iRacing IndyCar Indy 500 Indianapolis Dallara IR-18

IiRacing & Simulation & Simulations

Getting into iRacing: Frustration at the Indy 105

No Comments

iRacing is regarded as the gold standard for competitive SimRacing. No other simulation features a comparable, dedicated multiplayer system that treats the races like real events. SimRacing Unlimited editor Yannik Haustein is taking his first, long-overdue steps in the sim now and takes you along with him – which can get frustrating at times as well, like at the Indy 500.

Special events in iRacing are highlights on the calendar every year, and for me personally, the Indy 500 has to be the most exciting – as a big IndyCar fan, this should not come as much of a surprise. Just for this event, I had set out to get my oval license up there to be eligible for the race – without at least a 4.0 D license, you would not be allowed to start. After I really started appreciating the fun in oval racing, I even got a C license.

Of course, the excitement was big before the event: It would be my first long superspeedway race, and I had been practicing alone and with opponents on track as much as I could despite time constraints. While it quickly became clear that lots of concentration would be needed, I felt like running stints alone would not be a problem. But lapping behind other cars was a completely different world, the dirty air effect was very noticeable in the corners. This means that a different approach is needed to not end up in the wall on corner exit.

Endurance Mindset for the Start

Still, I felt like I was well-prepared for the task at hand. The endurance mindset to keep out of trouble at the start of the race on the back of my mind, I started the race from tenth position. 32 opponents and myself went on a journey that would ideally last 200 laps – the race start was not made in rows of three like it is traditionally at the real Indy 500, but rather in standard rows of two. Not authentic, but probably better to avoid turn one carnage at the start.

Initially, this worked well, but after two laps, yellow flags were out regardless. Definitely not an occasion to visit the pits just yet, as neither fuel nor tires were used much by this point. At the start, I had tried to get going in third gear and lost four positions as a result, meaning I was in P14 when the race was restarted, and I stayed there until the second full-course yellow. After making my first pit stop then, I dropped back to 17th.

After this caution period, things started to unravel fast: A single moment of misjudging things saw me understeer into the wall. I was able to drag the car back to the pits – weirdly, the yellow only came out when I was already in my pit stall – but this meant that I was two laps down already. At least the damage could be fixed completely.

Early End at a Re-Start

The following re-start saw another caution right after the green, and when things finally picked up again, an opponent was too optimistic on the front stretch and slowed down to avoid overtaking before the line – which left me nowhere to go as I hit his gearbox. The result: Damaged suspension including a steering wheel that was tilted about 30 degrees to the left and another stop for repairs. This time, not all the damage was fixable, meaning I was about 20 kph (12.4 mph) off the pace on top speed. Carrying on would not have made much sense as a result.

Instead of doing 200 laps at the virtual Brickyard, my race was over after 42 laps. After all the excitement and preparation, disappointment set in in addition to the frustration that had already developed during the race. However, sulking would not get me anywhere – there was no second chance as I had competed in the only Sunday time slot of the event.

Looking Forward

Even though there was no decent result in it, my Indy 105 (42 laps of 2,5 miles each) was a valuable experience nonetheless – namely for the mental aspect of handling such disappointing races. Of course it was a shame that the event was over for me this early, but my thoughts quickly shifted to the 2023 special event, including the aim of doing much better in the next edition. Until then, I am looking forward to gain more experience regarding longer oval races in the Indy Oval Fixed championship. The lesson is probably summed up best this way: Look forward as soon as you can. You will not be able to change anything about a frustrating race anyway.