Star photographer makes his mark in iRacing Global MX-5 sim racing

Published 12:48 am Tuesday, June 14, 2022

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The iRacing Global MX-5 series season recently concluded with a local Elizabethton man finishing #1 in North America and #10 overall in the world.

Brandon Hyde completed the grueling 12-week series and finished in points ahead of racers of every country except Brazil, Italy, Australia, and the Benelux region. There were 50,000 participants over the entirety of the season.

Iracing is the leading competitive sim racing platform known for its unrivaled competition, often used by professional racing drivers to hone their skills.

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The iRacing service rose to even further heights during the pandemic as races were officially broadcast on platforms such as NBC. Sim racing is one of the few eSports that translates almost 1:1 in the real world as many pro sim racers have gone on to professional racing careers

Hyde has been involved with sim racing since the late 90s but began racing competitively after meeting fellow sim racer, Jim Barker at the Elizabethton car show who encouraged him to take up iRacing.

“Jim has always been a mentor and support when it comes to this,” Hyde said. “He gives me advice and has provided equipment that I couldn’t otherwise afford. I wouldn’t be here without the support of people like him and my family”

Since 2016, Hyde has been specifically using virtual reality to take racing a step further. He has kept up with the industry over the years and has become a specialist in building and tweaking VR systems for sim racing.

“VR takes it to a whole new level. You are in the car and you see so much more similar to real life,” he said. Hyde hopes to add motion simulation down the road

The iRacing season races over a three-month period at laser-scanned race tracks such as Laguna, Seca, and the Roval at Charlotte to name a few. After a strong start to the season, Hyde knew he had a chance at a top 10 finish, which has been his goal for the season all along.

“Going into the last race of the season at Laguna, I was sitting in 12th with an uphill climb. The two guys ahead of me in points were lighting fast, with one being a pro racer from Australia. It wasn’t looking good, but I was able to score my highest points of the season the final weekend, which moved me into 10th overall and 1st in North America and other regions.”, said Hyde

Hyde has always been a big fan of motorsports and after a short kart racing career along with his sons, he knew sim racing held a great appeal with time and budget constraints.

“I always felt like I missed my calling with racing. Sim racing gives guys like me a chance to develop skills and advance in the sport. I’ve already had doors open up to possibly race a real spec Miata at some point.”

When Hyde isn’t hard at work in the simulator, he is building professional sim racing rigs for venues and individuals. He recently started Sim Racing Consultants along with Barker, which offers sim racing coaching/consulting and pro sim rig builds. They can be reached at 423-291-1234.