I must to say it took me a long time to decide to sign up into the game. Subscription system is something that I do not like but I can finally understand.
iRacing is an expensive game because it has to. It is offering a new whole experience year after year with a lot of new content and improvements as you should expect from EA or Activision.
Whether you just want to test it or you are a devoted simracing fan you are going to be confuse during your first contacts with the UI. First difference with the rest of the games you know; everything is managed through your browser. Once you had your purchase, you can log into the members home and start to see a lot what you can do.
From here you should install the local software and review the quick start guide.
iRacing encourage you to read and understand what Sportscode is. Along this exhaustive document you will find racing school videos whose show you basic techniques to fit in the simulator.
At this moment maybe you already make a decision about a discipline you follow: Road and Oval.
If you are not patient enough to enjoy this tough introduction you should go directly to test button.
In this first contact with the local software you are going to be able to setup and calibrate your wheel, pedals and shifter. As soon as you do it, you can jump to the track and check how serious is this.
Some cars feel better than others, but anyhow you understand in the first corner you are not playing Gran Turismo anymore. Every off track counts, every spin counts, every contact counts. Everything counts and goes directly to engrossing personal stats.
OK, I lied. Test and practice incidents do not count but suggest you how iRacing works.
Everybody’s performance is measured in two main stats; iR and SR.
iRating: is the number that measures your talent as competitive driver.
Safety rating: is the number that measures your safety on the track.
Usually both are linked. SR is affected by your incidents while iR is affected by your final position.
You only can get a good final position when you finish a race, and if you want to finish you should avoid incidents. So, please, be safe. Safety on track is the fastest way to gain iR and challenge the best drivers out there.
In the beginning you will only see your SR. SR is the key to promote your license. In the rookie class every Tuesday you can promote to D license if you fulfill some simple requirements. iR is hidden to encourage you to be safer for the moment. Weekly promotions are easy; you only need a SR over 3 and 4 TT or races to promote, and believe me, your main target is leaving rookie series as soon as you can.
When you get a D license iRacing opens a new whole world of competitive 12 week series with a wide range of cars and tracks. If you have chosen road path next decision to make is whether you drive open wheels or touring cars/GT. Now it comes the pain for your wallet. Purchase every track in next schedule series can be expensive. Also you should purchase your chosen car.
In ancient times the open wheels path was something like this:
Mx5/Spec – Skip Barber – Star Mazda – Indy – F1
With the promotion of some free content to D license you should be able to skip Skip series. This is not good for your learning but its for your wallet.
Touring cars/Gt progression seems a lot more variable:
Mx5/Caddy – Ruf/Vette – GT3/HPD
I can’t say anything about paths on the oval side. I do not drive ovals. Nascar world needs a different way of driving and mentality in most situations and, like the rest of european guys I usually see more attractive road tracks and cars.
Now, with this little introduction you should be practising last three corners on Lime Rock Park…
More to come.