by Dean Chapman, Northern New Jersey Region PCA
Congratulations! Welcome to our third and special web release!
You have found yourself on the pole position at the Dean’s List!
The Dean’s List is the place for me to ask questions of fellow PCA Sim Racing competitors, hopefully gleaning tidbits of information about their likes, dislikes, and equipment.
I’d like to thank Josh Vieira for hooking me up here. Josh is our very own PCA member, Senior Zone Coordinator Zone 2 and 4, PCA Pro SIM racer, 944 real-life podium grabbing champ, and all-around super nice guy. (I think that’s worth $5! Josh?…:-)
Let’s move immediately into first gear, onto the track, and don’t cross the white line.
Today’s special guest…
…is professional sports car driver and keen iRacer, Tyler Cooke…!”
Tyler, please step up to the podium.
Tyler Cooke, some great photos and gee golly look at that Audi…!
And now, the questions!
“What is your favorite car-specific movie or documentary?”
Tyler Cooke, “I have to say Drive to Survive F1 series. I really love how in-depth into behind the scenes of the teams it dives into and how it highlights the work and prep it takes to get an F1 car on the track.”
“What is your favorite movie with a car featured?”
(i.e action scenes: James Bond, Baby Driver, 6 Underground, Mission Impossible, Bullet, etc.)”
Tyler Cooke, “The Italian Job featuring Mini Coopers. I fell in love with Minis seeing what those cars can do in this movie! My favorite scene is when the minis are being chased through the tunnels and get away from their chasers ultimately keeping the money.”
“What equipment do you use for your Rig? (Be as specific or brief as you like)”
Tyler Cooke, “I recently updated my rig to a Trak Racer TR160 frame with a Fanatec DD2 Base, Formula V2 Wheel, and V3 Pedals.
I’ve noticed such a big difference with my new rig. I was using 7-year-old Fanatec equipment on a 15-year-old frame and really didn’t realize how much it was affecting my sim racing and practice. I also use Oculus VR instead of screens and have noticed a huge difference. It’s so much closer to the same view as the helmet and I love that where you move your head the camera goes with you when driving or racing.”
“If you could, what Car would you like to drive? (Any era, any value)”
Tyler Cooke, “The 2009 997 GT3 RS. I saw some of the first ones come off the line all covered up when my family visited the factory in Stuttgart, Germany. I’ve always loved the look and sound of this car and would love to take one out on the road.”
“What was your first real-life race car?”
Tyler Cooke, “I have never owned my own race car, but the first race car I ever raced was a 1991 Spec Miata at Homestead in 2009. In my first race, the brakes caught on fire and I went sailing off the track. Luckily I didn’t hit anything, but it was fun trying to stop the car when I got back to the trailer.”
“What’s your favorite non-Porsche iRacing car?”
Tyler Cooke, “Right now, I would say the Lamborghini. It’s a very well-balanced car. GT3 racing in iRacing has been a lot of fun and it feels closest to real life.”
“What’s your favorite iRacing Porsche?”
Tyler Cooke, “My favorite Porsche on iRacing is the RSR. It is a very well-balanced car and I love the challenge of driving it without having ABS. It takes the car a couple of laps to come up to temp so until then, it’s a handful, but when it does come up to temp, it’s a load of fun and puts a huge smile on my face!”
“Do you have a favorite iRacing circuit?”
Tyler Cooke, “It’s really tough to pick a specific track I love on iRacing. If I had to choose, I would say Long Beach. It’s tough with very little room for error, but that’s what makes it fun for battles.
“How many real-life circuits have you driven?”
Tyler Cooke, “I’ve driven around 37 different circuits.”
“If you had to pick 2 or 3 favorites, which ones and why?”
Tyler Cooke, “I have three;
Algarve International Circuit in Portimao, Portugal. It’s a track that flows nicely and has a lot of fun and challenging aspects. The area around the circuit is great as well! Plus, it’s the first place I got to test an Audi R8 LMS GT3 with Phoenix Racing.
