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Sim Driver Coaching - Is It Worth It?

I am currently in the process of completing 'Sim Racing MasterClass' course from Driver 61. I admit I went into it a little sceptical about the benefits of such a programme, and these are my thoughts so far...

Firstly, what is the Driver 61 Sim Racing MasterClass? Well, according to Head Coach Scott Mansell, the focus is to help sim racing drivers ' learn and perfect your core racing techniques ', with the aim of unlocking your own personal potential to achieve faster and more consistent lap time within your simulation of choice.

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Sounds great, but for someone such as me who considers myself a fairly decent and experienced driver, I went into this pretty unsure about what benefits I might realistically find. If I'm being perfectly honest, I suspected this would be more aimed at an absolute beginner level, and for someone of my experience level I worried it might become a little tiresome to complete as I got into the main thrust of the course.

I was wrong....


Having now almost completed the course, I've come away very pleasantly surprised about not only the level of depth the coaches are able to go into about specific driving techniques and styles, but the accessible way in which the content is delivered to the end user. The course has been run on iRacing, which is not a title I'm particularly familiar with, so my first worry was a lack of proficiency within the sim would ultimately hold back my potential to perform at my usual level, and maybe even mask some of my driving behaviours for the coaches to be able to assess.

Pleasingly, the way the course is designed supports learning at your own pace. Mixing up pre-session learning exercises with additional video content, I had the opportunity to practice and fully understand what each live coached session would entail ahead of the date, giving me some time and space to ensure I fully understood the subject matter, and ensure I can reasonably regularly replicate those techniques in the little Mazda MX-5 Cup car within the sim. Considering how ridiculously busy I've been in recent weeks - that feature was an absolute blessing!

Something else I like about the course is the wealth of content available to watch / read and review at your own pace. This is something that really suited my learning style, as often I would tap back into the videos to double check I'm doing the right thing, or to re watch and understand something that we are particularly focusing on in that given week. Again, with a fraught schedule of things I'm trying to do on a daily basis in the real world, the opportunity to keep dipping back in and refreshing myself was very welcome indeed.

Did it work?

This is the most important question of all I suppose. Did the tips, tricks and techniques taught by the Driver 61 team actually translate into some useful learnings out on the circuit? Put simply, yes. Of course some of the subject matter tackled things I'm already well versed in, but even then is was a positive experience to have a qualified and experienced driver reaffirming to me I'm doing the correct actions within the car, and these skills are easily transferable outside of the iRacing platform, so I'm able to use these lessons across the board with my favourite racing sims. Great!

I did pick up several new techniques as well, and from those techniques I have been able to add new skills into my driver armoury, that have (or will soon) come much more naturally to me as I continue to practice. My instructor has informed me that these will soon become more of a 'muscle memory' action than an active thought, allowing me to then be able to transfer my spare mental capacity into other aspects of my racing such as race craft / strategy / car condition etc. Since taking these lessons into practice, I've found I'm able to drive quicker over a single lap, but much, much more importantly to me, I now have a more stable and consistent approach to the way I drive out on circuit. Awesome.

Would I recommend the course?

The short answer is a resounding yes. As mentioned previously, I wondered if this would be a course more aimed at those new to sim racing, but with the way the content is presented, the level of detail in the resources available to review and of course most importantly of all, the live driver coaching, I'm now firmly of the belief that drivers of all skill and experience level can learn practical and beneficial skills and techniques to take into their virtual racing.

How Can I Get Involved Going Forward?

The next batch of registrations for the Driver 61 Pure Pace MasterClass are set to open from Saturday June 27th. Places are once again limited in number, and are open to drivers of all skill and experience levels. To register interest in taking part, and learn more about the course, visit THIS LINK.

RaceDepartment Premium Members can register for the course 2 days early, beginning June 25th. Discount link will is available in the Premium Member Discounts forum now.

How Much Does It Cost?


The standard price of the course, including access to the online materials and driver training sessions is $99.99. Thanks to our relationship with the team over at Driver 61, RaceDepartment Premium members will receive a 25% discount on course bookings, bringing the cost down to just $74.99.

Please note, the course costings are under what can be described as 'early access' pricing, and as such is likely to increase in cost over the coming months.

Does It Make You Faster?

I can only speak from my own experience, but to find out the answer that question, watch the video at the head of this article!

