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My iRacing Journey - Part Three: Unintentional Speedrun in C-Class

iRacing is regarded as the gold standard for competitive sim racing. No other simulation features a comparable, dedicated multiplayer system that treats the races like real events. RaceDepartment content team member Yannik Haustein is taking his first, long-overdue steps in the sim now and takes you along with him – this time, focus is on the C license class.

New season, new license class: It took a little bit of patience until I finally got promoted to a C-class license. Of course, this opened up more interesting options and more exciting cars – like the 2000s GT1 cars. These vehicles are among my favorite race cars, and the Aston Martin DBR9 with its V12 engine was extremely tempting to me, which is why it found its way into my shopping cart.

The first race of the GT1 series was set to take place at the Nürburgring Nordschleife, the Industriefahrten variant was on the schedule. I had bought the track a while ago as it is a must have for any sim racer. Compared to the GT3 Ferrari I had been driving before, the DBR9 was a different beast – more power, less aero and a sequential stick made it a challenge. In a positive way, as I found, I enjoyed turning lap after lap at the ring and felt ready for my first race soon after.

However, after registering for said race, there was one of those moments that you learn from: The series was basically dead. Rarely were there more than six or seven drivers registered for a session, when qualifying rolled around, just one opponent remained – and even they did not find their way to the grid. This meant that I could put in some relatively relaxed race laps, netting me my first iRacing win on paper. It certainly did not feel like a proper victory.

Interestingly though, my Safety Rating had gone up considerably after that one race. As I found out, it was the track that caused this: The Nordschleife, depending on configuration, has far over 100 corners – a lot more than other tracks. Since the rating is calculated based on the number of corners, among other things, a few races in the Green Hell can work wonders for your Safety Rating. I kept this in the back of my mind for the time being.

Then Christmas and the new year rolled around, including some holiday stress and a six-hour race in Assetto Corsa Competizione, which meant that I could get back to iRacing only after 2021 had ended. I had hoped that maybe there would be more GT1 racers by that time since many should likely have been on holiday, which unfortunately was not the case. However, the Porsche Cup series was scheduled to race at the Nordschleife, this time in combination with the short version of the GP circuit. I had heard a lot of good things about the car in the past, so my virtual race car fleet got another addition.

Using the Porsche Cup car, I had some very pleasant races at the Ring, including a third place as my best result. Consistency was key in those races, even more so than usual, since a lot of competitors took out themselves or each other by making mistakes on the treacherous Nordschleife. On the other side of the coin, there was full attack mode, but with patience, when I battled for one and a half laps with a Finnish sim racer but could not find a way past him – there were barely two tenths separating us when we crossed the finish line.

Then, I got a surprise: I got promoted to a B license immediately! Basically, I had raised my Safety Rating way above 4.00 while competing in the mandated number of races to get the promotion along the way, so to speak. I am very excited for this, because races in the Dallara IR18 are available starting in that class – a nice treat for me as a big IndyCar fan. So, my journey is going to continue in the open wheeler. You can find out how I fare in this endeavor in the next installment of this series – you can also keep your eye open for live streams that I am going to broadcast for a few of these iRacing sessions on Twitch.

What I learned​

  • Prior to deciding on a series to compete in, make sure to look at the popularity of the ones you eye. Empty sessions are not just less fun, they also will not help you get better as a sim racer – without competition, there is no incentive to push yourself to another level.
  • The Nordschleife can work wonders for your Safety Rating – if you are able to keep the incident count low. It may seem a bit unbalanced when three laps at the Nürburgring can mean an SR increase of 0.60 or more, but on the other hand, it makes sense – if you are able to race cleanly on the Nordschleife, you can most likely do the same on less treacherous and wider circuits.
  • The 992 Porsche Cup car uses a brake balance in its standard setup that is way to front-heavy. Initially, I thought I just could not get used to how the brake feels – the Porsche either barely slowed or locked up, going straight on. The balance is set to about 61 percent by default, a quick Google search revealed that it should be around 45 percent to work better – which proved to be correct. Suddenly, the Porsche Cup car handled very well.
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

Excellent info on the Porsche brake bias!

