When I first applied for a license to race in RaceDepartment's club races, I really didn't know what to expect. All I knew was Assetto Corsa was an excellent sim and I wanted to have fun, clean races with competitors that behave and react better than the AI. What I have found is so much more than what I ever would have imagined.
I certainly would not have expected to be joining the staff, first organising club events and now writing sim news; but when I realised how much RD has given me and contributed to my hobby I wanted to give back, any way I could.
The sense of community these clubs have is amazing. I've gotten to know the people I race with regularly and some of them I now consider to be close friends. I came for good competition, and now I couldn't care less if I do well or not, it's just a pleasure to drive with everyone. I have improved more, and gained more knowledge of racing over the past few months of club racing than I have during the rest of my sim racing life. Every bit of that is thanks to this amazing community.
If you want to be part of an international community, there is no better place. The opportunities for networking are very good, there's people from all trades and walks of life. I get to talk with people from all over the world, every day, and because of that, I have learned a lot about different cultures and places.
In terms of the actual racing, you simply can not beat it. It's not a high pressure, ultra-competitive environment that just makes you angry when you lose (that's what the leagues are for), its relaxed and fun. Its a great place to learn and walk away with some great stories. We have all been frustrated when someone on a public server punts you off so many times you can't even get one clean lap, and you certainly won't find that. However, you don't feel that if you mess up and take someone out it will be the end of your career. You simply wait for them, as is the Golden Rule, apologize and all is well (usually), because, hey, accidents happen. We're here to learn and have fun, and this is a great way to do it. So far, I truly have not had a race that wasn't fun, no matter what the outcome.
No matter how fast you are, there is usually someone close to your skill level. If not, most everyone is eager to help you learn. You can watch instructional videos for hours on youtube, and learn more in five minutes of driving with someone. Having the club races, driver academy, and 24/7 server allows this to happen on whatever basis you would like. The resources to become a better driver this community provides simply can not be beat.
For me, RaceDepartment, the racing clubs, and everyone who is a part of this community has changed my life. It has taken a great sim, and turned it into a passion. It has changed the direction of my career, and given me a foot in the door to something I am truly passionate about, and love doing. Perhaps many people will not be as amazed by it all as I am, and won't feel it has changed their life a bit but there is no denying that what we have here is a great thing. It brings hours of joy to people all over the world, and what more can you ask for than that?
To join the fun, apply for a FREE license here! Then just sign up for the events in the club of your choice. Links to the clubs can be found under "Online Racing" in the navigation bar at the top of the page.