Category: iRacing

Posts and pages about iRacing

iRacing Week 6 – Okayama

Today was raceday for me. It’s week 6 of the iRacing F3 Championship and we are at Okayama in Japan (virtually, of course). The F3 races are designed to last about 30 minutes, so this one was set for 20 laps of the 2.3 mile circuit.

The big news is that I decided to break the mold and run the qualifying laps to get a position further up the grid. I know, I said I wasn’t going to, that I would start every race from the back to avoid the mayhem, but I know this track so well that I had to take the chance. In the end, it was probably the right choice as I ended up in a pretty low strength of field split of 964. Before the race my irating was 1169. So, not too surprisingly, my qualifying time put me 3rd on the starting grid.

F3 Championship at Okayama

Now most crashes happen during the first lap or two of a race when everyone is bunched together, with the first few corners being the most dangerous. I got off to a reasonable start, but as we reached turn 4, Attwood Curve, someone spun in front of me. The only way for me to avoid hitting him was to go onto the gravel. This cost me a few places, but I was still in the race. The same thing happened on the second to last bend and this put me off line for the final bend and I was back on the gravel again and lost several more places. I ended lap one in 16th place. All I could do was dig in and try to catch as many as I could. I caught up and passed 3 or 4 cars and some others must have crashed out ahead if me as I finished the race in 9th place. Not great, but I gained a minuscule 6 rating points to 1175, and 36 championship points, taking me up to 54th out of 299 having completed 4 races. The next race is at Interlagos in Brazil and I will be competing once again.

My iRacing season so far

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.

Racing Formula 3 at Donington

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.

Some changes coming to iRacing

Back in May 2018 I began a subscription to iRacing. If you don’t already know, iRacing is one of the best racing simulators around. Note that this is very much a racing simulator rather than your typical arcade style racer, so it’s for people who take their sim-racing seriously and you won’t find any AI bots racing here. Most areas of racing are covered : road (open wheel and closed-wheel) , oval and dirt. However, I’ve noticed a slight tendency for iRacing to focus on Nascar. For instance, the spotter calls are clearly geared towards oval racing with it’s call to go ‘high’ or ‘low’ when there’s a crashed or spun car ahead. I think this because Nascar are a big sponsor of iRacing and so it tends to get a bit more attention. Both the Monster Energy and Xfinity series are fully represented here. A recent sponsorship deal with Porche, however, has seen the introduction of a Porche Pro Qualifying Series which began in early January 2019. The best qualifying drivers from this series will get a chance to race in the Porche World Championship Series which begins later in the year with a considerable prize fund of $300,000 to be shared out among the top drivers.

iRacing eSports
iRacing 2019 Prize Funding

Unfortunately, this is all at the expense of the McLaren MP4-30 based Pro Qualifying Grand Prix Series (or Road to Pro) and World Championship Grand Prix Series which have now been scrapped. This is a shame as I enjoy watching these, but I’m guessing it’s because they weren’t able to secure any meaningful sponsorship deals for these series and money talks! Hopefully, in the future, they will secure sponsorship and these will return to iRacing as an official series. I will certainly miss watching reigning champion Martin Krönke defend his title next season.

A full review of iRacing can be found here.