Got a motorsport themed question or comment? Interested in learning more about the world of real and virtual motorsport? Join in with our large and knowledgeable community here at RaceDepartment, and start a thread today!

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RaceDepartment Editor-in-Chief, occasional YouTuber, commentator and broadcaster, with a passion for motorsport on both the real and virtual racetrack.

Raging Beard

75RPM
Premium
Aug 20, 2017
91
76
Hmm, tempted at about £60.

Paul, sort out your exposure settings please, your face is almost blinding! :)
 

Isaac Chavira

Livery Designer
Premium
Sep 11, 2009
1,617
1,175
I'm buying this next month. My Wife just let me spend $725 USD on some FANATEC gear so...... ;)

Also I did not see a "BUY" button?


I have to say from the free "pointers" they give on YouTube, it works! On Zolder in my Aston; I went from the 1':42's to 1:37:801 after about a 50 lap practice session. Looking ahead made a huge difference as well as my throttle input. I had a lot of dead time in the corner at idle. Oh and the wrong gear can cost you 2 whole seconds!
 
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BP

1000RPM
Premium
Nov 1, 2016
1,126
891
I also took the course when RD did the first discount and I very much believe it was well worth it. All the coaches I've encountered are very accomplished sim racers (and some are IRL racers as well) and always have great suggestions to get even more out of the car no matter how fast you are, or they suggest a different way of looking at the problem that starts to set off some light-bulbs in your head. Highly recommend it.
 

brc19

250RPM
Premium
Jul 11, 2019
282
162
As a fairly new sim driver I found the course to be very helpful. As mentioned in previous messages the online lessons set the stage for the weekend driving sessions. The driving instrctors were great!

When Driver61 announces a RaceRoom course I'll be attending.
 
Last edited:
Mar 10, 2010
18
14
This is where I lost complete interest in the entire story. Had the intention of signing up for a class, but I'll wait until they also do other sims.
Those are exactly my thoughts. I can understand why they have started with iRacing, but to invest in the most expensive sim when I am happy with the one I allready have is just a bit too much for me.
 

brc19

250RPM
Premium
Jul 11, 2019
282
162
Those are exactly my thoughts. I can understand why they have started with iRacing, but to invest in the most expensive sim when I am happy with the one I allready have is just a bit too much for me.
Three month subsciption cost 10 USD.
 

Daniel Monteiro

2000RPM
Staff member
Premium
Sep 1, 2008
2,169
802
This seems like it could be a good investment, especially for those like me that don't fancy the long grind of hours of laps to get good. It's about good practice, and learning with a teacher is normally quicker than learning on your own (just imagine how long it would have taken if we had to learn how to read and write by ourselves... :confused: )

And about the iRacing thing, I think it is a good platform for this purpose because:
  • Rookie package has enough cars and tracks to be practised on that aren't base content on other sims (and if you browse online for deals, or use a steam sale like the one going on now, you can get 3 months for 10 Credits or less)
  • people new to iR can check out the ranking stuff and see if they get hooked :D
  • the game is light on CPU and GPU resources and is easy to configure (wheel support, VR support, etc...)
 

Daniel Monteiro

2000RPM
Staff member
Premium
Sep 1, 2008
2,169
802
Imagine unironically spending money on simracing courses. Hilarious
I could find more hilarious things, like paying to voluntarily inhale smoke mixed with tarmac on a daily basis, or even spend money on getting drinks other than water, that may weaken some internal organs, reduce mobility and cause varying degrees of brain damage.

So to each his own, I guess :)
 

blueferrari

25RPM
Sep 13, 2014
30
42
54
Like any form of learning, another view point or challenge on your own skill levels can always add some value. If you are competing in leagues and esport competitions particularly for money, this would be a logical investment.
 
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Dan ONeill

500RPM
Premium
Nov 27, 2013
513
199
I could find more hilarious things, like paying to voluntarily inhale smoke mixed with tarmac on a daily basis, or even spend money on getting drinks other than water, that may weaken some internal organs, reduce mobility and cause varying degrees of brain damage.

So to each his own, I guess :)
Damn it! You mean I’ve wasted my life drinking and smoking? Why didn’t you say before? I could have actually raced some kind of machine at a track somewhere with all that money and wasted time
 

Mike nolan 1985

50RPM
Premium
May 13, 2020
53
31
would the course be possible to follow on any other sims or does it have to be iracing? not sure i want to make the plunge into this universe of expense just yet?
 

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