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Feature: Sim Racing Personalities - Shaun Clarke (Modder)

Shaun Clarke Promo .jpg

In our first behind the scenes 'sim racing personalities' feature article, we talk with prominent Assetto Corsa modder Shaun Clarke...


The man behind the excellent Ginetta and SEAT mods for Assetto Corsa, Shaun has risen to prominence within the modding community in a very short space of time... producing a prolific number of improvements to his frankly excellent mod cars as well as lending a hand to various projects within the Assetto Corsa modding community.

Working closely with several real world drivers and teams, Clarke and his Ginetta and Leon TCR mod have taken the realisation of immersion and realism to another level in Assetto Corsa these past 18 months, really going to show that with a willing dedication, hard graft and a team of like minded people working alongside you, the quality of content that is produced by the community can quite often equal or surpass that of official released material by the development studio themselves.

Having progressed from what are several very established and impressive versions of the Ginetta to the now equally impressive Cupra TCR specification car, Shaun is currently riding a rich vein of form.. something we are keen to find out more about, and dig into the motivation behind the man...

With most Sim racers, it all usually starts with Geoff Crammond GP Series, as it did with me, many years ago. I even remember my first wheel, oh how times have changed....

I then spent the rest of my sim racing locked in Live for Speed, and was there for well over 10yrs, racing the developers, organising a karting event where the developers attended and having loads of fun.

A quick background on me, why am I so passionate, well, it’s in my blood. I have family history, my dad was a racing driver (in then the British Saloon Car) , mechanic, sprint race champion, but I was very young at that time, but it was always grass roots racing. I have followed the BTCC and supporting events since 1990, and still do to this day.

Why did I never take up racing myself? Living in a single parent family, the money just wasn’t there, I was lucky to have a caravan holiday with my grandparents, so when sim racing took off, I was there. My real first experience of “behind the scenes” was with my friend Tristan Cliffe who was racing in the F3 Cup. My daughter also loved motorsport.. as you can see...
Shaun Clarke Daughter.JPG


So this leads on to my journey from LFS... to Assetto Corsa……

I have always had an interest on “how things worked” and never been a Beta Tester before; there was an opportunity to become one for Kunos in the early stages of AC. It was fantastic to see the development and also, how the team all gelled together.

I am proud to say, that when Brands Hatch was released to us, I pointed out an error. This was not Kunos fault as they Laserscanned when the track was open, but there were no bollards to block off the GP layout. I pointed this out with Videos etc and they corrected it. Also, the initial Pit Stop Air Gun sounds, my suggestion again. Have some fantastic memories working with them, but it got to a stage where I wanted to know a couple of things…..

1) How does it do that?
2) Why is it always high end racing cars / Road cars, what about where it starts?


So as my interests where switching from Beta Testing to my own personal interest, I opted out of Beta Testing to pursue my own interests.

So where did it really all start?

Officially for me, it was the BTCC Mod with *************. A Mod that was created by Andy Simmons and his team in RF2, and converted to AC (illegally) and being sold, yes I paid for it, but I was very green then. I did seek and gained his permission to continue to work on it.

This is where my good friends Kris (Chaos Mouse) and Bernard (BBO@BSR) really started to get me interested. They had more knowledge than me, I was more like a PR person, they had all the skills, and then it happened. One day I asked Kris to make a change and he said, make the change yourself and see what happens….that is where the bug started.

I got talking to Motorbase and got some really good information at the time, but with all high class, information was very limited, but I did get early pictures, so we was also the first people to release the 2017 Motorbase Shredded Wheat Liveries in a Sim. I also did this for Motorbase, which was shared on their Twitter / FB and team page, which was amazing for me.

I have also appeared on ITV with the BTCC and a random picture with the Team Hard Grid Girls and the Grid walk...
Shaun Clarke Grid Walk.jpg


So after this, I just played around personally for a year or so and then noticed that the cars I loved and enjoyed was not being updated, so I contacted the respective owners and to see if I could work on them, and see “if” I could improve their work, to which, I have to thank the owners of the following:

  • The Original Audi TT mod (Tamas Pongracz)
  • Seat LeonCup Mod (Tamas Pongracz)
  • Ginetta G55 Mod (Bzyq + Daniel.13)

First up was the Ginetta G55 and I quickly realised this was the G55 Supercup (UK Series), so off to work I went, thinking I knew what I was doing....

I quickly found out that physics is just not a 1+1 equation but takes a lot of coffee, grey hairs, frustration but also found out that it’s so re-warding.

I saw this as fun (and still do) and then through a friend of mine Josh Martin , a person contacted me called Craig Harper. He was the Lead Engineer for Dan Kirby in the Ginetta G55 Supercup UK and asked me, could I put a certain logo and creates Dan’s car in game.

Now I cannot remember where mine and After_Midnight relationship started, it was that long ago and so many things have happen, but this guy, is now one of my closest and best friends, no matter what I throw at him, he seems to deliver, and I have total, upmost respect for him, I asked him to create it, and he did.

