HSO Interview #3 : Yves Plaçais


The first French-speaking HSO member to be the subject of our newly introduced interview segment is one of the league’s anchors, Yves Plaçais. Having been a member of HSO since the early days (his first race was the opening round of the Aurora F1 series in Oulton Park on February 11, 2009), Yves has also been a most regular attendee since then, year in, year out. He also is a true veteran of the sport, being one of the very few active simracers in the World who can legitimately say his online simracing career began in the 20th Century !


At the time this interview was published, Yves was listed in fourth spot of the HSO Hall of Fame for career starts (444) and also was among the Top 12 in the seven other categories. His long and successful HSO career brought him 43 race wins, 3 titles (1971 Trans-Am in 2015, 1990 CIS and 1989 BRDC C2 in 2016), as well as numerous placings in other races and championships. A fast and reliable driver, he enjoys a nice 75% finishing ratio and his impeccable behaviour on track and on the forum have made him an example to follow for any newcomer to the league, as well as a true heir to the glorious lineage of French gentlemen simracers.


Personnal Information

Hi Yves, can you please tell us a little bit more about yourself ?

Hometown :
In Angers (a hour drive from Mulsanne and Arnage, which might help put it on the map for the drivers of the HSO planet !).
Occupation : I am in charge of social and cultural animations in one of the major French banking corporations (yes this is a real job !).

Family : Married for… 36 years, four children !
Hobbies : Music, simracing, cycling, badminton (but for this last one I am getting a bit too old now !)


Tell us more about Yves the simracer.

The first sim you ever raced on :
Revs on Commodore 64 in… 1984 was the first one, but Grand Prix Legends in 1998 was the true revelation.
Your first online race : The LFGPL Grand Prix of Italy in Monza on October 15, 1999.
The leagues you have raced in :
The race of your life : Of my life ? Simracing is a hobby and has to remain just that, and truly is not important compared to “real” life matters. I wanted to state this because addiction is one of the risks of such an activity – every one of us knows a pal from HSO or elsewhere who had to take a break from simracing (hopefully a temporary one) because it was taking up too much time and had taken a disproportionate place in their lives and in the lives of their loved ones. With this in mind, each race is and has to remain at best the race of my… night ! Having said that, some races like the 24 Hours of Le Mans with Didier Conjeaud, Freddy Hell and Dimitri Beaufrère at the wheel of the Martini Porsche 917 remain a truly epic and unforgettable memory !
Titles and honours you have won : They are of no importance whatsoever – pleasure and fairplay are the only rewards I long for. I did win a few titles, but mostly thanks to my consistency and because I had the right car at the right moment. I do have a found memory of my old LFGPL F2 title, though !
Your worst simracing moment : The races in which I am responsible of an accident, especially when those occur at the start.
Any simracer you admire or consider a model : No role model as such, but I do admire sometimes (and probably envy a bit too) Greg Goissen’s vista or Jacob Fredriksson’s ability to read a race, but the liste if far from being an exhaustive one (Bob Wilson, 78 years old !). Having said that, Guillaume Siebert and Martin Audran remain two points of reference for me.
Which sims or mods are you all-time favourites : rFactor, rFactor, rFactor. Either on its most selective mods (cars with lots of power, few brakes and no handling capabilities), or on mods for which driving technique and finesse is the crucial factor. At any rate, any difficult mod with realistic physics, an historic content and a perfect technical execution will please me.
Any mod would you like to be made in the future: A F3 mod to be able to drive again the Alpine A364, a 1950s F1 mod to be able to driver a Gordini, or a 1970 or 1975 F1 mod.

Motor Racing

Are you an avid motor racing fan or just the casual follower ? : A-V-I-D !
When did you discover motor racing : As a toddler : I had an uncle driving in rallies and my father was a race marshall.

First race you attended : The 1967 24 Hours of le Mans with my oldest memory being the Chaparral 2F at speed in the pit straight.

Your favourite drivers, makes or teams : The drivers one has seen race in his youth will always have a special place in one’s heart : Jean-Pierre Beltoise, Henri Pescarolo, Jacky Ickx, Jo Siffert, Pedro Rodriguez, Derek Bell, Brian Redman, Jochen Mass, Hans-Joachim Stück, Ronnie Peterson, Jacques Lafitte, Patrick Depailler, Jean-Pierre Jarier… Others too, regardless of their achievements have stuck in my memory for their personality : people like Patrick Gaillard who went F3 racing in Britain and later did a bit of F1 at the end of the 1970s, Corrado Fabi (Teo’s brother), Nick Heidfeld, Sébastien Bourdais, …and Wolfgang Reip !

