10 Tips for Your First (or Next) Endurance Sim Race

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Below are 10 tips for beginners or those struggling to find success in endurance sim racing to help you run a better race.

With the Virtual Le Mans series now in full swing, and not far removed from our 10 Hours of Silverstone race over at Simracing.gp, I wanted to share 10 basic tips that have both helped me have a better time while endurance racing, and also finish in a strong position. These won’t apply to every sim, and many of the tips are aimed at team endurance racing rather than solo endurance racing, but these should be helpful to inexperienced endurance racers.

I have a handful of endurance races behind me now, and I’ve been fortunate to be teamed up with experienced endurance racers who’ve shared practices that have helped our team finish well ahead of teams with faster outright pace. These aren’t expert tips, but instead easy to implement pointers that you can utilize for you first race, or perhaps help you finish stronger in your next endurance race.

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  1. Meet and practice with your teammates – While real-world endurance motorsports teams spend months or even years putting the right team in place, sim racing endurance teams may be thrown together last minute. It’s a good idea, however, to spend some time in a practice server with your teammate(s) before the race. This will give you a chance to not only discuss strategy, but also get a sense of each other's expectations for communication, availability, pace and so forth.
  2. Get a good night's sleep with no drugs or alcohol – The rockstar life has been glamourized in sports for decades, but those at the top level of sports these days understand the value of a clear, well-rested mind. Getting less than 7-9 hours of sleep significantly diminishes your brain’s ability to focus, among other negative symptoms. Drugs and alcohol adversely affect the recovery effects of sleep as well, so, if possible, you should abstain and get high-quality sleep the night before your race.
  3. Wear comfortable clothes including gloves and shoes – Endurance racing will force you to be in your racing position for longer than you might be used to. This can create a situation where your body fatigues from small, controllable factors like restrictive or wet clothing. Wearing loose, comfortable athletic clothes, preferably with a shirt that can wick the sweat from your skin, can help you feel more comfortable and relaxed while racing. And be sure to consider wearing gloves and shoes if your wheel or pedals will cause you discomfort over long stints of driving.
  4. Have water and snacks on hand – Even if you’re only racing for an hour at a time, you may be required to spot for a teammate and remain at your rig for much longer. It’s a good idea to keep water and snacks on hand. Wheel to wheel racing for long periods of time can make you sweat and burn significant amounts of calories, so replenishing with water and some simple snacks is a good idea.
  5. Practice handing off and receiving the car – Circling back to the first point, it’s a good idea to get acquainted with your teammates, and further, to practice handing off the car and receiving the car during pitstops. While this process may seem simple on paper, it can be finicky in practice, which is compounded by the pressure of doing so with a race in session. And I recommend you try both passing and receiving, even if it’s not in your initial strategy. Things can happen to force you to take on an extra stint or force you into an unplanned handoff to a teammate, so being fluent in both processes can be beneficial.
  6. Make sure your computer is ready – Be sure to check that your computer is set up for success. Double check that there are no game updates that will need to be installed before you can join the session, and that Windows won’t reboot spontaneously to install its own updates. You should also have the latest version of your team's setup installed.
  7. Build and share a setup with your team – Setups can be a tricky thing to get right at the best of times, and building one for an endurance race adds complexity. Not only will you need to make sure the setup is designed to mitigate tire wear and carry enough fuel to complete the stint, but you’ll also need to consider that each teammate will need to be comfortable with it. Additionally, you should consider adding pitstop strategy to the setup. This means that pitstops are predefined and don’t require the driver to make significant adjustments during a race. Keep an eye on temperature and weather to make changes to those predefined setups, but this work can be reduced by having a strategy ready to go.
  8. Relax and enter the race in a healthy state – A good night’s sleep should set the tone for you entering the race in a healthy mental state, but pre-race jitters can have their effect on the best of us. As much as possible, try to gain perspective and realize (in most cases) that you’re ultimately on the track to have a good time. Do a few minutes of stretching and get your body loose before you sit down at your rig, and take some deep breaths before you begin your stint. It’s easy to see this in practice by the best drivers in the world as well, as you commonly see real world drivers loosening up their body and listening to their favourite music before their race.
  9. Remember that consistency is key – This is the most fundamental rule to differentiate endurance racing from sprint racing, but something all too often ignored. Near the front of the field in many endurance races, the fastest drivers will be trying to set a blistering first lap to position themselves for success throughout the race. If you’re new to endurance sim racing or further back in the field, it can be a better strategy to focus on avoiding contact early on. Remember that even if you’re a full second faster per lap, one incident can cost you many laps in trying to recover lost time.
  10. Map buttons for pit stops, lights, wipers, etc. - Endurance races often span both daytime and nighttime settings, and possibly through varying weather conditions. Not having buttons mapped for lights and wipers can cost you time or even earn you a penalty. Also, you should have buttons mapped or keys memorized to call up and alter a pit strategy menu in your HUD. Also, if applicable, have buttons ready for traction control, ABS and fuel maps, which might need to be adjusted due to changes in conditions or strategy. Fumbling through buttons and keys during a race can be very costly.

