Archive for October, 2008

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

Season Review – Season 3

Monday, October 27th, 2008

My Helmet Design

Time to reflect on season 3, the first complete season I have completed in iRacing. Going into this season I had planned to run the Advanced Solstice as my main series, and thankfully I was able to compete in all twelve of the racing weeks in that series.

Overall it went incredibly well – A very unexpected start saw some early wins and that pretty much set up how I approached the entire season. My early successes ensured that I was competing with the championship in mind, and the net effect of that was a single race each week, with the exception of week three where I raced multiple times (and to poor results!)

Looking back on the Advanced Solstice season, here is a breakdown of the weekly progress (the three non-scoring weeks clearly highlighted). Links to the weekly race reports and race results (from included :

Advanced Solstice Season 3

Summit Point Raceway 5th 1st 0 137
Lime Rock Park Full 2nd 1st 0 124
Laguna Seca - - - 84 *
Summit Point Jefferson 1st 3rd 0 92
Summit Point Raceway 2nd 2nd 0 124
Lime Rock Park Full 3rd 3rd 1 110
Laguna Seca 2nd 1st 0 141
Summit Point Jefferson 1st 1st 0 117
Summit Point Raceway 2nd 1st 0 137
Lime Rock Park Full 3rd 2nd 0 109
Laguna Seca 2nd 2nd 6 119
Summit Point Jefferson 1st 1st 0 137

(* – average of 8 starts)

This placed me 7th/1519 in the overall standings (grats to Dion Vergers for taking the overall title) with 1036 points, and 15th/1073 in the overall time trial standings with 736 points. I gave up on the time trials championships two thirds of the way through as it was taking too much time and it really wasn’t that important to me after all. I was really pleased to meet my ’100 point per week’ average, and also my ’90 point per week’ time trial average.

In the divisions I ended up winning division three outright and I took third place in the time trials championship (also division three).

As for the other series, I really didn’t get the chance to race anything else regularly…. I did compete in other races in the Skip Barber and rookie Solstice series, and I also made a start on my oval career by competing in both rookie and advanced Legends series. I also picked up five Late Model starts (to put me in good stead for next season!). The Skippy races were great (and chaotic!) and I was able to get ten races in (across two racing weeks). Finally I was able to sneak in two cheeky Mazda races during the season, when the series was at Laguna Seca. One was an unofficial race with just three cars, and the other was a fantastic second place with an 18 car grid. Absolutely loved that race, and can’t wait to progress to a full Mazda season in the future.

The Late Model racing struck a chord with me too. I am not a big fan of the Legends car (I’m in a minority there) as I really don’t like the way the chassis handles. Once I got stuck into the Late Model I was pretty decided to skip Advanced Legends racing altogether and dive into the Late Model immediately. I don’t think I’ll miss the Legends car…

Finally, over the course of the season I was working on consistent high placings and development of my safety rating and generally it went to plan. Only a handful of races where I picked up more than 5 incident points but generally a lot of clean driving with as few mistakes as possible. I was able to fill my SR up to 4.99 level in August and hopefully it’ll be at a decent level when I get my C licence in a few days. Even the Oval stats are looking pretty good considering I only competed in a handful of races.

Clickable stats ahead :

Road iRating Graph Season 3

Oval iRating Graph Season 3

Week 12 – Finishing on a high…

Friday, October 24th, 2008
My Helmet Design Summit Point Raceway

The last race of the Solstice season took us back to Summit Point for the last time, and back to the Jefferson layout. I had been busy most of the week so the only chance I had to race (or at least join a race with more than a couple of racers) was Friday evening.

I joined the 10:30pm race (with 21 other racers) and was gridded on pole. Pole being very important at this circuit as there is really only one serious overtaking place out of the measly seven corners of the layout.

I had an OK start, leading the pack into turn one, but the grid was competitive and we formed a front pack of four cars that were lapping very closely. For whatever reason I simply could not get back to my usual pace, and was generally lapping around four tenths off my anticipated pace. I couldn’t build anything close to a comfortable lead, and the opening laps were intense!

Luckily, the lack of overtaking areas on the circuit meant I only had to defend one corner lap after lap, and this was the form until roughly the halfway point of the race when the second and third place cars had a collision, leaving me to defend the lead with a more comfortable four second gap to the new second place runner.

The race carried on to form, and the remaining battle was between me and my left front tyre, which had taken some punishment and caused me some anguish… luckily it held on!

So the final result was the straight flush – pole converted into a win (sadly no fastest lap, but zero incidents), and a handsome total of 137 points for the week. The result also popped me up a whole two spots in the standings from 9th (where I expected to finish) up to 7th (currently!)

Race Results (iRacing members only!)

iRacing Solstice Week 12 – Summit Point Jefferson from Samiad on Vimeo.

New Solstice Paintscheme Sep 08