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Suggestion for a new format of club racing event

ears

I know, for I told me so
Feb 14, 2015
1,294
908
I did make this suggestion privately a while ago and, well I think it's a good idea so I'm suggesting it again publicly.

The aim is to get popular, well-attended, multi-server club races going where servers contain players matched by skill.

As a part time racer with limited skill and no time to practise, I want it easy. I want the easiest, quickest way to get to a server full of clean racers who have similar skills to me.

Then I know that when I enter a race, there's a good chance I'll be surrounded by cars for a good proportion of the race and not end up running on my own, bored.

Sometimes, by luck, I'll get that at RD. Other times, I won't.

When I see events at RD I'm reluctant, sometimes, to sign up for them. If there aren't many people signing up, if the people who have signed up I know to be fast. I think other people might be the same.

But I know I WOULD sign up if I thought it was going to be popular, and if I thought there'd be a good chance I'd be racing with people with similar skills.

So how do we facilitate this?

Well, first of all, set a stack of servers aside. Say 4. Let's aim for 96 players.

Next, one week (or x days) before the event is due to take place, open up one of the servers. And, very importantly, set the 'stracker' server data logger going on that server.

At this point, we do away with the formal 'sign up' process on the thread. If you want to take part in the event, you get on the server, at any point in the x days it's running before the event, and you set a laptime. Or 100 if you want.

Then, before the event, we use the stracker web interface to get an ordered list of people and their fastest laptime. We simply then divide the number of players by the number of servers available.

But players are assigned to servers according to their ability. So the first server has the top 24 players (or however many) by laptime. The next server the next 24.

Then run the events in the normal way. We still have qualifying to decide the grid, and we have a normal race or two.

If anyone's got this far and thinks this might be a good idea, please say so. It might not be, it might not get enough players, but I think there are a lot of lurkers who might enter events if parameters were different.

Maybe if people are interested we could run a trial? I'd suggest running it with popular, accessible content - that most people enjoy driving and find manageable.

I just think there are enough days in the week for some different formats and ideas to be tried out here. This one wouldn't take much more manpower as stracker would be doing most of the work for us.

As ever, I have some infrastructure which I'd be happy to donate for the purposes of a trial, and would be happy to implement this, at least for a trial period.

I'd be equally happy, though if RD just picked this up and had a run with it, just to participate in the races and for existing RD staff to manage it.
 
Feb 14, 2011
467
207
I'd say the biggest stumbling block for getting big numbers in events is the Premium fee.

I'd rather just race in random lobbies or sign up for a league on Twitch/other Forums - which are both free.
£13-ish to run around the back of a grid on your own... doesn't seem good value imho.
 

ears

I know, for I told me so
Feb 14, 2015
1,294
908
I'd say the biggest stumbling block for getting big numbers in events is the Premium fee.

I'd rather just race in random lobbies or sign up for a league on Twitch/other Forums - which are both free.
£13-ish to run around the back of a grid on your own... doesn't seem good value imho.
I agree to an extent. We all have a choice. if I know I'm going to have the chance to go race on Wednesday night I have a choice of events I can enter.

There are organised websites / servers and there's out in the wild. But I'm VERY unlikely to get a clean race out in the wild, and I'm less likely to get a clean race in my experience of the website / server I'm thinking of.

So if we assume that here on RD we have as good a chance of getting clean, managed, considerate, sensible racing as possibly anywhere else, then the steps I suggested above are taken to try and make sure we end up not only on populated servers, but servers populated with people with similar speed to us, then it starts to look worth it.

To me, at least.
 

ears

I know, for I told me so
Feb 14, 2015
1,294
908
Also, perhaps worth adding, the intention here is not about encouraging people to go Premium.

