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Challenge Yourself - Your Comfort Zone Will Not Make You Faster

Some cars and tracks just command respect, be it in real life or in sim racing. They are notoriously difficult to get used to and drive properly, which is why sim racers often tend to stay away from them. The abundance of Monza GT3 servers are a symptom of this, with not many daring to try and race more difficult combinations. Staying in your comfort zone will not make you a faster sim racer, however.

Even in a relatively easy-to-drive GT3 car, tracks like Mount Panorama are on the difficult side of things to drive in sim racing. While there are public lobbies with it in Assetto Corsa Competizione, for example, they rarely get grids of ten or more drivers, and even in leagues, a collective groan can be heard whenever Bathurst is next on the schedule.

Granted, it is easy to see why practicing the track might be off-putting: You start with a good amount of motivation, get comfortable in the car – and then crash a few times. Motivation: gone. Other options are easily accessible in sim racing, and sometimes you just need a break to start over fresh, or give it a go on another day. But often, the negative experience leads to avoidance of a certain track or car.

This is where a certain stubbornness will go a long way: If you really want to learn a track, you will keep going back to it time and time again. From personal experience, I remember falling in love with some tracks because of this – most noticeably Bathurst. Sure, it can be annoying when a very slight mistake over the top of the mountain leads to a huge crash that ends your race. But on the other hand, getting it right in that tricky section feels like flying and is such a satisfying feeling that you want to do it again. The final sector of the Nordschleife is like this as well – fast corners that you really need to know and commit to, and if you do, you feel invincible when you go through there absolutely on the limit.

For cars, it can be a similar experience. Take the Formula RSS 2000 V10 in Assetto Corsa, for example: Similar power to the Ferrari F2004 by Kunos, but somewhat less downforce and crucially no traction control make this circa 2000 Formula 1 car an absolute handful to drive. To extract the most out of it, practicing brake and throttle control are essential – otherwise, you will lock up and understeer into the run-off or spin off exiting a corner because you could not keep 800+ horses in check. Once the feel for the car is there and you can actually start to shave off tenths of seconds as you get more comfortable, it has to be one of the most satisfying things in sim racing.

Screenshot_rss_formula_2000_gilles-villeneuve_4-9-121-17-5-57-min.jpg


Most importantly, however, it will make you a better sim racer overall – even if you only race GT3 cars competitively. They may have traction control, but good throttle control will help you even with this aid in the car as it will hinder your acceleration if you lean on the TC at corner exit. On the other hand, being able to avoid the ABS kicking in under braking after the initial braking phase can gain you grip and time simultaneously – something that will be helpful especially in a tight, competitive environment. Also, knowing the ins and outs of various tracks might come in helpful in the future since you never know when a circuit appears on the schedule for a new season of a league, for example.

Leave your comfort zone. Practice cars and tracks that seem like a huge task. Introduce some variation into your sim racing if you have not done so already. Challenge yourself and do not let yourself get discouraged too quickly. You will learn from it – and it will make you a more complete sim racer.

What are your favorite challenging, but rewarding car and track combos, and how have they helped you become a better sim racer? Let us know in the comments!
About author
Yannik Haustein
Life-long motorsports and racing game fan as well as racing history enthusiast. I write stuff here and on www.simracing-unlimited.com and try to be not too mediocre when sim racing with varying degrees of success :confused:

Comments

Challenge yourself? Load Grand Prix Legends, take the 1967 Cooper T81b and try to lap the old Nurburgring in less than 8m per lap.
Then you can talk about "comfort zone" :D
 
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That's a great idea. Did you create them yourself?
Yes everything myself. With the vanilla launcher. CM is sometimes problematic and not working 100% here
Sometimes you habe already carpacs which are already able to compete each other.
Other times you have to put a series together and adjust the cars by adding ballast or increasing torque for example.
The car tuner helps allot here.
After that a lot of testing is needed.

The you have to collect all the newest AI patches for the tracks if available to have a competetive AI.

