When it comes to online racing, GTDon is well known and respected in the Forza Motorsport community. Not only is he a fast driver in his own right, but he’s also helped countless others as part of organising the biggest and best unofficial Forza tournaments and leagues as founder of the IFCA:
Hello and welcome to www.OnlineRaceDriver.com! My Xbox360 gamer tag is, “AAR GTDon” (formerly VVV GTDon). I’m an American, and my real name is Don Gaetke from the frigid state where global warming will never have any affect on in my life time, Minnesota. I’m one of the humble contributors here who will be sharing with you the many ins and outs of the ever growing in popularity simulation racing scene. My expertise rests mainly on the console side of the Forza and Gran Turismo franchise, but I have a long history of fan participation in real racing as well.
My job here is to construct a kind of two way mirror for the casual to expert simulation fan to look through, and see not only his reflection but also into the other side to see a familiar face, the face of real motorsports enthusiasts. The two related sports are fast approaching each other, and we intend to help both sides merge into the companions they are destined to be.
For some historical context, I founded one of the original and most popular racing leagues (“International Forza Club Association”) 3 years ago as an offshoot of a popular racing series I also created called the “FWC” (Forza World Championship) during the old Forza1 days. In total I have been enjoying the game for over 4 years, as a series organizer, developer, competitor, moderator, club leader, and writer. I have written articles for the now defunct CGS (Championship Gaming Series), a weekly newsletter for the IFCA, and most recently a contributing editor for the Official Forza3 Strategy Guide produced by, “Prima Games.”
With over 1300 members to its credit, all of the very fastest and best Forza drivers in the world have competed in IFCA events to date. The IFCA tracks ranking statistics, gives away prizes, credits, T10 prize cars, paints, makes audio and visual promotional commercials, training videos, issues official number plates, and puts out a weekly newsletter. www.IFCAracing.com is required on all the cars that race in the sanctioned series. Anyone of any skill level is free to signup and join an IFCA series event. The only requirement is to obey the rules, respect the series, and race clean.
For some, endlessly hot lapping a track is the equivalent addictive pursuit of, “automotive meth,” they just can’t get enough. For others the intense monotony of lap after lap into the wee hours of the morning quickly turns to abject boredom. In their minds it is not at all what a racing simulator should be about. For the racing purest Forza and especially Gran Turismo will always be a racing simulator above all else.
Your typical console sim-racing trek usually goes something like this: Once you’ve had your bumps and bruises in the anything goes random Forza career rooms, after you’ve found a club to join, and once you’ve perfected your hot lap skills, and then contributed your share of good hot lap times, your graduating final destination will lead you inevitably to the pinnacle of the sport of organized series racing.
Organized series racing with the Forza series was as the story goes, first introduced towards the end of FM1 by such major Forza racing fans as, “VVV GTDon” (now AAR GTDon). Several series were created at the time as a way to preserve the game and extend its life until the arrival of FM2. The most popular of those early events was the “FWC” series or, “Forza World Championship” series. It was a series designed to attract the best drivers in the world by incorporating every type of car at a variety of tracks, and applying actual racing rules derived from real racing series such as the, “American LeMans Series.” Prizes or cash were given to the eventual champions each season. Many of the very best Forza drivers in the world competed in these early events.
At the time a resentful schism broke out between the dominant majority (hot lappers) and the upstart minority racers. The forums were on fire with angry debate about which form of competition was superior, and who was actually the fastest of the two camps.
It was generally thought that hot lappers were faster, but that they didn’t have the racing skill to run in traffic, and couldn’t take the pressure of driving with collisions on like a racer was used to doing. The vociferous roar became so great that eventually a semi-secret unofficial match was held between the best representatives of each side. The champion for the hot lappers was an English lad by the gamer tag of, “picasso” a real legend who was widely regarded as the #1 hot lap driver in the Forza world by far. The champion for the racers was Australian ace, “llxcamxll” who would later become one of the first professional sim-drivers with the, “CGS” (Championship Gaming Series).
The odds-on favorite was “picasso” by most accounts. The cars to be used were stock with no tuning allowed. Much to the surprise of most, “llxcamxll” won 8-0! From then on the debate began to die down, and both sides lowered there voices and began to recognize the game was big enough for the two of them.
By the time FM2 arrived “GTDon”, “Rusty02”,and “eries” went on to form the now famous, “IFCA” (“International Forza Cub Association”) which was an association of many clubs. The IFCA is organized Forza series racing at its best, holding events such as, “Spec Racing”, “JGTC”, “Endurance”, “Formula 1”, and a year long NASCAR simulated “Stock Car” series.
So how does one prepare to compete at the highest level? A well known series champion is famous for saying when asked this question, “Practice perfect, race perfect.” –“Gonein60” (now “V2 60”)
What he means by this is, don’t waste time with inferior habits, perfect practice leads to a perfect race win.
The best way to approach organized series racing be it in the IFCA, or some other organization is to be humble, patient, and know that it takes a lot to win an organized series race, and a lot more to win a sanctioned championship, be it simulated or real.
Don’t sign-up for too many events at once is good advice because it is easy to get overwhelmed and then depressed once you see how tough the competition level is. For best results concentrate on a single event, and get some group practice with others in the event well before the first race of the season. Usually you will race once a week, and though this seems like a lot of time between races to practice, it is not. Ideally you need to practice at least an hour every day in-between race dates depending on your own skill level, to give yourself a fighting chance to perform your best.
Always try to get with the faster drivers when practicing, because you can pick up a lot of tips and pointers just being in the room with them. If you belong to a club get them to participate or help you tune your car if tuning is allowed. The more people who help tune your car, the better.
The real attraction of the sport is having a good, clean, close, race, with drivers of your own skill level. Socializing is a huge part of organized series racing, it’s fun to race against familiar or even famous gamer tags week in and week out.
Through organized series racing you get to vicariously experience many of the same ups and downs of real racing. You can have a hardware failure or software glitch in the middle of a race; you can lag, or lag out of the race completely through no fault of your own. All of these unfortunate things are simulation racings equivalent of equipment failure in a real race. Accidents can and do happen even in the cleanest racing room, but there are Race Officials there to help review what happened and issue penalties if needed.
As the 2010 season approaches not only for the IFCA and its many events, but also for a wide range of leagues at this time of year, I’ll be bringing you the true scoop on where to go and what’s happening. So get prepared, this is going to be a fun ride.