At the point of writing this, our adventures have come to an abrupt end about a week ago. Having had some time to reflect, I have decided to write my side of the story. If you take the time to read this, remember that there are always 2 sides to a story. I have made my share of mistakes and therefore have my share of the blame for the ending of this project but bottom line, I have also been the person who did 90-99% of the work to make the series happen in the first place, so you'd think I'd deserve some degree of respect for that.
Ultimately, I believe this all started in April 2023, when one of the participating teams decided to "strike", because they were unhappy with the proceedings and felt disadvantaged by us as management. Despite several unfounded accusations and them not being willing to let an impartial party look into those accusations - the main one being "biased stewarding decisions", we've taken this as constructive feedback and implemented several changes from this feedback. We simplified and adapted several rules, but most importantly allowed them to create a Drivers Association (DA), which was supposed to be a safe place for the drivers to talk, share feedback and ideas away from the management's prying eyes. They would get a Drivers Representative in the Management, who would be elected ahaed of every season by the DA members. This representative would be responsible for bridging any gaps between the management and the drivers. One of the main conditions we had for the DA was that the representative (together with admins they would appoint) would see to it being a fair and respectful platform.
On the evening of the 4th of December, I received a disturbing message from a driver - who will of course remain anonymous. The message showed proof of repeated disrespectful and abusive messages about myself in the DA Discord server. I created a burner account and joined the server myself. Despite having limited access to only a few channels, the things I saw there were already eye-opening and gave me an actual sleepless night. In fact, I'm still having trouble sleeping over what I read that night.
I think that, based on what I received from said driver and what I read myself, it is safe to say that the DA initiative has failed miserably. The very people who were responsible for moderating the DA allowed banned drivers and teams to remain in the server, did not intervene when people were being abusive and worst of all, were often participating in said abuse. Not to mention the DA representative himself passing on confidential chats from the management with the sole purpose to damage my reputation.
After all that, I naturally couldn't continue hosting the series, so there were 2 options: step down or disband the series. Stepping down didn't seem a viable option, as I was doing 90-99% of the work behind the scenes and we didn't have people in the management who were able to split these tasks between them. I also wasn't prepared to hand the series that I built up from zero over to an external party, especially after my trust had been damaged severely. Therefore, the only solution I saw was to disband the series as a whole.
To make matters worse, these very people are now - along with their teammates (I can only assume they're being spurred on by these people) - putting in claims with PayPal "not having received the service they paid for". They're literally the only ones. It goes without saying that I will be fighting these claims every step of the way.
The moment you have spent thousands of hours and probably about €10.000 of your own money to allow other people to race, but then get this kind of abuse in return, is really devastating. Of course, I have my weaknesses (communication mainly) and have made my share of mistakes. At least I can still look at myself in the mirror, as I've always acted with the best intentions.
I want to sincerely thank all of the people who have sent me supportive messages on Discord
For now, this is it for me. I'm taking a long break from sim racing, possibly forever. One thing I do know is that I won't be hosting any competitions like this again. It's just not worth the effort. Maybe I'll return offering some sort of broadcast service for other competitions. Maybe.