February 05, 2016
Published on tags: Community Spotlight Ben Willis


In the latest installment of the Community Spotlight series, we talk to Ben Willis about subjects including what it's like managing a sim racing team and what his plans are for 2016.
Hinssy: Thank you for taking the time for this interview Ben, we'll start with what made you want to become a sim racing team manager?

Willis: Technically I never started Draig Racing, just a certain string of circumstances somehow ended up with me at the helm of the preverbal ship. Regardless, I probably would have started my own team anyway because it's a whole new world compared to driving. It gives the whole sim racing idea a new dimension and it keeps things interesting.

H: Well I would have to agree with you on that, managing a team is certainly not a walk in the park, however it is very fulfilling in a sense as well. From your experience so far with team ownership, would you recommend it to others?

W: It's a lot of work for sure, but nothing beats the feeling of seeing one of your cars take a race win. That's a feeling you'll always remember. So yeah, it's definitely a lot of work but the reward at the end of it is totally worth it.

H: Once again I can definitely relate to that, seeing your team grow over time is really a fantastic thing to see. Looking to the future now, with the new sim of rFactor 2 in use within the GPVWC, what plans does your team have for the 2016 season?

W: Win. That's what we would love to happen! In all seriousness though, we have a great shot in FC. Both Cameron and Matthew are very quick on rFactor 2 and as a team we feel the most prepared we ever have heading into a new season. As for the Independent Series, we haven't confirmed anything yet but we are evaluating our options so expect an announcement on that soon.

H: Well I'm certainly going to be keeping an eye on the team as the FC season develops, hopefully we can look forward to seeing Draig on the grid of an Independent Series or two as well. One of the other major changes which has taken place for this new season is a revised Disiplinary Committee. What are your thoughts on these changes that were first put to use in the recently completed Masters Series?

W: Extremely good! It's just what the league needed and it's good to see the DC listening to people's concerns at the end of last year. Looking at the races, after the initial shock of loads of penalties the standard of driving really picked up which is extremely pleasing to see from both a driver and team manager point of view.

H: It's definitely a very good thing to see the feedback being positive on these changes, as if it leads to better racing within the league than it surely can only be a good thing. Another change for this season was revisions and alterations to the way teams are managed in the main game of the GPVWC. From your view do you think these changes have improved the league?

To be honest, as I manage in FC, I haven't seen much change but I have heard that it is good. I guess when Draig eventually climbs back up the league I'll get to experience more of it!

H: Well hopefully we'll be seeing the Draig colours on the Superleague grid very soon. The new sim of rFactor 2 definitely is a very noticeable step up in terms of realism over it's predecessor, with this change to get used to do you think there will be changes to who is fighting up at the front?

W: For sure, expect the formbooks to be completely flipped. rFactor 2 requires such a different driving style and it will catch out so many people. Also, with such a refined contact model as well, I'd wager maybe only 15 or so cars finishing the first race as people get used to the new physics. So coupled with the talent in SL for example, it could be one of the closest and most exciting years in that championship!

H: I certainly can agree that Superleague for 2016 is looking like a very exciting season indeed, with such a talented and diverse field of drivers taking part in it. For you personally from a drivers standpoint, do you think your pace will improve with the new sim?

W: Hopefully! I certainly feel faster and more comfortable on rF2. I just like the way it feels more, which in turn gives me more confidence to push. I know I'm extremely close to Terence, my FC teammate, and he has always been fast in single seaters, so here's hoping!

H: Well feeling more comfortable with the car is generally a good sign that your pace will improve, so hopefully that will be the case for you in 2016. Now to the usual questions we ask to finish off each interview, when did you first start sim racing?

W: I think it was mid 2013 when I first discovered GPVWC and I've been hooked from then. Although it's taken a good few years to get to a respectable speed! It's been interesting seeing everything change over the last few years with so many shifts in drivers, teams and staff.

H: It's very much been a changing landscape within the GPVWC, as the league continues to grow. What is your sim racing setup?

W: I'm using a logistic DFGT on a custom built pc (i5 CPU, GTX970 GFX Card) across two 21.5???¢?¢â?š?¬????? HD screens. It's certainly not the best but it does the job!

H: At the end of the day as long as it does that then that's all that matters! Final question now to rap things up, what other hobbies do you have outside of sim racing?

W: Not loads to be honest given I have a lot of University work at the moment, however I've started teaching myself the electric guitar so that keeps me occupied. Other than that just general gaming really. Managing teams take a lot of time!

H: Well learning to play the guitar is certainly something that would be a handy skill to have I think. Thank you once again for this interview Ben and I hope that 2016 is a good year for you and your team out on track.

That brings us to the end of yet another Community Spotlight article, where we delve into the community, getting the views and stories of those who make up the GPVWC.

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