The online Sim racing program started by KartSport New Zealand and key commercial partners Giltrap Group and Carter’s Tyre Service to give members something to do under the COVID-19 lockdown has proved so popular that the team behind it has upgraded the hosting to a global streaming facilitator, SIMSpeedTV https://www.simspeed.tv/
The SimSpeed eSports Network (formerly V8sonline) is a live Sim racing broadcast production company established in 2011 and now the biggest eSports Sim racing production company in the southern hemisphere. As an official iRacing eSports network partner it currently broadcasts Sim series for Supercars, TCR circuit racing cars, both the Australian and World of Outlaws (US) Sprint Car speedway championships, and as from this evening, KartSport New Zealand’s weekly iKartSport Racing ‘Virtual Club Days.’
Up until now the Virtual Club Days (aka Chocolate Fish) Series’ has been run by keen Dunedin-based karter and Sim racer Travis Smith.
Now back at work (after the Level 4 lockdown was lifted) Smith had already signalled that he would he would need more ‘grunt’ to handle the record entries and increasing bandwidth challenges………so when KartSport New Zealand President Graeme Moore was contacted by SIMSpeed TV’s Scott Fountain it was, says Moore, as if ‘it was meant to be.’
“Scott’s a former karter from Auckland here who has been living in the UK for several years now, but found himself stranded back ‘home’ when the whole COVID-19 Coronvirus thing happened. He was an early convert to the Sim racing scene and has been working remotely with SIMSpeed eSport Network from here when he realised he couldn’t make it back to the UK before the borders were closed.
“He originally reached out to me with the offer of his assistance because I think he saw better than any of us new to the whole SIM realm the effect the sheer popularity of our platform was having on Travis and the various volunteers he had roped in to help him.
“The kicker, obviously, was that the company Scott now works for was set up to handle just such issues so it didn’t take long for the two of us to hammer out a deal, which I took to our executive over the weekend and which I am very pleased to say they approved.”
Not only that but – having seen first-hand the positive effect the iKartSport Sim series has had on his son, top Junior karter Arthur Broughan – executive member Matt Broughan from Blenheim agreed to underwrite the cost of the next eight weeks of the new SIMSpeedTV-organised programme via sponsorship by his Marlborough-wide irrigation company Liquid Action.
At this and next week’s rounds Liquid-Action will be joined as a sponsor by discount Cook Strait Ferry booking agency Cook Strait Crossings, the company donating a number of return Ferry trips on either Bluebridge or the Interislander to be auctioned to support the iKartSport programme.
With close to 400 registered members the iKartSport group ranks as KartSport New Zealand’s largest member club, not bad considering it was only set up on April 10.
So far events it has run have attracted a broad range of Sim racers from raw beginners to established Kiwi motorsport icons like Le Mans 24 Hour race winner Brendon Hartley. Tonight’s race will also see the appearance for the first time at a local ‘Virtual Club Day’ of former kart and current international single-seater sensation Marcus Armstrong from Christchurch.
Racing is typically hard and fast with no quarter asked or given, but plenty of good-natured banter before, during and after each race, with the only reward the satisfaction of a race well run, and perhaps, a chocolate fish, if you end up on the podium.
To see for yourself who ends up there this evening head to the iKartSport Facebook page this evening for a 7.00pm start.