iRacing with Dion von Moltke: Part 1

What happens when a journalist takes to the track on an online racing simulator with a professional? Read on to find out.

iRacing with Dion von Moltke: Part 1

It happened again. I lost to a professional race car driver on iRacing.

Yep, who would have guessed it. I chose a car that I feel comfortable and competitive in. I also ran a handful of laps testing the night before. It still wasn’t enough.

Turns out Dion von Moltke is faster than me too.

The 23 year old driver, who has left a big mark on the ALMS and Grand-Am community already in his young career, accepted a request from me to run a short practice session and short race, all the while chatting about his career, the state of the sport, and generally anything racing.

Dion von Moltke
Dion von Moltke

Photo by: Eric Gilbert

Honda HPD prototype was the car. Lots of downforce, great power and fantastic deceleration. Considering the Petit Le Mans was just over, why not Road Atlanta.

Von Moltke got his start in racing at the age of 13. After moving around a lot in his earlier years, his father bribed him with either a gaming computer or a kart.

“My dad was open withme and said I am going to bride you right now. Not many 13 year olds would turn down a kart,” he said.

We snap forward all the way to January of this year, when he crossed the finish line at the Daytona International Speedway driving an Audi to victory of the 24 Hours of Daytona.

It’s a huge accomplishment to win any race, anywhere, but there are a few crown jewels in racing that are the target of many a driver. Von Moltke won that race at age 22. Oh and did I mention he also won the 12 Hours of Sebring? He guy is an incredible talent.

#24 Audi Sport Customer Racing/AJR Audi R8 Grand-Am: Filipe Albuquerque, Oliver Jarvis, Edoardo Mortara, Dion von Moltke takes the checkered flag
#24 Audi Sport Customer Racing/AJR Audi R8 Grand-Am: Filipe Albuquerque, Oliver Jarvis, Edoardo Mortara, Dion von Moltke takes the checkered flag

Photo by: Covy Moore

“The emotions going through it all were indescribable,” said von Moltke. “Walking in there, and the three guys that were next to me were some amazing drivers with some amazing success.”

He described the situation before that race, how he didn’t really have a concrete opportunity with Grand-Am or the 24 Hours, but called on Alex Job for…well…a job.

“I had a good relationship with Alex Job at the time… I remember how badly he wanted to win that race,” he said.

The Alex Job Racing team drove an Audi R8, with customer support through Audi, meaning the bigwigs from Germany come over and tune the car, work through setup, strategy and performance with the team.

“Their focus on the details, the meetings we had, meeting after meeting, focusing on all the smallest details, from the drivers to the crew to the engineers to the management. Everyone was focused on one goal, and that was winning the race. When you are racing at the Rolex at Daytona, against he competition you are up against, you have to perfect those small little things that won't necessarily win you the race, but if you don’t do them, it will guarantee you won’t win the race,” he said.

#44 Flying Lizard Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 RSR: Pierre Ehret, Dion von Moltke
#44 Flying Lizard Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 RSR: Pierre Ehret, Dion von Moltke

Photo by: James Holland

“I remember that first driver change where Dr. Ullrich is standing over you watching, that puts a lot of extra pressure on you.”

He spent much of this past year running in both the Grand-Am series, and the American Le Mans Series, with the Flying Lizard Motorsport team, and even took the team to the podium.

“We will definitely be back (with Flying Lizard Motorsports),” said von Moltke.

“We are all looking forward to next year. It’s going to be one amazing series. All four classes will be epic.”

We moved on to talk about the tough situation in racing today. With the fact teams are asking drivers to bring their own money, even with some big team today, von Moltke said nothing is ever handed to you, you have to work hard and perform on track.

“You are only as good as your last race. That saying couldn’t be more true. Every time I am in the car it matter, it matters a lot. It’s so hard at times because there are so many good drivers that you have to be working really hard to remain out there,” he said.

