iFace Some Hard Swings – iRacing Blog, Day 39

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Posted by trace (3741 posts) -

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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See? God damn it.

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God. Damn. It.

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...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.

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Naturally, that involves some screaming from my wallet. Business is going to pick up very soon.

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#1 Posted by gpbmike (923 posts) -

This makes me want to play forza again. :(

Two things: 1) Does this support head tracking? I kept wanting to look to the right to see if where other drivers were alongside you. 2) You should get a heart rate monitor and hook up the display to your recording. :D

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#2 Posted by slowbird (1911 posts) -

I had two pretty lousy races this week too. On the bright side, I'm 1 race or 1 time trial away from B class. Hooray?

(I think in my haste to get to a higher license, I forgot that there's no point getting to A because I don't care about the F1 car. So B class is really all I care about, and I'm already C 4.41 so I'm racing in B class races anyway.)

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#3 Posted by trace (3741 posts) -

@gpbmike said:

Two things: 1) Does this support head tracking? I kept wanting to look to the right to see if where other drivers were alongside you. 2) You should get a heart rate monitor and hook up the display to your recording. :D

I think there's still baseline TrackIR support, but it's not heavily elaborated on in any documentation, so I assume any setting up is done through TrackIR's drivers and utilities, whatever those may be. Not sure about any other devices, but it's been rumored that the dev team's also looking into Oculus Rift support, which I would find amazing.

I don't even want to think about my heart rate and how crazy it is during all of this! Naturally, that means I'm going to end up glancing at various monitor options for the next week or so out of sheer curiosity.

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#4 Posted by slowbird (1911 posts) -

I would say that a sizable percentage of serious iRacers use triple-monitor setups to get the peripheral vision that is otherwise lacking. I'd like to do that someday too, when free monitors fall out of the sky and land on my desk.

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#5 Posted by gpbmike (923 posts) -

@slowbird said:

I would say that a sizable percentage of serious iRacers use triple-monitor setups to get the peripheral vision that is otherwise lacking. I'd like to do that someday too, when free monitors fall out of the sky and land on my desk.

Yeah, three monitors seems like a better setup than TrackIR. Easier to glance around than turn your whole head. Oculus Rift would be a good option too if it doesn't make you dizzy.

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#6 Edited by robgray (4 posts) -
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#7 Edited by slowbird (1911 posts) -

@robgray: Oh no. Oh dear. I'm afraid I'm about to make a terrible mistake. And by that I mean I'm shopping for cheap monitors on eBay right now.

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#8 Posted by jimmyfenix (3941 posts) -

why did i get a notification for this ? :S

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#9 Posted by bgdiner (313 posts) -

Hahaha love the nervous talking on the mic, really adds to the tension of the drive.

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#10 Posted by Sin4profit (3436 posts) -

Intense! I haven't watched the backlog of videos you've put out for this but this ride along in a live event was pretty exciting.

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#11 Edited by ekajarmstro (441 posts) -

This is pretty cool. Do the drivers talk to each other in real racing too? I could never play this as I'd just want to swerve in front of anyone trying to pass me.

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#12 Edited by Shikon (228 posts) -

I watched the first few where you where just messing with a controller.
But man this got intense! Guess I'll have to jump into the backlog.

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#13 Posted by zudthespud (3332 posts) -

If you want to avoid all of the pack, if you don't grid before the start of the race you will start in the pit lane. It will put you quite a way back, but puts you out of the pack where you can just scoop up places from people crashing out.

I was timid too for a long time, once you get to the class you want and are comfortable with your skill you can take a few more risks and push harder and have less to worry about with incidents.

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#14 Posted by icytower38 (552 posts) -

Always had an interest, but not the skill to money ratio to make the jump.

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#15 Edited by Morello (115 posts) -

@pseg: Thanks for doing these, sim racing should get a little more exposure than it gets. Two tips from someone who has not raced iRacing, but has put a lot of hours into things such as Live for Speed, rFactor, and at the moment Project CARS, based on this video:

  • Change up a gear before you hit the rev limiter - while it's bouncing off that you're losing time! Edit: or maybe it is the fact that you keep your foot buried on the throttle, hard to tell.
  • When you progress to using a manual clutch and H-shifter (which you will if you're enjoying yourself so much) you have to be careful when shifting down to a lower gear when braking. At the moment the automatic clutch is helping you out by rev-matching, but you'll have to do that yourself once you make the leap. What happens is that when you shift from low revs to higher revs, ie 3rd to 2nd, the driving wheels (normally rear) can lock, which will spin you. That's where heel-toe and / or careful use of the clutch comes in - you need to get a gradual change in revs rather than a sudden one. There's a couple examples of it here: http://www.drivingfast.net/car-control/rev-matching.htm and the next step http://www.drivingfast.net/car-control/heel-toe-shifting.htm

For anyone who hasn't tried TrackIR in a racing game / flight sim (and I have no idea what the support is like in iRacing), it becomes intuitive almost immediately, and you have to turn your head so little that it is never a drawback. Remember that three monitors means a significantly higher resolution, and thus is much more taxing on your computer. Edit: Get both. Better.

Hope you keep these coming!

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#16 Edited by Wii60BigScreenGamer (39 posts) -

as a long time fan of sim racers, i've been fascinated by iRacing for a long ass time. but i'm a pretty hardcore console gamer, and can't bring myself to do the whole pc gaming rig thing. i really wish they'd port this shizzle over to consoles, but i know they never will. :/ anyway, it looks like a lot of fun, so i'll just enjoy it vicariously through you!

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#17 Posted by VigilanteHD (5 posts) -

What is this madness you've exposed me to?

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