iRacing Staff Member Profile: Production Associate Jake Poulin

For myself, as one of the newer members of the iRacing staff, I get to meet new people who work here every day. iRacing continues to expand with various projects lined up amongst the platforms we currently provide, so in turn, so does the number of staff members.

One of my early personal goals is to try and get to know the other incredible people that work here. So with that, we’re going to start a new Staff Profile series, not only for me get to know my co-workers, but also to let all of our members know who is behind the brand here as well.

First up is a toss up for me, as I’ve known this guy for more than a decade and a half, well before either of us ever had any aspirations of working here. Here’s more about iRacing’s own Jake Poulin.

  • Who are you, and what is your job title at iRacing?

My name is Jake Poulin, and my job title here at iRacing is Production Associate.

  • How long have you been working at iRacing?

I started working here in January of 2020, right before everything went crazy. 

Some of the thing’s you’ll find at Jake’s cubical at the iRacing office.

  • Crazy doesn’t even begin to describe that time period. How did you adapt to life in lockdown? Were there any parts of your job that changed right away? Anything from that time that changed for the better and is part of your routine today?

The pandemic hit only a couple of months after I started, so I only had a very short time to experience a fully staffed office.

Adjusting to working from home was a challenge for me at first, in avoiding distractions to stay on task, but with time I settled into it and I feel like working from home actually became far more efficient, cutting commute time out of your day does wonders for your mental health and I’m thankful that iRacing as a company did not force all of their workers to return to the office like many other companies have.

Work from home has allowed me to move back closer to family and friends in a more quiet small town away from the more crowded cities in Northern Massachusetts. After we were able to safely return to the office, Thursday became an optional office day for all employees who wanted to come in to collaborate in person. It’s a bit of a drive for me now, but I like to still visit the office for a work day on occasion.

This is what the new Atlanta Motor Speedway looked like from the scan data – a track Jake worked on in the last few years.

  • What got you interested in working for iRacing?

Back in 2003, as the Papyrus team was facing a shut down, they decided to release some of their development tools to the modding community. The main attraction of this was the track building program called Sandbox. Around 2008, at the age of 13, I discovered NASCAR Racing 2003 Season. At this time I was a bit late to the party, but the modding community was about at its peak.

Sandbox has always had a reputation for being a hard program to learn, as it was unlike any other 3D modeling program, with almost no documentation, but the idea of being able to build any track I wanted motivated me to learn the program. ThePits.us, an iconic NR2003 modding website that you can still visit today, had a great tutorial on how to get started using Sandbox. Without this resource I don’t think I would have learned it on my own.

For the next 10 years, building tracks was a big hobby for me. My biggest claim to fame in the NR2003 modding scene was when I was the first to release an admittedly rough rendition of the Charlotte Roval in 2018, a few weeks before the track was even raced in real life.

Throughout the 2010s, I was also an active iRacing member. In late 2019, Greg Hill made a post in the “Job Opportunities” section on the iRacing forums for a position on the production team. The job description mentioned sandbox and I immediately saw this as an opportunity to turn my hobby into a fulfilling career and escape the dead end retail job life.

The Scan Van.

I’m extremely grateful that Greg Hill and the production team recognized my skills with their older development tools and my knowledge and passion for racing and took a chance on me. At the time I was working full time as a supermarket butcher and attending community college part time, but had no degree yet.

  • What does your job entail, from daily tasks to larger projects?

As a Production Associate, my main responsibility is to use raw laser scan data to create a model of tracks to be usable in the sim using the Sandbox track builder.

Aside from that I will also do a little bit of everything and anything that we need extra help with. Some of the more fun parts of the job is when I get to drive the famous iRacing “Scan Van” across the country to help iRacing Associate Producer Kevin Iannarelli with scanning and photographing new tracks.

  • Are there any projects you’ve worked on that stand out above any others? Something you are proud of?

I’m probably most proud of the Charlotte Rallycross track. As you may know, that track layout is entirely fictional, and it was mainly my design with some help from the iRacing Rallycross community.

Being in the business of creating real world tracks, opportunities to be creative are rare and projects like these are the most fulfilling to me. A close second would be the 1987 rendition of North Wilkesboro.

Digging through the internet, looking for any and all resources to help build a historic version of a track that doesn’t exist in that form anymore really takes me back to my NR2003 track building days.

The finished product of the historic North Wilkesboro.

  • Are there any future projects that you can’t wait to jump on?

I look forward to any future projects that might allow me to be more creative. Someday I would love to be given the opportunity to build an entirely fictional track. I also look forward to working on updating our catalog of NASCAR tracks in the near future.

  • What are some of your favorite car and track combinations on iRacing to participate in?

Lately I’ve been a big fan of Open-Wheel Formula racing, whether it be the FiA F4, or the V10 monster, the Dallara-iR-01. My favorite track on the sim has to be the Nordschleife, just for its extreme challenge.

I also enjoy any high-speed tracks that encourage low-downforce setups.

  • Are there any other video games, racing or not, that you enjoy playing currently?

Other games I play frequently are Minecraft, Grand Theft Auto V, and PGA Tour 2K23.

  • Outside of iRacing, what other hobbies do you enjoy?

My biggest hobby outside of iRacing has to be trading card collecting. I mainly collect NASCAR cards, and I also have a robust Pokémon card collection.

I also enjoy road cycling. I follow the sport of Pro Cycling (with events such as the Tour de France) about as closely as I follow NASCAR.

  • What are some of your goals you hope to achieve, either at work or outside of it?

At work, I can’t really ask for much more. I enjoy what I do and feel grateful for the opportunity I was given to turn my hobby into a career. I hope to continue to grow with the company.

Outside of work, Someday I hope to climb into a real race car in any capacity.

For The Fans!

  • Anything else we should know about you?

I help manage FTF.gg, one of the more successful leagues on iRacing, with you, Kevin McAdams, and Cosmin Ioanesiu.

  • Yeah, I might know a little about that league… The lot of us have made something pretty special over there, you know?

It’s been a passion project that started as a simple superspeedway racing league on NR2003 over 10 years ago. It grew to be one of the most popular leagues, boasting full fields and frequent knockout qualifying on a 15 year old game.

As we transitioned to iRacing as our main racing platform, we stuck to our principles of being a not-for-profit league focused on providing some of the most fair and competitive NASCAR-style racing possible.

We currently run a full 36-race cup series that closely resembles the popular NASCAR iRacing Series, with some tweaks. and an Xfinity Series that has a more unique schedule and race formats. FTF has also recently expanded into broadcasting under the FTF name with Producer Zack Johnson.