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Giant Bomb iRacing League: Season Two Preview

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(This is just a blog post detailing season two's events. For details on how to join and a far more expansive league discussion, visit the Giant Bomb Racing League thread here.)

The Giant Bomb Racing League's inaugural season in iRacing concluded at the end of 2013, and with consistent fields of 6-15 drivers, I'd call it a success. We now have over 75 members in the league, so the potential growth in the league's races is huge. I'd love to see a day where Giant Bomb users of widely varying experience are able to race against each other in fields rivaling those of real-life racing events.

With that in mind, I've taken member feedback into account and planned over sixty races to run over the next four months. Season two of the Giant Bomb iRacing League is rather large and somewhat complex, so this blog will be covering all of the rules and series changes to help prepare anyone interested for a season full of (hopefully) exciting racing.

Our main races will run from Friday through Sunday, so I'll start with Friday's big series.

BOMBCAR

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  • 9:00 PM EST, Friday nights
  • Chevrolet Monte Carlo SS and Street Stock
  • 13 races, 10 ovals, 3 road courses, no drops
  • Final three races are playoffs
  • Full-course cautions with a wave-by on ovals
  • Only two fast repairs on ovals
  • Maximum fuel is halved

Friday Night Thunder was a not-all-that-serious series from season one, featuring ovals and figure-eight races galore, but its attendance was never great. The post-season survey basically revealed that people were sick of all the figure-eight silliness and wanted more ovals. They also agreed with my inadvertent realization that a NASCAR-esque series I pitched sounded more like what Friday Night Thunder should have been all along.

BOMBCAR takes Friday Night Thunder's spot on most weeks, and it features the Chevrolet Monte Carlo SS late model. There's also a Street Stock option for users that don't want to buy a car, but I must warn that it's not nearly as fun as the late model. The Monte Carlo has more grip and power overall, though it also wears out tires much faster.

BOMBCAR's key element is that it shamelessly rips off of a lot of NASCAR's bullshit rules. There are 13 races – ten ovals and three road courses – and after the tenth race, the top four in points will be joined by a wild card, the next-best remaining driver with the most wins, to form the Fast Five. They'll be the only ones who can win the BOMBCAR Cup, as their points are equalized for the final three races.

Full-course cautions are in effect for all oval races, including a "Lucky Dog" wave-by to the first car not on the lead lap during any caution period. To prevent repeatedly-damaged cars from contending for the win too easily, only two fast repairs are permitted during oval races. After that, all repairs will take much longer. This is a departure from our usual standard of unlimited fast repairs, but with the wave-by rule in effect, I'd like to avoid a scenario where a user that causes several accidents can continue to contend for the win without consequences.

Oh, and the maximum fuel load's been halved for both the late model and street stock. That means you'll probably have to pit during most races.

BOMBCAR Points System

  • 1st: 27
  • 2nd: 24
  • 3rd: 23
  • 4th: 22
  • 5th: 21
  • 6th: 20
  • 7th: 19
  • 8th: 18
  • 9th: 17
  • 10th: 16
  • 11th: 15
  • 12th: 14
  • 13th: 13
  • 14th: 12
  • 15th: 11
  • 16th: 10
  • 17th: 9
  • 18th: 8
  • 19th: 7
  • 20th: 6
  • 21st: 5
  • 22nd: 4
  • 23rd: 3
  • 24th: 2
  • 25th: 1
  • 1 bonus point for leading a lap
  • 1 bonus point for pole
  • Playoff "Fast Five" boosted to 500 points at playoff time, plus one point per win

Formula Duder

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Formula Duder was easily our most successful and popular series last season. To make its racing even better and more accessible, it has taken over Saturdays with three separate races.

The Formula Duder EuroCup

  • 3:00 PM EST (8:00 PM GMT), Saturdays
  • European servers
  • Miatas and Skip Barber Formula 2000s, multi-class
  • Best 10 of 12 races, grand prix scoring

The starting times for almost all of our league races are really terrible for European residents. I feel bad about that, and want to make sure everyone around the world has a chance to participate. This race should be friendly to Europeans (and any interested North Americans), so it's a test to see if my guilt is well-placed.

The EuroCup is set up to run like Formula Duder season one, only with a more consistent schedule. If it has a good turnout throughout the season, we'll expand the Euro-friendly offerings for season three. Otherwise, I'll assume they can stay up late to join us.

VinnCo Miata Challenge

  • 7:00 PM EST, Saturday nights
  • Miatas only
  • Shorter races, less premium tracks
  • Best 10 of 12 races, grand prix scoring

So here's the biggest problem we had during Formula Duder's first season: The Miata class was lonely. Newcomers would join us with Miatas, unsure about buying the Skip Barber Formula 2000, and they'd be lucky to have one opponent on the track. Racing alone with a bunch of faster cars lapping you constantly isn't all that fun, as you might imagine.

