Tapani Linnaluoto is one of the greatest road racing drivers in the short iRacing history. He has been racing consistently since 2009, driving several very different series. Currently he shows his talent in the beloved L79 series, but also the newly Blancpain Sprint seems very appealing.
Always learning, always sharing. A truly gentleman driver.
“What was your first simracing peripheral?”
When Grand Prix Legends came out in 1998, I drove it with a Gravis Analog Pro joystick. At that time steering wheels were not that common and their quality was often questionable. Soon after Nascar Racing 4 came out in the spring of 2001 I joined the Finnish online racing community Ruutulippu.net (now long dead) and bought a Microsoft Force Feedback wheel to better be able to race with the likes of Greger Huttu in the leagues we had there.
“How many hours do you train before a race?”
As long as I need to get comfortable with the car and track. If I have the setup about ready and I know the track it doesn’t take very long – couple of stints to check my markers and weather – but if I have to set up the car from scratch, it can take a few hours. I don’t like to race unprepared, but I also think official races are the best way of learning the final bits and pieces. If I raced Pro/WCS, things would naturally be a bit different.
“What was the inflection point in your career?”
I don’t think there has been a clear one. I grew up with racing games and early sims in the 1990s. The first obvious inflection point was starting online racing in 2001. But joining iRacing in 2009 was also very important point in time, since it invigorated my sim racing hobby which had been mostly on the back burner since the Nascar Racing 4/2002/2003 days and occasional rFactor and GTR2 in between. In the last 5+ years I have slowly and steadily increased my knowledge, consistency and confidence – and iRating.
“Do you use your sim racing skills for daily driving?”
Since I’m an urban dweller living within a walking distance from the centre of Helsinki, I don’t drive. Funnily enough, I don’t even have a driving licence. Sometimes I use my sim racing skills to get terrified as a passenger.
“Tell me your most hated track.”
Must be COTA. It’s just intentionally awkward and designed to be unintuitive. It’s silly, since in the end you just use almost the same basic driving lines and techniques as everywhere else, just that finding them is a bit more difficult. It’s also the worst track for a single screen, narrow field-of-view driver like me.
“What do you miss in sim racing today?”
Organisation and recognition in e-sports in general. It’s one of the reasons why a bunch of active Finns very recently established Finnish Sim Racing Association – a non-profit association to promote and organise sim racing. Our main aim is to create a yearly Finnish sim racing championship, recognised by national e-sports and motorsports bodies. We’ll see how that goes. Everything has to be done from the ground up. Interesting times ahead! Personally I ended up as the Secretary of the new association and my main job is to tackle the bureaucracy involved in running a registered association.
Also, the future of virtual reality. It sounds very promising, but I haven’t had the chance to try Oculus Rift yet.
“How much have you invested in your current cockpit?”
Oh, not very much. I would invest more, but I’m not that well-off. I have a Logitech G25 which I bought in 2009, still working great. I also have Clubsport Pedals V2 I got some years ago, but that’s about it. The rest I have improvised: a squeaky wooden chair padded with a blanket and a sofa pillow, quite comfortable, and my tablet with iSpeed next to my shifter.
“Do you use Sims other than ir?”
I try to check out interesting sims, but I only occasionally actually drive them. The online structure of iRacing is that much more compelling. Currently I have Assetto Corsa as the main alternate (and for Nordschleife!), but I also have rFactor 2 lying around.
“Show me your racing shoes.”
I need shoes in my living room? Bare feet or socks for me… maybe traditional hand-woven wool socks in winter to keep my toes nice and warm and to get stuck in between the throttle pedal.
“What car would you like to race better?”
That’s a good question. I have pretty much only driven the Lotus 79 over the last year – it’s a very addictive car to drive and I’m pretty good at it – but I drove a few seasons and had lots of fun in GT3 a year ago and I kinda would like to get competitive there again. So maybe the McLaren – I don’t really know anymore how to set up the Macca, so that’s a good first goal together with re-learning to drive GT3.
Best of luck in your projects, Tapani. Thanks for your time and your commitment to this wonderful community.