Choose the language.
TKART magazine Editorial | Virtual vs real. Will driving simulators kill karting?
Exclusive Content


Yanek Sterzel
31 July 2020

This question is a legitimate one, considering the scenario which sees a sport that, in order to feed its pool of trainees must focus on very young individuals who seem to be more interested in spending time with their cell phones than with friends. Teenagers who prefer the convenience of a simulator at home, which can be switched on and off with a simple button, to the effort that an extreme sport like karting requires in order to be properly trained. The risk of extinction of our beloved sport is at this point, yet there is still hope. Solid hope of survival.


I have a dear friend in the world of karting. Those who read TKART know him too as he has written several articles in this column, Mario Pazos. He is what can be defined as a man of the past in this sport (which is not an elegant way of saying that he is old!). A man capable of doing anything he can to satisfy his passion for engines and karting. As an example, he drove 3.000 km to go (and another 3.000 km to come back) to the South American Championship which was held in Rio de Janeiro (Brazil), from Buenos Aires with a Citroen Mehari.
He is certain, karting is doomed. It has no future.
His point of view is more or less this: “Today’s young people, always with their cell phones in their hands, accustomed to the ‘everything and right now’, without having to work hard for anything at all, will never become passionate about karting, a sport which requires a lot of effort and personal sacrifices. When they will want to experience the adrenaline of driving a kart or a racing car, they will buy a PlayStation or one of these hyper-realistic simulators”.
My friend Mario is someone who has an enormous amount of knowledge about many things, and he is very wise, so, when he talks I never underestimate what he says. I think this time he has got it wrong.
For heaven’s sake, every now and then I too (who am not 102 years old like Mario…) am amazed and have doubts when I see all these kids who, instead of talking to each other, they write on WhatsApp. Teenagers with their eyes glued to the cell phone screen more than the rear end of their girlfriend. Young people who put “Like” on Instagram to everything and everyone with the frequency with which they bat their eyelashes. What about the kids who go to the track? Often, they too seem to be there more for their dad’s will rather than for their own desire.
On the other side, we have the world of sim racing. Virtual races, maybe even hyper-realistic ones, wherever and whenever you want. It is clear that if this is the premise, very little space remains for the motivation for karting. But…

The movement of virtual races and Esports dedicated to motorsport have been having an important expansion for years. Great impetus towards these gaming activities was provided by the generalized lockdown phase in the world which occurred in the early months of 2020 due to the pandemic generated by COVID-19. In that historical phase many sportsmen and women dedicated themselves to virtual competitions, often in live streaming. Additionally, F1 teams, first amongst all Ferrari, created their virtual division, the Ferrari Driver Academy Hublot Esports Team, with official drivers David Tonizza, Amos Laurito and Enzo Bonito.

Leclerc engaged at the wheel of his simulator during one of the many sessions sustained during the lockdown of early 2020.
Charles during a live session on the Twitch social network.
David Tonizza, 18 years old, now an FDA Hublot Esports Team driver, started his real-world driver activity precisely with karts.
Continue reading the article by subscribing for only 0.96 € / week
Explore these and many other
premium contents
Go to Magazine