I had planned to spend this season of iRacing in Formula Renault 2.0 having spent the last 2 seasons racing the F2000 Skip Barber. However, during the December patch they demoted Formula Renault to a D-Class event and brought in a new C-Class licence car: the Dallara F317 Formula 3. I also got promotion from Division 8 to Division 6 at the end of last season.
So, I decided to race this new car instead. My plan was to not bother qualifying and start each race at the back of the grid. This isn’t as crazy as it sounds when you’re racing at a lower level (as I said, I’m in Division 6 of 10 excluding Rookie) since crashes and collisions are extremely common during the first few laps. However, I only managed to place 13th in the first race of the season which took place at Circuit Gille Villeneuve in Montreal. I followed this up with a fairly decent 7th place at Donington Park, England in week 2. I skipped week 3 as it was at Suzuka in Japan and I don’t own that track yet. Another new addition in the December patch was the Charlotte Roval in Virginia, and this is where the week 4 race took place. I spent quite a lot of time practicing this track, since it was new and it also included part of the banked Nascar oval circuit. I still wasn’t hugely confident going in and started the race at the back as usual. By lap 23 of 25 I had made my way up to 11th and was coasting home with nobody too close behind me. Then I inexplicably spun off – just a moments loss of focus and into the wall I went. My race was over and I lost 5 places, finishing 16th. I was not a happy bunny.
Week 5, which was this week, I also skipped. It was at Brands Hatch in England and I don’t own that track either. You only need to complete 8 of the 12 races for your season to count, so this isn’t an issue. If you do more than 8, only your best 8 will count. Next week, which begins on Tuesday I am back on the track at Okayama in Japan. I have fond memories of Okayama for two reasons: one, it was the first track I ever raced on in iRacing when I started out as a Rookie racing in the Mazda MX5 Cup Series; and two, it is the track where I achieved my one and only victory so far in iRacing. I managed this win in my second season of F2000. So, I’m looking forward to racing at Okayama. I know the track well and I did some early testing this week as I haven’t driven it in an F3 car before. Felt good though. Practice begins for real on Tuesday.