Archive for the ‘13th Week’ Category

A Masterclass On Race Starts…

Wednesday, October 28th, 2009

It’s that time of year again when iRacing deploy their quarterly build. I can’t speak highly enough about this latest build, and this weeks events have been pure fun for me.

The build saw the addition of some welcome features such as vast camera controls (now offering a high degree of customisation), new graphical effects (such as skidmarks, smoke and dust), hosted racing (so people can basically pick and choose combinations of car and track, and then go race them) and a whole bunch of other small but notable improvements.

With it being week 13 (the traditional ‘off’ week at the end of each season) the majority of racing is done in unofficial races, featuring unusual combinations. The fact that there are less series offered in week 13 also means drivers tend to group together more closely, so it’s really cool seeing hundreds of members all joining the same race (which then gets split off into competitive grids via matchmaking).

One of the combos this season features three car classes at Laguna Seca and I’ve been having a blast racing there, pegging down the laps and kicking up dirt to block my rivals visibility (not intentionally, I must add!)

Of course, being an ‘unofficial’ week means people tend to switch off mentally just a little bit (I’m including myself in that group!). Check out this have-a-go hero who tries to win the race in the first 200m. This ambitious start really humoured me…. :)

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

13th Week Thoughts….

Tuesday, October 14th, 2008

My Helmet Design recently announced their agenda for events that will run during the 13th week (i.e. the one week that follows the conclusion of Season 3, and immediately precedes the start of Season 4).

As a recap, the details are as follows :

The official series – the 13th Week iRacing Legends Cup, featuring the Rookie Legends Car at South Boston and Lanier; and the 13th Week iRacing Solstice Challenge, featuring the Rookie Solstice at Summit Short Configuration and Lowe’s Infield Road Course – are essentially mini-championships in themselves. Safety Ratings and iRatings will be in effect. Points will be scored as they are during the regular season, but instead of race weeks, points will be averaged and finalized at the end of each day. Each day’s point total will count towards the 13th week championship. Divisions, meanwhile, will carry over from the regular season, so if your closest divisional rival beat you in the regular season, here’s the chance to get even!

The unofficial series will feature some of the latest additions to our car and track inventories. We’ll have The Rotary Roundabout, featuring the Formula Mazda at Richmond and Milwaukee and the Targa Transamerica, featuring the Radical SR8 at Sebring and Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.

Generally, I am quite happy with these arrangements. I think there’ll be enough to keep me occupied for the entire week.

I’ll be passing on the rookie legends championship – there’s nothing there beyond a normal four week rookie series held over seven days. Might have been interesting if they had switched up the tracks just a little bit (e.g. why not use the legends oval layout at Lowes; everyone has the track).

I quite like the look of the rookie Solstice series – a chance to drive the car at two new layouts, and I don’t have to invest time to work on a setup either! Summit Point Short is very similar to the full layout, so not really that exciting, but the Lowe’s infield road course should be a really unique experience. There’s no easy overtaking points that I could see from a few laps there yesterday, and plenty of immovable barrels just off the track to destroy the car, so it should be a really hairy challenge. I think it might be an SR killer!

The only bad thing about running those series is that you have to complete a race every day to have a serious attempt at taking the title. It’s a large commitment and one I am not sure I will be able to do.

The other series also offer some interesting combinations. I would quite like to tackle the Mazda at an oval because I’m not sure when the next opportunity will arise (if ever!). The only problem is that I don’t own the ovals yet, so will need to pick up the tracks. I’d also need to find a decent setup too, as I don’t think I’ll have to time to build one of my own.

I would definitely like to sample the Radical too, both at Laguna Seca and Sebring. Sebring will be a challenge to master as I am not completely familiar with the track, but Laguna is an old friend at this point.

I’ll definitely capture a lot of fraps footage of the action when the week comes around!