Spotlight On… – Pasha Paterson
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?
I’m Pasha Paterson, form Richmond, VA, USA. I am a professional geek by trade, and am blessed with a compassionate wife and two frighteningly intelligent children. My online identity has been some variant of zerobandwidth (or zer0bandwidth, or both) since 2000, and I’ve been active on YouTube under that banner for the past couple of years. I was on Jeopardy! once, but if you didn’t know that already, that tells you how well that turned out.
What’s your racing wheel?
I’m using a Logitech G29 which I purchased in 2019, only after my Logitech Driving Force GT (still with GranTurismo 3 A-Spec branding on it!) started having problems. I also have a button box from Skull Simgear, which I would recommend, if you’re looking for button boxes.
Which are your favourite simracing games?
I spend almost all of my sim time in Assetto Corsa. I’ve been trying to get into ACC, and while I do also own rFactor 2 and RaceRoom, I don’t really have an opportunity to play them with anyone at the moment.
That’s a really tough question, because there is so much great content in AC these days. I’ve had a lot of success in the Audi TT RS VLN, and I think it’s the best FWD car in Kunos’s original content. Recently I think the surprise release of the KTM Xbow GT4 Evo showed just how good a new car could still be in AC; it’s quirky, but it’s a joy to drive. And I would not be a responsible mod author if I didn’t use this space to try to promote my Ferrari 488 GTLM mod which is currently available on RaceDepartment.
Of course I’m prejudiced but I’m going to say VIR. It’s my home track in real life, and the mod from Darren Blythe et al. is spectacularly detailed in its recreation of the real track. I also have a not-secret love for John Ramos’s CTMP, which was just updated recently. And there are days when I exercise some self-therapy with an hour’s drive around Phoenix Mods’s LA Canyons.
“I’ve had only seven wins on SRS, and I remember every one of them.”
Since when are you playing simracing games?
I used to spend weekends looking for arcades that had a cabinet of Atari’s Pole Position II, so… it’s been a while. The original Gran Turismo was an instant purchase for me when it came out and I played it obsessively. In 2018, I stumbled into PC sim racing for the same reason so many other people did — after discovering Jimmy Broadbent on YouTube. I watched his entire broadcast of the 2017 VEC 24 Heures du Mans. The accuracy of the simulation — even back then, in rF2 — blew my mind.
Which was your first racing game ever?
Pole Position in the arcades, Rad Racer II and RC Pro/Am on the NES, F-Zero on the SNES… I was an early adopter of racing games.
How do you prepare for a race and/or a championship?
I always try to get at least five laps in the car and track before the race, just to make sure I remember the flow of the track, and can get an idea of my fuel targets and other setup changes. If it’s my first time on that track I’ll try to set aside an hour to learn it. With my YouTube channel, I always have to run at least enough laps to get a nice screenshot for the video title card, so I’m never arriving to a race completely without practice.
Are you good in setupping cars? 🙂
Actually I’m pretty terrible at it. There have been several folks along the way who have offered great advice. I have even made setup changes to my car during my streams by asking for suggestions from the chat!
Do you race in real life too?
Since I turned 16, many moons ago, I’ve been active with the Virginia Motor Sports Club, competing in both autocross and (when the events happened) time-speed-distance road rally. I noticed a dramatic improvement in my real-life driving whenever I was playing racing sims, both when I started Gran Turismo, and more recently when I started with AC.
What is your best result in SRS?
I’ve had only seven wins on SRS, and I remember every one of them, but one of the most gratifying finishes I’ve ever had was actually a second-place finish at VIR, where I battled with James Leeder for the entire 20-minute race.
“My biggest strength is strategy; my biggest weakness is strategy.”
What you do like and what you don’t like in SRS races?
The quality of racecraft among the “frequent” drivers on SRS has, on average, been improving dramatically over the last year. The competition is both clean and fierce. Henrique also does an excellent job of providing a wide variety of cars in each season to suit a lot of different interests. I don’t know of any service outside of iRacing that provides that kind of “something for everyone” opportunity with all the additional features that he’s managed to implement. I am so grateful to have been selected as one of the North American race hosts for the last year; that program is such a wonderful way for SRS and the community to promote each other to a wider audience, and I’m happy to be part of it.
The biggest drawback of the system is its incident penalties. While the system is usually effective in discouraging reckless driving, it also unfairly penalizes drivers for incidental contacts. One light tap between bumpers can subtract a number of points that’s equal to or greater than losing a position on track. Those severe consequences can be devastating to anyone taking a championship seriously, and I think it might contribute to some of the excessive emotion that sometimes explodes between drivers. (I know I’ve been guilty of that myself on more than one occasion!) Further, there will always be people who don’t care about the points system at all, so the penalties do not deter them from bad behavior. Of course SRS is not iRacing; the resources to have human race directors and marshals for every event simply aren’t there. What we have is what we have, and it works well enough, most of the time.
Is there a particular moment in SRS races – funny, dramatic, adrenaline-filled – that you like to remind?
I’ve had a few spectacular races, but the highlight that probably sticks in most of my viewers’ minds is still the fantastic “Moses moment” in the GT3 America race at Watkins Glen on 2019.10.26, where a lap 1 collision between Luke Sky and Mike Madd touched off a massive crash that somehow opened up in front of me and allowed me to pass from 15th to 6th.
“There have been seasons where I was streaming six nights a week!“
zer0bandwidth, your YouTube channel of races streamings, is very active. How did you came up with it?
Everyone has been bemoaning 2020, but 2019 was actually a pretty awful year for me in my personal life, and I was already spending a lot of time retreating into video games, so I decided that I might like to reach out and build a community around the games I was already playing. Originally I had planned to split my time between sim racing, Final Fantasy XIV and Fallout 4, since those were the three games I was playing most heavily. Sim racing somehow took over. (Partly because no one — no one — showed up for the FFXIV streams.) Since then, an active community has grown up around the North American SRS races, and that gravitational pull has brought me even further into the sim racing content. There have been seasons where I was streaming six nights a week! I am on a bit of a break at the moment and “normal pace” will probably settle down to something a bit more calm. I do also sometimes produce some scripted content that I’ve been pretty happy with, and I’ve been very fortunate with some of the relationships that I’ve fostered with those videos.
Which are your strongest and your weakest points in racing?
My biggest strength is strategy; my biggest weakness is strategy. Sometimes it works out, and earns me a great result; other times, it turns out to be… not so good. I still don’t have the pace of a lot of the other drivers around me, but I’m still improving. I also tend to “freak out” in close battles and start making a lot of silly mistakes, and I think that’s a common problem for a lot of people in sim racing, and we all have to learn to cope with that in our own way.
How would you define your racing style?
I usually try to be cautious and patient, sometimes even giving up a position early in the race to save time by avoiding a pointless or dangerous battle. One of these days I’ll have the experience and confidence to be more assertive on track… for better or worse.
Thanks to Pasha for kindly answering our questions!