Mexican racing legend Mario Dominguez is still, like so many of us, confined to his home and no longer racing. Like many other racing drivers, he too is participating in a series of sim racing competitions, albeit with a twist. He’s competing against the biggest racers on the planet.
Mario, how have you been holding up during confinement?
It’s been tough. I miss racing. Overall, I manage to keep pretty busy. I keep doing my radio show, which I now record from home and send to the studio after. I spend a lot of time working out. I’m in really good shape right now [laughs]. Sim racing has also been taking up a fair share of my time.
You’ve not just been sim racing; you’ve been participating in the Legends’ Trophy. What is that?
It’s a single-seater invitation e-sport series that has been organised as unique entertainment for the fans. It’s a race that includes the biggest legends of the sport and I’m really grateful to have been invited to this event. In real life it would be impossible to have an actual race between Petter Solberg, Mario Andretti, Emerson Fittipaldi and Fernando Alonso. Fernando has been amazing actually. He won the last four races. Whether it’s in a car or at the wheel of a sim, that guy seems to be able to do it all. He’s really impressive. I race with some of the drivers back in IndyCar, which is amazing. But now to be able to compete with the best is great.
What’s it like for you racing with these guys? There must be some banter going on?
Oh yes [laughs]. We have a WhatsApp group. Let’s just say it’s exactly the same that happens when you put a bunch of random guys in a WhatsApp group.
You are obviously an “old school” generation of race driver. When did you get into sim racing and what has been the biggest challenge?
A few weeks ago, I’d never really put any effort into it. In fact, the set I’m using I’ve borrowed from a friend. Sim racing is not easy. A great race driver does not necessarily make for a great sim racer and vice versa. The biggest challenge for me is there’s no car feel. I don’t feel the car moving under me. A lot of racing drivers race with their butt. It can be tricky for drivers to only race with the feedback they get from the steering wheel and their eyes.
Do you think sim racing is here to stay? Would it be a good way to train young aspiring drivers?
Yes, absolutely. The popularity has exploded so I don’t see it going anywhere soon. The funny thing is, it’s not for everyone. If you look at drivers like Lando Norris, he swears by sim racing to keep him sharp. But on the other hand, you have Lewis Hamilton who has completely been off the grid when it comes to sim racing. I asked him this question last year and he made it very clear he wasn’t interested in it. I do however think it is a great form of training for young drivers if they combine it with karting.
When confinement is over, what will be the first thing you do?
I’ll go karting. It’s the best experience you can have! You should all join us [laughs].