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  • David Phillips
    Editor And Chief
    David Phillips is a long-time contributor to print and electronic publications in the U.S. and abroad, including Racer, Autosport, AutoWeek, Motor Sport and SPEEDtv.com, oversees the daily updating of news stories and assigns, edits and contributes feature material for inRacingNews.com.
  • David Judson
    Contributor

    29 years old, Dave Judson lives in Mentor, Ohio. Dave has grown up with racing, watching his father win races and championships at the local go-kart track as a youngster and continuing his love of racing while watching NASCAR, Indycar, Formula 1 and sports cars.
    Judson has enjoyed a successful sim-racing career of his own in the IZOD Indycar iRacing Open and Fixed Setup Series. He has race wins to his credits as well as the Division 1 Championship of the Open Series in Season 1 of 2013 and the Overall Championship of the Fixed Series in Season 3 of 2013.
    Dave has a Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration from Cleveland State University and is looking to expand his horizons by writing for inRacingNews.

  • Matt A Kingsbury
    Contributor

    Kingsbury lives in Fairfield, Connecticut where he currently attends Sacred Heart University. He is a fan of any form of racing, from NASCAR to IndyCar, Formula 1, and especially endurance racing. The summer of 2013 saw Kingsbury attend IndyCar's return to Pocono Raceway as well as the ARCA race at Pocono which Corey Lajoie won and got some pictures (including the accompanying mug shot) in Victory Lane thanks to his aunt!

  • Raymond Kingsbury
    Contributor

    Ray Kingsbury is a motorsport enthusiast and full-time university student, born and raised in Connecticut. He started his own racing career in BMX, riding bicycles competitively on the state level. In eight years he claimed the state championship and was ranked nationally before moving away from the sport. This void of activities led him to rediscover sim-racing in the form of NASCAR Heat. After a championship in the game's most competitive league Kingsbury started focusing full-time on his involvement in Live for Speed. There he founded Last Lap Motorsports which today has more than 20 members worldwide.

    When a few Last Lap Motorsports members decided to give iRacing.com a chance to feed their desire for more oval racing, Ray teamed with his brother Matt, Nathan Lamothe and newcomer Jimmie Jones to enter the ETV! Live Team Series and claimed the title after a dominating performance at Watkins Glen. To this day the team continues in both Live for Speed and iRacing.com and Ray still takes much delight in his own sim-racing career. A reporter for his high school newspaper before moving to university, Kingsbury keeps-up his writing activities by contributing to iRacing News.

  • Jeff Jacobs
    Contributor

    Jeff Jacobs started autocrossing with the SCCA in 1990 while a student at the University of Florida. He has competed in the SCCA's National Tour and ProSolo series since 1995, winning a ProSolo National Championship in H-Stock in 2011 driving a 2010 MINI Cooper. Jeff completed his SCCA Club Racing drivers' school in 2012 at Roebling Road in a Spec Miata. He currently writes a column for the SCCA's Northeast Division in SportsCar Magazine and is the Region Executive of the Philadelphia Region SCCA.

    Jeff joined iRacing in October 2012. After starting with the MX-5 and SRF cars, he has been concentrating on the Ford Mustang FR500S, competing in the iRacing.com Mustang Cup series and the Continental Endurance Sports Car Series.

  • Jordan Hightower
    Contributor

    Jordan began sim-racing in 2005 with the NASCAR Racing 2003 Season sim and then joined the iRacing community in June of 2008. He hails from Fort Smith, Arkansas where he is currently enrolled at the University of Arkansas Fort Smith, after which he plans to attend the University of Arkansas to earn his MBA. Although he enjoys watching and playing basketball, most of Jordan's focus is on motorsports, particularly NASCAR: "Anything that burns gas and goes fast, I like."