With that, I asked Craig / Dan for VIP to Dan’s Race @ Snetterton and they gave me the testing dates also, so that is where it all started where I interacted with a real team.

I got to meet all the mechanics and also Dave Pittard who you might see is driving VLM around Europe and all sorts of cars, full access to garage and being a grass roots fan, was totally in my element and still makes me smile when you see Dan Kirby nick my bottle of water (1min 22) as if he cannot afford his own, but that where the total relationship started

I got loads of photos (as you do) and I cannot remember (again, old age) but I got in contact with Nays Wilson (WACK) who was is a moddler and asked him to join the team. I provided him with photos and he produced the most outstanding work, so much so, that once Dan’s car was done and a video was done (I like a video) it was the talk of the paddock. This was shared around the Paddock.

I even got permission from General Levy Song Company to use that track for that video.

When I was at Snetterton, with VIP, I got to actually sit in the Ginettea G55 so I took some pictures, and why not?
Shaun Clarke Ginetta 1.jpg
Shaun Clarke Ginetta 2.jpg


So then After_Midnight and Federico Fetto said they would create the 2017 liveries, and the whole real paddock (I personally spoke to all the drivers) they were so helpful, we did it. Then came the amazing Fonsecker and produced which I believe is now such an iconic sound in AC for the Ginetta and will never be re-produced.

I then needed help with other bits (LODS) so I found Dreamer who has done a fantastic job and does all of them. There was still an issue with the downforce, which I really didn’t know (and no data) on what was going on, so up step the massive, brilliant Mclarenf1papa.

He gave me values, he gave me advice and if your moaning that the car doesn’t like kurbs, blame him HA HA (just kidding) and I will say this, physics, especially if your teaching yourself is one thing, aerodynamics is total new ball game, but if they are not correct, the whole car is wrong…lesson learnt J

After this, I was speaking with real drivers (I didn’t know at the time) was testing my work, Ben Green and Jac Constable ( look them up!).

So if anybody can question on how the Ginetta G55 Supercup handles, I think my version is in good hands, and I cannot thank Ben enough for all his input and advice.

The news actually spread to Ginetta, I got personal emails from Laurence Tomlinson and Paul Zwicky Ross commenting on our work, and got an invite to the Ginetta Factory.

So with the Ginetta, not only are drivers using this as a tool, but IZONE based at Silverstone are also using this as a tool for drivers to learn / test / train but teams are using this to test setup’s before they hit the track, as I have provided a personal open data file for them which is different to what the community has, and I had friends doing this for me, which I didn’t ask for…Thomas Brown, so much promotion for something I do for fun, it was just amazing to see how the whole community did this.

So where did it go from there?

With my passion of FWD and the awesome Seat Leon and Audi TT I guess, try and bring it up to date, so again, with all the contacts I got from the Ginneta , the racing paddock is a close nit and people know people so it went from there I guess. The Audi TT died very quickly due to Kunos doing an official version but the Seat Leon really took off, more than I could ever imagined

I had drivers, teams, you name it willing to talk to me about everything, and it just blew me away. There is me (a fulltime IT Project Manager) and part time physics guy on a game, talking to me, actively and this just totally shocked me, in a good way.

The real shock came when, I was told that IZONE, a professional racing simulation / driver training centre was not only using my Ginetta Mod, but also but Seat Eurocup Mod, which I was informed by Ben Green, so I made contact with them, and they now have specific version made for them, and every update, including the Ginetta, Seat Leon / TCR and soon to be Cupra TCR they receive. I then got an invite to spend the day there (yet to do) and have a day on the simulator, talk to the engineer’s, for which I cannot wait (need to book time off work)

So where does my life go from here, I really don’t have a clue, all I know is that, at 42yrs of age I am finally living a dream, one that has been made possible not only through Sim Racing, but also through some very great people, which I owe a lot to, as without them, none of this would of happened, and I will be eternally grateful.

Just goes to show, dreams can happen no matter what age you are.

I have to take this time to personally and really thank Stefano Casillo, Aristotelis Vasilakos, and the rest of the Kunos team, they have been so helpful, and never met a development team like it.

So as they do at the Awards nights, I would like to thank…. (As you can see, I didn’t do this alone)
  • Josh Martin (He started it)
  • Craig Harper (so did he)
  • Kunos-Simulazioni
  • After-Midnight
  • Nay Wilson
  • Dan Kirby (TPC Racing / DanKirbyRacing / Team Hard)
  • Fonsecker
  • Dreamer
  • Federicco Fettto
  • Ben Green (https://www.bengreenracing.com/)
  • Jac Constable (http://www.jac-constable.com/)
  • Nathan Fecke (Century Motorsport)
  • Aaron Stroud (Team Hard)
  • Carl Swift
  • Stewart Lines (Maximum Motorsport)
  • Mclaren1papa
  • Paul Jeffrey
  • Emiley Linscot
  • Ginetta
  • GamerMuscle
  • Random Callsign
  • Simracing604
  • Pitlanes.com
  • OnwheelsTV
  • RaceDepartment
  • Motorbase (BTCC)

And anybody else I missed ( I am so sorry as there has just been so many people offering help / advice from the real racing world and my PM box can only hold so much) again I am sorry, but you know who you are.

