A regular and enthusiastic photographer at FIA WTCC Race of Russia in the past, Sergey Mukimov is the lone mouse warrior of eSports WTCC, using a mouse instead of steering wheel and pedals. Despite the potential performance disadvantage this offers, the Russian is a fast performer in Division 2 multiplayer events. He spoke to series partner RaceRoom’s Robert Wiesenmüller.
Q:Hey Sergey, let's start off with the most recent round at Slovakia Ring. You qualified for the Division 2 race, but it didn't end so well. What happened?A:“At first want to say that to get into Division 2 was difficult, I set the time and it was my maximum. In the qualification I didn't set my best time, so I was P26. The start was promising and I began to catch my opponents in front, while driving as careful as possible. On the exit of the second corner, there was an accident in front of me. A Citroën was pushed and spun right in front of me. I was a passenger and my car was completely broken.”
Q: So far, you twice qualified for the Division 2 races but you came close to the Division 1 race at Spa-Francorchamps. What are your aims for the rest of the season?A:“To be correct, I already finished in P221 in Division 1 at the Monza qualification, but I didn’t reach my full potential there. I want to do my best in each round, regardless of my steering device.”
Q: The WTCC visited Russia four years running, and LADA entered a factory team for several seasons. How does it feel to be participating in the official virtual championship now as a Russian?A:Oh, it is really great! Especially to represent LADA in eSports. Even though I don’t work there, I still know most people in their WTCC team. It gives me some special feelings. It is almost a bit like I am the team-mate of Kevin [Gleason] and Yann [Ehrlacher] this season. Congrats to Yann for his victory in Argentina but so sad that we have not seen FIA WTCC at Moscow Raceway this year.”
Q: How would you describe the motorsports landscape in Russia at the moment? A:This year, the Russian Touring Car Series has grown to really good level. Last year I even didn't want to watch it, but this year I saw all races and was a photographer at the last round at Moscow Raceway. I think this success depends on that motorsport overall in the world is becoming cheaper. That the LADA factory team left the FIA WTCC was a mistake though in my opinion, because in this season they could have stormed to success.”
Q: Now the obvious question: Mouse steering? How does that even work? A:“Oh, yeah, my controller. I started to play in 1996 on Grand Prix 2 and NASCAR 2, of course with wheel and pedals. Then, a bit later, I tried Live for Speed, and at that time I had no wheel and pedals, so I needed a new solution and that was to use the mouse as a controller. It was really hard to get used to it, but when I learned it, I enjoyed it a lot. On many modern games it is very difficult to drive like this, but on RaceRoom it’s actually optimised quite well. And this is how it works: move the mouse for handling, push left and right buttons for acceleration and braking accordingly and two buttons on keyboard to switch gears. But if you want to drive fast, you have to feel it and use it like a professional musician. It takes a lot of energy and nerves. Sometimes you are close to a mega time and then the mousepad slips away... it makes me want to throw my mouse out of the window.”
Q: Do you think this type of steering is the future? Can it be used in real cars as well? Or are you planning to upgrade to a steering wheel and pedals soon?A:“I could joke about it, but won't do that. A mouse is a really useful controller for a lot of operations with the PC, hopefully it will stay with us for a long time, because I think touchpads are not a great solution. About cars, we are trying day by day to introduce something to increase the safety of driving. I hope no one will even think about mouse steering. For my own simracing, sometimes I think about getting a different device, but I don’t have the space for it at the moment. So I found a solution that works for me. I think we should never stop to search our own way.”
Sonoma in the USA hosts eSports WTCC from 19h00 CET today (Sunday 3 September with all the action streamed live via the WTCCFacebookpage and the WTCCYouTubechannel. James Kirk and Robert Wiesenmüller will provide their usual expert commentary. Find out more about eSports WTCC by clickinghere.