From Virtual to Reality

James Hume is a Denver-based IT Asset Manager with a need for speed.  He, like many of us, started satiating that need with video games. And like many from his generation, Gran Turismo was his gateway drug of choice.  From there, it was a quick free fall down the rabbit hole of sim rigs and virtual reality headsets in an attempt to find a deeper and more immersive visceral experience, which landed him on iRacing.  But after four years, James decided he needed more yet again. It was time to take the leap. It was time to “see the digital world turn into the windshield.  


To make that a reality, one of the places James chose to turn was SCCA’s Track Night in America Driven by Tire Rack.  “I tried Track Night in America as a low-cost way to get some seat time, initially.  I was surprised by how familial and low pressure the atmosphere was. Safety and fun seemed to be the key focus for the organizers, and everyone was extremely friendly and helpful when I had questions, James said.  “As a newer track driver, I felt confident and never felt like I was driving over my head due to the run groups or expectations about my performance.  Well, other than my own!”


Knowing he got his start with driving simulators, we asked James how virtual racing may have helped him prepare for actually driving on track. “You certainly don’t have the pucker factor when driving in a sim that you do in the real world!  Having done the sim first, however, and not having that tactile feel you get while actually driving, I feel I was able to be more proactive with the car, versus reactive.  I feel like I could get ahead of a slide vs.reacting to it, as I had learned over the years to use clues from my other senses, such as tire noise and where it is specifically coming from, to help predict what the car was doing.  When racing in a sim, you have to learn to pick up on subtle things, like audio clues, and translate them into something your mind can use in place of that normal, seat-of-the-pants feeling.  


Having gotten his first actual track time with Track Night in America and tasted the thrill of side-by-side racing in a simulator, James said he is now preparing to take another leap. “I am gearing up to get my competition license, so I can go wheel-to-wheel racing.  I have gathered up my drivers kit, and now I am working towards getting my provisional license to go racing with the SCCA.  Once I have that, it will be off to the races!”

Well be there cheering you on, James!!



James H.

Quick update for 2019: 

In addition to purchasing a vehicle for drivers school this year, I have partnered up with some fantastic guys from Spec MX-5 racing (associates of SCCA) and will be running in sim with them this season. The implications are potentially huge! Will be great learning and even more fun I'm sure! Looking forward to seeing how the craft learned will translate to actual SCCA race weekends. 


"We are thrilled to have Jimmy participating in the first Spec MX-5 SimRacing Challenge series. Over years of MX-5 Cup, Pirelli World Challenge, IMSA and now Spec MX-5 Pro racing we have seen that sim-racing is a reliable source of talent for success in "real" race cars. With encouragement from sim-racers who have already moved into real racing, the goal of the 2019 Spec MX-5 SimRacing Challenge program is to help ease that transition and provide yet another rung in the Motorsports ladder system. We're also hoping to find some special talent that can be further developed through Spec MX-5 racing!

Tom Martin
Spec MX-5, LLC"