We hope you enjoyed our new feature article... stay tuned to RaceDepartment for more from the movers and shakers of the sim racing world in the next few months...

Sim Racing is AWESOME!

Want to pick up some of Shaun's mods to try for yourself? Check them out on the links below as well as our substantial archive of incredible mods available for Assetto Corsa right now:

SEAT Leon TCR 2018 V1.6
SEAT Leon Cup V3.3
Ginetta SuperCup 2017 V1.5
Ginetta G55 GT4 2017 V1.1



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Did you enjoy the latest focus on the world of modding? Are you a prominent modder and wish to be feature in a future edition of the series? If so drop me a PM! and feel free to leave a comment below!
 
RaceDepartment Editor-in-Chief, occasional YouTuber, commentator and broadcaster, with a passion for motorsport on both the real and virtual racetrack.

Hal Burns

250RPM
Mar 19, 2014
419
206
65
Cheers...the Ginetta GT4 at NJMP Lightening is one of my faves.....using 2 excellent mods. Great work.
 

E304LIFE

100RPM
Aug 28, 2018
199
144
I'm another fan of the Ginetta GT4 mod from Shaun. Thanks Shaun, it's very much appreciated!:inlove:

Great article.
 

Jordan Dion

Bluestar Racing
Jan 11, 2017
621
268
33
Wow!
What a nice story!
Thanks to race department and to the people here that contributed for this project! :thumbsup:
 

dreamer al

500RPM
Dec 22, 2016
705
421
76
I recall writing a review on an earlier version of Shaun's marvelous Ginetta (which was shown as "FINAL" version), asking are you sure this is the final version? To best of my memory he replied saying well it was but the next one will definitely be the final version. Which time has shown, Shaun is never one to settle with second best, until it is completely correct, many versions later. Which, in my view, shows the dedication and meticulousness of the man.

Well done Shaun, you are much admired and rightly so.
 

Blamer

250RPM
Sep 8, 2014
457
597
Really enjoying these MOD related stories, keep them coming please!
Congrats to Shaun whose work I so much love
 
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farjam

500RPM
Jun 4, 2017
838
451
30
WTF i thought he has white hair with a mustache and doing weird thing with mc2! :geek::D

__________
thanks for this topic guys
 

Shaun Clarke

1000RPM
Premium
Nov 20, 2014
1,911
3,303
44
Wow thanks for the comments guys feel very humbled and slightly embarrassed. @Andy-R I was allowed to say that (I did ask permission) lol

Thanks to PJ for posting

Shaun
 
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Xela1

500RPM
Mar 24, 2015
566
376
love the SEAT (TCR). Maybe because we have a privat 150hp one. Thx Shaun for your efforts. That‘s one of the reasons I love AC; and ACC will never, ever reach this love. I feel you‘re a „little“ bit disapointed about the non-moddable ACC. Your comments in ACC Forum are polite but sad and ....
 

AccAkut

2000RPM
Premium
Mar 21, 2015
2,552
2,370
You organised the LFS Kart meets.. all of them? If yes then we have met before ;)
1.jpg

I arrived with the crazy Norwegian and Becky in 2012 :D

anyway, didn't knew that you too were a LFS expatriate, cool to see
 

Shaun Clarke

1000RPM
Premium
Nov 20, 2014
1,911
3,303
44
You organised the LFS Kart meets.. all of them? If yes then we have met before ;)
View attachment 274559
I arrived with the crazy Norwegian and Becky in 2012 :D

anyway, didn't knew that you too were a LFS expatriate, cool to see
I didn't organise this one. I organised the one at Northampton Indoor Kart centre, where Scawen and Victor arrived and drived as well, and "damn forgot his name" brought along his custom built Lotus 7 and well....lite up the carpark to say the least.

These names must be a blast from the past for you then. T7R BBQ Party at my old house, 15+yrs ago...
Team_T7R.jpg
 

AccAkut

2000RPM
Premium
Mar 21, 2015
2,552
2,370
I didn't organise this one. I organised the one at Northampton Indoor Kart centre, where Scawen and Victor arrived and drived as well, and "damn forgot his name" brought along his custom built Lotus 7 and well....lite up the carpark to say the least.

These names must be a blast from the past for you then. T7R BBQ Party at my old house, 15+yrs ago...
View attachment 274560
Only know Three_Jump, he was at the '12 meet as well, we talked for five minutes before we each found out that the other was German too
 

Shaun Clarke

1000RPM
Premium
Nov 20, 2014
1,911
3,303
44
Like I said, I love a video, and well this is where it really all kick started with me and AC, and why not LOL. That is my first interaction with the Ginetta G55 Supercup

 
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