Road 2 RaceTrack - Virtual 2 Reality: It's Happening!
Updated: Apr 11
Ask any Sim-Racer if they want to go racing in the real world and, without hesitation, they will say "yes!". After all, it was sitting in front of the television watching Motorsport that drove many to spend thousands on the perfect setup, from steering wheels, racing seats, multiple monitors, VR, Gloves, Boots, you name it!
In our pursuit for perfection and the most "realistic" combination of hardware, most seem to still think that racing in the real world is either too expensive, or something that they "will never be able to do", yet the desire and drive to keep going, hoping to one day obtain the experience of a lifetime still remains. The thrill of competition, the feeling of the car accelerating, the euphoria of stepping onto the podium.
My name is Matthew and, I spent many years thinking that racing was never going to be something I could aspire to achieve, not unless I leeched onto the bank of mum & dad or won the lottery. Like many, I began to invest in the virtual world with a £30 wheel from Argos, which gradually transformed into a T300RS, Triple Monitor setup, T3PA Pro Pedals for maximum "realism". Sure, there are far more expensive items out there, but for me, it was enough to experience the thrill of racing. For years I partook in endurance events on iRacing, taking home victories at 24h Le Mans, 12h Sebring, PTLM and more. In those moments, It's hard to describe the sense of relief, the overwhelming sense of achievement as either you or one of your teammates brings it across the finishing line for the final time victorious. It was these moments, my hunt for new experiences, that drove me outdoors into the real world and, this, is my journey from Road 2 Racetrack.
The Mazda Rx8 in January Snow
Rewind 7 years, I've just broken into my 20s & I'm looking to buy a project car to get ready for motorsport. Money is hard to come by as I'm having to save relentlessly for a step on the property ladder. At that moment in time, I barely knew where the dipstick was but I wanted to learn as I went on this journey so I could repair the vehicle myself should the need arise.
I decided to invest in a Winning Blue Mazda RX8, yes, she's a Rotary. At the time I did not know much about the engine bar what I had already researched. The car had around 105 thousand miles on the clock and I should have walked away right there and then, but, her beauty led me to purchase the vehicle for £1800, with sayings such as "how hard can it be" being thrown in whenever the term "Apex Seals" came up in my head.
Oh, what a mistake that was, not only did the Rotary engine need a full rebuild, but my cheap investment led me to change several other components such as Brakes, Suspension, Rear Subframe (Trailing arms etc), Exhaust system, manifold, Ignition coils... you get the idea, basically I've spent a lifetime building a new car. This was not something I intended to do, but was born out of necessity to ensure that the car was not only safe, but Fast!
Uprated suspension from MaxSpeedingRods.com
In my quest to address the many issues that existed on this neglected machine, I discovered it wasn't all bad news to be found. Fast forward to 2021 and I've spent years underneath the car. I've not driven the car in over 6 years yet I've learnt a vast amount, it's likes & dislikes. I've spent hours getting out rounded bolts and replacing components, learning which oils & fluids work best, the most effective way to ensure engine longevity, how to adjust my ride height & so much more!
Rollcage & safety equipment, good to go!
It is safe to say then that I've formed an emotional bond to this vehicle. In these strange & difficult times we live in, this car saved me from going insane! When the world was worrying about the pandemic, I was worried about why my wheel alignment was out. Being able to escape to the garage and work on this machine, knowing that one day the years of hard work will pay off has allowed me to get through to 2021 in one piece in fighting spirit, ready to go!
There is so much I could tell you about this journey, the blood, sweat and tears that have been shed in this labour of love, but I know you don't have all day. So let's talk about what Road 2 Racetrack is and, what you can expect from CFS entering 2021.
This is an exciting time for me as an individual and for us as a team at CFS. Having founded the league nearly 6 years ago, I would never have dreamt that this was possible, to have the CFS colours on a real car, bridging that gap between virtual & reality in the search for unforgettable moments. Isn't that why we do this? To feel alive? To feel as though nothing else matters except the next corner? To prove that you are willing to put it all on the line for victory?
For me, it is not only the above but most importantly it is something I must prove to myself. Throughout the years, many have said, "It's just a phase", "You'll burn through your budget", "You're not talented enough", I was stupid enough to convince myself that this was true, but there was always something that told me to keep going no matter how bad it gets in hopes that one day I can step onto that grid.
The 2021 TrackDay Trophy Calendar!
So this is it. The road has been long and tiresome, full of doubts and sleepless nights, but, I'm finally able to say that in 2021, Team CFS will finally go racing in the real world! Entering the Trackday Trophy, we will be visiting several classic venues up & down the country, such as Brands Hatch (Even the GP Layout!), Silverstone, Snetterton, Donington & more! Don't let the name fool you, these events are full of multiple classes of car ready to go toe-to-toe for 45m races, with the Mazda Rx8 coming home in the top category and fighting for overall wins!
As CFS and I embark on this journey, we will capture and share as much of it as humanly possible with our "Road 2 RaceTrack" series, with onboard footage, in-depth vlogs & footage capturing the events as they unfold, the highs & lows that come with the sport and how we deal with them. There is still a lot to do and much to learn in our first year of motorsport, it certainly won't be easy and we have no idea what awaits us down the road. All I can say is we will give it everything we have to achieve success, that we will keep pushing no matter what tries to stop us.
If anything, we want to send a message to the sim-racing world that this IS possible! You can go racing in the real world and you need not rob a bank to do it! We want to give many out there the confidence that they might not have had, the knowledge that might not have otherwise been obtained. From the several website updates, video posts & social media updates, we will bring you a front-row seat to the action as it unfolds.
As one great man once said: "With your mind power, your determination, your instinct, and the experience as well, you can fly very high."
Wish us luck!
Founder of CFS