  • Scott Kelly
    Contributor

    Born and raised in the greater St. Louis, Missouri area, Scott Kelly has had a love for motorsports ever since his father did the right thing by introducing auto racing into his life. No longer able to quench his need for speed by spectating NASCAR races on TV and watching dirt track stars slide around local tracks, Kelly eventually picked-up sim racing in his teens, wheeling cars found in Ratbag Games' "Dirt Track Racing" and "World of Outlaws: Sprint Cars" while also becoming introduced into multiple Papyrus sim-racing series. Joining the iRacing ranks in late 2011, Kelly set his sights on the short track racing he was familiar with, focusing on the sprint car, while also driving the Legends and street stock in multiple iRacing.com leagues.

    Kelly brings not just his enthusiasm for racing to the highest-rated motorsports simulation, but also his B.A. degree in English; he covers the action seen in the iRacing.com Sprint Car Series, while also placing the spotlight on various leagues within the service. Enjoying his start to a career in motorsports journalism, Kelly also doesn't mind visiting victory lane from time-to-time.

  • George Wood
    Contributing Writer
    After beginning his racing career with go-karts at age seven, George then turned wrenches on street stocks until he could finally turn the wheel. Following the successes of his friends and family, George has since retired from real-world racing, where he is now a science and mathematics faculty member for several local community colleges. When George isn't grading laboratory reports or iRacing, he is performing at bluegrass festivals in the Northeast, making fishing lures, playing golf, and rooting for his beloved Baltimore Orioles.
  • Chris Hall
    iRacing.com Series Writer
    Chris Hall has been writing since the nineties and moved into motorsports reporting in 2005, covering series such as ALMS, British GT, FIA GT, Le Mans and 2CV racing for Full Throttle magazine, Motorsport.com, The-Paddock.net, GTGateway.com, L' Endurance and, of course, inRacingNews. During 2008 and 2009, he worked with the RSS Performance Porsche Carrera Cup Team (and former British GT(C) champions) as a data engineer for a variety of drivers and models of 997s.
  • Jason Lofing
    iRacing.com Series Writer
    Jason is 21 years old and was born and raised in Elk Grove. California. A big time NASCAR fan, he hasn’t missed a race on Sunday in years. Lofing is also a huge San Fransisco Giants fan and tries to take in at least a couple games a year. Other than sim racing, his biggest (and far more expensive!) hobby is photography. Although he is rather new to sim racing, Lofing has already accomplished some pretty impressive results, qualifying for the 2011 iRacing Oval Pro Series in Season 1, 2011, winning the inaugural Landon Cassill Qualifying Challenge and finishing runner-up in the second one.
  • Dylan Sharman
    Contributing Writer
    I was born in Adelaide and we moved-out for Angle Vale for a few years until I was about 7 years old, when we moved to the Barossa Valley where I live now. I'm 19 years old and currently traveling back and forth weekly as I'm studying for a Diploma of Furniture Design and Technology.

    I've always had a love for racing as my close family did some racing and we were always out at the local dirt track. I joined iRacing back in 2010 and slowly but surely got the hang of it as this is my first experience with sim racing and am loving it each time I race. I've won two SK Modified titles (almost had three in a row but finished P2 in 2011 S4), an iRacingNews Challenge championship (2012 S1 Mazda) and was also an AustralAsian Intel GT Series Finalist.
  • Katier Scott
    Contributing Writer
    I am a veteran sim racer who first started racing way back in 1993 on the SPRTSIMS section of Compuserve with a league who can trace themselves all the way to the present. Within that league I act as Chief Steward and try to bring the unique viewpoint that this experience gives me into my articles.
    I have a BA (Hons) in Journalism and Editorial design and have been writing for seven years and currently cover the Lotus 79 CTC and Radical series alongside my freelance work. Living in the UK, as well as motorsports I love Photography, Arts and Crafts and reading.
  • David Ifeguni
    Contributing Writer
    I was born in New Haven, Connecticut in 1988 and moved to Midland, Michigan when I was two years old. I stayed there until third grade when I moved to Farmington Hills, Michigan and now I currently live in Naperville, IL where I'm attending Metea Valley High School as a 9th grader. In the past, I have participated in soccer and this year I plan on joining swimming or water polo. My family includes my 15 year old sister, a 7 year old sister and my mom and dad. I have been writing since 6th grade and have participated in many writing contests in my school and have received several awards for writing.
    My fascination for motorsports began when I was nine. The first NASCAR race I watched on TV was the 2009 Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Infineon Raceway, won by Kasey Kahne. My favorite NASCAR drivers are Kyle Busch, Dale Earnhardt Jr, and Jimmie Johnson. I have watched all the races in the NASCAR Sprint Cup, Nationwide and Camping World Truck Series since 2010. I currently have three wins on iRacing, two of them in the Nationwide car at Daytona and one in the Street stocks at Charlotte. My favorite car and type of track on iRacing is the Nationwide Series (B Class) car and superspeedways.

