Cutest Tool Wrap

I was looking for a small tool wrap or pen case for my locksport tool kit and came across this nice case on Amazon. It didn’t work out for my locksport needs. Also, the leather was really crusty and cheap. I was pretty disappointed.

But while mucking about with it, I realized it fit my Leatherman PST perfectly. I’ve had the OG Leatherman since 1987 I think, and I purchased it with a tool adapter. It’s amazing that I haven’t lost it in 33 years. Serendipitously, I found that the weird leather hoops hold the tool adapter like it was designed for it. At this point I decided I had to make a tool wrap based around the Leatherman. So I worked some Brooks Proofide into the leather to soften it up a bit and ended up with a really nice mini tool wrap. Here’s what’s in the case.

  • Leatherman PST
  • Leatherman tool adapter
  • Two strips of assorted bits in the pouch
  • Stockton 1/4″ drive socket wrench
  • Sockets in 10, 12, 14 (the 10 nests inside the 14)
  • Streamline 65808 3xAAAA pen light
  • Flat wrenches in 8+9, 10+11, 12+13, 14+15, 16+17
  • Zip ties

I wonder what else I can fit in here with the limited space?

I’ll show my locksport tools in another post. But, first some more simulator reviews.

Let’s talk about Project CARS 2

I’ve owned Project CARS 2 for a little over a year. But after an hour I stopped playing it. That was enough for me to realize it wasn’t going to be one of my favorites, and I sort of forgot about it. But 60 minutes isn’t really a fair shakedown, and I should take a closer look. In the time since release, maybe they fixed some of the things I didn’t like before or released new content.

Controller Setup – user friendly, but deeply flawed

Setting up my wheel, pedals, and handbrake can be difficult because they are all separate devices. Some games expect you to have everything integrated into the wheel, which I don’t. Unexpectedly, getting my gear recognized and calibrated was really simple. But there was no customization. It’s critical for me to be able to change the low and high dead zones because my pedals don’t read zero at the bottom or 100% at the top. The throttle usually reads about 5% when off and doesn’t get to 100% at all. The clutch does get to 0% and 100%, but real clutches have a big dead zones. The brake is the biggest problem. It reads 20-22% when off and it’s pressure sensitive. While I can get to 100%, that’s pushing really hard. I usually calibrate my dead zones as follows.

  • Throttle 15%-85%
  • Brake 25%-50%
  • Clutch 15%-75%

Project CARS 2 has no such capability in the software. There isn’t any configuration file either. Most games put a config file in your documents folder, but Project CARS 2 encrypts this information in a Steam folder. How can I compete for fast times when I’m dragging my brakes and not getting to full throttle?

Car Selection – mostly high performance

I like having a mixture of cars to experiment with. My ideal situation is the following:

  • Old school Formula car like FF, FV, Skip Barber. These are my favorite for driving because they have no nannies, no grip, and decent power to weight ratio.
  • Mazda Miata. Well, Miata is always the answer. I have a lot of time in these in the real and virtual world, so I like being in a familiar environment.
  • FWD. Front and Rear wheel drive cars handle differently. I like both, and it’s important that whatever sim I’m driving models them realistically.

Project CARS 2 has a lot of really high performance cars, but not much of what I’m looking for. There is a Formula Rookie (FF I think), Toyota GT-86 (sort of like a Miata in performance), and a Renault Clio Cup for FWD. So my minimal set is reasonably well taken care of, but beyond that, it’s mostly rocket ships.

Tracks – not many, some good, some bad

Among the track collection is my favorite test track: Brands Hatch. So that’s great. There are also some nice scenic drives in Azure Coast and CA Highway 5. But there aren’t many tracks I have driven or expect to drive in real life. However, there are two very important tracks to me in the game: Sonoma and Laguna Seca. I have driven both of these tracks quite a bit and I can tell you that the Project CARS versions are disturbingly inaccurate. Every time I turn a lap, my brain is confused about the track I know vs. the track I’m presented with. Not only are these not laser scanned, they aren’t even close to authentic. How can the track owners allow such renditions?

The following US tracks are not laser scanned. Avoid.