But Ayrton Senna, who I was fortunate to see race in his first Karting World Championship appearance at Le Mans in 1978, and Michael Schumacher are true legends in my book. On the other hand, none of the young drivers of today is very appealing to me, except maybe Fernando Alonso.

As for makes : Matra, Alpine, Ligier, Gordini (jingoistic crowing inside !).

Do you still follow motor racing on a regular basis : Yes.
Are you a fan of racing history in general : Yes.

If yes, which era(s) do you prefer : 1967-1979.



Tell us more about your HSO experience.

How did you discover HSO :
Via some LFGPL pals who were already racing at HSO.

Your best HSO memories : There are so many ! But the on-track fights in a mood of total trust and mutual respect are my most vivid memories, even if those only last for the space of a few moments. But I must also admit that the 1982 WEC endurance races bring their share of new sensations and quite a different atmosphere… even if I have yet to finish one !

What do you like the most at HSO : The “H” as in History – the modern mods bore me. The “S” as in Sportsmanship – the essential value every member has to possess even before making his first start. The “O” as in Organisation – of an exceptional quality thanks to all those who work or have worked backstage to make this all so pleasant for us and to whom I would like to pay my respects to (they know who they are !).

What could be improved at HSO : Hard to answer that one, as everything is so well organised… maybe races in the rain ?

Which championship would you like to see organised at HSO in the future : Some sort of spec historic racing, 12 or 24-hour endurance races with sports-prototypes from sixties or seventies, and have another Tour de France Automobile !

Tell us more about your 2017 season.

Which cars are you driving in which series this year ? :
1991 F1 : Brabham with prior to that a brief and not too successful spell with the Minardi. 1982 WEC : I love my little Lancia Beta Group 5 ! 1996 BTCC : having a blast (literally, sometimes !) with the BMW. 1988 CART : the Lola-Judd T88/00.

Highlights of the year so far : Except for a lucky 2nd place finish in the Brands Hatch BTCC round and a 6th at Monaco in F1… not many good results so far, but always a lot of pleasure on track !

Your hopes and dreams for the remaining of the year : To win the Nürburgring 1000 Kms with the Lancia Beta !

You favourite opponent(s) on track : Anybody, as long as I can trust them. The ones I am often in direct contact with are Richard, Steve, Petr, Ray, Dana, Jason, Alberto, Jacob, Vincent, Philippe, and many others, without forgetting of course Didier Conjeaud !


The Prost Questionnaire

Your chief characteristic as a simracer :
My consistency and my ability to avoid making mistakes.
Your biggest flaw as a simracer :
Too soft, often hoping (wrongly) that the drivers I let go by without fighting back will crash out before the end of the race.

Your favourite qualities in a simracer : Respect for your opponents on the track.
Your ultimate simracing dream : Reach the 1000 mark in HSO career starts.
Your ultimate simracing nightmare : That HSO would cease to exist. Also, a power outage in the last turn on my way to victory in the 1982 Nürburgring 1000 Kms of the WEC. Not to mention a full season of racing exclusively held at Magny-Cours.
If you could be a real driver who would you be : Ayrton Senna.
The circuit on which you could live : Somewhere in the woods between Mulsanne and Arnage.
Your favourite colour for a car : Bleu de France with white stripes !
Your favourite racing car ever : Matra 650 Tour de France.
Your favourite motoring author or journalist :
Jean Graton, José Rosinski, Lionel Froissart.

Your favourite fictional racing movie or book : The Michel Vaillant comics and the Steve McQueen movie, Le Mans.
What do you hate above all in racing : The money race, VIPs, self-indulging drivers, political correctness.
What do you hate above all in simracing : Drivers who won’t recognize their errors, those who never apologize, those who do not wait for a fellow driver they took out. Also disconnections (very rare nowadays, fingers crossed), and mechanical failures of Group 5 cars in the 1982 WEC !
The greatest racing feat you remember : Wolfgang Reip’s performances in LFGTR.
Your current state of mind : Happy ! But also a bit sad of not being able to help out the league more due to the language barrier.
Your racing motto : « Tact in audacity consists in knowing how far you can go too far ». (Jean Cocteau)


A big thank you to Yves for taking the time to answer our questions, and for having done so in such a subtle, tactful and audacious way ! See you soon trackside, Yves !