Fixed Setups and iRacing: Empowering Your Inner Driver or Frustrating Your Inner Engineer?

by John Bodin on August 4th, 2010

When iRacing unveiled the 2010 Season 3 schedule they also announced the addition of two new fixed-setup series — both of these fixed-setup series will be B-Class series, featuring the C6.R Corvette on the road course side, and the Impala SS Class B on the oval side.  These new fixed-setup series will run in addition to the existing open (adjustable) setup iRacing GT Championship and NASCAR iRacing Class B series on the same schedule but with race distances set at 50% of the adjustable setup events.

Fixed setup racing is hardly new to iRacing . . .

Fixed setups are nothing new to iRacing . . .

Fixed setups are nothing new to iRacing — every member initially stated out in fixed-setup series:  The Rookie Legends on the oval side is a fixed-setup series, and the Rookie Solstice on the road racing side is also a fixed-setup series.  Moving up the iRacing license ranks, the Volkswagen Jetta TDI Cup is a fixed-setup road racing series that runs at the D-Class, and while the Skip Barber Race Series doesn’t qualify as a true “fixed-setup” series, the Formula Skip Barber 2000 cars features a very limited number of setup adjustments, including tire pressure, fuel load, front ride height (spring perch settings), brake bias, and rear anti-roll bar setting, which positions it very close to the fixed-setup end of the spectrum.

Given all of this, you would think that the addition of two fixed-setup series at the B-Class level wouldn’t be a big deal — in fact, on the oval side, the addition of the fixed-setup Class-B series means there will be more opportunities to race in that car.  These new fixed-setup series offer a different set of challenges than the open (adjustable) setup series, and should encourage more people to try racing in these series thanks to the level playing field provided by the option of racing in a fixed-setup series without having to worry about trying to become a race engineer on top of having to learn the cars and tracks.

Still, despite all this, I’ve seen a lot of offhand comments in the iRacing member forums indicating that fixed setup racing is going to take away a significant aspect of realism here at iRacing . . .  but I’m not so sure.

I think the issue of how you as an individual driver is going to be impacted by the prospect of being “forced” to race in a fixed-setup series has a lot to do with whether you primarily think of yourself as a driver or as a race engineer.

Consider what it means being a race driver in the real world, especially among the professional ranks — I’m sure a lot of drivers often find themselves “at the mercy” of their race engineer because they provide feedback to the engineer, the engineer dials-in settings, the mechanics do their thing, and then the driver has to go out and try to drive whatever concoction the engineer and mechanics have thrown together.

There's no blaming your inner engineer when this happens with a fixed setup!

There's no blaming your inner engineer when this happens with a fixed setup!

In many ways, this is one crucial area where sim racing differs from how it really is in the real world — a lot of good drivers understand what works, but even the best drivers today typically aren’t the ones turning the wrenches, or analyzing the telemetry data.  It takes a good driver/engineer combo to establish the necessary rapport required to give and receive good feedback in order to produce positive results, and it sometimes takes a team of mechanics a significant amount of time to make the necessary changes (stuff that we accomplish with a few simple clicks in a menu).

