We have a chat with one of the key figures behind the incredible RDLMS by Vesaro, Mr. RD rFactor 2 himself: Daiman Patel! Big time endurance racing made it's return to RaceDepartment in March with the seventh running of the legendary RaceDepartment Le Mans Series by Vesaro. Featuring grids of 40 cars doing battle over 60 hours of racing, RDLMS by Vesaro will see only one Prototype and one GTLM team crowned champion at the end of a hard fought racing season. To mark the successful opening round of the new year we decided to have a chat with Mr. RDLMS himself, Daiman Patel. We've been asking Daiman what we can expect from the remainder of the year, who's on form heading to Silverstone, taking a little peek behind the scenes of RDLMS and finding out more about how you can get involved. Read on for the full interview below: RD: Firstly Daiman would you like to introduce yourself to our readers, and explain a little about your history with RaceDepartment and the RDLMS by Vesaro? DP: Well, first of all, hello Paul and readers - it's a pleasure to speak to you! Some of you may know or remember me from the rFactor 2 club. I have now been a staff member at RaceDepartment for 3 and a half years, and it all started when a couple of friends - Dennis Coufal and Ricardo Edelmann - and I had an idea to host a VLN-style event using rFactor 2. Rupe Wilson came along and offered us our break, by allowing us to host the weekend-long event on RD's servers. And it has all progressed from there really. Over the years I have organised a number of club races, and have helped with the administration of several leagues including the VSC2 and VWSR. However the RDLMS is the big one, and I am especially excited and honoured to be involved in the planning and running of this league. After watching Season 2 streams of RDLMS races, I was inspired and joined a team to participate in Season 3. One thing lead to another, and I realised that I didn't only want to race - my ultimate dream was to be a part of the team that has arranged fantastic leagues such as the RDLMS, RDTCC and RDGTC at RaceDepartment. RD: For those of our readers perhaps not familiar with the RaceDepartment Le Mans Series concept, can you explain a little about what the season consists of, and what the series aims to achieve? DP: The RDLMS is now officially in its seventh season. It is one of, if not the biggest league hosted by RaceDepartment. The RD Le Mans Series started back in 2009, using the original rFactor as the simulation of choice, and as the name suggests it is an endurance championship that comprises races varying between 6 and 24 hours in length. The idea is to give members of the ever expanding online racing community the opportunity to participate and engage in events that attempt to replicate the exhilaration and thrills of real-life endurance series, such as the WEC, ELMS and United SportsCar Championship, in the virtual world. Also a league such as the RDLMS allows people to generally experience endurance racing without incurring the otherwise high costs of real world motorsport. Several rounds at some of the most iconic circuits around the world - Interlagos, Silverstone, Fuji, Sebring, Road America, and Le Mans itself of course, as well as the likes of Spa, Monza and Bahrain in previous iterations of the series - constitute each season of this popular league. Over the years it has gone from strength to strength, as mods and games have advanced, and this has allowed the league to improve, to become bigger and better in time. RD: What makes RDLMS S7 stand out from previous iterations of the championship? DP: Following on from the previous question, Season 7 is going to be the best RDLMS yet! It will be the first to use both rFactor 2 and the EnduRacers Endurance Series mod in combination, and the first since the days of rF1 and Season 4 when such a large variety of cars were seen on the grid. The tools and features that are now available to us will allow us to make this the most immersive edition of the RDLMS to date. For example, as simple as it may sound, races shall now be held in race sessions for the first time since Season 3 now that "rejoins" are possible if a driver experiences any technical difficulties. In addition there are a number of enhancements expected to be introduced to both the game and mods, such as DX11 and VR, during the course of the season that will set this season apart from all others to date. Finally, the involvement of sponsors, namely Vesaro (the main series sponsor) and Thrustmaster (the sponsor of each round in the series) is probably the biggest difference between RDLMS Season 7 and previous iterations. Both have provided prizes - a number of sim-racing goodies, as well as a £5000 rig - to be won by participants and spectators. RD: We are using rFactor 2 for the latest RDLMS season, why have you chosen this simulation out of the many available in the Sim Racing marketplace? DP: rFactor 2 is currently one of the most advanced simulations on the market - the physics engine, in combination with day-night cycles, dynamic track surfaces, the modelling of weather conditions, and a number of other features make it perfect for online endurance racing. In addition, confirmed and proposed changes to rFactor 2, especially since future development moved from ISI to Studio 397, make it incredibly promising as there is an attempt to ensure it remains a key competitor and relevant compared to the number of other available sim-racing games. There is an increasing number of highly detailed, accurate and captivating simulators on the market, including Assetto Corsa and Automobilista, and each have their own advantages and pitfalls - including rFactor 2 - but the chosen game offers everything that we require for the RDLMS. Another reason why we have chosen to use rF2 is because of the history between the franchise by ISI and the league. Season 1 started in 2009 using the original rFactor - a defining racing