Octane Online Racing have just become the first ever racing league to sponsor the website! It's a very exciting time and I'm keen to see how this partnership differs compared to my non-league sponsors.
So you can all get to know our new sponsor, I've interviewed Neale, founder of OOR. He has some absolute gems for new league owners, advice that you could only get from someone who has been through the process of setting up a successful league from scratch. Enjoy!
So Neale, you've built an amazing community at OOR but how did you personally first get involved with sim racing?
Thanks Tom. Well, I think to be honest if we count it as sim racing, Microprose Grand Prix back in 1988 was when I played my first racing game. From there my love for motorsport and gaming/racing just grew. It probably wasn't until about 2016 that i first bought a sim racing wheel and from there my love for sim racing took off. It's a quite common discussion on our broadcasts about how people first got involved in sim racing and what game that started this. It's brilliant. It's come a long way, even in the 4 years I have been very actively involved.
What's your favourite sim/platform/track/car combo?
Favourite platform at the moment would be Assetto Corsa Competizione. I love the direction that the game has been taking over the past 12 months and i hope it continues that trend moving forward. With so many options out there in this day and age, it's so hard to pick my favourite combo. BMW M1 on AMS2 on any track is unreal fun and that probably stands out as the most recent new combo I've enjoyed.
What was it that inspired you to make the jump from racer to league owner?
I've always been someone who likes to be organised and provide others with opportunities. Combine that with my passion for motorsports and sim racing, it was right up my alley. I come from a sports administration and management background prior to this so it was a natural fit for me. Also growing up as the eldest of 4 brothers, all of us being competitive - organising and playing all different types of games was a must. We could turn anything into something competitive - mowing the lawns, monopoly, BMX down the driveway, apple throwing (we lived next to an orchard haha). I think I just really enjoyed creating competitions.
What were your greatest challenges when you first created your league?
Time management. As any large community admin would know, there's just so much time involved in organising, especially when you are a little OCD with certain things and also when you are your own worst critic. From grid line ups, broadcast graphics and setup, website information, server management, member communication, staff discussions, planning etc. etc. there's a lot involved and making sure you can balance that out with home/work/health life is vastly important and not just for you, but for your entire team and for your members. I will always push and make sure those that are at school or have work - that it takes priority in their lives.
Knowing what you know now, what would you have done differently when first setting up your league?
Bought a bigger fridge for my Iced Coffee. Haha, no there isn't much I'd have done
differently. We are always learning and growing, so it's been an enjoyable journey.
What would you say has been the highlight of your league owner career?
It's easily when we receive messages from members/drivers expressing their love for what we do and the enjoyment they are having within our community. That's by far the best feeling bar none and the whole reason OOR was created. My amazing team of staff need a mention as well. I think anytime you have people who you haven't met before in real life, message you and offer their help and support because they believe and love what we are building, that always makes me very happy.
What's your one piece of advice to anyone aspiring to set up their own community?
Details. It's all the small things. You need passion and a vision to what you want to achieve and how you want to achieve it. Knowing what your strengths and weaknesses are as an organiser and learning how to play to your strengths and improve on your weaknesses is so important.
But above all, enjoy it and have fun with it. It's very easy to get lost in the demands of being an admin as it can be stressful because you can be dealing with multiple issues and we are only human after all.