Calling all sim racers across the globe.
The Majors Garage is launching a new reality TV-style show to find the next talented sim racer. The show, called Project Alien, looks to showcase the struggle and human side of drivers as they hope to chase their sim racing dreams.
Those selected for the show will get hours of free coaching and exposure in the sim racing world according to the show’s website.
All finalists will receive a one-year subscription to the Majors Garage while the winner will get a tryout with the Williams Esports Academy team.
The show has already received dozens of auditions so far according to Mike Ouellette, founder of both the Majors Series and Majors Garage.
Ouellette said he has been working on the plans for the show since March. He said his inspiration for the show came from watching The Voice while in bed with his wife one night. It dawned on him that a similar format for sim racing could be pretty cool.
“After the idea, I started asking a few people what they thought. They were hooked,” said Ouellette. “I felt like we have something that would be both entertaining and educational from the coaching perspective. I also felt like it would have broader reach than just iRacing members and would be interesting to sim racers and many real life race fans.”
The show will be hosted by longtime Global Sim Racing Channel commentator Joe Peak. He will be joined by four coaches - 2021 Porsche Esports Sprint Challenge Canada champion Suellio Almeida, Porsche TAG Heuer Esports Supercup driver Brian Lockwood, 2020 VCO Cup of Nations Team USA representative Dallas Pataska and 2020 iRacing Indianapolis 500 runner-up Jeff Drake.
Ouellette said he wanted the coaches to have a wide range of specialties - Almeida for HDF open wheel cars, Lockwood for GT cars, Pataska for ovals and Drake for dirt and IndyCar.
The show will have several stages, including the auditions, coaching selections, training and audience interaction and voting. Similar to music talent shows such as The Voice, coaches will choose which drivers they will work with. Ouellette said he expects to select eight drivers from the auditions to start.
“I'm humbled to have the opportunity to be a part of something as unique as Project Alien. This is the first of its kind in the realm of sim racing and I believe it provides a great opportunity to shed light on what goes on behind the scenes that leads up to the on-track performances you see from renowned pros and more experienced sim racers alike,” said Pataska, who has been a Majors Garage coach and setup builder since May 2020. “My goal is to bring to light just how much effort and frustration can go into developing the skills necessary to compete at the top ranks on iRacing while also showing how it's more than possible through discipline and determination.”
Peak said while he has done some podcasts and YouTube shows as a guest host in the past, he has never been a ringleader for this style of competitive show.
When he first started commentating on the sim eight years ago, he did not see himself being in front of the camera. He had begun working in the entertainment industry as a video editor and preferred to be behind the scenes.
He said his love for racing pushed aside any shyness.
“I’m incredibly honored to have been asked to be the host,” said Peak. “Obviously I’ve done a lot of work with GSRC over the years as a commentator, but I’ve never had the opportunity to be on a project like this one. Even though there’s going to be a few similarities, it’s going to be a new experience and I expect to learn and grow in a lot of ways as a presenter with some new challenges.”
Pataska said he plans to focus nearly completely on the driving aspect of iRacing with his coaching. He plans to pass along many of the approaches he has used in his career to get to where he is on the service. He believes the amount of progress shown will depend on different variables such as a driver’s current skill level upon entering the show, their coachability, discipline, and the natural rate of development among others.
“To me, it's about building driver confidence and being prepared for absolutely any possible inconvenience that will likely happen during a race and being able to handle it confidently with an assertive attitude,” said Pataska. “As a driver, if you see something as a potential weak spot or a place you don't have absolute confidence in attacking, that is a major problem when it comes to working to be the best of the best, or reaching 'Alien' status, because rest assured the guy lining up next to you has that missing confidence every corner you don't.
“Because of this, I prefer to attack the problem head on to better prepare for those difficult situations. How each of these problems are approached depends on the situation they come up in.”
Peak hopes the show proves to people that sim racing “is the way to level the playing field in racing in general.”
“I’ve long believed that talent isn’t necessarily being born with ability, it’s just your knack at learning something quickly. So while some might adapt to sim racing faster, everyone has to study and practice if they want to be quick and consistent. There’s no shortcuts,” said Peak. “This show should help illustrate that you can take someone who’s maybe your average driver and teach and coach them into becoming lightning quick.
“The real test will be, which of them can really use this bootcamp of sorts to its biggest potential?”
The deadline to audition for the show is August 27th. For more information, go to www.projectalien.tv.