We talk esports vs. a pro racing simulator with Jaguars Mitch Evans

  • Mitch Evans celebrates winning in Mexico City in February 2020. It was his second win for the Jaguar Racing team since being signed in 2016. Formula E
  • Evans is currently second in the points for the 2019/2020 season. Formula E
  • Formula E uses rFactor 2 as its sim platform of choice for the Racing at Home challenge. Evans has not had quite the same level of success since the switch. Formula E
  • I asked if Evans could take a selfie from his new home sim, and he did! Mitch Evans

Until COVID-19 turned up and ruined things, Formula E's sixth season was going pretty well for Jaguar Racing and driver Mitch Evans. Because the series started its season in November, there were already five races in the books by the time the real-world action had to be suspended. When it's safe to start up again, Evans will do so from second place in the championship, in part thanks to a win in Mexico in mid-February. More recently, he's been stuck at home, like many of the rest of us. And the last few weeks have involved learning a whole new set of skills as Formula E has temporarily decamped to the world of rFactor 2 to keep fans entertained until the real cars are safe to dust off again.

Unlike some of his contemporaries, the switch to esports wasn't something Evans has been training for this whole time. "I've not being a huge gamer before, so this is new territory, and it's taken me a long time to get used to it," Evans told me. In fact, he didn't even have a gaming rig at home until Formula E supplied all its drivers with identical Playseat rigs, gaming PCs, and Fanatec wheels and pedals.

That's meant quite the learning curve. "There's a lot of guys out there that are really quite experienced in that field, and honestly, they are extremely fast on it. So a lot of it is obviously trying to work out how the game works and the physics around it to try and get around certain things which wouldn't really correlate into reality," he explained.

Not that he's not enjoying the experience. But for those thinking that a racing driver's experience in a very expensive "driver in the loop" simulator would translate to success at a consumer-grade platform like iRacing or rFactor 2, think again.

"Our sim at the factory is run by multiple people; it's quite high-maintenance but also very, very bespoke for the Jaguar racing car. It's actually very close to a real race car in terms of the way it operates" he told Ars. "For the Jaguar racing sim, the ECUs and the way that the sim is operating is literally identical to the race car. So the steering wheel setup, every switch change, does the same thing compared to reality. The behavior of the car is meant to be the same as reality—obviously, there are going to be some differences, but we try to get every little piece as close as possible," he explained.

"It's quite fascinating how similar the Jaguar Racing sim is compared to the real car," Evans said. "They basically crunch our whole powertrain into numbers and convert that into code to put into the sim. So the same ECU, it's got the same inverter, the same electric motor, all the dimensions of our electric motor, so honestly, it's crazy how close it is. And our tiRead More – Source

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