Spotlight On… – Eduardo Sa
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 a Brazilian simracer since 2013 in the community. I’ve been playing racing games since my childhood and I was born in the Senna-Piquet-Prost-Mansell’s era of F1 when Motorsport in Brazil was in its peak, so I became really passionate for Formula 1 from childhood. I really love open wheelers since I started to race with F1 cars, but I did learn a lot and I still do by racing with almost any kind of racing series. I race for Drone e-Racing since few months after I started to race in Brazilian competitions in 2014, but sometimes I race by myself and with other groups of friends and teams like Galera do AC, Red Baron Racing and nowadays for HiHi Racing. I’m also very passionate for aviation because I used to live just 500 meters from the runway’s touch down zone of the airport of my city. That and coincidentally a lot of my friends from Drone e-Racing and HiHi also has some life stories in aviation, then much of my personal liveries and team liveries are inspired by the theme, like former Brazilian airlines like Varig and Transbrasil.
What’s your racing wheel?
An old and rugged Logitech G27 I bought in mid 2014.
Which are your favourite simracing games?
Assetto Corsa is my favorite, because it has the best quality original content and mods and it has one of the best physics for open wheel series if we compare with the real footage. I really like RaceRoom Racing Experience despite I’m not racing with it so much, but was one of my best “schools” in simracing. I like also Automobilista and rFactor 2 but they don’t charm my eyes in some aspects. Sometimes I race in Competizione but just for fun because I don’t like GT cars too much, but it has one of the best physics in the category.
“I love open wheel cars, especially those very difficult to tame.”
Despite being a open wheeler lover, my favorite car is the Mazda MX5. It is the best car for battles and they have a great weight balance that makes the car fun to drive. The second favorite are the Caterhams. From the third and beyond, almost any Formula car.
I really love Interlagos, that is a temple of Motorsport and is in Brazil, but the track I really feel like home is Suzuka. However I can have a crush on any other roller coaster track except Nordschleife 😀
Since when are you playing simracing games?
I’ve been playing since 2011 when I used to do hot laps with Formula 1 cars using an old PSX joypad. My first simracing game was Grand Prix 4, but I moved to rFactor. Once I got a better machine I started to play with F1 2013 and race online. When I realized that I had some talent for that, I did a crazy thing for my budget by that time: buy a steering wheel. The best money I have ever spent. Since then, I started to race with other simracing games like Stock Car Extreme and Assetto Corsa (Beta).
Which was your first racing game ever?
Top Gear (Top Racer) for the SNES. That is a good story “Made in Brazil”. In my country there aren’t many arcades, so people used to rent hours in home consoles placed on houses full of TV sets with various videogame consoles, lot of games just paying R$ 1,00 an hour. The game has a very attractive soundtrack that is loved by almost every Brazilian gamer. That was kind of a hypnosis for kids. That was a start of a very long time playing racing games until the latest “simulators”.
How do you prepare for a race and/or a championship?
Normally I just take some time to be confortable with the car with tracks I use to race more often. Then I just prepare myself depending on the level of competition of a championship or race. When I started on simracing, I started to play on league races and even with people that was real drivers. It used to took long 2 weeks or even 1 month of preparation for just the first race, learning about the car and then the first track and trying to mimic those fast guys in the free practice. Today I’m a very experienced simdriver and I have learnt tons of some specific track’s tricks and a very large amount of techniques, so today I spend from 20 minutes to a whole week. More than this is very tedious.
“I can change my driving style very easily, from a very smooth driving to a more aggressive style.”
Are you good in setupping cars? 🙂
I really don’t know if I’m very skilled on this and today I prefer to race in fixed setup series. I know to adjust almost every car setup parameter and I had even studied telemetry with my team for other simracing games like GSC/Automobilista and rFactor 2, to get some better results and we did. However, in Assetto Corsa, for instance, I don’t feel a need to adjust to much in setup of the car because there are a lot of apps that help us. It takes me less time to mess with this stuff and brings more fun. Nowadays I don’t take to long to find a way to get my laptimes better and set my cars up, most of the times, but they do not fit to other’s driving styles, just a few of them. When I started on simracing leagues, my team was very focused on this stuff and they used to master some specific cars like Formula 3. We studied a lot and used to share setups. By knowing some driving styles, the Drone e-Racing (Drone Records Racing by that time) did learn the bridge between the setup of each driver, so we started to share the setups with a base, and then, they changed some minor known things with few clicks that was able to them to get good laps. Not only our mates but some people that came to us to get tips, they were even champions of this category in Brazilian leagues after us, like Rafael Borges, Denis Batista, and Paulo Conda. They are good friends that relied on our tips and some have been grown by themselves becoming superior than me by setting cars up and they were very grateful for the help. That kind of thing and friendship is better than any prizes or reward. Even saying all of this, I don’t think I’m good because I DON’T LIKE to spend my time on car setup and my tips sometimes are very precise because in many times they are by trial and error.
