The good, the bad, the ugly - The fun of the fair of managing competitions in Simracing.
I wanted to give you a run down of how we manage sim racing esports events and how we tackle obstacles like those surrounding the recent events in the Logitech G Challenge. will state, this is an opinion piece, where we can give our perspective on the cheating scandal, and subsequent investigation, that I undertook alongside my team of regional managers.
Let’s jump straight into the details. Following the EMEA Last Chance Qualifier Final, some of the drivers raised suspicions privately to the regional manager. They felt that a driver was abusing game mechanics to gain an advantage, and ultimately qualify for the Grand Final, where there is a chance they could win a share of $25,000 and a trip to the Austrian Grand Prix.
The regional manager passed the report to me, to impartially view the accusation. At the time, it was simply a few private conversations from two drivers in the race with no supporting evidence, just suspicion.
At this point, we have to work within the parameters that we set out in all our competitions in the Sporting Regulations, and see what areas we can lean into to help resolve the issue. For this example, we went down the avenue of article 1, . “Competition overview”, and specifically subpoint 1.6 “Scrutineering” which can be seen below
As with any investigation we needed to go into this with an open mind, we requested the scrutineering data from the top four drivers who qualified for the Grand Finals. To help build my case I reached out to a Pro Esports driver, who did not take part in the race where the issue arose for some example MOTEC data and replay files for us to use as a reference. I also used my own, somewhat mediocre, data as a baseline reference to compare the other 4 drivers against.
After the 24-hour deadline, three of the drivers had submitted all their requested data, whereas one of the drivers only supplied their qualifying data. This was another red flag.
At this point, that driver was in violation of Sporting Regulation code 1.1.6 Scrutineering and therefore forfeit their spot in the Grand Final. Simracing.GP’s management team were looped into the investigation and its outcome. Our partners, Logitech were given a full run-down of the investigation too. All 4 drivers were then informed of the decision, that only three of the drivers would proceed as normal, and one driver would be DQ'd from the competition.
Now, for the reasoning behind this explanation, respect. During the entire investigation, I have been extremely impressed with the respect shown between all parties to remain impartial, understanding and forthcoming with any requests of information. No bridges were not burned, drivers were not ‘publicly shamed’ based just on another driver's accusations and the whole matter was resolved in a timely fashion.
This maintained professional relationships with all those involved, it also showed the drivers that we will always remain fair and impartial no matter what accusations may be made against them.
The rules were set out, to all drivers, at the start of the competition with a thorough, and sometimes possibly too thorough, set of sporting regulations. Drivers were given copies to read and had to acknowledge that they had read and understood the documentation before joining the competition. Do I think they read those documents, no, but they agreed that they had, so this makes them adequate documentation for us to use during competition.
A note to drivers, we do not aimlessly create these documents to make ourselves feel important, 99% of the time, they are there to protect the sporting integrity of the competition and allow full coverage for any scenario. (yes, the other 1% of the time, it makes ourselves feel important!)
Having such a thorough set of sporting regulations allows us to manage the competition fairly and the drivers can focus on the important bit, racing and competing against their peers and colleagues to earn respect, points and prizes.
So that is it, abit of a ‘brain dump’ on some of the current issues surrounding simracing, including our involvement with the reported issues in the Logitech McLaren G Challenge. Hopefully this has brought some clarity and transparency of the issues and show that sometimes, things do not need to be over complicated, set the rules out early, make sure the drivers are aware of the rules, and ensure that they are upheld which we feel that we have done time and time again in all our competitions. We operate an innocent until proven guilty system giving accused drivers an opportunity to defend themselves behind closed doors under no pressure. But if the rules are found to be broken then we will exercise our right to use the sporting regulations against them.
There has been a lot said about esports organisers needing to do more and be more accountable but we have managed to navigate multiple esports competitions with no issues. Even this latest episode was dealt with swiftly in a way that protected the competition’s integrity. All esports organisers have the power to do this, some people have criticised our “over the top” sporting regs in the past, sure, on previous events we didn't need them, but on this occasion it’s proven to be essential.
If you’ve gotten this far, thank you for taking the time to read it. The Grand Finals of the Logitech McLaren G Challenge come to screens on Sunday and you can catch all the action at https://twitch.tv/logitechg this weekend!