By now, we’ve all heard about how virtual racing flourished during the early days of the pandemic lockdown. In early 2021 that growth created worldwide shortages in sim racing equipment, launched professional simracer careers, and introduced the world of simulator racing to the traditional motorsports fanbase in a huge way. Suddenly the worst kept secret in motorsports was out… Real racers, those who really care about racing, use sim racing to keep sharp!
We were all struggling to come to grips with the realization that our vintage racing season was very likely canceled when this fringe aspect of motorsports pushes its way into the spotlight like a Dr. Fauci quote… And one man has an unlikely idea. That man, we call him “Jim”, decides he can combine Sim Racing with its polar opposite and make it both successful and fun!
Jim is a vintage racer. Jim dedicates much of his life to helping run the Vintage Racer Group, one of the premier vintage racing clubs for the USA mid-Atlantic region. His people race old cars with carburetors and 4 forward speeds. They set points gaps with cigarette papers. Computer literacy isn’t exactly synonymous with vintage racing club membership but Jim knows this is going to be “cool”. He thinks “Yeah, this will work.”
Soon the VRG Virtual Racer Group is born and holds its first race at VIR on April 28th, 2020. Twenty cars participate and while there were many spins and off-track excursions, not one penny was spent repairing the damage. Jim is right. It is cool and fun. So much fun that we continue to race almost every Tuesday night!
The one overriding feature of the VRG VRL is that we continue to race in the sim-world with our virtual cars as we do in the real world with our vintage cars. That is to say, we race as friends with respect and unflinching sportsmanship.
Because of the “vintage attitude” we bring to Sim Racing, an unintended side effect of the VRG-VRL has been the growth of a new group of friends. They start as names on a screen and voices in your headset but soon show up to the real world racetracks happy to meet IRL (no, not the Indy Racing League, IRL in this context is “In Real Life”) and continue their camaraderie in their vintage cars.
Today, we’re growing the VRG Virtual Racing League and are recruiting new racers. We would like to invite anyone reading this with interest to come and race with us. The skill levels in the group range from virtual racing veterans to complete “noobs” (as the kids call those folks new to something computer-ish). Just like in Vintage Racing, it is for the fun of it.
Happily, we do offer some perks that most other sim racing leagues do not. We present real life awards, courtesy of our league sponsor Office Service Company (family owned and run by one of our VRG racers). No huge payouts just yet, but you really do need another pint glass, don’t you? We have our own version of the Borg-Warner Trophy that travels and is awarded to each season’s winner and engraved with each champion’s name. One of our most experienced racers puts together a “track walk/fast lap” video prior to every event, to assist anyone searching for the best braking points and lines. The races are broadcast on YouTube and Facebook so our legions of fans (I am sure all parents, spouses, and crew members) around the world can witness our attempts to put on a real show. We even do podium and hard-luck interviews!
As an added bonus, if you are looking for someone to do some endurance sim racing with, we’ve got folks that do that. Join our team!
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Jim Karamanis, that Jim of lore, has now handed off his VRL chairmanship duties to concentrate on other VRG tasks. The new co-chairmen are VRG members Steve Ficacci and Stefan Vapaa. Both Steve and Stefan invite you to get in touch and join us. If you are a vintage racer, a fan of vintage racing, or even a friend of a vintage racer with the vintage racing attitude, we welcome you! We will be happy to set you up in our league and introduce you to the group.
For more information and to get in touch, see the VRG Virtual Racer League website.
You can also fill out the form below since I am now one of the league co-chairs.