Racing Development in iRacing

We are going to dive a little deeper into racing development in the iRacing series of Dallara Dash and the Carburetor Cup. So far, I’ve completed about 30 races. I know it really isn’t that many in the grand scheme of things, but it is enough that one can learn from it.

Practice

Practice… Practice… Practice… We’ve all heard the adage that practice makes perfect. In terms of racing in iRacing, it is true to a degree. We can use Indianapolis as an example. In the early laps, I let off the throttle in turns to stay away from the walls. Since those early laps, I have gained comfort running the track, allowed my line to progress out towards the wall and lap times have picked up. A lap has been turned to place myself within a tenth of a second of a “world champion” ranking in the IR18 time attack. I don’t want to count the number of times I’ve hit the wall coming out of turn 1.

I know that I still have a long way to go to be able to turn the same lap, lap after lap. Instead of just one lap at a time. What good does a single car practice do when you get multiple cars on the track. It is ok to take some time and run different lines. You never know when you will be forced to take a different line in a race. You want to know how the car will handle it and what kind of speed you can take into it.

I have found that on some tracks, I tend to run a higher line towards the end of the race due to tire wear. On that note, if you can, take the time to do a full-length run during practice so you can see how the car will handle. Some tracks and races, it isn’t much different from start to finish. There are others, that change up quite a bit and need to stay ahead of the car. Sometimes saving your tires and not running as hard early, can give you a lot more speed later in the race and make those inside passes stick!

Qualifying

In the races, I have started towards the front, in the middle and in the back. In my opinion, there can be advantages with all three.

I will say my preference would be to start at or near the front every time if possible. This way most of the field is behind me and if they wreck, I just see it in my mirror. However, I have been running in the Top 5 before and been caught up in an accident or someone getting into me and causing a spin.

Starting in the middle does have some perks. You can really learn how to drive while in traffic and how to work to make passes. With all of this also comes the risk of getting caught in an accident. I have had some good runs from the middle of the field. The hardest part though is when you survive the carnage of the first couple of laps but get left behind by the leaders because you had to let off to not hit someone!

I’ve seen some drivers just opt to start at the back of the field and not even qualify. Not always, but I’ll still see them pull off a Top 3 finish. My first win in Dallara Dash, came from starting at the back of the field. Every car in front of me may have wrecked, but that is the best example to give. I could see everything happen and drove around spinning cars. I don’t mind starting in the back because I can see everything happen in front of me. The hardest part is when someone doesn’t use their brakes and they come back across the track.

Racing Development

My biggest issue so far is still running in traffic and maintaining a line. I think it just stems from nerves and not wanting to mess up and ruin someone else’s chance at race success. Accidents are going to happen, and it is just a part of racing. Not trying to take anyone out at purpose!

In the early races, it felt as though I got caught in a wreck every race. As my driving has improved, so has wreck avoidance. That’s not to say they still don’t happen. Especially when you are drafting behind another car and they move last second to avoid a car that you slam into!

Confidence in passing has also increased. Trying to pick the right time and place is getting easier. Other drivers do tend to block quite often. I missed a podium the other day because of blocking and then driving up the track.

Some of the joy to look forward to in early races!

Moving Forward

My main goals moving forward are to try and qualify more towards the front of the field. On some tracks, pole position and P14 may only have a couple tenths separating them. The other goal is to achieve more Top 5 and podium finishes. Eventually I want to work into more ranked races, but I want to feel comfortable in all aspects of the race before-hand.

In the meantime, running the AI races will be important. This will just build experience running in traffic. From what we have seen, these races can be as entertaining at the unranked races. I will also continue to run unranked races so it does have the human element of surprise!

As for F-R Racing, we will continue to work on our racing development in iRacing!

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