"Sim Racing is always enjoyable when you treat it right" Elmar Kurbanov

Elmar Kurbanov (Russia, Age:33) is a casual sim racer who started his career in 2017 when he was 28. He just finished our IUEM ACC Endurance Challenge 2nd in the pro class. As a casual racer, he always wanted to find community races and SPA was his favourite track. Raceroom was his first sim, but it is not as popular as before. The reason why he started sim racing is that he loved motorsport and was not rich enough to enjoy real motorsports due to financial issues. Russia is different from other countries, drift is popular in Russia. He has some experience in time attack, bringing his car to the racing track, and he spent a lot of time in the Raceroom touring car championships. 

Let’s talk about his racing profile

In 2017, he took part in the first Raceroom championship - WTCC 2013 on the portal simcentral.ru. He drove 8 stages out of 10, resulting in 2nd place in the session. Next, he joined the TRT-World.ru WTCR-2018, completed 7 stages out of 9, and finished 2nd of the season. 

Moreover, He is the champion of the EATC portal in the TCR Endurance class in Assetto Corsa. 1st place in the Renault Clio RS Cup 2019 championship at simcental.ru in Assetto Corsa. The leader of the overall standings of the online selection Raceroom Lada e-Championship 2019. Finished in second place in the grand final of Lada e-Championship 2020. Participation in the top servers of the official world championships Oscaro eSports WTCR-2018, 2019 in Raceroom. Finished in second place in the Raceroom Cupra sim racing 2019 stage race in Macau. Bronze medalist of the grand final of the All-Russian SMP Esports Sim Racing Championship 2021 (Assetto Corsa Competizione). 

In addition to direct participation as a sim racer, he also did commentator work on the Endurance Esports portal (the largest sim racing portal in the CIS).

The happiest year throughout your career?

“The Second year,” He said. For the 1st year of his career, he was using the Logitech Driving Force GT. And the second year he upgraded to the Thrustmaster T300RS. This is where his results start to shine. Last month, he upgraded to the Simagic alpha mini direct drive steering wheel. “When you have better equipment, you have more fun.” He said. He treated sim racing as a hobby and did not consider joining the big esports team and becoming a pro sim driver. He focuses on real-life more than a sim racer. Pro sim racers spend a few hours per day. His overall practice time in ACC was less than 1 thousand hours. He switched to ACC because he wants to develop RWD car skills. If there is no championship, he will not spend more than 1-2 hours per week. 

2019 Cupra sim-racing top split race. He finished in P2 in Race2. One of his happiest results!

How did he start from zero when he was 28?

It all started because of his working schedule. He is an oil drilling engineer, and he loved his job of watching and monitoring the data from the oil field. He has a 3-days off per every 24 hours of work from 8am to 8am. Due to that, he can spend time discovering his hobby and enjoy it. For motorsport racing, you need to engineer thinking to set up the car, it is where engineer education helps. For the recent IUEM ACC Challenge event, the specific setup in the spa was set up by him for example. Then he tried to challenge people in the community. Analysing their time, watching and learning the race line and braking. Once you get the pace, you will realise that hot Lapping and race are different. In a race, you will encounter more factors such as battling and rain.

Lukoil racing esports team?

He is the official Lukoil Racing esports team driver in the circuit racing division. They already have an esports drifting team at first as drifting is very popular in Russia. But later, they wanted someone fast in the squad and started to recruit drivers on IG. In a short period, he saw the post and sent his race achievement profile to the team manager. Of course with the profile he has, the team has accepted him to join. 

https://www.instagram.com/lukoilracing/

For now, there are no big championship competitions ongoing. He aims to do a community race for now as it is easier to race, not demanding too much practice time. For the IUEM ACC race, they used Squadra Endurance as the team name. His teammate Grigory Ivanov in our race is also in the Lukoil Racing esports team. One more fun fact, they lived in the same city.

Raceroom Cupra vs GT3 cars. What is the difference?

The Raceroom Cupra series is Front wheel drive car, and he hasn't driven a Rear Wheel Drive car before. When he jumped into ACC, his first RWD experience was like ”why is sliding all around”. It is completely different compared to the Raceroom fwd car. But once you get it right, the GT3 is easier to drive, the ABS and TC systems help a lot, and the more downforce of the car stabilises the car in high-speed corners. In contrast, the FWD Cupra will lose the rear when entering a high-speed corner as the weight balance is more towards the front. 

For battling, Cupra will provide more fun fighting, maybe it is a cheaper car, and the difference in speed is smaller than the GT3. The downforce effect is also minimal for better dogfight battles.

The Competition level in ACC is undoubtedly higher, such as SRO series. SRO is one of the fastest guys series, like the Williams esports and other professional racing teams are there. To be competitive to that level you need to spend a lot of time trying to do a good setup. Each update patch in the car BOP or physics is different. Sometimes you have to begin in the stretch once updated. For example, he made corrections related to the rear wing for the IUEM race. It is “1” for the rear wing, and he added some more downforce in the rear. It is to avoid too many tyres gone. He decided to use “4” for the rear and considering the race may have the opportunity to rain. It is like gambling and ensuring you can finish the race with the setup.

Current sim racing communities in Russia?

Elmar said there are several communities and he listed some of them for us below.

1. Russian rFactor2 Community

2. Russian endurance esports (ACC)

3. Raceroom Russia

Fun activities and projects for him

He rented and tested a real track car on a race track. It is a Lada and here is the onboard video:

He also custom-made a Ferrari 488 steering wheel himself with a 3D printer. That’s an example of how engineers live their daily life: