Archive for the ‘Sebring’ Category

Week 2 – How NOT to start a truck race…

Saturday, February 14th, 2009

Following on from a busy week 1 I was able to get some more racing done in week two. The week wasn’t as successful as week 1 in terms of points, but I still had two good races.

Star Mazda Race Results (iRacing members only!)


This was my first official race at Sebring, and despite liking the track I really struggled to find my pace here.

I went into a race and started in 13th of 16 (despite matching my PB in qualifying!). I had a pretty good race though – kept it on the black stuff and picked up places when the faster guys dropped off the circuit. I had a few interesting battles on the track with much faster drivers. My car had a very low downforce setup and despite being much slower in the corners I was still able to pull away on the straights – even when my rival was firmly in my slipstream. Such a cool way that you can have two cars with completely different setups challenging each other on the track in very different ways.

I soaked up lap after lap of pressure and eventually brought it home for an 8th place finish for 108 points (better than I expected!). Another zero incident race too, and a whole single point of iRating to the good!

Chevy Silverado Race Results

My Chevy Silverado


I was really looking forward to this race as I found I had a strong setup that actually had me running closer to the sharp end than I usually run. Was looking for a strong finish. As you can see from the video of the lap 1 start, the race was ruined before it started when someone in the outside pacing lane span their wheels on the green flag and barrelled into my car, destroying my right front alignment.

I never recovered from the reset and finished 10th, one lap down. 68 points and a mandatory 4x incident (mandatory in a sense that it seems every truck race results in a minimum of a 4x hit somewhere….) In future I now know what I should do when resetting to make sure I don’t go a lap down.

Skip Barber Race Results


At the end of the week I found I had just enough time to squeeze in a Skippy race at VIR Full. Despite it being a challenging track I found it easy to get back into the feel of the track and only needed a handful of laps to get back to my previous pace here.

I started 9th in a full field of 14 and did well to avoid incidents throughout the race. There was some lap one spinners that I had to navigate around and some passing made as I worked my way back up through the field.

I had a nightmare spin on lap 2 as I passed a slower car – I got my braking perfectly into turn 1 and I had given the corner quite a large margin of respect but annoyingly I used more steering wheel than I needed to and lost the car with a lazy spin.

Later in the race I saw the craziest set of collisions I’ve ever seen. I arrived at the top of a crest to find around four cars all basically parked and slowly getting back onto the racing surface. A comedy of errors ensued as they took turns to collide into each other, and even flipping one car! I tip-toed through the carnage and drove on to a 6th place finish which was good for 100 points.

Fun Week 13!

Wednesday, October 29th, 2008
My Helmet Design Sebring

I’ve been racing in the week 13 events this week (as much as possible) and generally having a good time away from the consideration of the SR and iRating systems.

After last seasons 13th week I really began to appreciate the safety rating and iRating systems, not only because it meant other drivers were safer, but because of the effect it had on ME. Last time around I found myself creeping slightly into bad habits, such as pushing a bit too hard, that kind of thing. With no real penalty for spinning (or just driving irresponsibly) it is all too easy to fall into similar habits. The other issue was with disconnections (again, mea culpa). When there is no iRating at stake it’s too easy to drop out of races. Grids of 30 end up with just a handful of finishers.

This time there are official series to go with the unofficial series, so while there is mayhem in the fun series the official series should still offer safe and fair driving. I’ve only tried the rookie Solstice series, and the driving was generally good with no disconnections. The new tracks are a lot of fun (Summit short and Lowe’s road course) but from the experience I had the races are still too frequent (at 30 minute spacing) for decent grids. The race I had put me in a very weak field so whilst it was fun the main competition was against myself and my own demons (self spinning, etc). I’d prefer to see one hour spacing for the 13th week – let’s get 100 entrants for these sessions and give the matchmaking some numbers to work with!

I’m not able to use the Mazda on the ovals as I don’t own the tracks yet. I was planning on buying Milwaukee but I need to wait for the trucks to arrive as I want to get the discount for purchasing six items. If the trucks are held for much longer I’ll miss the chance to run the Mazda on ovals, which is a big shame as it seems to be an excellent combination.

Finally I had my first experience of the crazy Radical SR8 at Sebring… I was very thankful that this series was unofficial as I had to learn the car, the track, and develop a setup all in a short space of time. Being able to compete without worrying about iRating and SR was definitely a bonus here. The track is a great course, and I certainly do love the Radical but I clearly need to spend a lot of time learning how to set the car up efficiently.

As it is I joined a Radical race last night and had an absolute blast. 5th to 2nd on turn one (which wasn’t as bad as I expected) and I was following the leader until lap two when I hit a lag patch and got a phantom black flag…. I had to clear that and fell back six seconds to the leader. The next 12 laps were intense, as I was lapping on the limit, lap after lap. Each lap saw my concentration ebb away and it was so completely draining. In the last few laps I was able to refine my line and my laptime started to fall – in fact I had an excellent chase to the leader which saw me take the six second lead down to 0.6 all in the last three laps. One more lap and I think I might have had a passing opportunity!

Still, an overwhelming experience and I am excited and hesitant in equal parts to race these cars in a 50 minute B level race in season 4!

Update - The anticipated software update has arrived and the trucks have arrived! I bought another bunch of content including Phoenix, Milwaukee and the truck themselves (amongst others!)

The truck is great – the cockpit interior oozes quality and is several steps ahead of what Nascar 2003 delivered (and rightly so), but the new tracks are even more impressive. Phoenix sets a new quality standard as far as I’m concered!

I’ve since been able to try the Mazda at Milwaukee and true to reports, it is an excellent adventure! The car is a darty, spirited racer and the race I had was a LOT of fun. I also snuck in a Solstice race at Lowe’s which was absolutely cracking! Not in terms of result, but sheer fun. 18 cars nipping around the short track, and drafting battles on the back leg means this is a combo I will definitely be going back to in season 4 (weeks four and ten!).

My Radical SR8