simulator, especially for its time - and once rFactor 2 had established itself as a worthy predecessor the switch was made in time for Season 5 (a.k.a. VWEC) towards the end of 2013. For as long as rFactor 2 continues to be the only simulator that offers the features and quality required for a league such as the RDLMS we shall use it as the sim-racing game of choice for the foreseeable future. Yet another benefit of using rFactor 2 is its "modability" - a vast range of cars and tracks can be and have been developed by modding teams, and used as content for the league - and also its extensibility through plugin points both server-side and client-side. There are a large number of tools and add-ons that make the use of rFactor 2 even more advantageous for the RDLMS. On the server it allows us to provide live timing, and also feed local, real-time weather in to the game. Meanwhile, clients can use any plugins of their choice - TrackMap, Delta Best, DAMPlugin (for use with MoTeC software), Crew Chief, Curs-o-Radar, and a large number of other tools that have been developed - to access the data they require. And even the incredibly versatile broadcast overlay is a plugin - without this we could not bring you the incredible live streams and highly entertaining commentary! RD: For those of our readers wanting to watch the action unfold live, where are RaceDepartment broadcasting this season and what sort of show can fans expect? DP: A live broadcast of each race, including commentary of all the action, shall be available at RaceDepartment. Coverage of every event shall be provided in full via Twitch - just go to the 'Live Stream' page at RD, where you'll be able to watch and listen to the race, and also join in with the conversations and discussions with other members and our commentary team via the chat box. Alternatively you could go directly to our Twitch channel, where there will also be a live chat whilst the race is underway. We do not only have great broadcasters and camera operators on board, but also a fantastic crew of commentators who will provided minute-by-minute reports and analysis of the on-track action. Furthermore, throughout the shows there will be a number of challenges, quizzes, and other exciting segments to keep things lively. Participator or spectator, we hope that you will tune in to watch the events and be a part of what should be a immense series; the first round was anything to go by then you're in for a real treat RD: Its refreshing to see a major league running the EnduRacers mod, one of the few mainstream leagues to run these cars. Why have you chosen EnduRacers? DP: RaceDepartment has a long standing relationship with the EnduRacers team, since the first season back in 2009. Use of the Endurance Series mod continued throughout the RD Le Mans Series' rFactor 1 era, and it was only in 2013 that alternatives had to be sought whilst we eagerly waited for EnduRacers to announce that their popular mod would be upgraded and released for rFactor 2. In this time 2 further iterations of the Le Mans Series were held, under the "Virtual World Endurance Championship" and "Virtual Sports Car Championship" names, before news finally came in May 2015 that work on the Endurance Series mod had commenced. We carried on waiting, though not intentionally at times, and laying the groundwork for the planned revival of the series, until our wish was granted almost 18 months later. When the EnduRacers Endurance Series mod was released for rFactor 2 we collectively concluded that we wanted to return to using these cars, and also return to using the "RDLMS" name - just like good old times, except we now have a significantly more advanced sim-racing game (and related tools) at our disposal. Up to now car choice in rFactor 2 has been fairly limited, especially for multi-class events - it will be great to see so much variety once again, from both the participants' and viewers' points of views. The grid at Interlagos looked absolutely fabulous! RD: A championship of this size must take some time to put together, how many people are involved in setting up and running RDLMS 7? DP: Indeed, there is a quite a large number of people working to help run and maintain the return of the RDLMS, including both RaceDepartment staff and also site members - all in all there are approximately 20 - 25 persons who are directly involved in the league's organisation. Whilst staff take care of administration, answering questions, and technical tasks, a team of guys who volunteered to provide assistance have been modifying and testing the tracks to be used as part of the series to ensure that they are suitable for league use. In addition the broadcast and commentary teams also comprise a mix of both staff and regular members. A substantial amount of time has already been committed and invested by all those involved up to this point, in making arrangements and preparations to ensure that this league is a success, so I would like to take this opportunity to thank them for all of their time and effort so far. The workload will almost certainly grow now the opening round is behind us, as we head towards Round 2 and work to maintain the high standards expected of us, so it's great to have such a strong team of guys involved. RD: Obviously the spirit of competition is usually strong in RD championships of the past, however one must always strive to maintain an even playing field for all during these events. How are we going to ensure driving standards are at a suitably high level during the races, and infractions are appropriately penalised? DP: Indeed, behaving in a fair, gentlemanly and sincere manner is of utmost importance, as is the case with any racing at RaceDepartment. To ensure that rules are adhered to, Race Control and stewards will be watching the race, looking out for infringements, and reacting to reports of foul and unsportsmanlike actions such as causing collisions and incidents, exceeding track