All AI files older than end2017 are more or less useless.
 
i am running 45 championships in AC right now on about 160 tracks with various cars from 1923 to 2021 in all possible classes, often trying to replicate the real world season´s
I can imagine you have taken a lot of time and effort to curate those championships. Have you considered sharing them with the wider community? Apologies if you already have. I searched your posts under the mods section, but I didn't find anything
 
I can imagine you have taken a lot of time and effort to curate those championships. Have you considered sharing them with the wider community? Apologies if you already have. I searched your posts under the mods section, but I didn't find anything
yes indeed i have thought about it not only once. But i realized there are many x-factors or just obstacles to do so.

I think the first and most important one is - i am not running AC through ContentManager (i like have the full control by myself lol. I even install CSP or SOL manualy). Doing so i also avoid any problems/compatibilities.

But i think about 95% of AC players uses CM which IS great in fact. Unfortunately "my championships" would only work on vanilla version. Could not motivate myself doing all the efford for the minority of players.

Second is i am using a lot of paymods, sometimes even a mixture of pay and free cars. I find it stupid kind of share a championship but to say "you guys need to buy this, this and that" And of course i cannot share pay content.

If i share i would like to share a complete funcionable free package. In most cases its not possible.

Furtermore i collected some stuff for month or even years now, and coulnd`t say anymore where some stuff comes from?! Just forgoten.

So i even could not give credits to the creators.

But i am always open for questions about creating a championship, if someone needs advice how to and so on.
 
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Man, I'm a newbie and driving with mixed keyboard-controller-smphone and practicing with tc and gt4 which nearly no such ABS or TC system
 
Second is i am using a lot of paymods, sometimes even a mixture of pay and free cars. I find it stupid kind of share a championship but to say "you guys need to buy this, this and that" And of course i cannot share pay content.
I understand your view point completely, however I'd argue that if you are clear about the dependencies, this kind of thing is actually very healthy for the community as it makes people aware of such work and may help generate more support for it.

EDIT: as an example, I didn't know about the paid DRM revival mod until I read your comments. This is right up my alley and I'll be getting it later this week :thumbsup:
 
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cool
My challange is
In Assetto Corsa
RUF yellowbird on Nordschleife
ABS - Factory
TC - Factory
Stability Control on 60 %
Yesterday changend from 70 %
Its my practice Track (Nordschleife)
Its because of the lenght of Nordschleife
When you have the persistence for the complete track or maybe 2 or 3 rounds it bekomme easyJet to learn shorter tracks like Brands hatch or monza Bathurst etc.
Bathurst was the first track i started to practice
I also change the games
Between project cars pc 2 and forza motorsport 7 , assetto corsa
Its a little bit Differenz
So I drive the Nordschleife if possible with the same car in PC PC2 AC FM7
With every drive I learn more functionalities of the car and how it works with the FFB steering wheel and the pedals
I drive with the TMX thrustmaster
It s my first steering wheel
I Decided to Start with an entry model
And Its really cool Its so mach fun than an controller
I like to drive with street cars
More than the GT cars
Thats the reason why I don t track iracing... maybe in the future when my skill are better
So AC is my favourite sim racer
But fm7 is also cool becouse of upgrading the cars in so many possible classes and the big Selektion of cars
The physics are Different in this games what it makes it interesting for me
I can't await FM8
And also AC 2
I Plan to Upgrade my steering wheel and Pedals to the next Stephan in the future because slowly I register the possibilities of the tmx
And I m really interested how it works with an strenger FFB or far away future direct drive
But at the Moment I enjoy the tmx
Really I don t undertand why some people post sometimes bad post about the tmx it an really good entry wheel
I like them
But I m excited for the next Upgrade
But until then
Practice Practice
Its areally cool Hobby sim racing
What I don t wanna miss
In the past I played more racing games than shooter
And now with the wheel a New World opens up
 
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Tbh I've been stubborn and been keep racing, even if I crash ... I am always stubborn, but for things you love (that's my thing), it doesn't frustrates me a thing ... If nothing works on my currently newbie skill, I go search and learn what am I suppose to do, to improve, and to challenge myself.

