Continuing the series of chats with commentators who have worked in both virtual and real-world motorsport commentary boxes, I had a catch up with a man who started in the real commentary box and then hit the ground running in the sim racing commentary world, and also has done a lot of work here at GTR24H. I refer to none other than the legend himself, Alex Goldschmidt.
How did your journey begin?
My journey started rather ad-hoc in 2014, I had done a few volunteer gigs to get an understanding of commentary. I was always captivated by the likes of Charlie Cox, Murray Walker, James Allan, and Johnathan Legard amongst others, which led me to think “How hard can it be?”.
At that point, I had been writing about motorsport for the past three seasons for The Chequered Flag, reporting on the DTM for them. I give thanks to Vince Pettit and Chris Derrer who had a website called “Pop Fodder” who were looking for writers, so one of my friends Charlie Barnes recommended me to Chris, who asked me to write a 1500 word article about a subject of my choice.
I was taken on to write about Moto GP and the WRC, and thanks to Lauren Vickers, who at the time was Randy de Puniet’s girlfriend, got me in touch with Randy who answered my questions (back in the day before Discord calls and the like), which was my first interview with a rider. My career blossomed from there, I got to interview the likes of Dani Juncadella, and I did have an interview lined up with Marcus Ericsson in 2014 at the British Grand Prix, but sadly that was canceled. I still have all my lanyard passes from BTCC, DTM, Rotax Grand Finals, and Autosport International. Some contacts from then I am still in touch with, like Florian Haasper of VCO, who I’ve known since 2013, along with Annie Bradshaw, who is the W Series Communications Officer.
By 2015, my career became a bit more serious, and in 2017 my career really started to take off, big thanks to Jake Sanson and Chris McCarthy for giving me opportunities. Chris put me in contact with Rye House Pro Kart and IKR, which I still work with to this day, and he also gave me an opportunity in Europe with Karting Genk in Belgium a year later, so now this will be my sixth season with Rye House, and the fifth season in Europe.
I was commentating at the Le Mans Karting circuit in the middle of the Circuit de la Sarthe in 2021 and have been to many different countries over the years. I am in my fourth season of the BNL Karting Series and fifth with the Rotax Max Euro Trophy, also running those series’ social media, along with several drivers.
How did that journey lead you to the virtual commentary box?
I’d always been keeping an eye on sim racing, as the exposure had been growing a lot, especially since Covid as when everything was locked down, I was at a loss. Whilst I had planned on getting involved with sim racing at a later date, a chance message from Darren S Cook at Scruffy Bear Pictures, who is the official videographer for Team Brit, they were running their summer series on ACC, and they needed a commentator.
So a few messages later, I was on board, and all I wanted in return was an eTeam Brit T-Shirt. I was joined by Mike Yau, the man I call “The sim racing Swiss Army Knife” as he is so versatile, and with some pointers from Chris, I was on my way. From that, the opportunities somewhat snowballed, leading me to work with companies like GTR24H, Williams Esports, and The Sim Grid.
It was an amazing eye-opening experience, and after the honeymoon period, it was very clear how transferable my skills were, from the real commentary box to the virtual one, so I approach the virtual world in the exact same way as I do the real-world commentary box, all the preparations about drivers, cars, the track, the sim etc, and now I have over two years of sim racing commentary under my belt, which has been an absolute blast so far.
Karting has been your mainstay in the real world commentary world, is there a plan to move on from Karting or to develop more opportunities in that field?
The longer-term plan for me is more of the same. In karting, I get to see all the young talent coming through the ranks. There are at least two drivers in the W Series that I have commentated on in the past in Rotax, and I’ve been told numerous times by people that sim racing could replace karting as the de facto training ground.
Whilst I see where they are coming from, I see karting and sim racing as both being important training grounds for drivers. The lines between sim racing and real-life racing are becoming more blurred, with the ever-growing list of drivers that have come through sim racing, who have graduated to real life racing, such as Jann Mardenborough and James Baldwin. Karting is part of who I am and where I am well known. I am always very busy with Karting, and with Sim Racing in there as well, I’m really happy with the path that I am on.
Alex has done some amazing work for us here at GTR24H in the past, and any series that he is involved with is given a huge boost in quality simply by his presence. Danke Schon Alex, and best of luck with your career.
Image © Alex Goldschmidt