Hot on the heels of my overview of the Class D and C road racing series, I’d like to offer my thoughts on their B and A counterparts. If none of the previous series is quite your style, hopefully this article will help you find something more to your liking.
iRacing GT Challenge
2010 Season 3 introduces a new type of series to the advanced levels of iRacing: fixed setup racing. The iRacing GT Challenge is being run as two separate series, both featuring the Corvette C6.R. One series offers fixed setups, the other offers the ability to tweak the car until your hands are covered in (virtual) grease. The fixed setup series sparked a bit of controversy amongst the community members, and in particular with the current Corvette series regulars. iRacing quickly responded to the feedback from the community and the result is two completely independent series running on the same schedule, but with shorter races for the fixed setup cars.
The fixed setup series offers drivers a great chance to turn a few practice laps to get comfortable with the setup and then hop into a race. Initial signs indicate this series is going to be very successful. However, if one of the things you enjoy most about running a season is being able to tweak and tune your car, the “standard” iRacing GT Challenge is probably more to your liking. Previously, participation has not been terribly strong in the GT Challenge. However, my sense is the fixed series will boost participation in the regular series since they run on opposite days. Also, some may find the fixed races good for a quick snack, but not quite enough to satisfy their appetite for racing and so race in both the “standard” and “fixed” series to sate their hunger.
Classic Lotus Grand Prix
The Lotus 79 is the iRacing car with the best handling capabilities due to large amounts of downforce. Those interested in the Williams FW31 scheduled to be introduced in 2010 Season 4, should definitely give the Lotus a shot in Season 3. The new transmission model and Season 3 build have changed the dynamics of the Lotus quite a bit — you may need to learn to control your right foot or you could find yourself walking back to the pits after blowing your motor.
Everyone who drives the Lotus absolutely loves the car, but unfortunately “everyone” isn’t a large number of people. The side effect of that is a very well connected community where people are always willing to help and you frequently find yourself racing the same people, creating energetic rivalries in the process. The Lotus community is great about using the race planner so, with a little foresight, finding official races is not a problem. Also don’t worry if you’re from planet Earth: the Classic Lotus GP series regularly attracts a wide range of skill levels so you’ll definitely be able to find some good racing in the Lotus 79.
iRacing Prototype Challenge
iRacing does not (yet) have a true “pair” of cars to represent a mixed class series ala the American Le Mans Series or GRAND-AM Rolex Series, but the combination of the Riley Mk XX and Radical SR8 has worked-out quite well. The Riley Daytona Prototypes have the edge in power and top speed while the Radicals have superior cornering speed and braking capabilities. Perhaps the most significant selling point for some might not appeal to others: the mixed series runs long races, with a couple each season lasting up to 80 minutes. Those who have found the similarly lengthy iRacing World Tour events to their liking should definitely give the Prototype Challenge a shot.
IZOD IndyCar Series
For those who can’t decide whether you prefer road courses or ovals, the IZOD IndyCar is the perfect series. The series features the Dallara IndyCar on a mixed schedule with half the races on road courses and the other half on ovals. However, all races affect competitors’ road course iRating and Safety Rating.
Admittedly, some road racers may find the oval component is a drawback to the IZOD IndyCar Series. While many iRacing Pros run both the oval and road series, oval and road racing definitely require different skill sets. The series also challenges both your driving and technical skills as the Dallara IndyCar is the fastest car currently available on the service and also one of the most complex in terms of mechanical and aerodynamic adjustments. What’s more, the long races require drivers to develop a pit strategy. As with some facets of other iRacing series, the pit strategy dynamics may scare some people away even as they attract others. But that’s the beauty of iRacing.com: to each his own. So try your hand at some of the many different cars and series. You’re sure to find something — more likely somethings — that appeal to you.