  • Laguna Seca
  • Road America
  • Sonoma
  • Watkins Glen
  • Willow Springs

The following US tracks are laser scanned. Enjoy.

  • COTA
  • Daytona
  • Dirt Fish
  • Indy
  • Texas
  • Long Beach

Vehicle Dynamics – some bad, some good

The laws of physics shouldn’t change from vehicle to vehicle. But they do in Project CARS 2.

The first car I tried was the Formula Rookie. This is basically a Formula Ford, and it should be the perfect car for testing physics. There’s a reason they were used in the Skip Barber school. In a word, it’s terrible. It won’t oversteer unless you drive it in the rain with wets on the front and sports on the rear. I guess they wanted a noob friendly car for noobs, but that’s not what Formula Fords are. They’re all analog and hard-mode. In case you’re thinking I had assists on, I NEVER have assists on.

Next I tried the Ford Escort 1600 and Toyota GT-86. They feel like the same car. They will oversteer if you brake mid-corner or power too much out of a turn, but it feels like the game is guiding you. It’s hard to really mess up. And here’s a weird thing I noticed, you can’t spin more than 180 degrees. Not sure why, but once you go around 180, it’s like you hit a wall and the car straightens out. I had a hunch and loaded up GTR 2. The core developers from Sim Bin (GTR2) are the same people at Slightly Mad Studios (PC2). And guess what? The GTR 2 cars also have the same weird 180 degree behavior.

What about FWD? The Renault Clio Cup car has lift oversteer, but you aren’t punished if you mess it up too much. And when you add throttle, it’s almost as if the rears are also getting power. Hrmph.

In Project CARS, each vehicle has a “Control Difficulty” rating from 1-3. All of the cars above have a rating of 1 (easy). So then I tried the Formula C with a difficulty of 2, and it was better. Well if that’s the case, what about level 3? So I selected the Mercedes 190E 2.5-16 DTM and yes, that’s a much better model. In fact, I’d rather drive the 190E than any of the cars in iRacing. It’s that good. On the other hand, I’d rather drive any car in iRacing rather than the Project CARS 2 Formula Rookie. It’s that bad.

Rain and Dirt – depends on car and tire

The vehicle dynamics in the rain or on dirt depend so much on which car and tire you’ve chosen. The Slick and Wet tires have more grip on dirt than the All Terrain or Winter. What kind of tire/surface interaction model is that? Broken. Also, the dirt is much bumpier and grippier than the iRacing dirt model. Maybe Project CARS 2 models dry dirt? I definitely prefer the iRacing dirt. Despite my grievances, the most fun I’ve had with Project CARS 2 is driving the 190E on All Terrain tires on the various rallycross tracks. That’s some seriously fun shit. I can do that all day. Well, not all day. The combination of super bumpy terrain and me having a great time ended in a rare case of motion sickness.

Summary

Stay away from the vehicles with a Control Difficulty rating of 1. They will make you a worse driver in real life. Also, don’t load up the non-laser-scanned tracks or you will be sorely disappointed. However, if you choose the 190E and a laser-scanned track, you’ll feel that all is right in the sim racing world.

Let’s talk about iRacing

My iRacing subscription is running out at the end of the month and I don’t plan on re-subscribing. There are a bunch of other simulators I want to experience and review here on YSAR. That series of posts is about to start, but before I journey into new territory, let me take a moment to reflect on my most recent iRacing experience.

Delta Challenge and the MX-5

I love trying new tracks, and the delta challenge gave me some motivation to try tracks I didn’t think I would be interested in. I don’t imagine many YSAR readers actually took up the challenge, but if you did, I hope you also found some pleasure in it. I know I did.

This also gave me a chance to drive the Global MX-5 Cup car. Back when I was an iRacing Rookie, we were in the NC car. The ND is a fantastic car even with the baseline setup. I hear a lot of complaints about it though. Here’s my advice.

  • Understeer – If this is your complaint, you’re probably trying to steer while mashing the throttle on a too-slow entry. Enter faster, hold some brake while turning, and you will find it oversteers plenty.
  • Oversteer – If this is your complaint, it’s probably because you are mashing the throttle while holding the wheel in one place. Open the steering wheel just before adding throttle and keep opening it gradually while you add throttle. If you run out of track, your idea about the corner geometry was off.
  • Twitchy – Cars slip around at the limit in real life too. It’s easier to go beyond the limit in a simulator where you don’t have Gs you can feel and where your survival instincts aren’t telling you to slow down. Learn to drive the limit in iRacing and it will give you the confidence to drive faster in real life.

