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Meet Jose Araya!


Omega Experiences (“Omega EXP”) welcomes professional sim racing driver, Jose Araya as an ambassador and partner to the Omega family.


He is a native of Costa Rica and is trailblazing new territory for young, underrepresented drivers in Latin America to be featured in larger markets and international competitions. His mindset is very modern and holistic, emphasizing mindfulness, discipline, technical acumen, and hard/ soft skill development.



 




1. How did you get into motorsports sim racing?


I started playing a rally game called Dirt Rally with a controller. I liked that it was not easy at all and represented a challenge. So it was not only about gaming, it was about learning how to make the car move and how it needed to go faster. And that itself hooked me enough to buy a wheel, pedals, and shifter. That's when I discovered force feedback, getting real sensations through a wheel - that's when I realized the value that sim racing offers for developing driving skills.


2. What advice do you have for new drivers?


Driving is about becoming part of the car, making it an extension of your body. The best way to achieve this is by learning how to move and position the car in all the ways possible. So, you need to make sure you keep a variety of motorsports disciplines, car categories, drivetrain types and different cars in general - all of it will bring you new muscle memory that you'll automatically use to adapt to new driving scenarios.


3. Congratulations. You were the only person to qualify from Latin America for the Drift World Championship 2020, what challenges and opportunities exist for Latin American drivers today?


Thanks! It was my first official sim drift event of a worldwide magnitude. For sure, an internet connection is one of the clearest advantages for drivers from developed countries. Since servers are located in their continent, our upload and download connection takes more time to reach the server and back to us, which affects car contact that didn't exist, when being too close to another car.


Apart from that, another challenge is the lack of this kind of competitive opportunity, it would help to raise the competitive level in more disciplines other than racing.




4. Who are your role models?


For driving, Colin McRae because he would always maximize the limits of the car. Growing up in my life, I learned from my parents that people are not supposed to be perfect because we are all human beings. But my parents were perfect for me to learn what I want to keep or repeat and what I want to change in order to be a better version of myself. They're the best teachers life gave me.


5. What does a day in the life of Jose look like as it pertains to motorsports and sim racing?


Starting a good racing day for me consists of getting ready the night prior by getting a good night of sleep - at least 8 hours. Then I wake up to a glass of water and immediately into a little meditation from 5 to 30 minutes, where I visualize three things; all the positive feelings I will have today, how the desired result will feel, and then feeling grateful for the experience.

While showering I create how I'll celebrate the win and repeat it a few times.

I also have a good light breakfast, and normal, fun conversations with my teammates before and into the competition - all focused on understanding the car/surface combo.


Whether on the sim or in real life, when in the car I close my eyes and breathe deeply a few times, just focusing on the feeling of peace and joy that is present. While sitting in the car ready to go out, I express my gratitude to life for living this experience.


When competing, it is just about me, the car, track limits, the opponent's psychological state, and my own state of mind. It all creates a beautiful combo of things to perceive that are in the present moment, and it's all processed like one whole experience.


After the competition, celebrating is part of the process. Regardless of the result, I had fun, I'm healthy and safe, and going home for a good rest, so there's a lot to be grateful for.


Personally, I get more nervous before sim racing events than in real-life events. Which I find interesting.


6. Wow, you are an Omega Experiences ambassador. Why Omega?


It's quite simple, Omega was created to facilitate experiences that all motorsport lovers need to increase accessibility, grow the community, and promote the sport and the motorsports ecosystem. Omega is part of the change that the motorsports industry needs by providing opportunities and access for more people - I find that really valuable.


Omega really stands out by having access to powerful driving courses to create the best drivers, side by side with personal growth courses where you learn about your human nature and how to live in the most peaceful, balanced, powerful way that helps people align their life to fulfillment. Those two areas aren't just necessary for creating healthy athletes, but it also reaches a need that society presents nowadays.


So offering so much value for motorsports and also for humanity in general, makes Omega part of a change that I want to be part of.



7. What can you tell us about the Omega Training Institute and your role in it?


The Omega Training Institute is about getting better at life and having access to knowledge and tools that you can use to be more aware and in control of life. All of this is accomplished through an awesome activity like motorsports.



What's your role in it?


My role here is to connect all of my passions; wellness, consciousness, health, and harmony. I've been studying and working in this area for 6 years now and driving cars fast, which is basically a way of meditation to connect with the present moment.


In Omega I have the opportunity to reach more people that need a little light in their life. Maybe a little guidance and information to work with so they find support to move forward in life to feel and live better in general. Building a happier, more conscious life while enjoying an awesome activity like motorsports - this is my passion and my dream.


8. How does sim racing compare to live track racing?


One of the major benefits of sim racing compared to live track racing is that there's a smaller learning curve thanks to the capacity of crashing with no physical consequences, this makes learning a lot quicker than real life.

Regarding brain and heart activity, both virtual and real racing have been proven to cause the same mental and physical effects, so it's basically the same workout.

