“When you have the right car and track combination, it’s so enjoyable that you just drive lap after lap and suddenly notice how four or five hours have passed.”

21-year-old Valtteri Alander has raced on a competitive level in sim racing since 2018. Before that, he has played different games on both PC and console.

– I play many different simulators and games, for example, Farming Simulator. Simulation titles, in general, are the games I play the most. They are ”the thing” to me. I want my games to be as realistic as possible, even though it is not in line with it that I’m a big fan of Star Wars, Alander laughs.

During 2018, while racing on his first year on the PC, he managed to qualify to the Finnish sim racing championship finals and noticed that he has enough speed and talent to compete in sim racing on a high level. Two of his best performances are winning the Finnish sim racing championship qualification series in 2019 and qualifying to the Porsche Tag Heuer Esports Supercup in 2020, which meant that he got to drive in a world championship series.

– I drove on pole in two different races in the Porsche qualification series even though my laps were not very good on both occasions. It kind of surprised me that I had driven so well, Alander tells.

Alander studies engineering and because of his summer job, he can’t give as much time to sim racing as earlier. When there is a race in sight he tries to practise 2-3 hours per day but also makes sure that he has time for rest.

– You have to take breaks. If you drive too much and it doesn’t go well you just get frustrated and you can’t get any better.

When he’s getting ready for the race, Alander doesn’t mind who is going to be driving against him. For example, drivers get to know their opponents for special events, such as The 24 Hours of Spa, just before the race, so it is better to focus on your own driving.

– Sometimes we might observe other drivers on training servers just to see what kind of times and car choices others have done, Alander admits.

This year Alander hopes to be at least inside the top 20 in Porsche Tag Heuer Esports Supercup so he wouldn’t need to do the qualification series again. In iRacing special events he hopes the team to get a top 5 result. Another different kind of benchmark is to win his good friend.

Matti Sipilä is my good friend and a driver whom I want to win. We were in the same league already back in 2014 and we have always raced against each other in various series and leagues. I always want to win Matti, it doesn’t matter if there are 10 drivers in front of me. All that matters is that I win Matti, Alander tells with a laugh.

Although KOVA’s sim racing team has driven just one race together, Alander has a lot of confidence in his team.

– Everyone has good racecraft and are able to do the right calls during a race.