Just consider that the fixed setup races are roughly equal to moving to a new team in the real-world, with a race engineer with whom you’re not familiar.  Fixed setups are kind of like if you were picked-up by a big team to fill-in for an injured driver — the team would give you a car that was setup to perform in a relatively predictable manner; it would have a decent setup, but it wouldn’t be dialed-in and fully-tweaked to match your preferences and your driving style.

When it comes down to those fully dialed-in, “personalized” setups in the real world, they only come from long-term relationships between drivers and engineers who work well and closely over time.  Drivers who are given setups that “should” work and then asked to jump in a car and go fast and compete is probably closer to the norm in the real world, and we sim racers are quite spoiled by being able to be our own drivers, race engineers and mechanics — this just doesn’t happen all that much in the real world, where things that we would consider “fixed setups” are much closer to the norm.

With all of this in mind, the prospect of fixed-setup racing really only impacts our “inner engineer” — the driver within still has a car to master, and a track to tame.  Keep that in mind — and keep an open mind — and fixed setup racing begins to seem a lot less “unrealistic.”

5 Comments or Trackbacks

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  1. Mark A Warmington
    August 5th, 2010 at 9:23 am

    Good article and an interesting viewpoint on the topic that became quite emotive on the forums.

    For many, the issue of realism never entered the debate. Instead – the emotive point for many was that the option to satisfy the inner engineer was being removed. The scenario we have now (fixed and open) resolved the issue as those wish to focus just on driving the car can do so and those who wish to develop their own understanding can do so.

    It’s all about what you want to get from iRacing: some just want to race and some want to continue the development of their skill-set with what is arguably the finest racing simulation available to the general public.

  2. Ryan
    August 5th, 2010 at 3:47 pm

    I like fixed setup racing and I’m anxious to raise my license level high enough to be able to run the oval series.

    The one “catch” to just “being the driver” is the fact that in the real world that engineer is still there to listen to our feedback and make changes accordingly. We don’t really get to give iRacing feedback to the fixed setups to make any changes let alone dial it in.

    I can understand why people are frustrated, but their complaints don’t hold water as long as it doesn’t hurt participation in the open setup version of the series. In my opinion I suspect it will help. You run the fixed setup one day and get comfortable with the car and then you’re more apt to try the open setup on the same track even if you only run the fixed setup.

  3. Alexandre
    August 5th, 2010 at 9:27 pm

    “…should encourage more people to try racing in these
    series thanks to the level playing field provided by the
    option of racing in a fixed-setup series…”

    some people will never understand that fixed setups
    do not level any playing field, much less in the case of
    the corvette, where you see people lapping 1.55s at
    sebring while others are lapping 2.01s.

    people who lap 1.55s in the fixed series would be the
    fastest ones with open sets anyway. people who lap
    2.01s would have difficulty in any corvette series, no
    matter what restriction you made to it.

    shorter distances are another matter and that, maybe
    is what these people are looking for in the fixed series.

    i don’t have an opinion on the oval side of things.

  4. Jay
    August 10th, 2010 at 7:50 pm

    Well said Alexandre, fixed setups certainly save time, I’ll concede that, but they definitely don’t do anything to level the playing field. Especially when you consider that a lot of the fast drivers share their setups with the public anyway. So if there are fast/good setups out there, what’s the need for fixed series when you already have the best setups available to you? In that sense what does it really accomplish for you?

    Secondly what does level the playing field are the splits. So if you don’t have a setup equal to the fastest guys you still have the opportunity to be competitive. If you’re not being placed in the top split because of your setup, guess what, that’s simply the nature of racing.

    Finally the fixed setup, for the Corvette, has taken away from the open series. Like I’ve said before it’s nice to have your options, but not at the expense of something else. There just aren’t enough active members to have this many series going right now.

  5. robert fuller
    September 15th, 2012 at 3:57 pm

    I felt bad not having my own setup. this will help me