Silly season looks like it no longer exists after continued moves in the drivers market that continues to have a domino effect. The last few weeks has been massive in terms of the shift in the landscape of simracing and has had a profound effect in terms of how certain teams will look going forward.
The void left with the great Heusinkveld CORE Motorsports exodus has left the team in a position to be a lot less active than they once were. This freed up Angelo Michel to become a free agent and he spent next to no time in finding a new team, or shall I say an old one as the prodigal son returned back to his starting team. Going back all the way to the team’s Gran Turismo days, Michel returned to Rennsport Online (Team RSO) and becoming arguably their top star in the process.
I love this move because this is a fantastic coup for RSO as they have been needing to find the one driver that is going to kickstart a massive push towards a world championship push and Michel will be that person. I think though that this move will give impact but not instant success with the light schedule that Michel is going to paddle however I think that a lot of teams have missed out on the chance to have a sensational driver in their ranks.
SimRC.DE also made a lot of noise over the last few weeks. Arguably their number one driver, Gianni Vecchio announced that he would leave the team looking for a bigger challenge and got the step up that he wanted when Pure Racing Team came knocking. However SimRC did not waste any time in the driver markets, confirming the move of Mika Eshuis and also snapping up an in form Tim Claessens from Torque Freak Racing.
SimRC continue to develop talent fantastically and pick up some great signings along the way. This also includes the recent signing of Johannes Maiworm from GermanSimRacing.DE who is a driver I personally have very high hopes for in the future. Eshuis and Claessens can gel wonderfully with Jake Robson and form a very formidable partnership in any vehicle they set their minds to. However losing Vecchio is always going to leave a hole in their GT efforts and it will be up to Jurgen Frank and Dustin Hickmann to step up to the plate.
Pure have done a very good job at securing Gianni Vecchio however they could be on the cusp of going one better. Fabrice Cornelis could be on his way to the German powerhouses if his recent team results on iRacing are anything to go by. This could form an incredible partnership between Benecke, Wolf and Cornelis, essentially making a prototype dream team that arguably no team in the world can match. It is expected that if this move does take place then Coen Klopman would not be coming along with Fabrice, breaking up one of the best partnerships in simracing. It is still unclear where Klopman is to go to however as things stands, over forty teams have offered Coen Klopman a seat.
CoRe Simracing had been left out in all of this however they have looked to jump in on the team swapping too, picking up four fantastic drivers from Torrent Motorsport. Marius Golombeck, Ross Balfour, Kimmo Suominen and Patrick Kubinji will look to begin the renaissance at CoRe after the departures over the winter of Bolukbasi, Price, Job and Rasmussen. I think that this move is going to have the average fan turning their nose up at the move but those who understand how influential Torrent have been in the world tour events can grasp how good of a move this is.
Marius Golombeck has a studied career that only seems to get better with age while Suominen and Kubinji will be subtle picks for the team. Ross Balfour however is the driver I want to pay attention to as I knew of his capabilities back in his run in the BSRTC. Balfour has flown majorly under the radar and this move could spark the interest needed in his career to put himself on the level of David Williams and Isaac Price in terms of pace and recognition.
Eclipsing all of this though surely is the announcement that Team-LDLC have decided to make a push into simracing signing Patrik Holzmann as their first driver. LDLC are most known in CS:GO and League of Legends circles and like G2, brings legitimacy back into simracing. I also think this has been the move that Holzmann has been waiting years for as he has hopped from team to team more than a kangaroo on hot coals.
Holzmann is the sort of driver you need to build a team around and I think that Patrik recognizes this and should be able to use this as proof of his abilities. Where he races is up to him however I do expect LDLC to pick up a few more drivers before the middle of the summer to truly cement where they are in terms of platform and in terms of direction. A G2 styled push would be monstrous for simracing and would cement the era of the esport influence coming into simracing.
And finally Joshua Rogers has decided to perform the Riley Preston simracing move, getting loaned out from TTL Esports to go to Burst Esport for the IWCGPS. I think the move is very much hinged on the fact that TTL doesn’t have a F1 team and pretty much finds itself in the same boat that Evolution Racing Team were three years ago. The move also confirms that Rogers will not be taking part in V8SCOPS which is a massive shame when you consider how strong that field is already.
Rogers has made the move that will help him get faster however, and pairing up with Marcus Jensen will massively help boost his pace considering how similar the pair can be. I expect to see Josh pushing consistently for top ten finishes as well as being on the cusp of the top five, especially with the fact that FA Racing G2 are going to pull their vehicles from the series citing a full schedule.
Simracing’s merry-go-round is revolving at a pace that has never been seen before which makes the globalisation of our sport seem scary to think that this could be the norm. I’ve never seen so many moves happen in the space of a six month window, and all of what I have just written about has happened in the last three weeks. Simracers are in demand, I would put my name out there if I was up there in terms of pace.