In the third episode of Meet The Driver we were able to have a chat with GChalkers, who is one of the top contenders in Division. Last season he finished in second while being in the lead for quite a while. This season he will be driving for AlphaTauri, together with his team mate, LTrocker, who will in part 4 of this season.
Let’s start with your name first, how did you get to this username?
Well. This wasn’t a name that I came up with alone, rather that something my Dad originally pioneered with “Chalkers123”. As a family we use slight alterations of this, and so I stuck a “G” on the front to represent my first name.
How did you get to your driver number?
In the past I was using number 22 but since Yuki took that, I started this game out using number 8. However, at some point another league that used a Telemetry Analysis System had a driver who was already using number 8 before I arrived, so I changed to 50 since it was available, and that’s what you’ll find on my car today.
A little more personal info about you, how old are you and where do you live?
Currently I live in Scarborough, North Yorkshire, in the UK.
What do you do in life? Work, study or something else
Study. Will be having A-Level exams this year.
About the racing, what are your expectations for this season?
Generally I expect to be in the top 5 in most races. I think that it’s going to be difficult with the calibre of drivers we have in D1 now, with the likes of Jari and Shaby, but also my teammate LTrocker.
Despite a good quali you had to retire early in Jeddah? What are you going to do to bounce back in Bahrain?
I struggled to get into a good rhythm in Jeddah once the race got underway, and that was my ultimate downfall. With Bahrain it should be easier to find that rhythm with the track being a lot more forgiving and open, and that is my focus in my practice.
Who do you think are the biggest candidates for the title?
I think it’ll be a three way fight between myself, Jari and Shaby. I have the experience of losing a title fight now and I know how to better prepare myself for it. Jari is a mega fast driver, and I think realistically he will be the biggest challenge, but you can never count out Shaby’s consistency and ability to keep the car right on the edge without getting track limit violations.
How do you prepare for a league race?
Normally, I give myself 2-3 hours of practice early on in seasons. This normally consists of me doing some time trial laps to acclimatise to the track and get my references of how far I can push the track limits, etc, then going into Grand Prix mode and doing the full race format that is being run on that day. However, later on into the season, if the championships are hotting up, I increase the amount of practice I do so that I have more knowledge of every possibility.
How did you get into sim racing? And for how long have you been sim racing?
Sim racing has been a big part of my life for basically as long as I have been alive. My Dad owns Grand Prix 4, and that is one of the first memories I ever have of playing a video game. From there, my interest in the F1 games was more so an offline experience than online, as I devoted my hours into the career modes of the games. Only around September 2020 did I seriously realise that I wanted to pursue playing the game competitively, and I got my first true force feedback wheel for that christmas. So overall, I have been doing this seriously now for about a year and 4 months.
As a Division 1 driver you are clearly among the faster guys in the league. What makes you so quick?
I’m not sure to be perfectly honest. Maybe because of my large, early exposure to real life F1 on TV?
What other games do you like to play?
Quite a wide variety. I have played titles from lots of different genres. More recently, I’ve been playing a lot of Nier:Automata.
What was your first console?
The first console I ever played a game on was my Mum’s Sega Genesis. The first console that I can properly call “my own” is my PS4.
What was your first F1 game?
Grand Prix 4.
About real racing, what was the first F1 Grand Prix you watched?
We had an old VHS recorder set up at our house and we used to record the Grand Prix’s. I’m not exactly sure which one I watched first, but it is most likely from the 1998 season, as my Mum is a huge Hakkinen fan.
Have you ever been to a Formula 1 Grand Prix? When and where if so and what is possibly the next one you will visit?
Despite how long F1 has been in my family, none of us have ever been to see one. We were planning on going to Silverstone this year for a belated 18th birthday present, but it was fully booked by the time we looked into it. We still want to do one, but we’re not 100% sure where. I personally would like to go to Imola, but my Mum wants to go to Spa, so we’ll have to argue over that in the coming months!
Who is or are your favourite drivers?
Always been a big fan of Raikonnen, as one of the earliest memories of real life F1 for me was when he went for his last lap overtake at Suzuka in 2005. If we’re talking about current drivers, I’d be hard pressed to choose between Lewis and Seb.
Do you also follow other series?
Not really. I watch the F2 highlights on Youtube every now and again but that’s about it.
Back to you on the sim. How do you race? And can you share a picture of how your setup looks?
I can give a bit of a progression timeline for you:
This is what I was running for the majority of 2021, with my old T150.
However, I say majority because I took my wheel and PS4 on holiday with me early in 2021 so I was running something like this for a weekend:
These days, I have a bit more of an updated rig. Newer chair, new wheel, some gloves. Still the same old headset though!:
We learned that Shaby loves sushi, what’s your favourite food?
I am a big sucker for BBQ ribs. If there’s ever a BBQ going on, I’ll be having ribs.
Another thing about you, what’s your favourite movie?
It has been a long time since I’ve properly sat down and watched a movie, these days I’m more into watching episodes from series. However I will always love watching Spirited Away.
Anything you would like to add?
Nothing more than what I’ve already said!