The merry go round of simracing in the last week has taken a thoroughly dramatic turn as late moves before the start of the 2018 iRacing World Championship Grand Prix Series ravage the headlines.
VRS Coanda Simsport have picked up Tommy Ostgaard from Positive Simracing while Apex Racing UK’s Marcus Jensen has signed with an undisclosed team for 2018. This also falls in line with Team Redline’s decision not to field Bono Huis and Graham Carroll.
Never in the history of simracing have I ever seen so many names move from place to place in one winter. Whether it may be FA Racing G2, JIM, CoRe, Coanda, Apex or any other team, this winter has been all about change for a lot of drivers. In hindsight, the path of Norway’s number one simracer seemed to be destined for years.
Tommy Ostgaard brings a lot of fresh talent to an aging Coanda Team and partnered with Kronke and DeJong, I think Ostgaard could be in the running to start matching the likes of Rasmussen and Job on a consistent basis, proving his worth instantly.
Here you have a smart and tactically astute driver who facilitates some pretty hefty contacts and practically has some insane driving ability. It had always been Tommy Ostgaard’s simracing dream to be a member of Coanda and I personally think Tommy will thrive. This is a clever signing for Coanda as Tommy is their equivalent to Team Redline’s Atze Kerkhof.
On the subject of Redline, Bono Huis has been confirmed not to take his seat for the 2018 season, sparking some serious glances at the iRacing staff. Bono has grown more and more disenfranchised with the McLaren MP4-30 and without the focus and desire, he has decided to sit out the season, focusing on the new LMP1 vehicles for 2018. Graham Carroll while outspoken is going to occasionally run however he should be geared more to F1 2017/18 this year and in terms of making Redline more versatile, I expect Graham to seamlessly fit into that role but I think its not fair on those wanting to get in if you are only going to run on occasion.
This has left a spot open for 2018 which now allows Evolution Racing Team’s Michael Partington into the world championship and for a driver I would like to see get up there, I am sure that he can deliver some very solid results. In regards to Carroll though, I am still very upset for Zoran Jonjic who ultimately will miss out once again when the Orion driver really doesn’t deserve it. I think that what he brings to the table every week far outweighs a top five every four rounds before slinking off to race other games. I hope Zoran qualifies for 2019.
Then also follows the issue of third party content being reinstated for the IWCGPS which is one of the worst moves I could ever think of.
While you may argue about the role of the hand clutch or the double clutch and third party software to manipulate a perfect start, I think that iRacing should police all elements a lot better and the longer that the world championships stay away from LAN, the more this discussion will continue. I do not want there to be a stage where everyone has a double clutch or software in place that causes no drama off the start. Personally things like that rob the audience of one of the most exciting parts of a race.
Which leads me to Marcus Jensen and his shock decision to part ways with Apex Racing UK. I have been almost conditioned into the understanding that the decision to leave was amicable and not of any argument (Apex Racing UK, I can read your Facebook post, I don’t need to have your drivers attacking my words on twitter to understand this).
In spite of any circumstance, the move came completely out of left field for the most underrated driver in simracing today. The move is to an undisclosed team which should be announced some time in the near future, meaning Jensen could start the opening round as a privateer.
I like this move for Marcus as it would have taken a big offer to come his way, so speculations about who it could be are running wild. FA Racing G2 have denied any involvement with Redline and Coanda unlikely to make the move. This opens things up for a new team which could be anything in speculation from Veloce to KIYF, Cloud 9 to Fnatic. The options are endless and all speculation which even I won’t be privy to until the press release.
A lot of exciting things mixed in with a lot of depressing things makes this the most anticipated and the most fearful WCS of all time. Scales in the balance, in a similar aspect to iRacing as a whole season.