iAm Headed Down a Dark Road: iRacing Blog, Day 3

Day 3: May 27th, 2013

My testing and training continues in iRacing, and I continue to be generally unsatisfied with my performance. I’ve finally become reasonably comfortable with the 360 controller, but pulling off consistent laps without incident is still largely impossible with twitchy steering. For now, the shoddy control is acceptable, and I’ve been working on learning the racing lines for the four courses involved in the Mazda Cup. Hopefully the practice pays off, and I can attain some level of success and springboard my career to the next level.

When I haven’t been testing or blankly staring at the ceiling, I’ve been compounding my iRacing mistake into an even greater mistake, as I enter the world of recording and streaming. Here, have a Day 3 rundown of Lime Rock:

At some point, screenshots alone will not be enough to illustrate my testing and race performances. This is where a short-term investment into XSplit comes into play.

…fucking hell, I could become one of those livestreamer types now. That’s a little unsettling.

Regardless, the brunt of my testing continues to be focused on Lime Rock, in the hopes I can reach (and perhaps breach) the one minute barrier. This may not be the wisest choice, especially given that Lime Rock might not be the first track next season, but it’s the track I’m struggling at the most. Whereas Laguna Seca, Okiyama, and Summit Point tend to be more of a mix of straightaways and sharp turns, Lime Rock has a constant flow of turns and steering to it. There’s also not a great amount of areas where I’d feel comfortable passing, which means I need to be fast in order to setup a pass in turn one. Failing that, it would help to qualify well so I don’t have to pass as often, and hopefully I won’t be slow enough to get run over by more aggressive veterans.

There’s a lot of worrying in my head about the inevitable first race, as you can tell.

As the video shows, I have a lot of work left to do. My regular lap time is still two to three seconds slower than it needs to be for a good run. I still haven’t found a comfort zone in my turn-in points for every turn. Once I establish that consistency, I think my times should begin to slowly drop.

Meanwhile, the wheel is slowly on its way. I think the latest email I received means they’re thinking about shipping it out within the next week or so.

There is a small chance I’ll turn into some awkward livestreamer, but until that catastrophe unfolds, the goal remains the same: Pick up speed at Lime Rock.

10 Comments Refresh
Edited by Dethfish

I'm very excited about the possibility of you going down the livestreaming hole.

Posted by villainy

Great blog and I quite enjoyed the video. I look forward to future installments. Can't wait for you to get your wheel!

Deep inside I'm afraid of what will happen to me when you do get that wheel...

Edited by Reisz

I have purposefully not gone down the path of PC sim racing, I spent an inordinate amount of time squeezing every last second out of my abilities when I got my wheel for Forza 3, and I just cannot afford to go the multi monitor, G27 route just yet. One day though, I do love a perfect lap.

It will be a worrying development for sure but count me as a subscriber if you ever do start streaming.

Keep driving.

Posted by Sin4profit

As someone with a curious interest in iRacing, and someone who's thinking about getting a fanatec wheel, i'll just keep up with this series and let you take both of those bullets first.

Edited by ColdPhone

Cool to see your blog here. I checked the forums after caving and signing up for a 3-month iRacing trial (got a good promotion that came with a couple extra cars and it's only $11.99 for the three months). I went to the Indy 500 this past Sunday with family and a friend of mine who does iRacing and is a fellow Giant Bomber. I don't have a wheel right now, so I'll be using my PS3 controller emulated as a 360 controller. I'm a little worried about that, but we'll see how it goes.

Edited by Bollard

I'm curious, why this PC racing game? There are a few I've heard mentioned but this isn't one of them (I'm an advocate of Project CARS myself), just wondering what the draw is here.

Posted by Trace

@chavtheworld said:

I'm curious, why this PC racing game? There are a few I've heard mentioned but this isn't one of them (I'm an advocate of Project CARS myself), just wondering what the draw is here.

iRacing's the spiritual successor to the Papyrus racing sims (NASCAR Racing/Indycar Racing/Grand Prix Legends), many of which I greatly enjoyed back in the day. I don't know how true it is now, but iRacing used to run off a modified NASCAR Racing 2003 engine in its infancy, and that game alone was amazingly fun and realistic. Beyond that, the developers have a reputation for working really hard with drivers and engineers from the various series to make sure they pin down as much of the nuance for each car and track, and it pays off in the end product, even if iRacing isn't the most visually pleasing game. I'm not really into name-dropping, but their testimonial page has real-life drivers vouching for the product, and many of the drivers listed have been known to show up in the online leagues from time to time.

Outside of quality reasons, it's the most punishing game and community out of any modern racing game, making it very hard to just jump in and succeed. It's a game where elitism tends to gravitate and settle towards, and that's a challenge I've entertained taking on in the past. Now that I can afford the financial burden required for iRacing, I can finally see just how punishing it is for myself.

I know of Project CARS, but I have absolutely no interest in spending any money on it, since it's the same developers that were behind SHIFT 2: Unleashed. While Shift 2 was a beautiful game, its car physics and netcode were nothing short of atrocious, as far as I'm concerned.

Posted by Bollard

@pseg: Ah Papyrus, I've played a NASCAR game of theirs in the past.

Sounds like an interesting endeavour.

Edited by datarez

Best of luck in your adventures with iRacing. It's really difficult but can be really rewarding. One of the toughest parts about it for me is resetting expectations. If anyone comes from other racing games and sets the difficulty level to where you win all the time its going to be very frustrating. One of the best things to learn early in a race is who you're actually racing. You're probably not racing against the guy(or gal) winning the race. You're racing against the person in 5th that's 10 seconds in front of you. Some days you're just racing against the track it's so tough and staying on the track is the goal of the race.

Once you get a number of races under your belt (10+) your iRating gets to where it should be for you, then you can end up in races where you feel you have a chance at winning. That's when it gets really fun and stressful. But if you're racing and getting in that bottom split, probably don't worry about winning. Just stay on the track, finish in the top half of the field and your iRating will go up and you'll get in better splits. The bottom splits are frustrating with everyone wrecking and usually tempers are on a shorter fuse there. The top slits will have better racers and you'll feel more comfortable racing close with those competitors.

Posted by chilibean_3

Something tells me you'll be just fine once you get your wheel. Good luck and keep us up to date on your progress. I've always had an interest in seeing what iRacing is all about.