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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.


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:


Funnily enough, the parts of Bathurst I tend to screw up the most are the first corner out of the pits and the left-hander at the end of the high-speed stretch :cautious:
I usually take the first corner in second making sure I trail brake and then downshift before I even turn in. By turn-in I am coasting and as soon as I open my hands I accelerate. My corner exit usually leads me to track out to the curb, using most, if not all of the curb as I am accelerating onto the straight.

For the Chase (the left at the end of Conrod or the high-speed backstretch) I brake between the 150 and 100 meter boards. I don't brake hard but will apply more pressure on the pedal as I near the corner. I take it in second or third depending on the speed I am carrying on entry (traffic or following closely). I try to late-apex the corner, putting me close to the curb on the left, then allow the car to track out right while I follow the right-hander around. You have to be careful of the inside curb when you make the turn as it can upset the rear wheels, causing you to spin into the grass on the left. That is the reason why I tend to late-apex the turn, it allows me to avoid striking the curb too hard.
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After reading your article the other day I actually fired up The Green Hell, yes The Sick Nordschleife on Automobilista 2 my least raced most intimidating track. After much nausea swearing and meditation I began to really enjoy this track.

My approach years ago on Gran Turismo Sport ( it's been maybe 2 or 3 years since I raced this track ) had always been so wrong, I was trying to beat track times. Giving up and never launching the track again because my times were so far off the leaders.

Gaining confidence and getting faster lap after lap I took the racing line off after about 10 laps. Thanks for getting me reacquainted, it's quickly becoming one of my go to tracks!
There's no comfort zone once you do those 2 things. Knowing the track layout & drifting. Indeed, setup matter, but you simply insert magic number.
In terms of getting out of your comfort zone I find one thing that really sharpenss me up is whcking up the damage to full and then trying a really tough track with hardly any run off area and lots of elevation changes like Bathurst or Nords is good! My favorite sim for this atm is AMS2, because now that its got 200% damage scaling it brings the reality of tracks like these so much closer to home, think you can get away with the odd wall nudge, forget it! Dont get me wrong i love tracks like these in ACC & RF2 aswell but i wish they also had this level of damage. Your backside tightens up like crazy if you get within an inch of the walls at Bathurst for instance! Does make tracks like silverstone much more of a go to if you fancy a less stressful race due to the huge run off areas! I used to love Bathurst in RF1 as some of the mod cars had really good damage. For me it just makes everything so much more intense! Heres a race at Nords with full 200% damage (check description for timestamps)

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