Nurburgring in Nurburg, Germany. I’ve had the pleasure of doing 2 – ADAC 24-hour events, 2 – ADAC 6 hour events, and 2 – VLN Races. I placed on the podium during the 6-hour in 2018, but no matter how many laps you turn, there’s always more to learn there.
Circuit Mont-Tremblant in Mont-Tremblant, Canada. This track has breathtaking views and really pushes the car to different limits. Plus, the village has some great attractions.”
“Shoes, socks, or slippers when you drive your rig?”
Tyler Cooke, “I actually wear racing shoes. I have the brake pedal set to simulate the feel of modern-day GT cars, and when I tried with socks, I couldn’t keep my foot on.”
“How long have you SIM raced?”
Tyler Cooke, “I’ve had iRacing for about 12 years, but only actually got into it hardcore last year. Before, I really only used it to learn a new track or do some coaching, but during the lockdown, I started using it more and really enjoyed the events I could enter into. Early last year, I raced in the IMSA invitational on iRacing and in the SRO invitational on Assetto Corsa Competizione. It was quite the experience doing those. Sim racing gave the community a platform for the competition to keep the fire going when things were really difficult. I definitely have a lot to learn but I’m getting better every day (having a new rig definitely helps).”
“Is there another SIM car race platform you’ve tried? (Like?)”
Tyler Cooke, “As I mentioned, I’ve used Assetto Corsa Competizione before and I really like it. I find the platform is very realistic and the cars handle well, but it definitely has a different feel. I found it hard to jump between iRacing and Assetto Corsa because they are so different in handling and honestly the whole feel of the car. Plus, you need a computer that can handle the demanding graphics because they are absolutely insane!”
“What are you most used Steering Wheel Hot Keys (mapped buttons)?”
Tyler Cooke, “The TC knob and ABS knob in GT cars. Throughout a stint, the car keeps changing. These buttons control adjustments that help keep the tires under you for the end of the race.”
“What’s your favorite tipple (drink)?”
Tyler Cooke, “Favorite drink is a Jameson and Coke Zero (For a non-alcoholic drink, a Gatorade Zero).”
“What do you drink in-car during longer real-life races?”
Tyler Cooke, “I usually have water with some electrolytes, especially on really hot days. I have Type 1 Diabetes, so I also always have another bottle with Gatorade in it to bring my blood sugar up if needed.”
“Given a few hours locked away, what would you prefer to watch…
NASCAR, IndyCar, Formula 1, Rallycross, GT racing, other…?”
Tyler Cooke, “GT Racing. I love turning on a series like ADAC GT Masters, SRO GT World Challenge Europe, or if I am not racing in it, IMSA. It’s great wheel to wheel racing and I live for the strategies being calculated to the last second.”
“Does SIM racing ’scratch your itch’ for car racing? or would you always prefer to race in real life?”
Or would you always prefer to race in real life?
Tyler Cooke, “It helps, but I definitely prefer real racing. There is something special about getting out of the race car exhausted, smelling hot tires, brakes, and oil, and seeing the team gather around the car and giving each other a pat on the back. It’s also humbling to see fans exploring the paddock seeing all the race cars they just watched and makes me proud and grateful to do what I do.”
“Do you think SIM and real-life share similarities in adrenaline delivery?”
Tyler Cooke, “In all honesty, before that IMSA invitational race at Sebring last March, a bunch of us were chatting about how we had never sweat so much or been more nervous for a SIM race. I’m not sure why but SIM racing really gets the nerves going. You get nervous in real life right before the start or pit stop, but once you strap in, the nerves go away and you’re calm. Maybe that comes with experience?”
“If you were the boss at iRacing, what new feature, improvement, race category or class would you make?”
Tyler Cooke, “If I were the boss I’d add rain into iRacing. iRacing has done such a good job with the realism of the software, but rain would add to the fun in casual events. It would also be great for practicing as most sportscar drivers in the US don’t have a lot of opportunities to practice in the wet. I know it will come when it’s almost perfect, it’s just hard to be patient haha.”
Thank You, Tyler! Ahhh, for the love of burnt rubber and cleaning those marbles off the bodywork.