When I decided to get into iRacing, I didn’t have a PC that met my requirements so I needed to buy or build a machine to do it. It’d been many years since I last assembled a PC, and I want to thank Panda for his advice and guidance ensuring I was properly equipped within my budget.
I figure like many people new to iRacing, I’d come from another racing game – F1 2018. The biggest adjustment for me was the physics of a simulator. Gone are the days of limited damage and quick repairs. You can only drive the car from the cockpit. It seems silly to say, but for those used to racing from the gyro, wing, or chase cameras the limited view is an adjustment, especially when there is traffic around.
There are 4 divisions – road, oval, dirt road, and dirt oval. In those 4 divisions, you have a license that represents your ability and restricts access to what races you can participate. As you race you have two scores for each license – the IR and SR. While IR reflects your skill and ability, it is not factored for promotion. This is important, because people who skip that part are dangerous. Their desire to win or pass late causes accidents which impacts your safety rating. The SR is the only thing used for promotion.
You enter the iRacing world in the rookie division, which is as close to chaos as I imagine the game will provide. You have inexperienced players who don’t understand it, people racing without ever turning a lap of practice beforehand, and people who think winning the race is important. Into this mosh pit, there is a promise of a “fast track” promotion if your SR is high enough after only 4 races. Bottom line, you only want to toil in the rookie division just long enough to get promoted out.
Before a race begins you can sit on the grid for up to 2 minutes, the guy next to me floors it and for a minute and half all I hear is his engine at full throttle. He stops, I say “don’t stop now”, to which he immediately resumes pegging the throttle. The lights come on to indicate the race start is iminent and …. I hear his engine explode. I nearly lost it in first corner I was laughing so hard.
While the game comes with some ability to change the colors and patterns on your helmet, suit, and car no one really uses it. There are several ancillary sites and services, one of which allows you to apply skins to the cars. People have reproduced every car you can think of and have created a decent library of fictional ones. They have templates available to download, and with Gimp you can edit your own, that is how StatsPlus Racing came about.
I did enough on the dirt oval, but it’s not a class I race much. The learning curve is steep as the cars are usually single gear and each lap is basically two power slides. The racing changes the track, with a developed line having a much different grip level. Once you get into the winged outlaw cars though the crashes can be spectacular.
These races have a rolling start, I was once crashed into by a guy swerving back and forth… trying to put heat into his tires… on a mud track.
The dirt road only has one type of car and one type of racing, but that’s OK because Rallycross is a blast.
I’ve driven this car from the rookie division into the D class. Rallycross is all about timing the jumps and the art of the drift. I’ve not quite learned how to be smooth yet as I’m too aggressive with the throttle. With smaller tracks, an event usually consists of a heat race and then the feature or consolation race.
You’ll notice I put a “Kill All Tires” logo on each car, if you’d like to know why and have Amazon Prime watch “The Gymkhana Files.”, I think someone might describe it as ‘dope.’ If you don’t like the making of, the finished product starts on Episode 8 34:20.
Now we’re into the meat of the racing. My best results have been on the road. The car I first branded, and the car that got me promoted, was this Porsche 911 Cup car:
This car performed like a champ and was easy to drive, but at this new level the car’s setup is the separating factor. Just when I caught on to this fact, our hard work and clean – but slow – racing paid off again with another promotion. I really enjoyed running a full series of events and have had the boys down in the garage working hard on the following entries.
I’ve reached the C level where all the recognizable cars and racing series are in play. This Dallara IR18 is my current favorite. The NTT IndyCar series is a mix of road and oval events.
For strictly oval racing, the NASCAR Ford Fusion:
NASCAR is where participation is highest, so the competition is often the best. Oval racing isn’t something I like watching on TV, but I get the appeal while in traffic. The races are getting longer requiring pit stops, yellow flag laps with restarts, and all the strategy that comes with distance races.
I’m wanting to run an IMSA endurance event, but this is an actual team event with 3 drivers sharing duties. There are always teams forming ad-hoc but there also seems to be a whole world of team racing that I haven’t explored yet. Crew can join the action to act as spotters during the race and manage the car changes during pit stops.
The game can be expensive. I’m sure there is a path to promotion with free cars, but my interest to try different cars and tracks means I’ve spent some in-game. Races are conveniently scheduled with a known start and end times. There is little time to type and interact during races. The teams for the endurance race use Discord but I’ve not participated yet.
The game will use the name on your method of payment, so its supposedly all real names. I had a guy contact me to complain that I didn’t say sorry for wrecking him, he turned out to be cool but I could see with our road rage culture things spilling outside of the iRacing world.