GTC podium: class winners Cooper MacNeil, Jeroen Bleekemolen, Dion von Moltke, second place Nelson Canache, Spencer Pumpelly, Brian Wong, third place Henrique Cisneros, Marco Seefried, Sean Edwards
GTC podium: class winners Cooper MacNeil, Jeroen Bleekemolen, Dion von Moltke, second place Nelson Canache, Spencer Pumpelly, Brian Wong, third place Henrique Cisneros, Marco Seefried, Sean Edwards

Photo by: Eric Gilbert

“There are two big steps to becoming a successful race-car driver. You go from being the guy who pays for his seats. Then you can get in a position where you can drive and don’t have to pay for your seat. Then there are gentleman drivers who either pay to do this or bring some sponsorship. Then there is the point when you are actually getting paid to be a race car driver. That last step is the hardest step.”

Von Moltke is lapping Road Atlanta at about a 1:10.000, with his career best in that car being in the 1:09.000 bracket. I am lapping considerably slower, with my best time being a 1:13.000. I am optimistic however, as the defending GT champion of the 24 Hours of Daytona just offered his setup to me..

“Lower to the ground, less downforce,” he says.

All I can think is this isn’t going to be good.

Stay tuned for the conclusion of iRacing with Dion Von Moltke.

shares
comments
iRacing with Peter Dempsey
Previous article

iRacing with Peter Dempsey

Next article

iRacing with Dion von Moltke: Part 2

iRacing with Dion von Moltke: Part 2
Load comments
How an unlikely tie-up won sim racing's biggest prize Prime

How an unlikely tie-up won sim racing's biggest prize

An unlikely partnership between World Endurance Championship LMP1 privateers Rebellion Racing and Williams Formula 1's highly-successful sim racing team yielded victory in the inaugural 24 Hours of Le Mans Virtual. Here's how it triumphed in the biggest sim race ever staged

Esports
Jun 15, 2020
How seriously should Esports be taken? Prime

How seriously should Esports be taken?

As interest in Esports has increased during the coronavirus lockdown, the lines have become blurred between what's real and what's virtual - especially when some high-profile participants seem to be playing for laughs, says Luke Smith

Esports
Jun 10, 2020
Why Abt's deception left Audi with no choice Prime

Why Abt's deception left Audi with no choice

Daniel Abt's suspension by the Audi Formula E team - and possible loss of his drive - for fielding a ringer in an Esports event could be considered an overreaction. But in a wider context, his employers had little other alternative

Esports
May 26, 2020
How Leclerc is embracing his new mission Prime

How Leclerc is embracing his new mission

The emergence of Ferrari F1 driver Charles Leclerc as a Twitch streaming star has been one of the pleasant surprises of lockdown so far. He says it is giving fans a greater insight into his nature, but that's not his primary purpose

Formula 1
Apr 23, 2020
Leclerc's Virtual GP annihilation deserves great credit Prime

Leclerc's Virtual GP annihilation deserves great credit

The introduction of Charles Leclerc, Alex Albon, George Russell and Antonio Giovinazzi to Formula 1's Virtual GP last weekend meant it was a step above the franchise's debut two weeks ago. But a dominant performance from Esports newcomer Leclerc stole the show

Esports
Apr 6, 2020
How the hidden side of being fast has been exposed Prime

How the hidden side of being fast has been exposed

The lack of real track action so far this year hasn't stop drivers from keeping their racing brains 'fresh', as former F1 star Stoffel Vandoorne suggested last weekend.

Esports
Apr 2, 2020
Why entertainment isn't Esports greatest virtue right now Prime

Why entertainment isn't Esports greatest virtue right now

MotoGP's virtual #StayAtHomeGP was a sad reminder of some of the storylines that could be unfolding had the real-life season not been delayed indefinitely by the coronavirus pandemic. While we can bemoan Esports as being a poor relation of the real thing, it has an even more important function to perform

MotoGP
Mar 30, 2020
F1’s pantomime Virtual GP is fun but unsustainable Prime

F1’s pantomime Virtual GP is fun but unsustainable

F1 Esports' inaugural Virtual Grand Prix last weekend provided brilliant entertainment to those tuning in to watch a mix of F1 drivers and celebrities battle on track, but was a missed opportunity for marketing its own Esports stars. A change of approach is needed if it is to successfully fill the void until the resumption of proper racing

Esports
Mar 24, 2020