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Rallycross driver Conner Martell makes switch to the virtual track

Up-and-coming driver Conner Martell has had considerable success in the rallycross scene since his switch in 2016. (Courtesy: @connermartell21/Instagram)

COLCHESTER, Vt. (BVM) — Conner Martell is a budding rallycross driver on the Dreyer and Reinbold team. With the pandemic limiting his racing activity, the Colchester native is bringing work inside.

The video game iRacing has brought professional drivers from all motorsports to the virtual track to help them practice. Martell, like many racers, is taking the time to improve on his skill set through virtual racing.

iRacing has created an audience for many racing fans during the COVID-19 pandemic. The roots of iRacing can be traced back to its start in 2008, but popularity has grown profusely over the years, with testimonials from top drivers in racing like NASCAR greats Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Joey Logano.

Martell has been a competitor in the iRacing scene during the time off. He uses his SimCraft motion simulator to participate in the game’s competitions. The simulator features a steering wheel, racing seat, pedals and a fully rotational setup that mimics the car’s movement. The setup allows racers to train in a similar way, without the ability to drive an actual car.

With the racing season on hold, Martell and many others participated in the iRacing iRX All-Star Invitational, which featured a virtual six-race series. In Martell’s first race, he went on to win his heat race, which helps drivers move into the feature race, where Martell would finish third overall. The third place finish topped headline names like Travis Pastrana, who had given Martell advice early on in his career to make the switch to rallycross. 

Martell would go on to crack the top 10 twice out of the six-race series. At the conclusion of the iRacing iRX series, Martell would finish ninth out of 33 racers in total points, based on their placements.

Before his time on the rallycross track, Martell raced motocross full-time until his injuries in the sport began to pile up. The switch to racing with four-wheels in 2016 saw Martell compete in the Red Bull Global Rallycross Championship (GRC) Lites series. 

Recognition came quickly for Martell, who gained strong attention around the scene after a strong two-year run in the series. He saw considerable success with five wins and nine podium finishes. In his 2018 campaign, Martell secured three wins in five races in the ARX2 (American Rallycross) series.

After previous standout years, Martell will look to get back on the track in the future.

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