iRacing ecosystem is always surprising me with more applications and people doing a lot of imaginative things to entice community. Sometimes are hardware projects like OSW, DIY Tilton pedals or displays, other, software applications like iRDDU, overlays, Z1, iSpeed or Soundshift. One of the latest, Virtual Racing School, has been a few months among us trying to attract attention due to its refreshing value proposal.
Until now, telemetry data was only local or through local applications. Even iSpeed comparison tool suffered a hard (and logical) blow when the dynamic weather emerged. Virtual Racing School tries to gather all your telemetry data and analyze it almost instantly to offer you a clear and useful visual reference in a web application form.
VRS is the current sponsor of the Mazda Cup series in iRacing and reminded me I have checked the site a month before to see what was all about. VRS splits in two parts, the logger and the site. VRS Telemetry Logger is a little program that can be launch at your system startup and catch every lap you drive. Almost at the same time webapp analyze your laps and create sessions where you can see your improvement with every bit of data provided in the ibt files. Also, the webapp has a virtual coach, an algorithm which tries to combine your best lap to analyze your habits and give you some useful advice about your average driving style or an specific sector on track you are racing.
VRS strongest point is probably its real coach roster. Several Coanda racing drivers, such as Martin Krönke and Martti Pietillä, are available to contact with them and set a session. These sessions have many options regarding to if you want they analyze your style and your habits or if you need they try and race a car and track combo in specific conditions.
Days ago I had the chance to enjoy a coaching session with Martti Pietilä. Previously I had to complete some laps in the combination simracers were racing this week; Formula Renault 2.0 and Nurburgring. Once in session I presented myself to Martti who also asked me about my background and my current equipment.
We were talking about the current situation of the Formula Renault, its weaknesses and its strengths, discussing about some do’s and don’ts with the car. As many drivers witness, Martti told me the car seems to him a little oversteery while my inexperienced taste was claiming understeery on the mid and exit corner phase.
Martti reviewed my run and checked what I was doing. There were some lights, like braking and lines which allow little improvement, however steering angle was higher than needed and this induced understeer I felt. I was trying to drive some corners at higher speed than I could manage and due to my excessive speed I was turning the wheel more to correct the car course and losing grip and traction doing it. So, yep, turning less to turn more. It’s weird but it works.
We went reviewing the main problems through the Nurburgring corners, from majors to minors, watching lines and references to brake a little earlier to help with the speed at corner exit. All of these using telemetry data from VRS applications.
- Corner 1: Braking too late and losing the apex.
- Corner 2: Different line.
- Corner 3 and 4: Braking late and opening a possible attack spot.
- Corner 7: Taking an earlier apex.
- Corner 8: Turning too much and losing grip.
- Corner 11: I didn’t use the kerb.
- Corner 12: I had to brake a little.
- Corner 14 and 15: Braking too late.
- Corner 16: Being too wide.
At the end Martti told me that this could be like half a second if I were able to correct these. We said goodbye and I prepared myself to put on practice all the tips and corrections I’ve learned.
After a new stint I was able to reduced that half second, at least at optimal and stay on my last laptime more often with less effort, so I was doing something right. I listened and start to learn about myself, but the week was long and I had to keep it work on it.
When a racing driver or a simracer starts his/her career, they develop a bunch of habits to handle some situations. This mental programming often is not what it should and we’re prone to think we are in our maximum possible level. This is completely false. Everybody can improve, every time, but sometimes you don’t have the proper advice from the right people and you eventually give up. VRS is a very good solution to learn and understand we can move forward in simracing and never, ever give up.