The sim racing community is a massive fan base that has not only a passion for motorsport, but the desire to participate in it to a certain degree. While we are not all able to go out and purchase massive purpose built race cars, the sim racing community affords us the opportunity to drive the before mentioned cars as close as we can to their actual environment. There have been many racing simulations on the market but iRacing is by far the best available on the market. That is not saying that others like rFactor are not good, iRacing just seems to be a step above is all. The issue really comes down to personal preference. I have been a HUGE fan of iRacing every since I first tried it and have competed in a number of races from the comfort of my own home. Going around Indianapolis in an Indy Car all the way to the Mazda MX-5 around Lime Rock Park, I have gotten to experience most of what iRacing has to offer (favorite combo to be honest!).
The sim does offer a world tour calendar that is special and like nothing else around. During the actual season, iRacing will actually replicate real word motorsport events through the sim and give every customer a shot at claiming the top step. I participated in a few events last season and will be tackling every single event that I can on tour this season. The first of which will be the Grand Am Series Rolex 2.4 from Daytona (no it’s not 24 hrs haha). Now I will admit that I am not amazing at this sim, so don’t expect me to be writing about driving in the top flight, I simply do it because it is enjoyable and something I feel other motorsport fans would like to try out, so I will write about the tour to help those that may be on the fence.
Rolex 2.4 via Daytona Prototype
I fancy the road racing part of the sim much more than the oval, who would have thought it? I have also been a fan of the Rolex 24hr. race as long as I can remember. So naturally this was going to be fun. Drivers have two choices, either jump into the Pontiac Riley Daytona Prototype or the Ford Mustang FR500 GT class car. I have chosen the Pontiac mainly because of the grip and massive speed on the oval portion. However, when I went into a test session I realized quickly this was not going to be easy. The fastest time that I have seen to this point is a 1min 38 sec blitz lap. Even the people in the test with me were impressed with that time so I figured I should aim as close as I could to that. After a few spins and setup tweaks, I was able to get the DP into a 1min 42sec lap. Still a cool four seconds off the pace but progress none the less.
One of the things I am finding with the DP is it feels a lot like the Nationwide model I had drove at Road America for last year’s tour. The front end likes to plow badly and too much steering input will see you looking the wrong way. As true with most racing machines, a fine balance has to be hit in order to get the most out of your machine. My balance through most of the track is fine…because it is an oval. The part that is really tricky is the tight first corner. At this point, you have been full out on the oval for a long while. You are then asked to come flying off the banking and into a very tight left. While better drivers would be able to do this in their sleep, I have a tough time bringing enough momentum off the banking and getting stopped in time. Usual result is me looking at oncoming traffic. Definitely a part of the lap I would like to note and check progress through the posts to see if I improve.
The last bit I will mention on the first post is the mixed classes. Through all the time I have spent on iRacing, I have yet to compete in a mixed class race. Both DP and GT drivers have a responsibility to watch out for each other on track. I was unsure how different the pace would be between the two and found of this past Sunday that it is actually unreal. The amount of speed the Pontiac carries over the Mustang is freighting and adds an interesting dynamic as we negotiate the course. What has also proved interesting is the way you get around the GT car if you catch them in the slower parts of the course. If you are reading this and also competing in the event, please realize that patience is huge! Don’t punt the GT car as they have just as much right on the course as you. Perhaps I will listen to myself and be slow to force the issue.
Keep it here for more iRacing posts as we get under way in 2011. The tour is very dynamic and should allow the readers to get a good idea of all the items available on the sim. I will say that this is a must have for any motorsport fan and something you will drop a lot of time into.