Something needed to be done . . . even the hardcore were getting disillusioned. The numbers were dropping, but there was still a glimmer of enthusiasm there. A post from Tony Gardener and suddenly the world looked a brighter place.
Two weeks later and the Radical series is set to take on a new look in Season 3 with the aim of attracting new drivers to what is generally accepted as one of the most exciting cars to drive on the iRacing service.
To get to the root of the initial problem, one probably needs to look at two more or less simultanious events. The first was the arrival of the NTM on the Radical. In its final season on the OTM this exciting little sportscar had regularly pushed the Star Mazda for participation levels – despite at the time being a 3 day a week series. Grids were full and the racing – as always – was close.
Then the NTM arrived and turned the car into a handful; wing had to be added to tame a bouncy rear end, the car lost its pizazz and with it – gradually – participation.
This season, however, the Radical is back to its OTM best. Wing options are now viable to compare with the OTM and the RS8 can finally be grabbed by the scruff of the neck and hurled around the best tracks in the world with gay abandon.
Unfortunately, other factors probably prevented people from trying-out the revitalised car: fixed setups and short sprint races. These have increasingly created a major problem by their popularity as pick-up racing and had an impact on many of the other series.
Moving-on to the solution, this season the Radical will hopefully be the ‘go-to’ series for those looking for short-sharp races in a fun and exciting car with easy access to setups.
Fixed setup racing is now gone on the road side. All series, except the initial rookie series and VW will be open setups.
The Radical races will all be 25 minutes long, which compares with class D and even Rookie races, and is of similar length to the now defunct fixed races. Also setups will be completely re-done by leading Radical driver, Robert Hope, who is creating two setups for all tracks – one 17 wing and one 25 wing.
Also David Scott2 (no relation) has created his own series of Radical setups for people to try and started a new thread which will include discussions and advice on setup tweaking at http://members.iracing.com/jforum/posts/list/3200084.page
Between the two sets of setups, sim-racers will be very quickly be able to find a setup for the track they are at and go racing. The Radical is also a car that enabled you to be competitive everywhere with minimal setup changes.
As such, while it’s not a ‘fixed’ setup series, in terms of the effort required to go racing, the Radical Series is as easy to get into and be competitive as any fixed series.
To accompany the series, the schedule has been created to reflect a series of tracks that compliment this nimble, but rapid, sportscar’s handling.
The series opens at one of the most popular tracks with Radical drivers – Mosport Park (or to use its current name Canadian Tire Motorsports Park). A fairly easy track to learn, it’s a challenge to master, most notably the famous Turn Two.
The series then moves to the full version of the Road Atlanta circuit – in both this, and the shorter form, the Radical excels here.
Autódromo José Carlos Pace, aka Interlagos, is next up and provides a nice change of pace before the flowing curves of Phillip Island are reached for round 4.
Medium to high speed corners are where the Radical comes alive. Round Five at Suzuka GP course provides many such corners while the next round, Watkins Glen, provides a break from the more technical tracks. In its Classic Boot configuration, the popular American track eliminates the Inner Loop chicane, providing exciting side-by-side possibilities into the Loop itself.
Okayama provides a free track for Week 7 before the field arrives at Radical heaven in the form of Oulton Park and its famous Knickerbrook corner. Week 9 has the field remaining in the UK with a trip to the international layout of Silverstone. This shorter track eliminates Hanger straight, Stowe, Vale and Club corners, but provides a genuine overtaking spot at Abbey with a hairpin before the field rejoins the main GP circuit on the run down to Bridge corner.
Road America hosts week 10 before the field moves to a new track with Week 11. The classic Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, aka Montreal, has been long requested and finally arrives in the iRacing portfolio.
Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps forms the, now traditional finale for the series, closing a season of classic tracks which should provide non-stop action throughout the season.