Also articles like this, makes me realize my current weak points, even if I actually like driving at Monza, with the starting career Lambo.

Edit: using g29
 
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I think overall it is good to try new things. Not just to get quicker but to expand your knowledge and maybe even learn new things about yourself. Sometimes you'll find a new class of cars that you thought were uninteresting and boring but when you get to drive them you'll change your mind. Sometimes the opposite happens and a new car class you were looking forward to try turned out to be far less interesting. This applies not just to cars and tracks but also to different sims. It is always good to be open minded and try new things. Sometimes things disappoint but other times you get positive surprises. But it also requires that you are willing to give it proper chance. Couple of laps in a new car won't get you into it.

I've had all of those things happen. Back when grand prix legends came out I remember looking at it and think those single seaters look boring. I was all about sportscars back then. Maybe even little bit about (then) modern f1 cars. Historic single seaters felt like nothing. So I did not try the gpl demo when it came out. I waited like 6 months until one day I just decided to try the demo. Instantly fell love with the way the cars drove. Fast, challenging, slidey and catchable. All the things I had been looking for. And I had just not tried it because of prejudice really.

The other thing was with rallycross and stadium trucks. Ever since I was a young kid I have had a desire to drive those cars. Turns out for whatever reason I just can't quite get into it. Which is weird because I like sliding the cars around and don't need tons of downforce and grip to keep me entertained. So it was a disappointment when I finally got to drive those cars in sim. Maybe I had hyped myself up and the reality just could not match the expectations anymore. Rally in generally is something I don't really care that much. I think I should maybe try rallying.

That being said if you have been doing very specific type of cars for long time then you have developed a very specific driving style. If you just started and have been driving one type of car, or one car in a class, trying anything different will feel bad. So trying new things is going to feel bad in the beginning. It is going to feel different. But trying new things and having open mind makes simracing more fun. Try some oval racing. Try rallycross. Try lower powered formula cars. Try road cars. Try gt3 and gt4. Try prototypes and endurance racing. You'll never really know how much fun you'll have until you drive them.

Same is true for different sims. For example I don't rate raceroom very highly. But its ranked competition system is pretty amazing. Lots of races and very little waiting. And the racing feels very fair and fun most of the time. The netcode is very forgiving. Somehow it manages to do it really well. Even if I don't like how it drives I really like how the racing works. Not to mention trying different sims also makes you better driver. Some sims drive differently and it is good to try the other ones. If you do just one sim all the time you learn how it drives and what are its faults and then you even start to expect even those same faults in other sims. Switching cars and sims teaches you adaptability which is something we rarely get because of the static conditions in our sims. And not just different physics but different ways to compete.
 
Yes everything myself. With the vanilla launcher. CM is sometimes problematic and not working 100% here
Sometimes you habe already carpacs which are already able to compete each other.
Other times you have to put a series together and adjust the cars by adding ballast or increasing torque for example.
The car tuner helps allot here.
After that a lot of testing is needed.

The you have to collect all the newest AI patches for the tracks if available to have a competetive AI.

All AI files older than end2017 are more or less useless.

Is there a repository of AI out there I don't know? Since I know the AI is abysmal on some tracks. For example I love Bannochbrae but there's one segment that the AI is just hopeless and fixing AI is beyond my pay grade. (I've tried. I broke everything.)
 
Is there a repository of AI out there I don't know? Since I know the AI is abysmal on some tracks. For example I love Bannochbrae but there's one segment that the AI is just hopeless and fixing AI is beyond my pay grade. (I've tried. I broke everything.)
You can review all those tagged with 'ai line' here: https://www.racedepartment.com/tags/ai-line/

I'm not sure if there are others that have not been tagged, so you might want to look for the track name in the general forum search too
 
Is there a repository of AI out there I don't know? Since I know the AI is abysmal on some tracks. For example I love Bannochbrae but there's one segment that the AI is just hopeless and fixing AI is beyond my pay grade. (I've tried. I broke everything.)
No unfortunately there is no real repository. You can also just google first, something like: "assetto bannochbrae AI"
I found allot of AI updates this way, most are from RD. Its also worth it regularerly check the tracks download section. Nowdays if a track is updated, most of the time the AI lines are new also.

