Practice, Qualifying and Racing Etiquette
Hey everybody, my name is Michael Vaughn and I’m going to offer some general advice on how to improve your iRacing experience for yourself and your fellow iRacers. These views may not necessarily be shared among the community, but I think they can help anyone out.
We all have one common goal in practice sessions, to learn the track and to improve our lap times and consistency when it comes time to qualify and ultimately race. Keeping those things in mind, here are some pointers on how to make the most of your practice sessions.
You are allowed to crash! Practice is for finding your personal limits while on track. However, you want to keep in mind a few things with respect to your fellow competitors.
Always keep your F3 box on. This gives you awareness on who is ahead and behind you at all times. This is especially important when pulling out of the pits. If you see that a car behind you is gaining time at a fast pace then wait before you pull on the track. This will keep you from potentially ruining someone’s lap and that same courtesy will be bestowed upon you.
When a faster driver is on your rear bumper the best thing to do is let them by in the safest way possible. Not only is this good sportsmanship, but you can also learn from it. Watch their line while you’re following them and you might be able to pick-up a few tenths!
If and when you do crash, lock your brakes! This makes the car’s trajectory much more and anyone following closely behind will be able to make evasive action that much easier if they know where the car is headed.
The inevitable happens: you end-up crashing with another competitor. Now the first instinct you have when you think it’s not your fault is to assign blame and point this out in text or voice chat. We’ve all been there before. What I would suggest is to reset your car and have a look at the replay. A lot of times there might have been something you could have done differently to avoid the situation. If the other racer offers an apology, kindly accept and move on. It’s just practice after all! If it was your mistake then offer an apology as well. Now if you continually have problems with the same person then refer to the Sporting Code, it is always in effect in any official session.
Most of the same points I’ve made about practice apply here, especially having your F3 box on and not pulling out in front of someone when you’re exiting the pits.
One thing you should always do is keep a sizable gap between you and the other racers qualifying. This way if you or they make a mistake there will be enough time to either reset the car or get back on track so a hot lap isn’t ruined. You are not there to race in qualifying sessions.
Here’s the big moment! You’ve practiced, qualified and now you’re ready to compete!
Everyone has the same goal as you do: race as cleanly as possible and advance or hold their position to the best of their skills.
Race starts are easily some of the most stressful times during racing. You want to get off the line as quickly as possible; however you cannot win a race in Turn One no matter what happens. Get a good start but make sure to be aware of what is going on with everyone else. Sometimes you’ll see somebody take off late or miss a shift. Try and give everyone room to make it through the first lap cleanly; brake a little earlier than normal if you have to. Almost everyone will have a case of the jitters in the first few laps, so you want to drive with a little bit of restraint if need be. The more you practice and race the more you’ll be able gauge what’s going on and make any adjustments necessary.
I’m going to reiterate some points from earlier now. Keep your F3 box on at all times to keep aware of everyone’s position, especially when exiting pit lane. When you do wreck, always lock your brakes. If you clash with a fellow racer, offer or accept an apology and continue on.
One thing that does happen quite often are heated discussions immediately following an incident. This is understandable. More often than not you’re disgusted with what just happened. The best course of action is to wait until the race is over. At this point you will have cooled off and you can have a civil discussion and logically analyze the replay to see what took place. The last thing anyone wants to hear while they’re racing is two people going at it using the chat system. This can be very distracting and won’t win you any fans regardless of whether or not the accident was your fault.
Now I’m going to go a bit out on a limb here with this next point, but please bear with me. There are several thoughts about what to do when dealing with lapped traffic, whether you are lapping someone or being lapped yourself. Usually in racing if you are a lap down and someone on the lead lap is on your bumper then chances are you won’t make it all the way around and be able to pass them for that position. Just simply let them by, but on the racing line and not in the middle of a corner! That way their lap time won’t be affected and you will avoid an incident.
“The last thing anyone wants to hear while they’re racing is two people going at it using the chat system.”
If you are dealing with a car that’s a lap down then it’s up to you to make a safe and clean pass. The lapped driver doesn’t have to let you by, but it does show good sportsmanship if they do. Make and sure and thank them later on if they do let you by.
Hopefully, some of these tips will add to your enjoyment of sim-racing. I know from personal experience that following these tenets has greatly improved the amount of fun that I have. If you become known as a safe and courteous driver then a lot of these things will be granted back to you. Always keep in mind what would you want to happen if you were the other person . . . usually you’ll make the right choice. See you guys on track!