boundaries, and cutting corners. Live penalties will be issued during the course of events, if warranted. There were a number of sanctions handed out in Round 1 based on reports of violations made by drivers, and also owing to the marshals who supervised the race and reviewed replays - on the whole these penalties were served respectfully, without quarrel and any problems. Meanwhile, in an attempt to prevent cars from exceeding circuit boundaries, especially at corner entries, apexes and exits, we have employed and shall utilise speed bumps and "cut corridors". This in turn will help to simplify the process of officiating races, and it shall reduce the burden on live stewards. Speed bumps have already been used as deterrents to cutting, and to prevent cars from going beyond the track limits in an attempt to retain speed, or unfairly gain time or track position. Due to the fact they they pose a danger, however, the speed bumps shall be phased out and replaced by "cut corridors" from Round 2 onward. These corridors will enable us to enforce RaceDepartment's standard cutting rules, as well as any additional rules specific to the RDLMS, using the in-game cut detection system, which will automatically warn and penalise drivers if they are found to be abusing the track limits. RD: The EnduRacers Endurance Series mod consists of both Prototype and GT cars, which will be the class to watch during the upcoming season do you think? DP: Both classes comprise top teams and drivers, so this is a very tough question! We shall have to see how it unfolds... However, I must say that I am excited to see the Prototypes and GTs back in the RDLMS - the models are highly detailed and look incredible, whilst the teams have clearly put in a lot of effort to create some stunning liveries. When I saw the cars line up on the grid at Interlagos, I actually had a tear or two in my eye as it was amazing to see what all of the hard work up to that point had culminated in! I shall be keeping a very close eye on both classes this season, and it would be unfair of me to say that only one will be worth watching; based on what we saw in Round 1, each class will be hotly contested and absolutely anything can happen. We failed to see the full potential of some teams due to issues during the first event, so they will be back with a vengeance! I would be lying if I didn't say that I am slightly biased towards the Prototype class though, simply because I love the sound and technology... but I'll leave it at that, HAHAHA! RD: The opening round showcased a superb race event with some incredible action seen out on the circuit. Based on the form book from Interlagos, and what you have seen already during testing, do you think the same name's will be up front again at Silverstone, and who looks like early favourites for big points in your opinion? DP: There are several big players - and by players I mean teams, not necessarily individual drivers, since endurance racing is ultimately a team game - that are in contention for the big points at Silverstone. Some of these teams unfortunately did not get the opportunity to show their true colours at Interlagos due to unforeseen circumstances, but they will definitely be back in the mix for Round 2. If the lap times from recent testing and training are anything to go by then we will definitely see stiff competition at the front of the pack in each class. However the competitiveness in the mid-pack will be equally as tough, if not more so. There will be exciting battles galore across the entire field, for both the Prototypes and GTs, and teams are aware that it won't be easy even in a race that is half the length of Round 1; anything could happen over the course of 6 hours - this is the beauty and magic of endurance racing! In the Prototype class there are a number of strong teams who will be doing their utmost for a chance to be on the top spot; Drillers Motorsport will be back to try again regain some points following an engine failure at Interlagos, and I fully expect FEEDER Ragnar Simulator and TeamRGPL to be back in the mix. Other likely contenders for a podium spot at Silverstone include Atlantic Motorsport and Team Comet, both of which showed promise in Round 1, with Sikania Endurance Motorsport and Talking Door Racing also looking like possibilities based on their pace in testing. But I don't want to write anyone off as that would be unfair given that a number of teams are looking so strong at the upcoming circuit. Finally, podium finishers in the GT class are definitely going to be tough to call! I fully expect 11000 Bit Racing, and FFT Corse (who suffered with technical issues at Interlagos), and the Racing Club Endurance Team (as well as the sister RC MotorSport Team) to be up there again, amongst the front of the pack. The pace is also looking good for both TXL Racing and RedShift Racing - both had a problematic 12 hours at Interlagos - but the MK Simsport and TeamRGPL cars, which finished second and third respectively in Round 1, are not quite yet up to speed at Silverstone. Once again, however, it would be unfair to write off any of the teams though. I, for one, cannot wait until the next race! The Seventh running of the RaceDepartment Le Mans Series by Vesaro (RDLMS) continues at the Thrustmaster Six Hours of Silverstone on May 13th. You can read up on the cars and tracks of the series in our General Information thread here, apply for a spot in a team or advertise a vacant seat in our Matchmaking thread here. Alternatively you can browse the RDLMS 7 forum for other interesting posts with regards to the exciting return of big time endurance competition at RaceDepartment! The RaceDepartment Le Mans Series by Vesaro is shaping up to be an epic endurance racing league. We are looking forward to seeing you out on track and in the chat throughout the year. We hope you enjoy it as much as we have enjoyed preparing the season behind the scenes. Sim Racing is awesome people..!