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CVG's Site of The Week: Online Race Driver

Our favourite gaming sites...

Last week CVG's Site of the Week was Reaper Gaming a site run by a crack team of six gaming enthusiasts.

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This week, we're getting right back into super specialisation with Online Race Driver, which as you may have guessed, focusing solely on gaming's racing genre.

But this is much more than a couple of car enthusiasts jotting their thoughts down online, ORD brings together motoring journalists from the high up places in broadcast and journalism. We spoke to ORD's Dan Thornton to learn more:

What sets Online Race Driver apart from other sites?

It's a combination of passion and experience. For example, I've spent over 10 years as a journalist for car, motorcycle and videogame magazines and websites, and now my day job combines marketing websites and teaching blogging and journalism, so ORD has to be good!

Everyone else involved is the same, either working at places like a large UK broadcaster in their sports department, or racing karts, cars or bikes in their spare time.
It means that when a developer releases a new car or track for their game, there's a decent chance of one of us may have actually driven that car or track and can give a bit more insight into what it's actually like.

And when it comes to the actual gaming side, our contributors have written official game guides, run their own racing tournaments and leagues for years, and all tend to have won championships or consistently placed in top 50 or 100 global leader boards in time trials.

It's safe to say we're pretty obsessive about what we do - and although it doesn't pay enough to be a full-time job for anyone yet, the idea is to keep building steadily and consistently by doing the best possible job we can. Plus we're constantly experimenting and learning with new ideas for the site, just as a successful racing team is always working to keep ahead of the pack.

What would you say you specialise in?

We focus on online racing games, and although we try and make sure it's accessible to everyone, we focus mostly on the hardcore end of racing, because those are the people who we want to help the most, and who are most likely to support us.

So there should be something for everyone, but the type of guys who inspired the site are the ones who might spend £400 on a steering wheel and pedal set, and then put it into a home-made 3-monitor set-up with a racing seat scavenged from a scrap yard to play iRacing, Forza or Gran Turismo. If those guys are happy, then we're doing OK!

In terms of how we do it, we update on the latest news as and when it happens, and then add reviews, features and guides to improving your racing in each game, including things like the best cars to own, the best ways to tune your car, etc. And we try and make those guides as easy-to-follow as we can because I'm definitely the sort of person who ends up racing around a bad set-up rather than fixing it straight away...

What do you have planned for the future?

We've got a ridiculous amount planned - mainly because from the start we wanted to build the site from literally nothing, to let us figure out exactly what works best for people.

We're in the process of getting more input from current motorsport stars, so you know you're getting the opinions of someone who really does race the cars and tracks you're playing, along with a load of technical improvements to the lists of games and tracks, and building up the community side of things to let more and more people contribute their own stories, race results and club details.

Plus we're really gearing up for the release of Forza Motorsport 4, which is going to be a big deal considering some of the changes they've made. The combination of Forza and Xbox Live really made online racing a lot more accessible to a huge number of people, and it looks like that's really coming back in the new game.

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