malaysia, in conjunction with Sepang International Circuit, a simulation racing tournament dubbed the “e-MCS”.
Now, sim racing is shaping up to be a real big deal in the world of e-sports. Even racing academies and major motorsports teams use video games to train their drivers to drive fast. Being given a chance like this is a golden opportunity for me to properly put myself through my paces and show them what I’ve got. I jumped at it, and since it appeared there was no limit to how many drivers could enter, I joined alongside my friend Douglas. Pretty soon, we were ready and eager to start training for the next round, which would happen the very next weekend.
Our first training session started on a Tuesday. This would be the first time for both of us getting behind the wheel and trying out the game, RaceRoom Racing Experience, touted by some to be one of the closest simulations to real life racing. Ayman Aqeem, a pro sim driver with multiple championship wins under his belt, and one of the star drivers for Hoshizora Shinsei, put us through grueling training under him.
At the end of the first day, we were both already setting decent times under his guidance. As we slowly improved, he gave us a taste of what we were fighting for. The top racer at the end of the championship would win a sponsorship from Sepang to take part in the actual Malaysia Championship Series during the 2019 season. Talk about a fast-track to the racing world.
Thursday’s practice went more or less the same, as we slowly got more comfortable with our cars, we could focus on other aspects of the race, such as fuel and tire management, as well as learning how to pit correctly so as to not incur penalties. By the end of the week, we were ready to prove ourselves against the top racers from Asia.
The race weekend begins. I don’t remember what time I woke up, only that it was way too early than what I was used to. As Douglas picked me up on the way to Sepang, the nerves started kicking in. I want to win. I really, really want to win. We ended up being the earliest people to arrive.
As we walked into the area where we would be racing, you get the feeling that this is more than just a game or a contest. This is a feat of skill, a true battleground to prove your worth, where the winners are bathed in glory, while the losers merely watch on. I’m probably using too much hyperbole here, but you get the idea. It’s serious stuff.
The both of us proceeded with registration while the sounds of the roaring engines blitzing by us were heard loud and clear. As it turns out, that was also the race weekend of the real Malaysia Championship Series, and the metal on display can only be described as art in motion. After registering, we proceeded to begin the qualifying session.
After we had posted our times however, some unforeseen circumstances would put us out of the race and out of the running before we had even started. Disappointment would have been the understatement of the year, especially since I had managed to qualify at the top of the leaderboards with the fastest time. At the end of the day though, it was still an experience that I’d recommend to any aspiring sim drivers who would like to test themselves.
If you liked the cut of my jib, Round 3 of the eMCS will start on the 14th of July, and you can take part by qualifying at The Rift in Mid Valley from 18th June onwards. The entry fee for qualifying is RM68 per round, or you can buy a spot for the entire championship for RM250. Have fun and drive hard!