Sector3 Studios, the development team behind the RaceRoom Racing Experience title, have recently concluded a mammoth virtual racing competition in conjunction with Mercedes Benz and the German DTM Championship, giving virtual racers the opportunity to test their skills against eight established DTM drivers at the season finale of the 2016 Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters season at Hockenheim. In the biggest competition of its kind to be run by Sector3 to date, the Mercedes-AMG online race event put virtual RaceRoom drivers into a competitive environment with a chance to race the sim against real life DTM drivers, culminating in a race at the DTM season final in Hockenheim. With more the just pride on stake, the top four virtual drivers won a day at the AMG Driving Academy, sampling a variety of machines from the German marque. As an added bonus to those who took part in the competition, RaceRoom were able to show off their new, as yet unreleased, 2016 Mercedes-AMG C 63 DTM, due to be added to the game as part of the 2016 edition of the DTM car pack officially licenced to RaceRoom Racing Experience. The DTM 2016 pack will contain an all new approach to how these powerful Touring Cars are represented in the sim, with support from the official Mercedes factory, and handling fine tuning by DTM drivers Bruno Spengler and Daniel Juncadella, the 2016 cars promise to be a further step up from content previously released by Sector3. We spoke to Sector3 Studios J-F Chardon about his experiences from the AMG Mercedes competition, which can be read below: RD: So the final of the RaceRoom Racing Experience Mercedes-AMG Online Race Competition has finished, has the event met with Sector3's initial expectations? J-F: I would say it went above and beyond for sure. The on-site event was just the result of a very long preparation and close collaboration with Mercedes-Benz. We had the car done before it even raced in real life just so we could start the championship in parallel with the real DTM calendar to find our eight qualifiers, and the Mercedes guys were very involved in the design and features supporting the championship itself. Then once the final results were known, the top eight drivers were flown to Hockenheim and it only got real to me when Georg and I arrived in the paddock for the preparations. The Mercedes paddock hospitality is just mental: they had light shows and a hi-fi system that made our in-game sounds resonate in all their glory, Then we had some practice with the DTM drivers, then our eight qualifiers arrived and started practicing as well. They all discovered the 2016 physics for this event. Then suddenly the doors opened and before you could even realize what's happening, the room was packed with Mercedes fans that had been invited to the event. They all flooded the room and that's where the panic took over for me. What if something goes wrong, what if a pedal set breaks, this is it, we're done! haha. Then David Richardson started commentating and you've seen it yourself, the rest is now simracing History A quarter million viewers live on Facebook. I honestly wonder if it's not just the audience record for any simracing event. It surely beats Mercedes' expectations as well. They were very satisfied with the whole event, so all in all a big tap on the back to all Sector3 and RaceRoom staff who made this happen. RD: How impressed have you been with the level of competition from the sim races who took part in the event? J-F: It's just extraordinary to see them sit in an unfamiliar rig, for some of them even with unfamiliar controllers and be quick in an instant. This is actually valid for the DTM drivers as well. I was all proud of my laptime in the practice leaderboard, then they arrived and I got trounced in two laps by Juncadella and Maximilian Goetz, who drives in bloody chase cam! So that tells you about the level of those guys in general, but also to qualify, there was this time attack championship, and the rounds all stayed opened until the very end, in order to allow anyone to just join late and clock laptimes in all of them. This actually created situations where they would constantly go back to previous rounds and fight for the top spots like you wouldn't believe. It was a constant fight for the top 8 spots. You would need to interview them about what it was like. Special mention for Cristiano de Sa, who travelled out of Brazil for the first time for this event and is one of the coolest simracers I met. RD: Mercedes Benz are a prestige brand, the faith the marque has shown in your software must be a moment of pride for the studio. Do you think the DTM drivers have found parallels between the sim and their real life machines? J-F: First about the faith, well yes it shows the kind of relationship we are after with manufacturers. We are not interested in just paying licensing money to get some cars out before anyone else. What we want is to have such partnerships and make simracing a proper e-sport. You will see many events like this one with RaceRoom in the future. Then about the DTM drivers, well you'd need to ask them. But during practice they only had like 10 minutes of driving before they had to run somewhere, and the fact that they manage to clock fast laptimes in just 10 minutes tells me we're doing something right with our physics. They feel at home very quick, so that's a good sign. Also we worked on 2016 physics again with Bruno Spengler, and then got some more input from the Mercedes drivers to improve the traction of the car a bit, so we'll do that before release RD: With a successful competition behind you, and over 250k hits on the live stream video, does the studio plan to offer similar competitions in the future? J-F: Well we've kinda covered that one already - definitely! RD: RaceRoom is rarely spoken of in the same breath as titles such as rFactor2 and Assetto Corsa with regards to realism of the driving physics. With such close working relationships and presumably access to data, such as the DTM and WTCC licenses, why do you think this is? J-F: I guess it's all down to marketing power and approaches. We're being honest about what we do. We know all our cars are not up to the same quality in terms of physics, old cars are still on the wrong approach. But anything we release these days is bloody damn spot on, or as close as it gets at least. We always work with drivers, it's just something I guess we're not hammering enough. DTM physics with Spengler and Juncadella. Audi TT cup with various drivers, Audi TT RS with Jürgen Wohlfarth and Robb Holland, KTM X-Bow RR with Christian Ebner and Reini Kofler, the actual test driver over at KTM, Then Formula RaceRoom 3 with Daniel Juncadella, and more to come! It's probably down to us not praising ourselves enough, or lack of marketing budget, I don't know. I think there's also prejudice in many peoples mind. You only have one first impression, right? And for many people the first impression with RaceRoom was a teaser game where you could only lap a fantasy track with an Aquila, with physics and FFB that weren't excellent back then. Since then we've been trying to steer it back to where we want RaceRoom to be: an e-sport platform. And for that you need serious physics and FFB as well as gameplay features. We've already set the bar very high with physics and FFB, now we're working on the features at the moment.......... The eight DTM drivers who contested the event are some of the biggest names in the sport, with 34 wins and two drivers championships between them. Gary Paffett, Paul Di Resta, Robert Wickens, Christian Vietoris, Daniel Juncadella, Lucas Auer, Maximilian Götz and Felix Rosenqvist put up a stern challenge to the eight lucky virtual drivers whom took part in the event. In the final finishing positions, Tim Heinemann won the event, followed by Julian Kunze and André Santos. Alex Dornieden finished in fourth position, thus completing the group of drivers who received an invitation to an AMG Driving Academy Event. Rounding up the Top eight out of over 10,000 entries were Cristiano Dias de Sá from Brazil, Cristian Moisescu of Romania, Giorgos Tzanetos from Greece and Moritz Löhner from Germany. For those of you who missed it first time around, the highlights video and full live stream recording can be viewed below - Highlights (3min 22) Full Event (46min 59) Check out the RaceRoom Racing Experience sub forum for all the latest news and discussions regarding the simulation. We hold regular Racing Club events in a variety of machinery, host a selection of custom car setups for you to try and have a dedicated section within the sub forum for game mods. Head over to the RaceRoom Racing Experience sub forum today and join in the action! Did you watch the DTM R3E finale? Do you think real life racing and sim racing crossover events will have a prominent place in sim racings future? Let us know in the comments section below!