The presentation of virtual racing through live streaming channels can now become a viable marketing platform backed up by digital marketing campaigns. Social media campaigns followed by the live event being on the same platform offer something TV does not. Direct and immediate interactions, going from campaign to event. The strength of the content however is what will be needed. Simply put, we place virtual racers in real world race cars. We can tell the story of who got it, how they got there and why they want it so much. Now outside of our beta program we know that line between virtual and real world racing is thinner than most would believe. Now we are going to show the world that virtual racing can be a viable path to real world racing opportunities. We have proof of concept, now it's time to scale. We're shifting into top gear and making a run for the finish. Come and ride with us!
I've been into motorsports as long as I can remember. Going to races as a kid, playing all the racing based arcade games I was hooked. When Pole Position came around I always drew a crowd behind me watching over my shoulders. Loved the attention I guess while entertaining spectators. Always loved to hear the noises people would make as I would split between two cars without an inch to spare, and the excitement crossing the finish line with only a second left on the timer. I got my first taste of cash winnings when Sega released Daytona USA. This game changed everything for me. My local arcade had 6 racing pods linked-up for head-to-head racing. For some reason I was on another level than everyone else. People started to wager on races, sometimes up to $20 per race as a pot times six pods gave us a $120 winner take all prize pool. I remember going to my local arcade with $30 in my pocket and leaving with $600 to $1000 depending on the night of the week and the crowd that came in. As I got older I got into sport-bike racing. I was about to become a father for the first time and racing motorcycles didn't produce the risk vs rewards anymore. An acquaintance introduced me to iRacing. Now I was a steady racer on the game consoles, but this was next level. Spent several hours on there, and when I got off the simulator a light bulb went off in my head. I knew then and there that this could be much bigger than it's current status. As time went on, YouTube and Twitch came out and now we had an avenue to livestream to an audience. Facebook started to grow their "pages" and the ability to advertise on the backend. I started to learn how to maximize reach and engagement as a way to become a viable marketing partner and pick-up sponsorships. It was a hard sell back then as people were very unaware about eRacing and it's potential value as a marketing platform. So I had to focus on how the content was able to effect a potential audience.
Now I'll disclose something that worked really well, but was kind of suspect. Back in 2013 I used to contact small company's and pitch them on the concept that I can make it look like they were sponsoring top NASCAR drivers. I would have custom paint schemes made up with their colors and logos but with top driver's numbers and number fonts. I would then sell the screen shots to the companies and they used them for their social media outlets. No one ever said they sponsored the driver's like Dale Jr, Jeff Gordan or Tony Stewart, but they never corrected anyone in the comments sections about these small companies on these NASCAR race cars. The engagements all went through the roof with people talking about why this driver is their favorite and so on. I saw first hand the marketing power this can have. One of the companies was a family ran pizza parlor, and we would screen shoot images of their virtual race car on the track at NASCAR's next race. We'd run paid ads promoting the pizza place having the race on and some kind of food or adult beverage special. This place would get packed, they have never up to that point or afterwards had such a full house of NASCAR fans eating pizza and drinking beers for 3-4hrs.
Needless to say, here in 2021 I still learn everyday about apps, tools, virtual malls or what ever I think might provide value to a potential partner. I'm always on the lookout for something to fulfill a partner/sponsors goals. I get that even with the recent popularity of eRacing, it can still be a hard sell for participation as a brand. Which is why we as a team work so hard to find creative ways to be a viable marketing partner. Sometimes it's not even about exposure, but B2B opportunities and connecting the dots between two companies. Most recently we've had a lot of success with getting mobile app downloads which has become a solid and measurable conversion matrix. Simply put, partnerships are important to us, ROI is important to you. So we find creative ways to deliver what you need into an hyper-brand centric motorsports fanbase propelled by content and story telling. On top of that, we get to make peoples dreams come true and live out their dreams of being in a real race car. Not a bad place to be.
I love what I do. ~Joel Hamilton CEO/co-founder of Virtual2Reality.tv
The year is 2013, I'm working at one of the very first of it's kind arrive and drive sim racing facility called the iRaceCenter. What a fantastic place. When I first started working there I'd hit up all the local NASA, SCCA, short track oval and dirt races. I go and talk to the race car driver's inviting them for free wheel time and try out our facility. The responses I got back I'll never forget. "Sorry bud, I race real race cars". This was a very common response, just too cool to do the virtual thing. Fast forward to 2020, world-wide pandemic, no more racing at real race tracks. All of a sudden real racers are scrambling for sim racing hardware as all the racing series goes virtual. I couldn't believe who was calling and asking on Facebook about gaming computers, wheel and pedal sets. There were a couple driver's I know that dove right into it and embraced the virtual side of racing while they were not able to attend the tracks during lockdown. One in particular called me after his first race back in a real race car. First time qualifying on pole. First race win in that series and told me the time spent on the racing simulator absolutely made him a better and faster race car driver. I was very proud to hear how it helped his development during the down time and he was able to come out of it a stronger driver overall. As everything started to open back up, the drivers were contacting me after their races and telling me how much sim racing had helped them out and how much faster they all were. Driver after driver hitting new personal best lap times and added car control. This was validation for a Reality2Virtual assessment.