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Category: General
Posted by: Mike
I know this might sound ridiculous, but consider the following scenarios:

A racing series limits entries to drivers of a certain age, such as 16-21, 16-24, or 16-26. If you are not between these ages, you cannot race in the series. There is no other significant criteria for entry to the series other then age - i.e. anyone within the age group can race in the series, so long as the have the means/money.

A racing series selects its drivers from a driver tryout or selection, where drivers are evaluated based on criteria known to be important for successful drivers - i.e. racing experience, racing skills, media skills, etc. To attend the driver tryout, you must be within some age range, such as 16-26.

A driver development program selects drivers from a pool of applicants. Drivers are selected based on racing skills and experience. The drivers selected for the program receive career development training, and possibly partial or full funding for certain races. To apply, the applicant much meet some age criteria, such as 11-19 or 16-25.

A racing series is open to all drivers over some age, such as 16, and the champion wins a significant scholarship to race at the next level, worth anywhere from $300,000-$750,000. However, to win the scholarship, the winner of the series much be within some age range, such as 16-25. Drivers older then this range may be eligible for a separate prize pool, perhaps called an experts or master class prize, but the price amount is significantly smaller then the top prize offered to 16-25 aged drivers.

A drivers shootout is held in which the winner(s) get a significant scholarship to race in some series, worth anywhere from $60,000 to a few hundred thousand dollars. At the shootout drivers are evaluated based on driving skills. Participation in the shootout is limited to an age range, such as 13-17 or 16-25.

In any of the above scenarios where drivers are selected based on driving skill or experience, instead of eligibility being restricted by age, drivers of all ages may apply, but age is a factor in the selection, and there may be preference towards younger drivers.

A few notes to consider:

Most successful drivers at the top level start at a young age, and enter the series' described above within the above age ranges. However, there have historically been many successful drivers who has started racing and older ages, such as in their 20s or older. Some of these drivers have gone on to be extremely successful at the top levels of the sport.

Unlike many other popular sports such as basketball or football/soccer, access to racing is so limited that most average people cannot engage in any form of the sport in their childhood. Many people with the desire to race will not achieve the means to enter the sport until their late teens, 20s or older, if at all.

In many sports, performance at the top level declines for most people sometime in the 30s. In racing, many drivers continue to be successful in their 40s, and in some forms of the sport, some top drivers remain competitive over the age of 50.

Considering all this, are any of the above scenarios for age restrictions unethical? or questionable? or even illegal based on age discrimination laws?

To me, some of the above scenarios seem acceptable, but some are at least questionable. However, I know you could definitely argue the opposite. What do you think?
Category: Racing Simulators
Posted by: Mike
I wrote before about the ability of top sim racers in real life racing, but what about the other way around?

Unlike other games, iRacing displays your full name instead of some "gamertag" and there are quite a few real life pro racers who have accounts and race. In fact, I've raced against at least a few dozen names I recognized from a pro racing series, although few that have ever raced at the top levels.

So how good are the real life pros? From my experience it varies. Some real life pros are among the top rated iRacers. However, other pro racers have quite disappointing iRacing results. Some also seem to get in an above average amount of incidents.

So what does this mean? Who knows. Are the mediocre iRacers also mediocre real life racers? Are their lack of skills hidden by good equipment and/or a smaller pool of drivers in real physical world racing? Or do some real life racers just not take the game seriously? After all, they race for real, why take a game seriously? Are they used to having the real life "seat of the pants" feel and thus struggle without it? Are the guys that crash a lot just taking advantage of the comparably minimal repercussions? Or is it a result of real life racers racing more aggressively and competitively? I guess can't say I'll ever know unless I race against them in real life.

If you're an iRacing member, you can search for other members by name using the driver lookup feature under the myRacing->myRacers menu.