Many people who join iRacing seem to treat license progression as a “gaming” aspect, with the primary objective of the “game” being to increase your license level and move up the license ladder to race in another series in order to get promoted to the next level so you can increase your license and move up the license ladder to race in another series in order to get promoted to the next level . . . and so on.

The problem with this approach is that soon you’re in way over your head because you’re suddenly racing in cars and series that exceed your true skill level, and you’re not able to be competitive because you’ve been too focused on license progression and not focused enough on racing and mastering any given car.

It’s a vicious circle, and I think it contributes to lower driver retention — or at least to lower driver satisfaction, and decreased race participation in general.

Coming into iRacing as a new member, most folks don’t seem to realize that getting “promoted” doesn’t mean you HAVE to move to a different license level. I have a B-Class license and I still race the SpecRacer Ford at the Advanced Rookie level (this is the only series I’ve participated in over the course of the past two seasons).

How many people move up to the D-, C-, or B-Class license level (or beyond!) without having first participated in a real 12-week season in any series? Lots, I suspect, which means they have little or no idea about the importance of qualifying, earning championship points, divisional championships, participating in the series community when you’re off-track, etc. Jumping straight into the D-Class level and beyond before you have a chance to learn the ropes is like jumping in a shark tank before you know how to swim (which probably wouldn’t end well).

“Moving up too fast is a great way to start feeling very beat-down very fast . . .”

Moving up too fast is a great way to start feeling very beat-down very fast — and that can suck all the fun out of your iRacing experience. The faster cars at the higher license levels are only going to be harder to come to grips with, and the level of competition at the higher license levels can be pretty fierce. Treating iRacing like a game by trying to move up as quickly as possible is a good way to get in way over your head, which can suck all the fun out of the overall experience.

In my opinion, it’s far better to spend your time honing your skills and taking the time to enjoy all the levels of racing that are available to you, rather than letting yourself burn-out quickly and decide that iRacing really isn’t for you.

"It's far better to spend your time honing your skills and taking the time to enjoy all the levels of racing that are available . . ."

Finding a car and series — and an iRacing community — that fits your style, personality, and skill level is far more important in the long run than rising to the “right” license level so you can race in your ultimate “dream car.” Often, though, the “dream car” that you really want to race may require skills that are WAY beyond your capabilities . . . but as racers, we’re seldom ever able to admit that to ourselves, so we keep pushing the rock uphill, trying to do what we’re really not good at until we get burned-out, fed-up . . . or both.  When you hit that point, I think most people would rather just walk away than take a step back — or a step “down” the license ladder — to try to find the car and series that DOES work well for them, one that is truly fun AND satisfying.

So more often than not, once frustration sets in, disinterest comes next, and then folks either walk away or just drift away from iRacing.

But is that really what you signed-up for when you joined? Is that really why you pay your iRacing membership fees, or why you purchase new content?

Sometimes it helps to analyze our own skills and abilities, and it also helps to set goals along the way. License level progress certainly can be a goal, but I’d say that it shouldn’t be the main goal because that’s a path that doesn’t lead to much in the way of truly satisfying rewards. I mean, really — is getting a green B-Class license banner on your car and helmet REALLY all that rewarding at the end of the day? It took me a while to realize that while license level can be a source of personal pride, it’s not really all that satisfying in and of itself after the small moment of initial achievement has passed.

If we’re honest with ourselves as racers, what’s REALLY satisfying is good racing, and that happens most often when you find a car and a series that are both fun and challenging, and when you become part of the racing community and begin to race with people you know and — more importantly — people you can trust on-track.

For some people, this comes in the form of league racing; for others, getting involved in the various official series and becoming active in the forum area for your series of choice can bring that same level of satisfaction.

When it comes to goals and objectives, the official series have a lot to offer.  There is, of course, the overall Series Championship and the individual Divisional championships; there’s also the overall Time Trial championship, along with the individual Time Trial championships, for each division. All of these aspects of the official series offer ways for people at all skill levels to compete against others, and also a way to measure you skills and your progression against your peers.  What’s more, this helps remove the “impersonal” aspect of online competition by giving you a way to become more familiar with your actual competitors.

In the long run, good racing in a car and series that are challenging and fun can be more satisfying than going for ever more advanced licenses.

Along those lines, it also helps to visit the series forums and at least read through the various posts.  Many series feature weekly pre-race “briefing” posts with track details, pointers on how to approach the track, predicted lap times, and even setups and replays.  Visiting the forums can also help you to begin to “know” the people you might eventually find yourself racing alongside on-track, and getting involved in the forum discussions can help you to get to know these people even better.

Community forums are a key aspect of online league racing, giving participants a way to interact and share and get to know each other; the community forums for the various official series serve a similar purpose – provided you actually take the time to get involved, which is something that too few people do, I fear.  So take some time to visit the forums, and you might be surprised at the amount of useful resources and helpful people you will encounter.

Community forums are a key aspect of online league racing . . . and official iRacing series.

Opportunities like these allow you to immerse yourself even further here at iRacing, but in focusing on license level progression and making a mere “game” of it in that manner, you may well miss out on most of this stuff, at least initially.  It often takes people quite some time to realize what they’re missing — assuming they stick around long enough in the first place, that is — which is unfortunate, IMO.

“Be honest about your skill levels and look for things that you actually enjoy, rather than getting hyper-focused on what you think you want to enjoy.”