You are one of the strongest racers with open wheel cars. Are you particularly passionate on driving them?
Yes, especially those very difficult to tame.
Do you race in real life too?
I have experience just with rental’s karts with a group of friends from my city. Some of them are much faster then me. Each time I go there, I get even closer lap times of the best karting drivers of the group, like Jefferson Silva, Raphael Camelo (Snow Schatten E-Sports) and Adauto. Simracing is really helping me. However is worth to mention that some drivers in my team had experience in real life and it helped me a lot.
What is your best result in SRS?
It was the Acelith V8 Series on the RSS F2 2017 open wheelers I just won on the 2020 Christmas, in which I achieved 26 victories in 32 races.
What you do like and what you don’t like in SRS races?
I almost have no problems with SRS and I only have to be grateful to all efforts made by Henrique Alves and staff because it’s a big challenge to manage such a big community. I really like how much we can interact with lots of different people, most of the times in a civilized way. If you are not following the rules, you are out. I really have better experiences here then I had in most of Brazilian racing leagues, few of them really are or were good to race. It is a sign that the reeducation by suspending and banning racers that are not respecting the others had some good results, so most of the drivers I use to compete since today are clean and this is the best thing in SRS. Of course, the middle and the end of the grid would need some adjustments that can be improved by raising the number of people racing daily in SRS and maybe changing criteria. In races with 4 or 5 divisions, the races are REALLY GOOD or ENJOYABLE. With less divisions, races tend to be boring or lame and this is what I don’t like. It will look kinda contradictory, but I also don’t like to race with open wheelers in SRS very often because it has a different approach unlike road and GT cars and the rating system still lacks some adjustments on this area.
“Today I prefer to race in fixed setup series.”
Is there a particular moment in SRS races – funny, dramatic, adrenaline-filled – that you like to remind?
Yes. It was a race I had in the Josh Martin’s Lotus 98T series in 2018 that was held at Monza. That was a race that totally annihilates the argument that having a 200 ms ping makes difficult to get close racing. We had a very intense battle from the start till the end with a lot of race leadership changes without any contact in such a hard car to drive. The Lotus has a turbo that can be trimmed all along the race because there is a problem: 100% turbo damages the engine and changes the fuel consumption. We do adjust the turbo boost every time we wanted to overtake or relief the engine behind the opponent. That was a mind game, you had to make your opponent use more or less power beyond the use the slipstream to get advantage. The fuel consumption wasn’t precise because you had to change the turbo boost. Me and Michael Martin, Josh’s brother and one of the fastest guys on SRS, battled for almost 15 minutes. Almost on the last lap on the turn 1, I used full boost and overtook Michael. When I turn it off, he counterattacked me by diving into turn 1 successfully, but we divided the chicane totally respectful and we had a drag race along the Curva Grande. For Michael’s sadness, he got out of fuel at the end of the turn and I won the race. I had the honor to win that championship with the simulated car driven by Ayrton Senna.
Which are your strongest and your weakest points in racing?
My strongest point is my skill to easily adapt myself in different situations since I had stayed very well “connected” with the car. This lets me get very good lap times very quickly. My weakest point: I think that in so much pressure, I can overthink and making bad strategic decisions in a race. I prefer teammates to decide for me and help me keep focused during the race, since they know well what is going on, of course. I can race quite well while talking but not while making strategic decisions :D. I also don’t really like races with pit stops.
How would you define your racing style?
I think I can change my driving style very easily, from a very smooth driving like Jenson Button/Hamilton/Verstappen’s to a more aggressive style like Leclerc/Alonso/Senna’s style, depending on the car or the situation. I have a lot of teammates that were kind of “coaches” for me, like Rodrigo Meirelles, Luiz Eduardo Machado, Dionizio Paulillo and Sed Barcellos. Each one of those strong Brazilian sim or real drivers has a different driving style that allowed me race the way I do. I was very lucky to have them in a team, not only them but all my friends.
Thanks to Eduardo for kindly answering our questions!