We’ll Do It Live – iRacing Practice Or Lack Of…

We'll Do It Live - I Didn't Practice Enough

I didn’t practice iRacing enough for this week. That’s most of the issues I am going to discuss today. Last week on Wednesday Night Dash (Every Wednesday night at 7 pm Pacific on Twitch) I had a terrible performance with the Formula Vee at Charlotte Legends Road Course. It’s no secret that my road course skills are not great, but it is also sometimes easy to forget I have only been participating in iRacing for three months. I’ve made a lot of progress in such a short time. In fact, this week I am set for promotion to my C license for both oval and road courses.

With all this talk about practice and practice makes perfect, there are other factors that contributed to the poor performance. We’re going to take a look at what happened and talk about ways to improve for future drives.

The Stream

We fully intend to turn WND into a TV broadcast-type event in 2022. In addition, we will also open up the race to more than just Erik and myself. Before we do that, we knew we needed to get more iRacing practice on track, plan out what a race series would look like, get the necessary processes and infrastructure in place, and finally but most importantly, the people. WND is as much us trying to learn to stream on Twitch on the fly as it is learning how to drive the cars and put on a good show.

Mistake #1 – The Dreaded Mute Button

In the era of virtual meetings, the mute button has become our best friend or our worst enemy. Most commonly you’ll embarrass yourself by saying something bad when you think you’re muted. In my case, I started our broadcast last Wednesday night on mute:

I left my microphone muted for almost two minutes…doh

When I just happened to look up at the Twitch Studio monitor and notice that the mute button was on. I unmuted, but I was clearly flustered and that set the pace for a long night of poor performances. I don’t know announcers go on live tv every week and do this. Then again, a NASCAR Cup Series driver isn’t racing AND calling their own race at the same time. Game streaming is definitely a unique skill set that I am continuing to work on. I’d like to think in the eight weeks of WND, we’ve already made great improvements in what we do.

Mistake #2 – iRacing Track Preparation

So originally our plan was to bring the Next Gen Camaro Cup cars to the Charlotte Roval as our road course race of the week. It is a very difficult track to drive and if you lack the skillset on road courses it’s a total nightmare. Erik and I spent the weekend trying to run a clean lap and it was just not going well. We made the decision to switch to the Legends Road Course, but still try to run the Next Gen Cup Camaro.

Mistake #2a: Wrong Car For iRacing Track

Part 2a was assuming we could switch to an “easier” track configuration and still use the Next Gen Camaro. The simple fact is that you cannot do much with this car because of the short stretches and frequent turns. This is a far better track for a vehicle like a Legends Car (shocking, I know), or the Formula Vee. After we publicized our bad decision on social media, we made the last-second decision to switch to the Formula Vee.

Mistake #3 – iRacing Practice or lack thereof…

With the last-minute changes, it didn’t give us a lot of time to do iRacing practice. That’s going to happen, but we should probably review our schedule and start fine-tuning what we do on a weekly basis. I’ll get into that a little bit more in the Corrective Actions.

The first takeaway from this mistake is that I started my turn too early and accelerated into the corner, causing me to lose control and spin out on lap one. This was a good example of how poorly the night went.

Corrective Actions

Mute Button

So I try to use Stream Deck, but there is currently a glitch that doesn’t allow you to mute/unmute Twitch Studio with the Stream Deck software. I’m just going to use the hardware mute button on my headset to go on mute. Pretty simple change

Track Preparation

Before announcing a track and a car choice for the week, we should verify the car will provide an entertaining stream. There are obvious cases where the track is a natural fit (Cup Cars at Daytona, etc) where we can assume all is ok. There will be times where we might want to do an odd combination where the racing can still be fun.

Second, we should be practicing on the track to make sure the car fits. The Legends track with a NextGen Cup car was a bad fit. This is due to the fact you can’t really get the cars up to a decent speed to provide exciting and fun racing.

iRacing Practice Practice Practice

As much as we love trying new tracks and different car combinations, we should practice before making an announcement. Some cars are natural fits for a track, but the track may be difficult to drive with a certain car. For example, our original plan was to use the NextGen Cup Car at the Charlotte Roval and I tell you what, it is extremely difficult to drive. As funny as it would be to watch us struggle, we are trying to improve to be competitive and not build a reputation of being an embarrassment on the track. We’ll have our growing pains, but no reason to not take our development seriously.

Erik and I have attempted some moves with the Cup Car that did not go well. We should set ourselves up for some time trial work and focus on iRacing practice moves like bump drafting, etc.

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