So take your time, look around, be honest about your skill levels and look for things that you actually enjoy, rather than getting hyper focused on what you think you want to enjoy.  I think you’ll find that iRacing has a lot more to offer than you realize.

By the way, if you started reading this article hoping to learn how to get promoted and how to progress through the license levels, you might want to check out this item in the iRacing.com FAQ and Knowledgebase:

http://www.answers-script.com/iracing/article/minimum-participation-requirements-mpr-113.html

Once you know what you need to know about license levels and promotions, though, then take some time to look around to see what’s really available; figure out what you’d like to get involved with, and what you’re actually capable of doing.  Before long you’ll likely discover that you’re having a lot more fun than you were when you were just focusing on licenses, promotions, and specific “dream cars” that you desperately wanted to be able to drive.

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I think the main problem – too easy to move to a higher level.

Nikita Gorlov
July 17th, 2012 at 3:28 am

Agreed, way to easy to get out of the Rookie license when most aren’t really ready for a D license. As it stands now, anyone knowing they aren’t ready for a higher license (self admittance to knowing your not as good as you thought you were) needs to look at their Rookie point just before promotion, if your Safety rating is above 3.0, then join a few races, go on track, hang back, and without disturbing the rest of the race, fun full throttle into walls, tree, offtrack anything that will bring your safety rating back below 3.0 thus no promotion.
iRacing really need to take another look at the promotion system, Rookies are promoted way to easily.
Take care

Regards: >>>> Jack <<<<

Jack Shannon
July 17th, 2012 at 3:28 pm

I Agree here, i made my C licence just ina few days just by driving savely, and jumped from the MX5 Cup straight through the C Class Radicals..

And i was tbh in over my head at first, while i was compettative in the Rookie class, i was utterly outclassed in the C Class..
It took a while and alot of practice too gain compettative times as newcomer when sharing the track in a niche class with mostly A and B licence racers, fortunate the Radical community welcomes newcomers and helped me alot too gain better, and mostly reason i sticked too the series, but it was hard for me my first season just too keep up.. Now at the end of the season i reach my B licence, but i stick in the Radical series, not even thinking going higher, i reached my limit here..

Still it was way too easy and i gained way too fast my higher licence before i was actually ready.. I stick for now a couple of seasons in the C class since i now know what i can expect, something i had no clue on when i just started in iRacing

Kelvin Schouw
July 17th, 2012 at 4:09 pm

Thanks for a great article John. I totally agree with what your saying.

I have been at the class d level for the past two seasons and really only race in the rookie series for the time being.

I’ve been practicing with the skip barber most of the time getting to know the cars and the tracks, but rarely compete as I don’t want to get in the others way. When I do I usually lurk at the back of the field to get to know competitive speed.

I’m not in any hurry to jump anothe rlicense level at this point as there is a lot to learn at my current level.

I might look at the radicals to run as I want to find a rookie series that is less of a smash fest that some of the rookie series races have become. (But I guess that is why there is a Rookie class)

bernie
July 18th, 2012 at 2:23 am

I had this issue. I ran the mustang the 1st season of the Grand am Series and since i was racing with the DPs i shot up the licenes fast, not that I wanted to.

mike nachtigal
July 19th, 2012 at 2:15 am

The only real BMW is E34 Wagon, other and even new ones are the most Rubbish quality cars ever made on pleant earth with tons of continuous problems related with Crap electrics and electronics, very crap suspension, crap rubber and plastics used everywhere, Now BMW is only and only produces shit-quality boxes on 4 wheels

Joe
October 3rd, 2012 at 5:22 am

I didn’t even know about this series until I oneped Hulu earlier today. At first I was going to turn it off like I do a lot of Hulu stuff that pops up, but that’s also how I got into Burn Notice, and Warehouse 13. So I decided to watch it and see what it was like, and I have to agree with the writer here. The first scene had me thinking, yea right, what a dope idiot, no way that is happening in real life. Stupid. And I was going to turn it off, but decided to give it a little more time, then the woman showed up, the other characters came into play, the lead became more likable, then the real action sequences, and I thought the same thing with hand-to-hand fighting scene, totally like the Borne series. The action sequences alone were a lot better than a lot of movies I’ve seen, and the acting top-notch. The futuristic train was a cool addition, which I liked, and of course the great action. Good sweet action, that had me cheering when the lead was running out of the tunnel with the woman next to him. Sweet show, I’ll definitely be tunning into this one.

Jose
October 3rd, 2012 at 5:43 am

I feel that iracing needs to work on a “kick button”. Meaning that if a driver is obviously not capable of handling their car you can manually remove them from the race. I hate to mention a console game, but Gran Turismo 5 has this option. Alot of kids or even just party crashers join a room/race and decide they want to crash into anything and everything. And whoever the race/room host is has the option of removing them from that room.

Clinton
January 12th, 2013 at 2:18 pm

The thing about this is that you can step down several license levels! So there is nothing wrong with lets say getting to know the c class cars and start to practice on cars beyond that. After all you have to start somewhere if you want to advance to the higher levels.

Darrin Isenberg
May 9th, 2014 at 11:27 am

Well written. I have found a home with the Caddies in the global champs. It offers a very predictable vehicle, excellent tracks and great people. I have learnt more about racing in this one D class series than all the others combined. If your done with rookies and want a new challenge (and love touring cars) come and join the global series in a caddy. Great fun!

Andrew noble
May 6th, 2015 at 1:57 am

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