Spotlight on… – Russell Sobie
The man behind the wheel: a short interview with Sim Racing System racers. Let’s know a little more of the guys that are always one place ahead.
Would you briefly introduce yourself for the site’s readers?
Greetings! I’m Russell Sobie, or EssobieAtPlay over on the Youtubes where I upload timelapses of me painting liveries using Mudbox (3D editing software) and Photoshop. I’ve been playing games on the Internet since 1994 (and over telephone lines before that).
What’s your racing wheel?
I use a Thrustmaster T300RS wheel with Fanatec CSL Elite Pedals with a Load Cell brake.
Which are your favourite simracing games?
Assetto Corsa, certainly. I mostly bounced off of ACC and PCars 2, but I did play PCars 1 quite a bit in a few leagues when it came out. Before that rFactor 1 was my favorite.
Good question… Recently I really enjoyed returning to the Lotus 3-Eleven. I guess I typically enjoy cars that take some finesse to drive well rather than the super high downforce open wheel monsters that are out there. That doesn’t mean I won’t scare the rest of the field trying to keep up with those too! If I had to list a few that I have really enjoyed, I’d say Mazda MX5 Cup, BMW M235i, and the Caterham 7.
I think my favorite overall is Laguna Seca, but I also really like Donington, Brands Hatch, and Mugello. Basically any track with a few fast corners and one or two really slow corners (that’s like all of them though, isn’t it?).
“I typically enjoy cars that take some finesse to drive“
Since when are you playing simracing games?
Probably my very first “sim” was Race’07. At least that is the first sim I ever raced against other humans over the Internet on. So more than a decade, I guess!
Which was your first racing game ever?
Ah… Well, if you mean a sim, see previous question! But if you mean for real first racing game ever, I go all the way back to Indy 500 on the Atari 2600. The one that came with special “paddle” controllers that would spin infinitely.
How do you prepare for a race and/or a championship?
At this point I rely a whole lot on my experience most of the time. Which is a fancy way of saying that I don’t do much preparation! I will likely put in about an hour on a particular car/track combo before racing with others if I’ve never seen one or both… but if I’m familiar with the car and/or the track already there’s a good chance I’m going to be learning the track during the 10 minute qualifier. I don’t recommend this method if you are serious about actually getting 102s every race, but it works with my limited leisure time!
Are you good in setupping cars? 🙂
I’m pretty garbage at it, truthfully. I used to heavily rely on the app The Setup Marketfor Assetto Corsa to download popular setups and then tweak them as much as I could during practice, but sadly that service is down for good recently. I think the last setup I’ve downloaded from someone else was Omer’s very helpful (and fast) setup for the Primera at Brands Hatch here on this very website! I leave serious car setups to the true gearheads.
Do you race in real life too?
Outside of the occasional Kart racing outing, no. And certainly none during this garbage fire of a year. Unless you count getting to 60mph in ~3 seconds in my Tesla every time I am first at a stop light. Then I race all the time.
“I rely a whole lot on my experience most of the time”
What you do like and what you don’t like in SRS races?
Hmm… Lots of interpretations of this question I can think of! I like trusting other drivers to race side by side for multiple turns. I like that there’s a schedule of cars I like driving and cars that I might not otherwise drive. I like 20 minute races. I like that asshats can get suspended or banned for being asshats. I don’t like people dive bombing turn 1 lap 1 from midpack. I don’t like that sometimes I want to race and it’s 3 minutes until the hour so now I have to wait ~1 hour to get in the next one. I don’t like hour long races because I have bad knees and I don’t like that grip during qualifying starts at 94%. I don’t like asshats trying to race with other people.
Which are your strongest and your weakest points in racing?
I think my strongest points are that that if I am familiar with a car or a track (but not at the same time) I learn really fast. I’ve joined daily races not having touched the combo, qualify towards the back of the grid, and then end up winning the race because I found 0.5 seconds every lap during the race. My weakest point is that I’m simply not alien fast. There are occasions where I get to be the fastest driver on the server, but it’s pretty rare.
How would you define your racing style?
I am fairly consistent and I’m very patient. I don’t have to pass a bunch of people on the first lap while people are still sorting out their nerves… I’ll just wait until they make a mistake and try to get by cleanly by just doing what I’ve been doing for the last hour… over and over and over.
Thanks to Russell Sobie for kindly answering our questions!