It's about getting as many existing Premium members engaged and having closer, more skills matched events more often.
 

jimortality

4000RPM
Mar 13, 2013
4,066
1,135
57
I'd like to point out a couple of things, firstly Bryan said the premium is too expensive? I paid 10 euro for the year and I can enter as many club races as I want yet you'll spend a million pounds on wheels and rigs. I cannot agree that premium is too expensive for our hobby. My next point is having to set up extra servers would surely need more staff? I understand what you are saying ears and as I'm one of the slowest people on the site, it would be nice to have more people at my level to race against but I enjoy the whole part of it from practice with some of the guys during the week then the race itself. Who cares about lap time or aliens, just enjoy the whole experience.
 

ears

I know, for I told me so
Feb 14, 2015
1,294
908
Yep @jimortality but let's dream! Let's try to make it better.

I wonder how many existing Premium members think like you that they're one of the slowest, but unlike you are put off by that, think they won't be good enough? That think 'if only other slow drivers like me were going to join I'd join too'?

Maybe more servers would need more admins but maybe they wouldn't? Let's just try it. Let's believe in our COMMUNITY. We display a list of drivers by laptime - it would be accessible in the stracker web interface anyway - and TRUST people to join the server they're assigned to.

If incidents happen they could be reported in the usual way anyway.

It's great that RD put an emphasis on human management but FACILITATING close, skill based racing should be of equal value.

I truly believe that if people thought they were going to be skills matched they'd be more likely to join. The numbers would increase.

We could also say that if there were more than 2 servers, the lowest ranked one would be fixed setup, something along those lines anyway.

Encourage the newbies. Extend the community to those with less confidence.
 
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Feb 14, 2011
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I'd like to point out a couple of things, firstly Bryan said the premium is too expensive? I paid 10 euro for the year and I can enter as many club races as I want yet you'll spend a million pounds on wheels and rigs. I cannot agree that premium is too expensive for our hobby.
I didn't say it was too expensive, i said when there are similar things out there for free it may seem expensive.
There are dozens of free lobbies, Twitch streamer races, Leagues etc.
If you were a lurker or new to the site and you see all the club races and think 'YES, that's the fellow for me!' but then discover you need to pay to enter those, it may put people off.
10 Euro may not be a lot to you, but to some people it is. Do not compare your financial situation with others as it's already used in every single thread on this site and it's tiresome.
Our hobby is already expensive just for the entry point - a decent wheel, PC and all that goes with it, plus the games and any DLC.... Your spare change for a car in iRacing might be someone's weekly rent.
 
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Brandon Wright

I may not be fast, but I'm wide!
Nov 14, 2014
4,421
1,861
1. Maybe a handful or two of people show up for club races. Doing it this way would divide an already small(ish) grid into several tiny grids.

2. Club races aren't about being fastest, they're about having fun with fellow sim racers.

3. Even with small(ish) grids you'll almost always find someone of similar skill level to race with. You may not win, but there's every chance you'll have better battles than the winner.

4. They already have a hard enough time getting a few volunteers to run the current club races. This would require even more work from a small staff who already busts their asses for free to bring us the club races.

5. A buck and some change per month to get access to several well-organized club races each week isn't a good value? I can't think of many other things that would provide several hours of great social fun every week for less than $2/month.

6. For about $0.30 per day you can get exactly what you've proposed through iRacing, and you can have great races with people of similar skill levels every hour of every day.

Not trying to poo-poo your idea, if people didn't dream we'd never get anywhere in this world. Unfortunately the realities present too many hurdles to make it feasible, IMO. And this is coming from a former RD race host so I know what's involved here.
 

ears

I know, for I told me so
Feb 14, 2015
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908
1. Maybe a handful or two of people show up for club races. Doing it this way would divide an already small(ish) grid into several tiny grids.
What percentage of premium members show up? Why do you think the people who don't show up, don't show up?
2. Club races aren't about being fastest, they're about having fun with fellow sim racers.
And this isn't about being fastest. It's about finding people of similar skill to race with.

3. Even with small(ish) grids you'll almost always find someone of similar skill level to race with. You may not win, but there's every chance you'll have better battles than the winner.
I spent 45 minutes in a race last week and didn't see another car after 2 laps.

