Day 39: July 2nd, 2013
I thought I’d try something different for the video this time. It’s a little more spontaneous this time around.
The audio’s a bit spotty in a few sections, likely because I was actually taxing my computer for once with all the packets and frames flying about. I’ll look into resolving that for future recordings.
That was one race at Summit Point, and it had a lousy result. Given my first races took place here, it’s a little embarrassing. I ran two other races in the Grand Touring Cup this last weekend, and for the sake of staying on-topic, I’ll cover the other lousy result.
In all fairness, it started pretty well. Grand Touring races are rolling starts, so they involve driving slowly behind a pace car for a lap, and then being let loose once the pace car pulls into pit lane and the leader decides it’s time to go. Ideally, they’d wait until the green flag is out, but that never seemed to happen from my experience.
The scene’s awesome, regardless, especially in a big race. This is one of the main reasons I was looking forward to iRacing. It’s rare to have such huge packs at the start of a sim race and not have some ungodly awful pile-up at the very first turn, and for the most part, iRacing’s drivers do a decent job avoiding such a fiasco.
My biggest gripe, looking back at my driving, is that I continue to be too timid, both in the space I allot the driver in front of me, and how easily I give up positions when a faster driver is behind me.
There weren’t any exceptions here, but damn if I wasn’t in the middle of a fabulous pack of Miatas. The battles in front were making it very tempting to try a pass, but I knew better. Drivers of my skill who try a three-wide pass often create a three-wide blockade on the track when they inevitably cause an accident. I relented as much as I could, looking for an opportunity while the competitors behind me were salivating for the chance to dive-bomb past me in a corner.
I’d like to think impatience works its own nefarious brand of karma, but too often in racing, it ends up rewarding the bold or crazy. Maybe I don’t have the daredevil genetics and instincts for these sorts of battles.
Then again, I was hanging with this pack rather well. My strategy remained just about the same: Wait for the cars in front to spread out or take each other out, then pick off whatever remained, one by one.
I thought I had conquered a certain turn, and my comfort with the Miata’s handling was reaching reasonable levels. Such feelings tend to go away real quickly when you forget to stabilize the car properly before a hard braking section.
See? God damn it.
God. Damn. It.
...God damn it all.
At least I now know the driver that said “fucking idiot” in the chat was likely referring to the guy that hit me.
A hard hit after a solitary spin means I finished second to last, a disheartening result for what could have been my most interesting race yet. That killed my weekend motivation for racing really quickly, despite likely being one race away from a C license upgrade.
Wait, a C license? Already? First, though, I needed to think about what happened, and how I could prevent myself from getting into race-killing accidents. That’s not to say they happen all the time, but it’s certainly more frequent than I’d like. Maybe I just needed to move away from the Miata permanently. It’s a dead end at this point, anyways, since I can’t go any further than D class races using it.
A much simpler answer faded into my head at work on Monday: Didn’t you start near the front of the pack when you won those two races?
…well, shit. I did, and in the other unmentioned Grand Touring race this weekend, I started 4th and finished 4th, which is a decent result, given my apparent driving issues.
In iRacing, grids are set by qualifying time, but qualifying is completely optional. Bypassing it means you fall behind everyone that did qualify, and are then sorted amongst the skippers by your driver rating. In an attempt to be gracious to more talented drivers, I had willingly avoided qualifying in the hopes I’d be placed at the back, but instead I kept finding myself right in the thick of the pack, surrounded by said skilled drivers.
Perhaps the easiest way to put myself in a less stressful position is to bloody qualify every week. It’s worth a shot from now on, at least. Worst I can do is get taken out by faster drivers, right?
Back to that license situation. Provided I don’t royally screw up my next D class race, I am one race away from qualifying for a C license. I’ve only driven the Miata so far, and I lack experience, but C class contains all the cars I want to drive, including Daytona Prototypes and IndyCars. To say it’s awfully tempting is a rather large understatement. Conversely, I need to become a better driver, and the path to learning smooth, safe driving goes straight through a Skip Barber Formula 2000. It’s unwieldy and perhaps annoying, but I will either learn or suffer grave consequences.
The decision is tough: Go right for my dream cars, or gut it out properly in a Skip Barber season. With only one more race that I need to run in the next three weeks for my C license, I think it’s time for a little experimentation and testing.
Naturally, that involves some screaming from my wallet. Business is going to pick up very soon.