Noob’s life

RW3 wrote these useful principles to help getting out of the pit (Rookie series) to these drivers having problems to understand how these categories work.

How to go from 5xx to 24xx iRating and have more fun

Who is this aimed at?
You’re a driver struggling in the sub-1000 IR range, fed up with the poor driving standards of those around you. You’d win so many more races if people didn’t keep wrecking. You’re a bit off the pace but that’s only because you don’t have the expensive pedals or don’t have 25 hours a day to practice like the fast guys. I’m here to tell you that’s crap. I’ll then tell you how to change your situation. This advice will help you in iRacing, but much of it will also help you in real life in areas outside of racing. This is written with a road slant but I’m pretty sure much of what I say will apply on oval too.

About The Author
Before I spout a load of advice I should state some basis as to why my advice is worth listening to. First, I am not an alien. My road IR these days fluctuates from 2000-2400. I used to be utterly terrible. I came to iRacing with no prior sim experience worth speaking of, having spent most of my racing gaming years in Geoff Crammond sims using a keyboard. My iRating plummeted to 576 (for the race where I achieved that remarkable feat). Go to look at season 2 in 2013 and you’ll see that my incident counts were horrendous and I basically had no clue what I was doing.

Last season I peaked at 2407 which while not alien still put me in about the top 10% of active iRacers at that time if I recall correctly. The improvement is pretty huge and I am going to share with you how I made that improvement, in the hope that some of you will be able to make a similar improvement.

Moving from being that awful driver, pootling around in the bottom split where everyone kept wrecking and I was having a horrible time most races, to the driver I am now, where most of my races are fun, and it’s VERY rare for another driver to cause me problems, has been a difficult journey but well worth it. I now enjoy my racing a lot more than I did back then.

There is a great deal of iRating snobbery on the forums, I can’t stand it, but there is a lot of truth in the commonly-said argument that the low iRating guys aren’t safe. They’re unpredictable. Their times are 10s off the fast guys for a reason and it isn’t their amazing car control skills. I am however proof that one can go from that position to a much happier and healthier state.

Before we go on I need you to accept the following:

Statement 1
You are not perfect, and improvement will require you to accept that you are not perfect. Sometimes you make mistakes, most crashes are at least partly your fault. You will not win every race and every battle.

If you don’t accept the above, please press the back button and return to wrecking and blaming, being slow, not making the gains you would like to. If you think you accept the above but find yourself refusing the advice given here, check that your refusal doesn’t stem from not actually accepting that line. If it does, change your opinion or press back. I can’t help you until you accept that line.

Still here? If you don’t accept Statement 1, press back. Go on, I don’t want to waste this on you if you won’t accept it.

Right, now we should hopefully be down to just the guys who actually want to improve.

1. Practice and stick to one car
Does your driving history look like this?


Now admittedly this guy doesn’t have many incidents, but that’s because he never actually pushes the car and spends the whole race just saying “pass left”, “pass right” on the mic. That’s for another day however. Your list might show more incidents, but the fundamental problem of being too slow to get into faster splits will apply to both you and this guy. Look at the number of races for a second. On that page I count 24 over a period of about 1 month, which is not excessive. However, in that month there is only 1 practice session. Additionally, there are 20 car/track combos run. TWENTY.

DP @ Interlagos
DW12 @ Road America
Jetta @ Okayama
L49 @ Spa
L49 @ Laguna Seca
L79 @ Interlagos
L79 @ Bathurst
MX-5 @ Summit
MX-5 @ Lime Rock
National @ Gateway
Ruf Cup @ Bathurst
Silver Crown @ Milwaukee
Silver Crown @ Chicagoland
Silver Crown @ Lucas Oil Raceway
Skippy @ Barber
Skippy @ Zandvoort
Skippy @ Okayama
Solstice @ Spa
Street Stock at New Smyrna
Trucks – Okayama

Does this look a bit like your monthly racing schedule? If so STOP! Pick one car on road and one car on oval and focus on them. If you don’t drive oval, go and spend some time in the rookie street stocks, they’ll do wonders for your reflexes. You will not get better without practicing. If you’re not doing it, start. Don’t use private testing, you learn the track but you don’t learn to drive around other cars, take alternate lines to pass someone, react to someone spinning in front of you without spinning yourself, etc. Practice is the place to learn this stuff.

You should practice more than you race. You should stick to one road car and one oval car for a season.

2. Choose your battles
We’re going to come back to the specifics of practice later but for now, as you’re probably racing a lot, let’s minimize the damage and find ways to make those races more profitable. Before going further you need to know your goal.

Your objective is to get into a higher split where the racing is cleaner. Do this by consistently finishing in the top half.