How has iRacing changed for the better?

There’s a lot more free content than there used to be. When new models of cars/tracks supersede others, they make the older ones free. So even if you don’t buy any cars or tracks, there’s plenty to keep you busy for months. While I didn’t get to try much of the new dirt tracks, I thought Daytona and Phoenix were really fun. Balancing dirty traction in the MX-5 is sort of like driving on a really wet track in the real world. The dirt model in iRacing is pretty darn good.

How has iRacing changed for the worse?

Nothing is really worse, but like a shark, if you don’t keep moving forward, you die. Not that iRacing has any chance of dying anytime soon. The competitors are so bad at match-making and custom games, that iRacing continues to have a bright future. So even though some parts of the service are worse than its competitors, iRacing is still winning the esports racing scene. So what parts of iRacing aren’t moving forward?

Website

The home page looks like it was built in the early 2000s. Aside from the look, there are many silly errors and inconsistencies. It’s like they don’t have any QC/QA personnel. Or they don’t care. Or they don’t have time. Whatever the cause, the UI makes for a pretty amateurish user experience.

Tires

The tire model is still a problem. They have the most grip within the first 5-10 minutes, after which, the grip gets worse. As soon as you heat a tire over X, it will never have optimal grip again. In the real world, not all the tires have the same properties, yet it appears they do in iRacing. It’s also harder to control a drift in iRacing than in other simulators or in the real world. Is this a problem with their force feedback or tire model? I don’t know, but I’m lumping them together and saying that whatever model they have for grip and grip feedback is bugged. It’s not completely useless, but some other simulators are both more fun, and more realistic in my experience.

Content

Where are all the low performance cars? Also, where are the front wheel drive cars? I don’t own many iRacing cars because I don’t like the selection. I do own a lot of tracks though, and that selection is very good because everything is laser scanned. I wish they had more of the tracks I visit in real life, but I would say that about every simulator. It doesn’t really bother me that cars and tracks cost money. All of this shit is so much cheaper than real world racing.

When Will I Return?

I’ll renew my subscription again…

  • If I’m going to a track in the real world and only iRacing has it
  • If my real life racing buddies want to do endurance racing online
  • If I want to do a simulator shootout
  • If a long time passes and I want to check in on it again

Until then, I’m off to drive other sims. Check back soon for some of those stories.

iRacing delta challenge #20/20: Daytona Short Rally

There are a bunch of free tracks I’ve never driven in iRacing. Every few days I’m going to drive one with zero preparation and then post the fastest lap time here. That’s the delta time. Your mission, should you accept it, is to beat it (and then call me names in the comment section).

Here are the rules.

  1. Global Mazda MX-5 Cup, baseline setup
  2. Default Weather (78F, 2 MPH N, 55%, afternoon)
  3. 30 minutes or 20 laps, whichever comes first

[Legacy] Daytona International Speedway – 2008 Rallycross Short

I drove this for just a few laps when I first re-subscribed to iRacing, just to see what the dirt model was like. I knew it would be lots of fun, so I saved it for last.

Delta = 40.825

The mixture of dirt and asphalt is so much fun to drive. The Phoenix layout is just a little better. I would drive this all day and never set a tire on the big oval. The variation in lap to lap is mostly the dirt section. Driving with low grip takes more discipline because it’s easy to mess up your line with too much of one pedal or the other. You have to be really precise with your inputs.

Track Rank

In this section I’m ranking the tracks in the order of my preference. I tend to like technical tracks with some elevation, short straights, and corners that are blind, off camber, decreasing radius, and connected.