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If you’ve had success in endurance sim racing at any level, please share your own tips in the comments below.
About author
Mike Smith
I have been obsessed with sim racing and racing games since the 1980's. My first taste of live auto racing was in 1988, and I couldn't get enough ever since. Lead writer for RaceDepartment, and owner of SimRacing604 and its YouTube channel. Favourite sims include Assetto Corsa Competizione, Assetto Corsa, rFactor 2, Automobilista 2, DiRT Rally 2 - On Twitter as @simracing604


Actually this works as kind of a tips and tricks thread.

My point would be - In ACC make sure you join in the right order. Too many races have been ruined by drivers joining the server in the wrong order.

In ACC the first driver on the entry list needs to join first. If they don't join first they are excluded from the race.
Very well put together, the consistency is perhaps the most important. In my first endurance race we finished in the Top 5 despite messing up a stop and having a spin because over 12 Hours almost everyone else had messed up more. And from my experience even in sprint races do people loose a lot because of being too aggressive in the first lap.

The button mapping is a tricky one, depends on your level. Think beginners can easily get sidetracked with TC, ABS and mappings. Unless it rains I think keeping it simple may actally be beneficial - I will agree however that for a skilled team there is much to gain.
Have your tyre set choices set in your setup so you don't end up putting old sets back on your car.
Yeah, knowing that won't save you, been there... :D
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Make sure your buddy maps the ignition button AND knows how to start the car long before his stint starts, and not when the car is handed over to him in the pits during the actual race. True story.
Yeah saw this in the 10hr silverstone race we did recently. One team (on stream) had a nightmare during their change over. Went from 10th to about 30th.
Rule #1: Keep the car CLEAN, no matter what! A broken car rarely ever wins an endurance race...especially a 24hr race...you can gain so many positions over the course of the race if you aren't fighting a broken car...not to mention the seconds or even minutes you'll lose on track from damage + the minutes or even hour it might take to fix the problem in the pits. Unless you're in the final minutes and you're neck and neck fighting for position, pick your battles, but otherwise back out and live to fight another hour.

Rule #2: Just assume the other classes are trying to kill you and drive accordingly. As such, revisit Rule #1. ;)
Fantastic thread! :thumbsup: And thanks for all incoming tips and insights guys, I'll check-in often and take notes... :coffee:
My problem with endurance racing is that after 15 minutes, when everything has settled, I start looking at my watch and thinking "Are we there yet".
My problem with endurance racing is that after 15 minutes, when everything has settled, I start looking at my watch and thinking "Are we there yet".
Yeah concentration is my problem too. That’s why I tend to stick to sprints.

I’ve signed up for a 90min driver swap championship on ACC Sim Series and I’m bricking it tbh.

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Mike Smith
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