Armstrong adds real-life co-driver for Esports pacenotes

Esports world champion has moved gaming closer to the real thing by having Phil Hall, in another country, call his notes

World champion Esports gamer Jon Armstrong has found a way to make his online driving even more realistic, with the use of a real-time co-driver calling notes to him.

Armstrong tested the system on DiRT Rally 2.0, with co-driver Phil Hall calling the notes from another bedroom in another country.

“There’s nothing new in this,” Armstrong told DirtFish, “we’re playing together in an online custom lobby.

“Phil is essentially spectating and can see exactly what I can see – we then use headsets and communicate via discord, which is a gaming communication application, for him to call the notes to me and for me to dictate the notes to him on the recce.

“It works really well and gives you a lot more confidence when you’re driving to the same notes you would be using in real-time competition. It’s like being on an event and driving on your own notes compared with using organizer’s [route] notes.”


Photo: M-Sport

Armstrong pointed out the advantages of keeping a crew fresh in terms of making and competing on notes during the current coronavirus-enforced absence of rallying.

Talking of competing, Armstrong is fighting to keep his title hopes on track after losing his main backer earlier this season. The Northern Irishman, who crashed heavily at the Junior WRC season opener in Sweden, is facing a race against time to find more cash before the Junior competition is back underway.

“I’m determined to keep it going,” Armstrong continued. “The crash in Sweden was obviously not the best start to the year, then we lost the sponsor and then lockdown and coronavirus arrived.

“All around the world, for everybody, this has been an incredibly difficult season.

“It’s tricky to try to find a way to get to the next round of the Juniors, but I committed to the series and I don’t want to go back on that. I want to be back in a rally car and competing as soon as possible.”

Junior WRC organizers are still working to complete this season’s five-round series, but with a heavily revised calendar.

On the upside, Armstrong’s Thrustmaster eRally Series went down a storm with 1500 players taking part in the four-round DiRT Rally 2.0-based championship.

“I really enjoyed that,” said Armstrong, “it was so well received and, with the help of Thrustmaster, it was great to be able to give something back to people – especially at a time like this.”


Words:David Evans