Cheating: Three questions for sim racing developers

In the wake of this week’s furore, kicked up by a series of reports by Sam Tomlinson to expose another incident of cheating on iRacing, it is clear the subject is ‘the elephant in the room’ which no one appears to want to address or admit even exists.

As the dust settles, the reality is that Callum Cross2 actually did drive on iRacing and was banned when iRacing ace Bruno de Carmo reported suspicious behaviour on Twitter:

The reality is Callum Cross2 does exist; the insults our site received on forums, social media and YouTube – as well as abusive emails claiming this to be a fraud perpetrated by simrace247 is beyond offensive.

In short: shoot the messenger… a lot!

However, this simply inspires messengers (in a Rocky Balboa never-give-up-kinda-way) to roll with the feeble fanboy punches and then bounce back with facts, as we have done throughout the coverage of this saga about a video game.

However, it is has gone beyond that glib title. Sim racing is now also big business these days with cheating inevitably high on many agendas from early on. Daniel Abt’s stupidity springs to mind.

Consider this: what if slightly smarter and more devious guys get this ‘CheatAPP’? All it takes is 2% or so more grip; a percent or two of extra power and fuel consumption tweaked for an extra lap or two – use it wisely and bingo.

The rest is left to your imagination…

This is a draft of an open letter we will be sending to the main professional sim racing game developers including iRacing, Sector-3 Studios (RaceRoom), Studio-397 (rFactor 2), Codemasters (and all their racing titles including F1 2020, Project Cars etc), Kunos (Assetto Corsa and ACC), Reiza (Automobilista series)

On behalf of serious sim racers out there, who simply want the truth, there are three key questions that we would like to ask the above-mentioned sim platform owners:

  1. What are you doing to police and ban cheaters?
  2. How many drivers are banned every month because of cheating on your respective sims?
  3. Are you prepared to partner with other developers to create a Name & Shame list of drivers and/or IP addresses found cheating? (Credit bureau style)

On a personal simmers note, I signed up for another three months of iRacing today, of which I have been a member (on and off) since 2013 but simply never had the time to commit.

And also limited to skills of a ‘gentleman driver’, it is no fun with the incredibly fast and talented guys in iRacing theses days – including young blokes in our team – kicking my arse.

Nevertheless, I do want to know if people are cheating in a platform where I have dropped quite a load of cash over the years; I know our Team SIMRACE247 drivers want to know if their endurance efforts are actually worth their time and energy, yet not many people are asking these questions in public.

Will the truth be so hard to accept? Are we wasting money on fancy rigs and software, devoting tons of time to training to get beaten by cheaters like Callum Cross2? How many are there flying under the radar?

Call me curious, but I would like answers as a simmer let alone editor of a sim site.

Not only on iRacing but also Assetto Corsa where I do occasional league races, on rFactor 2 where I have also dabbled in league racing. I also have RaceRoom and Assetto Corsa Competizione.

All have big bucks competitions as well as partnerships with real-life organisations plus more and more direct manufacturer involvement. (eg. Le Mans, FIA, BMW, Porsche, Ferrari, Hublot, CUPRA; corporate sim projects with blue-chip companies and sponsors are being launched almost on a weekly basis these days.)

Again I cannot be alone in wanting to know that there is integrity in these sim games and that they are trustworthy enough to plough big money into it, also for the sim drivers who slog it out training, day in and day out, only to be beaten by a kid whose hobby is to break games with some sweet code.

In reflection, the barrage of abuse triggered by this has not come as a surprise, but the lack of transparency and deafening silence by developers is certainly unexpected; which suggests – to this messenger – something sinister is going on, best kept swept under the sim-racing carpet.

Unfortunately, as the messengers for an esport we love and cherish, we are here to remove that carpet of corruption and clean up the dirt for everyone’s peace of mind.

We don’t need carpets anymore, times have changed. Simming was essentially nerdsville up until January when Coronavirus and lockdown turned it into a boomtown. Moving forward, transparency and working together is required to eliminate the scourge.

Therefore, containing the Callum-Cross2-Virus and whatever other viruses are out there, compromising virtual racing games, has become a cause we unexpectedly inherited thanks to information supplied to us by sim racers seeking answers and the community in general who have been forthcoming with information.

Think of it like this:

If this had not all come to light and made public, young fun-seeking Callum could well be kicking your butt on iRacing right now. After all he has been messing around with us for the past year undetected. Now no more, or at least until he finds another name to play with.

Instead of abuse, I believe Sam Tomlinson and his sources, who have stepped up to provide us information, deserve a standing ovation from the sim racing community.

In closing, be warned this is just the beginning of our journey of being sim racing’s messengers, for ourselves and others that are serious about this esport.

For the record in 2009 (as we started what has morphed into our sister site and the ethos of what we stand for regarding Formula 1 and, now, Sim Racing is simple: The Truth. (Paul Velasco – Editor in Chief)