Rank Track Delta Lap
1 Summit Jefferson 0:55.980 10
2 Summit Jefferson Reverse 0:56.191 20
3 Phoenix 2008 Rally 0:49.593 25
4 Daytona 2008 Rallycross Short 0:40.825 19
5 Charlotte Roval 1:35.627 14
6 Pocono 2009 East 1:12.321 12
7 Charlotte Legends RC Medium 1:10.825 20
8 TMS 2009 Combined 0:40.538 9
9 Charlotte 2008 Infield 0:47.637 20
10 Tsukuba 2000 Short 0:49.761 19
11 Daytona 2008 Short 0:46.709 14
12 TMS 2009 Short B 0:27.062 18
13 Silverstone 2008 Southern 1:21.643 15
14 Phoenix 2008 Road 1:09.739 17
15 Tsukuba 1000 Full Reverse 0:40.878 17
16 Pocono 2009 South 0:50.291 14
17 Tsukuba 1000 Chicane 0:42.149 15
18 TMS 2009 Short A 0:24.995 8
19 Silverstone 2008 National 1:08.867 7
20 Pocono 2009 North 0:59.714 20

The End

So that concludes the iRacing delta challenges. I could have done a few more, but I think 20 is plenty. It’s no surprise that Summit Point Jefferson would be my favorite track. I could have predicted that from the outset given an aerial photo. It’s also not surprised that the rally tracks would be ranked high. I mean, DiRT Rally is one of my all time favorite games. What did surprise me is how much I like short oval infields. That makes me think I might love autocross if it was lapped rather than point-to-point.

iRacing delta challenge #19/20: Tsukuba 2000 Short

There are a bunch of free tracks I’ve never driven in iRacing. Every few days I’m going to drive one with zero preparation and then post the fastest lap time here. That’s the delta time. Your mission, should you accept it, is to beat it (and then call me names in the comment section).

Here are the rules.

  1. Global Mazda MX-5 Cup, baseline setup
  2. Default Weather (78F, 2 MPH N, 55%, afternoon)
  3. 30 minutes or 20 laps, whichever comes first

Tsukuba Circuit 2000 Short

This circuit isn’t 100% new to me, as I did drive for 30 minutes on the 2000 Full configuration about 2 months ago. The Short configuration cuts the longest straight roughly in half. I happen to like short tracks, so I expected this to be better.

Delta = 49.761

This is a really good track that is difficult to master. What could possibly be better than driving 80s and 90s cars around this circuit like they do in the Best Motoring videos? Well, too bad iRacing doesn’t have any. Inte-R FTW!

Track Rank

In this section I’m ranking the tracks in the order of my preference. I tend to like technical tracks with some elevation, short straights, and corners that are blind, off camber, decreasing radius, and connected.

Rank Track Delta Lap
1 Summit Jefferson 0:55.980 10
2 Summit Jefferson Reverse 0:56.191 20
3 Phoenix 2008 Rally 0:49.593 25
4 Charlotte Roval 1:35.627 14
5 Pocono 2009 East 1:12.321 12
6 Charlotte Legends RC Medium 1:10.825 20
7 TMS 2009 Combined 0:40.538 9
8 Charlotte 2008 Infield 0:47.637 20
9 Tsukuba 2000 Short 0:49.761 19
10 Daytona 2008 Short 0:46.709 14
11 TMS 2009 Short B 0:27.062 18
12 Silverstone 2008 Southern 1:21.643 15
13 Phoenix 2008 Road 1:09.739 17
14 Tsukuba 1000 Full Reverse 0:40.878 17
15 Pocono 2009 South 0:50.291 14
16 Tsukuba 1000 Chicane 0:42.149 15
17 TMS 2009 Short A 0:24.995 8
18 Silverstone 2008 National 1:08.867 7
19 Pocono 2009 North 0:59.714 20

iRacing delta challenge #18/20: CMS Roval

There are a bunch of free tracks I’ve never driven in iRacing. Every few days I’m going to drive one with zero preparation and then post the fastest lap time here. That’s the delta time. Your mission, should you accept it, is to beat it (and then call me names in the comment section).

Here are the rules.

  1. Global Mazda MX-5 Cup, baseline setup
  2. Default Weather (78F, 2 MPH N, 55%, afternoon)
  3. 30 minutes or 20 laps, whichever comes first

Charlotte Motor Speedway Roval

With 8 different configurations, CMS might be the winner for the track with most number of configurations. I really liked the Legends RC Medium earlier, but that used only the interior and not any parts of the oval. I generally don’t like driving around ovals, so I expected the Roval configuration to be less fun.