It’s in big red text because it’s important. So, to the point of this section. You’re in the bottom split and that means a couple of things:
– i. Wild variation in laptimes between the guys at the front and the back of the pack. This is because bottom split is a mix of the truly slow and the guys who are fast but wreck a lot meaning they don’t finish their races and their iRating plummets.
– ii. Wild variation in laptimes from lap to lap for the same guy.
– iii. The second point means wild variations in braking points, lines, and pretty much everything else.
– iv. A decent proportion of the grid will crash at some point. You can finish in the top half even if you’re a lap down in a short race because of this.

Point 3 is why you should be bloody careful overtaking. Points 2 and 3 probably apply to you too, so when someone’s passing you, keep that stuff in mind, back out of it if you have to, save your car because of point 4. For each car you want to pass, ask yourself:
– a. Can I pass him/her safely? Is s/he predictable enough that I can execute the move safely? Can I hold the line I will need to run to make the pass stick?
– b. What happens if the pass goes wrong? Am I on the inside or the outside? If the outside will I hit the wall or some grass? Will I spin? What happens if the other guy pinches me off the track?
– c. Seriously, what are the odds of it going wrong? How many positions will I lose if it does?
– d. If I stay behind this guy does that cost me? Is there a big group of cars closing in behind that I would do well to keep away from? Is this guy much slower than me and holding me up and dragging me back to that pack?

Consider all of the above before deciding that you will pass. The next thing is to decide how and where. Is there a spot where you get a better exit onto a long straight? Great, that’s your spot to do it. However, don’t get too close in the corner because you’ll likely rear-end him. Instead, let the gap grow a tenth or two then go for it. The risk is always rear-ending but you’ll have the draft once that risk is out of the way and this is the safest pass you can make.

At the level you’re at, overtaking into braking zones is risky as hell, and you should probably not do it unless you really trust the other guy. Anything more complex should NOT be considered. Remember, YOU WANT A TOP HALF FINISH. If you’re on course for that, you’ve got something worth holding on to, so take fewer risks. If you crash, get your repair and if the car is drivable get back out there and finish the damned race. Attrition will minimize the IR damage and you might just gain some iRating. And it’s ALL about iRating at this point. Forget about SR, a wheel off track here or there, so long as you can control it, isn’t the end of the world.

Less Senna, More Prost.

3. If you crash, analyze why it happened
Crashing sucks. It makes you finish lower than if you don’t crash. You should therefore avoid it. I’m stating the bleeding obvious right? Glad you think so. Now, how do we avoid crashes? You need to:

– When you crash, watch the replay.
Yeah yeah the other guy is an asshole who’s out to wreck you. If so, protest him, he’ll get his dues. In the meantime, let’s look at what you could have done to avoid it.
– Did he look erratic for a while before the crash? If so what the hell were you doing being that close to him?
– Did he lose it under braking passing you? Perhaps you should have backed off and let him pass. Likely he would have taken someone else out ahead of you and you’re 2 places better off.
– Did you lose it under braking passing him? If so, you need to practice running different lines, and avoid risky passes until you’re ready to make them.
The key thing is to find something you could do to avoid the crash. There are VERY few cases where you can’t avoid the crash by doing something a bit smarter.

You can’t fix stupid, but you can learn how to avoid it.

4. Get your equipment sorted
First, get your FOV right.

Second, make sure your pedals aren’t sticking and your wheel has the right FFB and a full range of motion. Not sure about this stuff? Get to the hardware forum and ask questions. There are too many combinations to explain everything here but at a minimum you want to make sure your accelerator fills the green bar and you don’t have any red from the brake being slightly stuck on while you’re driving.

5. Get faster
This comes down to the following:

1. Watch fast guys/girls in practice sessions. Note their lines. Watch how they use all of the track. If you’re slow it’s not your setup, it’s your damn line.
2. Now try to do what they’re doing.
3. Get overtaken by a fast guy/girl and try to follow him/her for a few corners. You’ll naturally pick up their line and learn some good driving habits.
4. Brake earlier. You’re probably trying to late brake thinking that’s faster. In momentum cars it really isn’t.
5. Get iSpeed and read One Second At A Time. It’s a good read which will take you to the next step.
6. Read the series forums. People will post good sets for cars that need them, and people will post helpful videos and replays showing you how the faster laps are done. Make use of them.
So, finally the wall of text ends. If you read and absorb this you will become faster, and you will have more fun. We all want that right?

One thought on “Noob’s life

  1. very good advice. thanks for taking the time. it took me a second, but i recognized your voice. I’ve watched a lot of your videos, and I’ll take any advice you want to give.

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