Voices@Athena - Jacques Joubert

" It is easy for people to enter the virtual Motorsport Racing world and if you put in the time and effort, you can become fast enough to compete in virtual championships."

Jacques Joubert    
Marketing, Communication & Production Manager Europe 
GU Autotrade B.V.

Executive MBA Batch 2021

Virtual Motorsport and the Future of Motorsport

Born into the Motorsport / Autosport world with my father being a professional race driver in South Africa, I watched him race in various high-speed events and an urge to go racing was always there inside me. Having a father so passionate about racing led to me being fortunate enough to start my racing career at the age of five.  I started in a category known as baby karts, 50cc entry-level go-karts for the youth to begin their racing career. In South Africa, motorsport is a very expensive sport, and generally, it is known as “chequebook racing”. 
In many sports, you require funding to start, like purchasing your first set of running shoes. You need to purchase a race vehicle to be eligible to apply to the race rules of the specific category that you want to participate in, regardless of whether it is circuit, rally or drifting. This is an expensive sport, and if the entry-level requirements are so, the further you proceed with your career, you require sponsors and funding to be able to build years of experience to win championships and work towards a partly sponsored drive to full paid driver status. 
When you take these costs out of the equation, it allows many young people from all countries and backgrounds to pursue their passion in motorsport without requiring vast amounts of money. Here, we welcome the world of Virtual racing and Sim Racing. Again, with any sport, there are costs involved, but here we see with a few hundred Euros, you can purchase a good steering wheel and pedals and use various platforms like Xbox, Playstation or PC/ laptops to be able to drive. This new virtual race scene has finally reached the level where all race enthusiasts can have access to this world, where you can compete and push the limits of the cars against other global competitors. 
This world now brings the youth and many enthusiasts to realize that they have the talent and can pursue a career in Motorsport. Yes, if you want to reach the next level, you need to look at saving up and upgrading your steering wheel and “tools” to get those milliseconds off of your race times. However, the start-up costs and the entry to these virtual championships and platforms are way easier and more accessible to many drivers. This, to me as a race driver, gets me excited for the future of Motorsport. As we have recently moved to Europe and we started up, the amount of money required to do the racing license, purchase a race car, and start a career here is not feasible when you need to purchase a house, settle in and start your career in a new job. 
The answer is investing a few hundred euros into a good race simulator, and now I have made my entry into the Virtual Race world, and it is mind-blowing to see how realistic the vehicles are, and how easy it is for people to be able to enter this and if you put in the time and effort you can become fast enough to enter virtual championships. I am currently working on cutting down around 1.5 seconds to qualify for the DTM E-Series 2022, one of the best racing categories in the world. The Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters – DTM costs around 5-6 million euros per year for privateers and its three manufacturers are spending between 20-40 million euros on their efforts in this series per calendar year. 
In the virtual world, with a good PC / Laptop and a good racing steering wheel and pedals, you can practice and push to enter this series on a virtual championship from anywhere between €600 - €2500. The more you spend on this, the more realistic feeling and feedback you get, but you do not need to spend more than this amount to speed up in this virtual world. 
Virtual racing has opened up doors for many globally, and I am excited to see what this platform will bring in the next few years.

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