Delta =1:36.627

Oddly enough, the Roval is even better than the infield. In fact, it’s one of the best tracks I’ve driven. To drive this fast, you have to be disciplined about your geometry and focused on your exit speed. In real life there are real consequences to hitting a wall, and there are plenty of walls. If I drove this in real life, I’d be real careful! And also very happy. Lucky Dog has a race coming up in August, but it’s a long trip and I’m not sure I want to fly these days.

Track Rank

In this section I’m ranking the tracks in the order of my preference. I tend to like technical tracks with some elevation, short straights, and corners that are blind, off camber, decreasing radius, and connected.

Rank Track Delta Lap
1 Summit Jefferson 0:55.980 10
2 Summit Jefferson Reverse 0:56.191 20
3 Phoenix 2008 Rally 0:49.593 25
4 Charlotte Roval 1:35.627 14
5 Pocono 2009 East 1:12.321 12
6 Charlotte Legends RC Medium 1:10.825 20
7 TMS 2009 Combined 0:40.538 9
8 Charlotte 2008 Infield 0:47.637 20
9 Daytona 2008 Short 0:46.709 14
10 TMS 2009 Short B 0:27.062 18
11 Silverstone 2008 Southern 1:21.643 15
12 Phoenix 2008 Road 1:09.739 17
13 Tsukuba 1000 Full Reverse 0:40.878 17
14 Pocono 2009 South 0:50.291 14
15 Tsukuba 1000 Chicane 0:42.149 15
16 TMS 2009 Short A 0:24.995 8
17 Silverstone 2008 National 1:08.867 7
18 Pocono 2009 North 0:59.714 20

iRacing delta challenge #17/20: Phoenix Rallycross

There are a bunch of free tracks I’ve never driven in iRacing. Every few days I’m going to drive one with zero preparation and then post the fastest lap time here. That’s the delta time. Your mission, should you accept it, is to beat it (and then call me names in the comment section).

Here are the rules.

  1. Global Mazda MX-5 Cup, baseline setup
  2. Default Weather (78F, 2 MPH N, 55%, afternoon)
  3. 30 minutes or 20 laps, whichever comes first

[Legacy] Phoenix International Raceway – 2008 Rallycross

This is one of two free rallycross tracks in iRacing, the other being Daytona. I’ve driven a little on the Daytona course but not Phoenix. Both courses are less than half dirt and feature a jump. What the hell is an MX-5 with race track suspension and tires doing on a dirt track with jumps? That’s sort of like asking what a runner is doing on an Tough Mudder course. The answer is having a surprisingly great time.

Delta = 49.593

OK, so this time I cheated. I wanted to break 50 seconds, and that happened on lap 21. Then I kept getting faster every lap and didn’t want to stop. I finally reined myself in at 25 laps. This track is ridiculously fun because the dirt is so slippery. I could very easily given this the top rank if the venue wasn’t such an eye sore. Put some dirt on Jefferson and that would be perfection!

Track Rank

In this section I’m ranking the tracks in the order of my preference. I tend to like technical tracks with some elevation, short straights, and corners that are blind, off camber, decreasing radius, and connected.

Rank Track Delta Lap
1 Summit Jefferson 0:55.980 10
2 Summit Jefferson Reverse 0:56.191 20
3 Phoenix 2008 Rally 0:49.593 25
4 Pocono 2009 East 1:12.321 12
5 Charlotte Legends RC Medium 1:10.825 20
6 TMS 2009 Combined 0:40.538 9
7 Charlotte 2008 Infield 0:47.637 20
8 Daytona 2008 Short 0:46.709 14
9 TMS 2009 Short B 0:27.062 18
10 Silverstone 2008 Southern 1:21.643 15
11 Phoenix 2008 Road 1:09.739 17
12 Tsukuba 1000 Full Reverse 0:40.878 17
13 Pocono 2009 South 0:50.291 14
14 Tsukuba 1000 Chicane 0:42.149 15
15 TMS 2009 Short A 0:24.995 8
16 Silverstone 2008 National 1:08.867 7
17 Pocono 2009 North 0:59.714 20