Spotlight On… – David Broomhead
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 36 years old living near Toronto in Canada, originally from Dorset in the UK. I work in insurance and I’m really into F1 and football/soccer.
What’s your racing wheel?
Logitech DFGT with a piece of foam wedged in the brake pedal for a little more resistance. PS3 thumbstick for a clutch – I set this up to be able to slip some clutch at the start if needed (such as for Estonia 25).
Which are your favourite simracing games?
Assetto Corsa. My computer isn’t good enough to run ACC – otherwise I might give that a shot as well. Before Assetto Corsa I took a 9 year break from video games – I started playing again because of the pandemic. I used to play the Gran Turismo series up until 2011 (GT5).
I tend to like FWD cars and mid-engined RWD cars. As long as it is predictable and doesn’t want to spin, I will probably enjoy it. I had great fun in the JCW Mini, BTCC Primera, Abarth 500, Lotus Evora, and Renault R.S.01 (even with the default setup). I dislike oversteery cars, particularly if they snap or just go around without much chance of saving – makes me nervous. I don’t get along as much with the Porsche GT3 Cup or Praga R1.
Calabogie & VIR. They are a challenge, have a good variety of corners and some elevation changes, and a little less mainstream. I’m not a big fan of the asphalt run-off and track limits issues that a lot of the mainstream tracks have, at least for simracing.
“I really enjoy practicing. It’s a challenge to try to find the next couple of tenths.”
Since when are you playing simracing games?
I’ve played various racing games along the arcade-sim spectrum since 1988 but with a gap from 2011-2020, where I wasn’t playing anything.
Which was your first racing game ever?
Nigel Mansell’s Grand Prix (1988) for ZX Spectrum. I was a big Nigel Mansell fan growing up, and I loved that game for the Spectrum. It took about 5 minutes to load from audio cassette tape while treating you to some horrible noises! It was ahead of its time – you could change the turbo boost, the tyres degraded, you had to monitor your fuel usage so that you didn’t run out of fuel, you had to drive to manage the engine oil/water temps and pressures or the engine would not function properly. If you spun and didn’t save it, you would be out of the race.
How do you prepare for a race and/or a championship?
If I am approaching the race more more casually, I will do as many practice laps as it takes to convince myself that I [probably] won’t kill anyone and earn myself a forced vacation. If I am taking it more seriously I will do much more practice. I usually start with hotlapping and setup work, then I might move on to telemetry analysis and further hotlapping. I will do at least one full race stint against the AI so I can get a sense of where to brake for T1 on lap 1 and how the tyres hold up over the whole race. It helps that I really enjoy practicing. It’s a challenge to try to find the next couple of tenths, or test how consistently you can lap over a race stint and minimize your total race time.
“I try to deliver my pace without any big mistakes, try not to get hit, and try not to hit anyone.”
Are you good in setupping cars? 🙂
I’m usually able to make a decent setup, but it is rarely the fastest. I tend to get the car handling how I like and improve lap time against the default setup. Sometimes I will be a little off the pace from having too much wing – I lean toward having a stable car. I still have a lot to learn – there are a lot of setup components that I don’t understand well, or how the interaction between components works.
Although relatively new to SRS, you are already in the top of the list. Skill, practice, or?
Practice, preparation and building experience. I practice more now and my results have improved and I have fewer incidents.
Do you race in real life too?
No, just some casual go karting here and there.
What is your best result in SRS?
Probably wins at Calabogie in the R.S.01 in the last series or Seat Cupra TCR at Brands Hatch [Getting the first place in last week’s race in Lausitzring David won the Cupra series a week in advance; Editor’s note]. In both I had very good competition. I managed to maintain good race pace without making any major mistakes.
What you do like and what you don’t like in SRS races?
I like the community, the respectful drivers, the wide range of cars and tracks, the personalized skins and the fact that it’s all free! I don’t like the drivers who don’t respect other drivers, or enter races without any practice. It’s frustrating to spend time practicing for a race only to get punted off [usually lap 1 T1 or when lapping] by someone who entered but has never driven the car or track.
Is there a particular moment in SRS races – funny, dramatic, adrenaline-filled – that you like to remind?
I had a great battle for the win with Kevin Gousset in the Abarth 500 at Silverstone National. The lead changed hands throughout the race and it was pretty clean. I was leading on the last lap going into Brooklands and got a bit sideways – he went around the outside of Luffield and he took the win by 0.012 seconds!
Which are your strongest and your weakest points in racing?
Strengths – qualifying and starts. I am usually within a couple tenths of my personal best in qualifying, or set a new PB. It helps to avoid the T1 mayhem if you can qualify front row and get a good launch. Weaknesses – race pace and mistakes, but I am improving on these. I used to make more mistakes because I was racing close to my limit. Then I tried to make fewer mistakes so I was leaving too much margin and my race pace suffered. Trying to find a better balance on this.
How would you define your racing style?
I try to deliver my pace without any big mistakes, try not to get hit, and try not to hit anyone [key word try]. I’ll go for a pass if it’s on and not too optimistic, and I’ll defend if I think I can keep the other driver behind for the rest of the race. Otherwise I won’t risk the accident or waste time fighting.
Thanks to David for kindly answering our questions!