iRacing 2.0 debuted last night (my time), for the start of 2011 Season 3. Hopefully this will be my first full season of racing, having previously performed the odd race here and there and gone a few weeks between races on some occasions. I also recently graduate to a D class license (ok, maybe a month ago, but I’ve been focussing on F1 2010 until last week). As a D class license holder I can enter the Skip Barber series, of which iRacing says this: “One of the most basic, but purest racing cars in existence, the SBF2000 offers drivers the chance to both learn the dynamics of an uncompromised racing car and how to compete with other drivers in identical equipment”
It’s certainly a different animal to the road going based MX-5 Roadster I’ve raced in the rookie season and the only car I’ve raced to this point. The SBF2000, along with the new tyre model (NTM) introduced in iRacing 2.0, means braking points have to be spot on, the amount of brakes applied have to be exact, the amount of throttle mid corner has to be managed, and more. It’s not longer a case of just pointing the car at the apex and going for it. For me, there’s no controlled sliding of the car through the turns. The only way to get a fast lap time is to be slow into the corners and consistent on the throttle.
One thing is astoundingly clear, and I was warned: Getting good at iRacing requires wheel time. Sounds pretty obvious. I thought I’d just rock up and be moderately competitive. Wrong. These guys are all racing fans and all put in long hours behind the wheel in either real life motorsport or sims. I’ve been out of the sim game for years now and only recently returned with the release of F1 2010.
I expect to have more after hours time on my hands and I’ve committed to putting in more hours into iRacing.
Here’s the results from my very first official practice session for the Skip Barber series Season 3
My very first full lap was a 1:55 something. That took about 4 laps before I could get one full circuit without spinning. I joined the above session at the half way point, at about 4:15pm, with 45 mins on the clock.
My next session didn’t fair much better.
There were 31 recorded times in this session and we also had a Pro in our midst, setting 1:45’s! For those that don’t know the license classes go: Rookie –> D –> C –> B –> A –> Pro/WC . The number portion represents the “Safety Rating” (SR). License jumps are based purely on SR. Hitting 4.0 in Rookie results in automatic promotion to Class D. It’s not indicative of pure speed. For that, in a practice session, you need to compare Divisions. iRacing has 11 divisions, 1 being the top, and Rookie being the lowest (1 down to 10, and then Rookie). I’m sitting in Division 4, so that’s not too bad and up from Division 6 on Sunday.
I jumped on again after Dinner for about 30 mins pounding out the laps. I managed a whopping improvement of 0.08 seconds. Seems I’ve hit my “natural” level after about 2 hours of practice. Now I need to find at least another second to be as competitive as I want to be for the time being.