Though sim racing has an awesome effect on the brain, you get to learn the same techniques you need in a real car; creating neuronal networks that will automatically work in both virtual and real driving. The main difference is that sim racers learn to perceive driving by relying on less sensorial information due to the Lack of G Forces. This means that when in a real car, a sim racer will just find it easier than the Sim.


9. What are the leading top 3 sim racing software programs and why?


  • 1- iRacing for competitive door-to-door racing, mainly because drivers have to pay a subscription and build up the Safety Rating and iRating to be paired up with similarly skilled drivers - so there is a higher likelihood to find serious and respectful drivers. From Trophy Trucks to Rallycross, GT3, Porsche Cup, MX5 Cup, Formula, Nascar, Dirt Oval, and a lot more categories.


  • 2- Assetto Corsa Competizione. This is by far the best software to simulate GT3 and GT4 driving experience. It has the best physics, the best weather system, and an awesome FFB, and the experience is really immersive.


  • 3- Assetto Corsa. Apart from having the best community and physics for sim drifting, Assetto Corsa became the Holy Grail of sim racing. It has an open code so modders have rebuilt the original software adding 24h dynamic weather circle, and unlimited mods of cars and locations to drive, most of them are free and others are paid content from Patreon. This sim now offers two-way AI traffic in Online servers, hand animations in VR, and everything that you can imagine from photorealistic graphics to laser-scanned famous roads. This is the best option for a beginner, so you can try track categories from GT to Formula, production road cars, sports, and supercars with original accurate data from the factory. But also Hillclimb, Tarmac rally, or just open roads for driving with friends.


  • 4- Dirt Rally 2.0 / Can't let Rally out of the top 3. Rally game with complex driving physics, it's a good Sim to learn about driving to the limit and controlling what feels uncontrollable. I can guarantee you, that anyone who masters all Dirt Rally 2.0 categories, can jump on any other sim and be competitive really quickly. It will help you to be a precise driver at any cost.


10. Why is it important to have diversity and inclusion in motorsports?


Opportunities are not the same for everyone. I think we would be amazed to know how much talent is hidden out there. But not only that, a lot of people could find a passion out of a single experience. The more diversity we have in one sport, the more sectors of the population will be reached, and this only benefits everyone involved, especially the ones who enjoy the sport. Diversity and inclusion are just better for the whole ecosystem.


11. Are there many women in sim racing? Anyone that stands out.


There are not a lot of women I can mention - I have never seen a girl in my competitive environment outside of Costa Rica. In Costa Rica, there's Veronica Valverde, a real race car driver who raced in the National Sim Racing Championship.



12. Are there many NASCAR fans in South America?


To be honest, I would say probably not so many due to the lack of oval racing in Latin America. But fans are all over the place so what NASCAR needs is a virtual opportunity for Latino American drivers. In my case I started liking NASCAR once I was involved in a serious race on the sim, it was exciting to be around so many cars!


13. What is the path from SIM Racing to a career in live track racing? Are there some popular current examples?


It's not rocket science here, most people who have gone from Sim Racing into professional real-life racing, have gotten the opportunity after being in the World Finals of a certain discipline or Sim Racing program. There's so much level in sim racing that you really have to stand out. Examples would be Igor Fraga from Gran Turismo, and James Baldwin from Winning the World's Fastest Gamer program. Jimmy Broadbent went from sim racing to racing in a Praga R1 in real life.

Some esports drivers have beaten real-life champions in the Race of Champions. The examples go on and on. In my case after winning FIA Nacam virtual Championship and the national virtual championship, I had the opportunity to race in the Costa Rican Rally Championship. We set the fastest times from the class and even beat higher classes. Sim racing is just awesome building the mindset and skills someone needs to be a competitive driver.


14. Who are some of the major sponsors of Motorsports in Latin America?


  • OMP

  • SPARCO

  • VP FUELS

  • TORCO

  • YOKOHAMA

  • PIRELLI

  • MICHELIN

  • MOTUL

  • CASTROL

  • ROYAL PURPLE

  • AROI

  • CARBERG

  • ALPINE STARS

  • DAINESSE

  • AGV

  • BC RACING

  • TEIN

  • DUNLOP

  • NGK

  • BREMBO

  • BILSTEIN

  • WILWOOD

  • RAINX

  • KYN

  • BMC

  • Stilo

  • Mobil

  • Takata

  • Piaa

  • GoPro

  • Dji

  • Aem

  • Motec

  • Tomei

  • Delphi

  • Autometer

  • Borla

  • Invidia

  • 3M

  • Prodrive

  • Ecutek

  • Momo

  • Rota

  • Oz Racing

  • Bride

  • Recaro

  • Redbull

  • Monster

  • Nos

  • Nitrous Express

  • Greddy

  • Apexi

  • Enkei

  • Exedi

  • Competition Clutch

  • Snap-on

  • Cusco

  • Nitto

  • Eibach

  • IHI turbo

  • Garret

  • Casio

  • Rolex

  • Tag Heuer















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