After the disappointment of week 1 in the Skip Barber series, where in both races I competed I was taken out through events no fault of my own, I was looking forward to week 2.
Week 2 of the Skip Barber series moves to Road Atlanta. I’ve not previously seen this circuit; not on television or in any other game. Like all other circuits I’ve raced on in iRacing to date, I’m going in blind. Whilst it’s probably not the wisest move, I immediately joined a formal practice session with other cars because I wanted to see what time I was aiming for. I had between 60 and 90 minutes to practice in and boy did it go fast. The fastest time was a 1:38.5, so I decided I would be satisfied if I could get down to 1:50 before my time was up.
Initially I struggled to put a lap together, coming off at most of the corners and breaking the car, a case of pushing too hard too early. The result was that I got ok at the first few corners out from the pits but that was it. Actually, I found turn 5 a real pain. It looks like it can be taken pretty fast but I was consistently coming unstuck and flying through the gravel trap. The tricky part is the braking for it. Tap the brakes aggressively and the tail comes round and you’re spinning like a top. So far the only way I could stay on the track and make the turn is to have the gentlest of touches on the brakes and roll through the turn, driving completely along the raised ripple strip at track out.
Turn 5: A tough ask for a noob
The exit of turn 5 leads to a pretty flat longish straight followed by a favourably cambered right hander. After a few laps I was able to get round in third with a few tyre screeches. This sets the car up for turn 7, which I’m currently taking in 2nd gear.
T7 precedes the longest straight at the circuit and it’s fun to blast down the hill into the breaking zone for turn 8, riding the ripple strip. Coming down the straight between T7 and T8 I find I'm taking a different line to some of the faster guys. I can see the straight has a numbre of small ups and downs as you go along it. Surely the fastest line would be minimise the rises? I move out to the right hand side pretty soon after T7 and going by the constant gap timer thingo (press 'Tab') it appears to be the fasest line.
Turn 8 entry. Brake just after the 100m
There following corners are just as challenging, balancing throttle and entry speeds.
By the end of my first 90 minute session I had got my time down to 1:43.6, only 2.5s off what I at the moment consider to be fast enough to race competitively. My time put me 10th out of 19, and most the drivers above me were in the 1:40’s and 1:41’ss.
Update: I just did a 45 minute session (11/08/2011) and managed 1:41.141 . I was up even more than that on two occassions. One I was fast approaching a slightly slower guy (bean) and my haste to not get slowed up I tapped him on entry to turn 7. I didn't outbrake myself, he was just going slower than me. Then a few laps later I was approaching turn 8 and unusually stuff it, losing 0.4s through there. I think I'm good for mid to high 1:40's with my current setup.
To get down to 1:41.1 I did change my SPO from +2 to 0.