4. They already have a hard enough time getting a few volunteers to run the current club races. This would require even more work from a small staff who already busts their asses for free to bring us the club races.
Then don't. Why not trust racers to organise themselves? Like I said, you can facilitate without having a high 'management' presence.
 
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Andy_J

I hate VR. ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)
Oct 2, 2010
7,797
3,635
10 Euro may not be a lot to you, but to some people it is. Do not compare your financial situation with others as it's already used in every single thread on this site and it's tiresome.
10 euros per year. That's 0.027 cents per day. Don't be telling anyone who owns a smart phone, owns a computer, owns a wheel and pedals, drinks beer or smokes that it is expensive to anyone anywhere. Because it is plainly not. 0.027 Cents.....................come on, seriously?
 

Stereo

3000RPM
Dec 22, 2009
3,684
4,431
I'm not trying to attack you in particular but my experience in iRacing's amateur class (irating 1300 or whatever the default is) is that slow drivers cannot have close races, they aren't consistent enough. Even if you find someone with the same average laptime, they're not gonna be doing those lap after lap or making their speed in the same spots, and then whoever learns faster will just start pulling away 0.5s a lap.
 
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Brandon Wright

I may not be fast, but I'm wide!
Nov 14, 2014
4,421
1,861
What percentage of premium members show up? Why do you think the people who don't show up, don't show up?
Very complicated question, and it depends on what area of the world you're talking about. European-time races seem to get decent crowds regularly, always have. Europeans are interested in cars and racing. Americans, not so much, plus we have four time zones to deal with so a time that's ideal for the east coast is in the middle of dinner time for the west coast. Also, not all premium members joined for the club racing. Some joined to get rid of ads, some joined for access to the bonus forums, some joined just for the sake of supporting those who support our hobby, some joined for the club races. So it's really not as simple as "what percentage of premium members show up", we could spend all week discussing the why's, what's, and how's and not be any closer to an answer than we are now.

And this isn't about being fastest. It's about finding people of similar skill to race with.
Right. I've done well over 100 club races here and more times than not I had at least one or two people to race with for most of the race. Sometimes not, but the banter was still worth the price of admission and I still might learn something from the fast guys or score a good setup.

I spent 45 minutes in a race last week and didn't see another car after 2 laps.
Yep, it can happen, and usually sucks. But in my experience with club races those were the exception and not the rule. And being by yourself isn't always bad, there's no better time to work on improving your focus and concentration than when you're alone in a long/serious race.

Then don't. Why not trust racers to organise themselves? Like I said, you can facilitate without having a high 'management' presence.
Management can give you a list of reasons why they don't let racers organize themselves here, and since they pay the bills they get to make the rules. From what I've seen of sim racers and just internet forums in general over my 10+ years in this hobby, a fairly high management presence is going to be necessary in this kind of thing, especially if it's only open to premium members who have paid money to access these races. I'm sure you can imagine the avalanche of whingy emails the staff would get.

Anyway, like I said I'm not trying to argue or disagree with you. I'm just giving some reasons, based on experience on both sides of the curtain, of why things are they way they are. I'd love a system as you proposed, there's just a lot of stuff working against it that make it pretty unlikely unfortunately.

I'm not trying to attack you in particular but my experience in iRacing's amateur class (irating 1300 or whatever the default is) is that slow drivers cannot have close races, they aren't consistent enough. Even if you find someone with the same average laptime, they're not gonna be doing those lap after lap or making their speed in the same spots, and then whoever learns faster will just start pulling away 0.5s a lap.
If you're referring to the rookies, then yes, that's like any random pub server you join in any other game. Once you get out of rookies (which you can do in four races, guaranteed) then you're with people who take it a little more seriously and the racing is good across a wide skill level. My iRating was not all that high and most of the races I did were in the entry-level MX5-Cup, maybe I was lucky but 9 out of 10 times I had fantastic races. It's not for everyone, but I had the best battles of my sim racing career there on a daily basis.