Suck Less at Sim Racing (3/10) racing gods don’t give a shit

The next 8 days are somewhat pivotal in the history of the health of the US. We haven’t faced a pandemic in 100 years, and the exponential spread of COVID-19 is very concerning. Lots of events are being cancelled from the local schools to the NBA. During this time of social distancing, one activity that is seeing a surge in popularity is sim racing. So I thought I would do a short series of daily posts on sim racing as we buckle down and survive these next 8 days (or whatever it is).

The racing gods don’t give a shit

Hope is not a method

The most common way of taking yourself out of a race is by running off track on the exit of a corner and smashing into something that disables your vehicle. iRacing is particularly unkind in this regard because the grass is really slippery and even the slightest hit seems to damage something. I’ve heard drivers yell, “a single blade of grass!” Which is to say, their wheels were barely off track and they suddenly lost control. Has this ever happened to you? Let’s talk about why it happens and what you can do about it.

Why does this happen?

There are several reasons why a car runs out of track at the exit.

  1. It’s hard to judge distances in the virtual world
  2. It’s hard to judge speeds in the virtual world
  3. You’re unfamiliar with the car
  4. You’re unfamiliar with the track
  5. You over-cooked the entry
  6. You took an early apex
  7. You over-slowed the entry, and now you’re getting understeer from trying to catch up with the throttle
  8. You generally suck at sim racing

What can I do about it?

Regardless of how you got too close to the edge of the track, you now have to do something about it. You have 2 options.

  1. Pray to the racing gods that you won’t touch a single blade of grass
  2. Become an active participant in solving your problems

Praying to the racing gods doesn’t work because they don’t give a shit. Hope isn’t going to get you anywhere. And if you actually hope your way through a corner, you’re just reinforcing bad behavior. “Phew, I made it” is not a lesson that will make you a safer driver in the future.

If you’re about to go off track, do something! That something isn’t trying to turn the steering wheel more, but rather turning the wheel in the opposite direction. You need to unload your tires so that your on-track Gs will match your off-track Gs. This will change the outcome from 50% sure you’re going off track to 100% you’re going off track. And you know what, it’s not that bad if you’ve practiced it. Yeah, that’s right, you have to practice going off track. Over and over until it becomes second nature.

Tomorrow: your ass isn’t worth shit

2 thoughts on “Suck Less at Sim Racing (3/10) racing gods don’t give a shit

  1. I recall being in a classroom at that BMW instruction event at Thermal. They asked how to fix understeer. I responded “straighten the wheel.” The instructor told me (and the class) that I was wrong because you go off the track.

    I did not attempt to correct him, but of course I know it is certainly ONE way to fix understeer because I have done it (and because I have read it written by Sir Ross Bentley). Unless you are at track edge already, a quick adjustment can allow regaining front traction in time to reapply some lock, which can work along with slowing/scrubbing speed.

    On the subject of sim, yes, judging distances and speeds are harder than in reality, so I use visual brake markers more. Scary sections (like high speed corners) aren’t so scary, but I certainly go off more in sim world than in reality.

    Like

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