In the wake of the coronavirus lockdown, every racing sanctioning body is rushing to iRacing as a way to continue racing in this mid-season impromptu off-season. Every major racing series from NASCAR to IMSA to IndyCar is running iRacing every week with professional drivers racing to professional standards (sometimes). The 24 Hours of Lemons is also shut down and looking for ways to engage with its nationwide group of motorsport degenerates. iRacing is still the answer, but with a twist of Lemon.
I’ve watched as much of this pro virtual racing as I can stand, consuming the televised and clean-cut racing from F1 to NASCAR. It’s fine, but when it comes to racing in a video game, the best stuff is the most irreverent. And Thursday night the 24 Hours of Lemons crew took iRacing spectating to its absolute zenith.
The Lemons iRacing League Free-For-All had my sides splitting as soon as the premise was announced. While the first two races of the evening would be traditional battles between off-road Pro 2 trucks and Street Stock oval racer Camaros [you know, as you do], the race to close the evening was a run-what-you-brung race that could only be run with a non-standard controller.
Here’s a quick rundown of what some of these wild ass racers used to control their online racing machines for the 24 minute enduro.
- A traditional wheel and pedal system, but with the controls reversed so the pedals ran the steering and the wheel ran the throttle and brake
- An etch-a-sketch
- A stationary exercise bike
- The climate control from a Nissan 300ZX
- A saxaphone
- A keytar
- The keyboard from Rockband
- and the guy who came in last was using an x-box controller, but he was blindfolded and had a spotter (depicted in the gif above)
You have to be a certain level of weirdo to appreciate the things that Lemons does, and boy howdy is it the level of weirdo that I am. I loved every single minute of this, and I hope you do too. The non-standard controller race action starts at the 59:45 mark. It’s worth every single second. In the booth running commentary is Sean Yoder of Nemesis Labs, producer Ryan Bauer, Lemons’ “everything bagel” Eric Rood, and the implausible Judge Phil (AKA Murilee Martin).
If you need something to take your mind off of the unbelievable shittiness of everyday life right now, watch just watch this and have a laugh. Maybe start devising your own non-standard controller, as Lemons says it is planning to make this a semi-regular occurrence. Do you have a Dance Dance Revolution pad to hack into a race controller? Hop to it.