A summary of the fun and games at the ADAC Sim Racing Expo 2018.
The 2018 ADAC Sim Racing Expo was a significant step up in both size and quality from recent years, featuring more stallholders, more activities and bigger crowds than ever before – 2018 was a great showcase of our ever growing hobby.
The 2018 edition of the Sim Racing Expo was something of a new experience for RaceDepartment too. Having sounded out the event with a small group of people in 2017, we decided to make this year a little bit bigger and better, opening up invitations to a small group of community members as a precursor to potentially facilitating much larger gatherings at events throughout the world in future months and years.
Frankly, and if we do say so ourselves, I think it safe to announce that the event from our perspective ran pretty much perfectly. Our community members stayed safe, had fun and shared an awesome experience with fellow likeminded individuals – which is frankly what something like this is all about.
Although we only had three days in Germany to soak up all the action, a surprisingly short amount of time when you consider everything we wanted to do, I do believe we absolutely managed to maximise our time and enjoyment levels throughout the weekend. Often back at the “RD Party Palace” the festivities would end in much consumption of German beer, more than once resulting in a few of us hardy souls slinking off to our bedrooms around the 3am mark…(although I'm pretty sure a certain Mr. @Daiman Patel had a power nap on Sunday night / Monday morning half way through our conversation...)
To meet so many new people, some with whom I’ve spoken with online, and some who are completely new to me, was one of the greatest highlights of an exceptionally enjoyable weekend We had people from all over the world in attendance in our party that weekend – Norway, Belgium, Russia, France, Germany, Italy, Holland, Portugal, South Africa and the UK all represented as we got stuck in together and enjoyed our short but eventful trip into sim racing paradise (sorry if I've missed off any nationalities..)
So what were the highlights in my opinion? I'll be honest here, so much happened that I'll probably write a second summary article later on...
As a bit of a treat for our attendees that weekend, we arranged a very special evening meal with some of the biggest developers in Sim Racing today. Pretty much taking over the lovely bar across from the entrance to the Nürburgring, we sat down for some food and drink with representatives from three of the most prominent simulation development teams currently active – Marco Massarutto and Davide Brivio of Kunos Simulazione, Marcel Offermans and Christopher Elliot of Studio 397 and Renato Simione of Reiza Studios.
All five of these extremely sought after guys took time out of their busy schedules to drink and eat with us, chat to our members and field all of our questions and more. We got plenty of interesting stuff from the guys, and plenty of amusing and entertaining stories too... but as the saying goes, what happens on tour, stays on tour... sorry!
It was honestly something of a privilege and honour to get up close with the people behind our favourite sims, and to really get to hear of genuine ‘behind the scenes’ stories from sim racing development. I really enjoyed that, and the reaction of the people in our group was wonderful to see, I honestly think the devs enjoyed the lunch as much as we “fans” did, getting to mix with the most important people of all – the customers.
Other highlights for me would be have to be having the opportunity to try my hand at some seriously impressive pieces of sim racing hardware. From fully professional motion rigs to the latest Direct Drive wheel technology, Sim Racing Expo 2018 had some great equipment on offer to try and ask questions about. New for this year would be the freshly announced Heusinkveld Sim Pedals Sprint, a significant step up in technology from the original design and probably one of the most impressive pieces of tech I tried at the expo. Watch out for a video and interview about that coming to our YouTube channel very soon…
Another big highlight for me would be seeing the crowd reaction first hand when Studio 397 announced a brand new laserscanned version of the Nürburgring Nordschlife is under development for rFactor 2. Fresh off the back of the three historic F1 McLaren cars announcement, S397 really did hit it out of the park this time, confirming one of the most iconic and sought after tracks in sim racing will be coming to rFactor 2 in the future – although development is still pretty young so don’t expect anything in the next few weeks...!
Having time to spend talking to developers and hardware manufacturers is one of the best things about the Expo for me, you can often get a piece of time with some of the main players within the industry and hear plenty of stories and little bits of exciting news and rumours. Re-establishing contact with old acquaintances, meeting new people, saying hi to the passing crowd of sim racers who recognise you from RD and just want to say hello, trying our new tech and marvelling at how Sim Racing continues to grow. These are the highlights for me, each and every year.
Oh and of course we did at thing round that old, massive, silly track on the back of the Expo... but more about that another time....
We had an exceptionally busy couple of days, recording plenty of content for our YouTube channel and various social media pages. We worked non-stop for 8 hours on Saturday, just grabbing the occasional sugary drink to keep us going, and hopefully you will all enjoy the results of that hard work as the videos filter onto our YouTube page in the coming days and weeks.
On that note I want to personally thank @Davy Vandevenne and @Paul Glover, both of whom decided to pass on the fun and get knuckled down to some serious work. Without those two, we would not really have much to show you in the days ahead... thank you guys!
I also want to thank RD, Bram, Marco and our epic community. It was a pleasure and a privilege to meet you all and share a brilliant weekend of real and virtual motorsports.
Sim Racing is AWESOME people.
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Do you fancy joining us at the Expo next timer? Would you like to see more RD "road trip" events in future? Did you go to the Expo yourself this year? Let us know in the comments section below!