I think so far there is no bannochbrae AI patch, but i am sure it will come, because the track is worth it.

I strongly recommend the works of this guy: https://www.racedepartment.com/downloads/authors/kevink63.444699/
He is a AI master :)
 
Great advice! Though I see lots of Nordschleife servers :)
I'm very harsh on the brakes & don't like cars w/ lots of roll or pitch, hence I drive the Miata NA :) It's soooo soft and every touch of the brakes makes the car dive in... Driving the Yellow Bird can teach you also a lot about throttle application, I'm quite fond of the NASCAR mods for the same reason. Totally amazed I can drive these brutes! They're quite the opposite of what I like, the light and fast single-seaters, but old heavy cars with turbo lag can teach you a lot about throttle/brake application and many different driving techniques. You can drive the NASCAR cars in many different ways initially, the old GP cars like the Maserati 250F or the Lotus 25 can teach you also a lot about four-wheel drifting, etc. Learning to drive all these different cars makes you a very versatile driver with a lot of driving techniques and tricks in the repertoire. Very often it's very frustrating, but when you learn how to drive the car you feel great about yourself and often in disbelief :) For most cars I don't watch the times, I just want to have fun & keep the car on the ground. I'm usually starting with the car on some easy track if it's a car that tends to spin a lot, if not I do the Nordschleife or Targa Florio, but never pushing the car... IMHO, after a lap or two of the Targa Florio you'll have a very, very good understanding of the physics and peculiarities of any car! After I get the hang out of the car I go to some tracks that I know to see how fast I can go. With some cars, I go on the track and within a few laps I'm on the pace, but with others(notably the Miata NA and those pesky SUVs), I can't believe I'm like 7-9 sec off the pace initially!
I also do something pro drivers do, I keep a journal about the driving techniques and tricks for certain cars & tracks :) This helps me a lot especially when I haven't driven for a long time or want to go for a fast time.
 
I used to overlook GT4 cars. For some reason I never tried driving any of them (probably because I thought it was less challenging than a GT3 car).

Boy, was I wrong :roflmao: still learning to drive fast around Bathurst in an Audi R8 GT4, and I'm loving every second of it.
GT4 cars are so strange, I don't think they're a good preparation school for GT3s because they don't have any aero(hence so few GT4 drivers get promoted to GT3 pros), but they teach you lots of throttle control & pitch control with the brakes.
 
I spent literally 10,000+ miles driving around Donnington Park in AC in preparation for a real life track day which ended up being booked at Brands Hatch instead :rolleyes:

I've gotten into a habit of using the same cars and tracks across the sims (911 GT3, Spa usually) and most of my driving is either hot lapping or racing AI because my setup is currently an office desk and chair which doesn't give me solid consistency (particularly under braking).

I do have a cockpit on the way this week and once I've built that, I plan on getting into online racing where choosing tracks will be out of my control. Racing online players coupled with a dependable rig should push me out of my comfort zone and the real learning will begin!
Game/lap time?
 
I think modern cars themselves are a comfort zone. My first car was a Mini 1275gt and handled like kart but you still had to be careful in it. My current car is a Mini Cooper and is pretty hard to do anything really stupid in. The ESP or whatever it's called in the Mini is sublime and flatters you. Most of the time if you literally go leadfooted you'll still get out of the corner the same as if you try to feather and balance it.

When it comes to sim I prefer to take older stuff for a spin. I was having a laugh in the 964 Porsches on Raceroom last night...until I spun it into a wall. I do find I do better in online races with historic stuff rather than GT3/4 type things.
 
Challenge yourself? Load Grand Prix Legends, take the 1967 Cooper T81b and try to lap the old Nurburgring in less than 8m per lap.
Then you can talk about "comfort zone" :D
Indeed. Or if you prefer a shorter track and the 65 season cars, try getting the Brabham BT7 around Monza 1967 at close to GPL Rank world record pace.

I commend it highly! :)
 

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