A season start usually means a lot of people changing series and trying to adapt to a new car. As you may suppose, this implies a little chaos and a growing number of incidents even for experimented drivers. No one can change a ride and instantly drive it like a champ. John Bodin teaches us how to put SR into perspective, not only for that case, in one if his essentials readings.
Lots of people get hung up on the fact that SR (your Safety Rating number) seems a bit unfair — and it does kind of feel unfair when you see your SR taking 1x hits for simple things like dropping a couple of tires in the dirt on a road course, or just brushing the wall with no damage on an oval.
You do these things and drive on safely — so why do you take a hit on your safety record (and thus receive a negative hit on your SR) for these things that really aren’t “unsafe” per se? Also, when someone hits you, why does that impact your safety rating via a negative SR hit (especially when you may not have been doing anything unsafe in the first place when you got hit)?
The first thing to remember is that SR isn’t intended to assign blame — it’s actually intended to serve more as the in-game “currency,” and basically you expend (or earn) SR per race to “maintain” your vehicle — whether it’s + or – depends on how safely you drive. Drop tires off the track constantly (1x), and you’re going to be buying tires and shocks more often; rub the wall more often (1x) and you’re going to be replacing bodywork or doing bodywork repairs and repainting often. Spin or lose control (2x) and you wear out your tires faster, or flat-spot them. Hit someone (4x), get hit by someone (4x), etc., and there are repair costs involved (and hence you expend SR).
SR = sim racing’s equivalent to money. In real racing, if some guy doesn’t brake for turn 1 and wrecks half the field, you still lose whether it was your fault or not.
In an older iRacing blog post (A cure for mayhem in online racing games?), Dave Kaemmer discussed how iRacing actually considered charging small amounts of money for “crash damage,” but that idea was abandoned. The idea, though, was to simulate the cost of damage. Rather than invoking actual repair costs, they came up with the SR system instead (which certainly helps keep iRacing more affordable for me, at least!).
This works well enough for me, as I’ve always tended to think of SR as being equivalent to sponsorship dollars or such anyway.
I think it really helps soften the blow if you look at it this way, and given that iRacing does consider “SR” to be somewhat akin to the “money” portion in iRacing’s “virtual economy,” just think of it as “$R”.
Just remember: SR isn’t about assigning blame or determining who was at fault — it’s essentially the virtual dollars you “spend” to maintain the race cars that you own.
So that means you can forget about trying to “Drive It Like You Stole It” — as cool as that sounds, it’s way too costly in real-life and in iRacing.
Better to think, “Drive It Like You OWN It!”
Better, and less costly (in terms of SR).