I planned to run the Porsche last season but I couldn't figure out the brakes either.
Asides from that it felt great.
Gonna give it a try later with 45%.
Are you running the fixed or open setup?
 
Unfortunately many series are dead although the cars are great: GT1, Kamel GT, L79, Supercars, Indycar Road…
You have to be lucky to be in a populated race here or you have to stick to certain timeslots (usually at the weekend) to have competition which is not my idea of uncomplicated online racing at all.
 
Excellent info on the Porsche brake bias!

I planned to run the Porsche last season but I couldn't figure out the brakes either.
Asides from that it felt great.
Gonna give it a try later with 45%.
Are you running the fixed or open setup?
It was super weird in another way for me as I had set my brake bias knob on my button box wrong, so it always set either the highest value or the lowest. Understeer city or super spins in braking zones were my first experiences for that reason :D

I ran both since they alternated nicely every hour. Didn't change much in the setup in the open series though, basically just fuel and a bit more wing.
 
then less populated series usually publish a graph each season on the forums that tells players when to expect a full grid, sometimes only once or twice a week. another problem in these not very populated series: the players who are in it have often done this for years and it takes ages for the less talented like me to catch up. I also have the Aston in my virtual garage but I never really used it because bridging the gap would mean investing time which I do not have. So, popular series are the way to go for hoi polloi like me.
 
then less populated series usually publish a graph each season on the forums that tells players when to expect a full grid, sometimes only once or twice a week. another problem in these not very populated series: the players who are in it have often done this for years and it takes ages for the less talented like me to catch up. I also have the Aston in my virtual garage but I never really used it because bridging the gap would mean investing time which I do not have. So, popular series are the way to go for hoi polloi like me.
I think iRacing needs some kind of rotation format to bring otherwise-neglected categories into popularity again. Granted it will likely annoy one-trick racers who main either a single category, or a small group of categories in the same discipline, but it would help broaden players' horizons and skillsets & help generate interest in categories beyond the ubiquitous GT3, MX-5 Cup, et al.
 
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It’s a shame the GT1 class is dead outside of hot splits. I feel like if iRacing made one of the cars free, it’d help. I remember that the Radical only had hot splits too before they made it free - now you can find a race anytime in it. I have this corvette and would love to race it more.
 
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Every series has races that go official at some point during the week. You just have to know when those times are. That's where the series-specific forums can be a big help. For example, the IR-18 that Yannick wants to try next always has it's "SOF" race as the very first session of the week - miss that one and you have no chance in the overall championship. You can also get a general idea of the popularity of each series at https://www.iracingstats.com/ .

One other thing you can do is go to the website home page for a particular series and click on "Results". You can look at any week in the season and quickly get an understanding of which time slots get the most participation. For example, the homepage for the NTT Indycar Series is https://members.iracing.com/membersite/member/SeriesNews.do?season=3503. These are all easy to find on the website - which is where all of the historical data and stats are kept.
 
then less populated series usually publish a graph each season on the forums that tells players when to expect a full grid, sometimes only once or twice a week. another problem in these not very populated series: the players who are in it have often done this for years and it takes ages for the less talented like me to catch up. I also have the Aston in my virtual garage but I never really used it because bridging the gap would mean investing time which I do not have. So, popular series are the way to go for hoi polloi like me.
This is very true. In my case I race the Silver Crown every Monday evening and have since 2015. It's almost like a league race as 90% of the same drivers show up every week. But because of this we all know each other very well and the racing is amongst the cleanest on the service. But it does make it a bit more difficult for new drivers to get up to speed - even though we do provide competitive setups for free in our forum.
 
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I've enjoyed reading about your journey Yannick. Coincided with me starting back with sim racing again. Found this site that helped see what the more popular series are and helped me decide what content to buy https://www.iracingstats.com/season/
I'm glad to read that! I hope there will be many more parts that might show a few sim racers that iRacing isn't necessarily rocket science.

Also, thank you everyone who posted a helpful link in the comments! I will take a look at them before I continue my journey :)
 
I'm pretty sure the bias ratio in iR isn't the torque bias, but the pressure bias. That's how it's indicated in real cars too.
 
Reading your adventure really made me want to get back into sim racing again. I've missed the beautiful liveries and competitive racing. Ooooh this could get expensive
 

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