INTERVIEW WITH MARK STEPHENS
Please introduce yourself, tell us about you (age, nationality, profession) and how you became a simracer
I am Mark Stephens, I am 55 years old, and I live in a little village called Alrewas which is in England. I am married to my wife, Loraine, we have three children but sadly our first-born Leon died Easter Sunday 1996 from leukemia at the age of five. This event totally shook our world apart but somehow, we managed. We later had a daughter called Molly and a son called Lewis. You will often see Lewis chatting on eSeniors streams.
I run my own business installing and decommissioning mobile phone masts all over the UK using Mercedes Unimog’s. I currently own several Unimog’s, but I have one six-wheeler and it is one of only three in the world today. I have also started another business with my son 18 months ago which is going very well. This is producing wheels, parts, and modifications for sim racing but more for the first timers looking for Logitech wheel upgrades.
I have always enjoyed speed, I raced Motocross up until I was 46 years old, and my body said no more! So, I decided to move to cars and in May 2019, I was invited on a trip to the Nürburgring. This is how I started, I was told the best way to learn all seventy-six corners on the Northcliffe was to go on a sim racer. So, I bought myself a PS4 and had a Logitech wheel and pedals and a PlaySeat with speaker and Gran Turismo Sport for a Christmas present from the family and this was the start.
How long have you played ACC ?
I started playing ACC in December 2020, at this point I already moved from PS4 to PC. My son pushed me into this who had already raced for years on iRacing.
Tell us how the idea of the eSeniors came to you ?
One weekend I was searching through the internet, my son was in a race group, and I thought I would like to do the same. I had tried the public servers, but this really was not fun at all. At that time, I was doing Oval Racing in iRacing. I searched on the internet, and I came across eseniors. I would say this was around March/ April 2021. I sent a request and I have been with you guys ever since.
How was it racing in the Eseniors Championship ?
The first championship I really cannot remember where I finished. The second one I was second in group 2 and then moved up to group 1. I honestly found Group 1 serious and difficult to enjoy, this is not any reflection on the racers, but I found myself near the back and one mistake it as impossible to recover. So, I moved back to Group 2 and since doing so I have really enjoyed the racing.
How many hours did you spend preparing yourself for a Race, and why is it important ?
Well, when I first started a full week of prep was required, now no more than two evenings. I know the tracks, so it is just an hour each evening and a quick practice on race day. I do enjoy the two weeks in between and I’ve just complete two fun races and I can say I really enjoyed them.
I do believe it is particularly important to have a good setup and track knowledge as it reduces the risk of crashing out and ruining fellow racers race.
What kind of equipment do you use (wheel, pedals, PC, screen, etc) ?
AMD Ryzen 5 3600
MSI B450 Gaming board
Hyper H412R CPU cooler
Trak racer TR80 and triple monitor stand.
Sim lab seat
Next level motion
Wind sim DIY made
Fanatec CSL Elite
Fanatec Load cell pedals
Fanatec elite P1 wheel
Fanatec Clubsport F1 wheel
Fanatec Mclaren GT3 V2
7-inch touchscreen Dash DIY running on a Raspberry PI
3 main monitors iiyama G-Master Red Eagle 32" 144Hz Curved Gaming Monitor
Timing monitor above
5.1 surround sound Logitech Z906.
Corsair HS70 headset.
Oculus Rift S VR
Think that is everything, eseniors are totally responsible for all excessive spending lol
Do you buy setups or do you setup your car alone ?
When I first started Mr. Bird sent me some setups, I then bought some from CDA, however following some talk on our Hardware channel/ Discord regarding Motec I now do all my own setups from scratch. I have found ways to make the car stable but fairly quick, well quick for me.
What makes you faster than the rest?
I am definitely not faster, but I do try and be consistent and most importantly clean
What is you favorite car and why ?
My favourite car is the Lexus RC F GT3, I find it a good all-rounder. Jack of all trades and a master of non!
I would also like to express my appreciation to Nikos who was kind enough to create the fantastic livery I use in the races.
What is you favorite circuit (s) and why ?
My favourite track must be Spa, it is so technical and fun.
Who are your childhood racing heroes ?
Nigel Mansell, Ayrton Senna, Michael Schumacher
What is the best advice you would to give a simracer ?
Be consistent, clean, and fair
Are you satisfied with the Eseniors organization, and do you have suggestions to help bring a higher level of competition ?
I honestly believe Eseniors is a fabulous place to be. In the beginning of my entry to the more competitive side of simracing, I may have taken the racing too seriously, after a few angry moments I decided to take a calmer approach. Since then, the racing has been more enjoyable. Racers need to change like I did. I took it too seriously at the beginning, it was not the organisation or rules, just me! I am very satisfied and made great friends all over the world.
I must say this year from Race results to Race numbers, Skins to Stewards, Admin to Streams you have done a grand job and it is easy to forget that this is all voluntary work. There are a number of fellow racers behind all these positions, and I can honestly say it has been done so well. Thank you.
See you on the track. Take care.
And finally, the most important question...how many speeding tickets have you accumulated to date ?
One in my Ford RS Cosworth, Let’s just say it was way past the legal speed limit. It took 10 mins for the Police to catch up and that’s the truth. The Policeman said to me: “I’ve been chasing you for ten bloody minutes boyo.” In a Welsh accent, t