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MONACO GRAND PRIX
Circuit de Monaco. 24 April 2018
January 06, 2018

 

2018 sees the return of WIlliamson Dynamics to GPVWC competition via their McKinlay brand.

The Scottish team have remained largely quiet since tendering their entry proposal for the forthcoming Formula Challenge season and have yet to openly discuss their plans.

Team Principal, Ben McKinlay Williamson, finally broke cover today to discuss his team's return, vision for the future and first season aims.

"Our first stint was a mixed bag, I consider the 2008 FSR season to be a strong debut. A lot of things fell into place, I was able to secure dedicated and consistent drivers, we won some races and I'd always had big aims - to me there was no practical reason why sim racing need be any different from other eSports. If it was done correctly, professionally - if we could set a high standard for ourselves, then we could succeed but we needed competition that reflected the same ambition. Ultimately, that's why we chose to leave FSR and enter GPVWC - they were the first to show the same level of ambition and to recognise that the team had to have a role for there to be a show worth watching." stated Williamson.

"If you look at the highest levels of motorsport, success comes when the right team produces the right car for the right driver. Even in homologated motorsport, the team is still key. You may all be running the same machinery, but no two teams run it to the same standard. You could have the best driver in the sport but if your team doesn't understand the car, can't set it up, can't maintain reliability - well then equal machinery or not, your driver may not be able to deliver to his full potential."

"eSports has this problem tenfold because, in most competition, there is no variable - the team is just a theoretical construct. It's essentially irrelevant and often clique based - the main problem there is that when all things are equal the best driver will win year in and year out - and you could argue deservedly so, but who is going to watch that? If nobody is watching then you don't get the sponsors and if you don't get the sponsors then you can't evolve the brand. The F1 eSports competition this year shows that there is an audience for this but even they eventually will have to regulate competition or institute some variability in the seats available because while this first season really captured people's attention, if the results largely repeat then what are you left with that's drawing people in? Car variability and the driver carousel, I would argue are MORE important, not less, to Sim Racing and that draws us to GPVWC today just as it did in 2009." he added.

When drawn on plans for his team's debut and aims for the future Williamson showed no illusions about the challenges ahead but remained resolute in his vision for creating a 'home for the enthusiast' - a well-branded passion project that he hopes one day will be among the most desirable seats in Sim Racing.

"It's a long-term plan, it's a slow build and we know 2018 is going to be difficult. We've been out of the series for a number of years and we have to reconnect to the scene, find the lay of the land. I hope for a quiet, consistent 2018 - very much a learning year and chance to lay the foundations for the reputation we seek to build. I want to draw on the best of what we have brought previously - we were comprehensively race engineering our drivers back in 2008, when we won we KNEW how we won because we were reviewing the telemetry and I feel that made us a great home for developing talent and I want to rebuild to that level as soon as possible. The team has a name over the door, but we don't want to be just a name over the door - we have to offer something tangible to our drivers, our partners and the wider world of sim racing."

"We always sought the balance between a promising driver and a committed one and that commitment went both ways when we found a hard worker we helped develop them and we lost the egos when they arose. In return, we offer today, as we did then, a team environment that appreciates what these drivers do. For my money, they work as hard, if not far harder, than any other competitors in any eSport and they deserve to be rewarded for their efforts. To do that, we'll do all we can to make our team and our competition attractive to fans and in turn sponsors - to show there is complexity here, there is driving talent here and the two can provide one hell of a show that people want to watch.

People play games and ultimately that equips them to understand just how impressive a qualifying lap truly is, and that makes that lap supremely watchable - we just have to market it right."

During his lengthy statement, the team principal refused to be drawn on one thing - lineup.

"We're in no hurry. I'm confident we will have an announcement before pre-season testing begins in February but again, no rush. Why should we rush? We want to evaluate our options - maybe we miss out on an exciting name, maybe we discover the next big thing - who knows? We want to do our research and once again, 2018 is a year with no real performance targets. We just want to be consistent and find our feet so we wouldn't be committing to a long term deal at this stage anyway."

"Ultimately, our last run in GPVWC was somewhat anonymous and we resolve to ensure that doesn't repeat. We're here, we're serious and we're growing and hopefully a few seasons from now, I'll be talking to you as the team principal that grew his team strongly and is competing at the highest levels respectably."

It remains to be seen if McKinlay can grow into the iconic team it aspires to become and the team will certainly be carrying the weight of it's previous run, eager to show that it can deliver on it's aims. No names have yet been publicly linked to the team and it's unclear how many drivers are currently in negotiations but for the big picture driver who can learn during a difficult, potentially uncompetitive first season - there are worse drives to cut your teeth in if you seek to build a career.



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