Given that there's no good reason to encourage people to race Miatas in a multi-class Formula Duder race, we're splitting the Formula Duder classes into two separate races. While this does mean users without the Skippy won't be able to spectate the main Formula Duder race, it also means Formula 2000 drivers will be able to join the Miata fray and bolster the field numbers.

Also, Miatas pushing it to the limit seems like a Vinny Caravella thing, so I tacked VinnCo onto the name.

As a bonus, and since I expect the top Formula Duder drivers will participate in this series as well, anyone who wins a Miata Challenge race and doesn't own the Formula 2000 will earn themselves credit towards purchasing one. Prove yourself against our finest, and you will be rewarded with the opportunity to compete at the next level.

This will also be the one race I stream only as a spectator, in the hopes its coverage will be more awesome with me outside of a car.

Formula Duder (The Main Event)

  • 9:00 PM EST, Saturday nights
  • Skip Barber Formula 2000s only
  • Best 10 of 12 races, grand prix scoring

Formula Duder is currently the top series in the Giant Bomb Racing League. The Skip Barber Formula 2000 is a car that's rather easy to tune, daunting to master, and is capable of very competitive racing with ease. This season will feature slightly longer races, more premium tracks, and shorter qualifying periods. I'm hoping the larger fields will also make it more exciting for everyone.

Participation Bounty

Speaking of participation, I have a challenge to throw down. Our best race last season featured fifteen drivers at Road Atlanta. Every time we beat that total, I will give a random participant credit towards a car or track of their choice.

Giant Bomb GT

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  • 7:00 PM EST, Sunday nights
  • RUF RT 12R Track and Cadillac CTS-Vs
  • 11 longer races, mostly premium tracks
  • Time-limited races more than laps
  • Slightly-limited fuel loads to force conservation or pit stops

Using the name of our most serious Forza Race Night series, Giant Bomb GT is the most taxing series thus far for our iRacing league. Many of the races are 45 or 60 minute mini-endurance races, featuring two GT cars that are both aggressively fast and reasonably controllable. This series is just as much about being consistent as it is about being fast, as long races will make errors far more prevalent.

If GBGT gains traction this season, it will begin to work towards a proper endurance race schedule. iRacing is supposedly working on allowing for driver swaps and longer-distance races, so I'd love to have full-blown endurance races on a quarterly basis mixed in with a series like Giant Bomb GT, including, perhaps, a 24-hour race for the next Extra Life charity event.

Additional Series

While BOMBCAR, Formula Duder, and Giant Bomb GT will dominate the weekends this season, there will be occasional appearances from the following series, which will both run throughout 2014.

Friday Night Thunder

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Thunder's not dead! It's just taking over the Fridays BOMBCAR is off. This will continue to be a grab-bag series, featuring special cars (one free car, two free cars, or one free and one premium car) at various tracks we otherwise wouldn't race. RUF RWDs and CTS-Vs around Daytona? Legend cars and sprint cars around a tiny oval? Those dreaded figure-eight races? Nothing is off-limits. So long as it sticks to the car criteria, we can race it.

Points will be loose, and the racing will be looser. Don't expect anything too serious here. Also feel free to jump into the main league thread with suggestions, because that's where I'm taking ideas for most of the races.

GBF1

On the other side of the seriousness spectrum, expect a toned-down version of the GBF1 series we tested once a month on Sunday mornings. We'll be using Star Mazdas each month at a track that F1 has visited at some point in its history, usually something we're already running in other series. I currently use 25% of the race distance of the last F1 race to run at the track, but that's subject to change based on timing and feedback.

I'll also avoid interfering with the F1 calendar, but this is a series that runs at a time just after some F1 races. That may mean waking up early or staying up late for some of us. Such is the life of Formula 1 fandom.

This will also probably be the only year we run this series, as the IndyCar DW12 should be available for races sometime this year, and once that's out, we'll have a proper Ricker Cup.

Streaming

Most of these races will be streamed live from my perspective at twitch.tv/pseg. Unlike last season, my upstream speeds are much faster (6-10 times faster), so you might be able to make out a car or two while I'm racing.

No, seriously, it's so much better. I tested it earlier this year with the GB100 Endurance Race, and it's far easier to watch.

I'll also be tweeting out at @PsEG right before any streams, so I apologize to those of you who follow me and don't care about iRacing.

Calendar

Finally, for a better perspective of how all the races will be stacked up, here's a calendar from Mouse. Times are subject to change, so always check the league page on iRacing.com beforehand if you plan to participate.

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Finally, thanks to aurahack and B0nd07 for all the badass logos above. They're amazing dudes.

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