Monday, June 27, 2016

Change of Plans

I found out two things last week and over the weekend;

1) I totally suck at the first and last corners of Sebring in the Spec Racer Ford.
2) Australian prime time participation in the SRF isn't as good as I thought it would be.

These two things combined led me to look around for another series to take part in. Unfortunately the site I used to use to check on participation across series has broken and the maintainer isn't interested in fixing it. The good news is someone else has stepped up to take it over, but the new site won't be up and running until next week (hopefully).

I had to do it the old fashioned way, it became apparently that if I wanted a series which I could always find a decent race Friday or Saturday night at around 8pm to 10pm my time I had a handful of options:

Global MX-5 Cup

I basically have zero interest in learning how to be fast in the new MX-5. I've jumped into it a few times and have found that I simply detest the baseline setup which is in place for this series.

Production Car Challenge

There is essentially zero people driving the Solstice in this series, which is a shame because I did enjoy that. While the MX-5 has an open setup and I could get it to a put that I felt comfortable I detest a few of the tiny tracks they use in this series; Jefferson and Okayama Short aren't any fun.

Formula Renault 2.0

The numbers for this series are amazing. I jumped in and really enjoyed driving the FR2.0 around Philip Island and I think that this really could be a series that I get involved in at some stage.

GT3 Sprint

Again, the massive participation numbers make this a strong contender. The downside is that I'm frustratingly slow in these cars. I'm sure with more seat time I would improve, but would I enjoy it enough to warrant the time and effort?

GT3 Enduro

There is a race Saturday 7pm my time. I'm actually pretty interested in this, but would need to find a team to run with. Perhaps something for 2016 Season 4.

Proto GT

I saved this one for last because it is what I ended up running over the weekend. Initially I jumped into the Ford GT and really enjoyed driving it around Spa. However it became obvious that I'd need to strap into a GT1 car or the HPD to actually get in a decent field. The HPD has never grabbed me but the new Aston Martin DBR-9 has been calling my name ever since it was added to the service. Participation in the GT1 class is pretty good and I took a deep dive into it over the weekend, putting in ~3hrs of practice and setup tweaking before taking part in two races. I'll do up a separate race report for that.

Monday, June 20, 2016

2016 Season 3 Plans

I spent some time over the weekend working out which series I'll be squeezing into the small amount of time I'm going to be able to set aside for racing each week. The winner is; Spec Racer Ford!

The crucial reason ended up being the fact that it seems to be the only series on the list of my interests which has decent participation during the times I'm going to be able to race. Of course, the fact that I'm really enjoying learning more about this weird vehicle was rather important too.

I had two very enjoyable races in the SRF around Watkins Glen over the weekend, one where I snagged a 3rd place finish after an intense 3 way battle over the final 5 laps. I still found myself pointing the wrong direction in both races, but these were outliers in otherwise rather consistently clean and quick-ish laps.

My goal for 2016 Season 3 is to run at least 1 race each week after putting enough enough practice time to be safe and consistent. I feel that if I can focus on keeping the car pointed in the right direction I can happily battle for top 5 finishes and enjoy racing in the mid pack behind the actually quick guys.

One thing I realised over the weekend was that no one seems to run the Solstice in the Production Car series any more, at least not at the times I'm racing. That makes me sad. The upside is that it'll force me to invest more seat time in the SRF rather than jumping into random Production Car races.

Sunday, June 5, 2016

End of 2016 Season 2: Road Career Stats

To be honest; I was kind of amazed that my iRacing Stats application still worked. I'd noticed that the devs had made a number of changes to the stats on the members pages and figured that this would have included changes to the data which my app pulls. Turns out they didn't. Yay.

I figured I'd post up a full career stats dump, mostly to highlight how very little time I've had to put into iRacing since the end of 2015 Season 2. That was when we moved back to Australia after living in the United States for 3 years.

For the up coming 2016 Season 3 I do hope that I can set aside two hours each week so I can compete in a series. Most likely it would be Grand Touring, but the couple of Spec Racer Ford events I've stumbled into this weekend have been a real hoot.... Perhaps even the Ford GT in the revived Proto/GT series? Basically it'll come down to participation levels at the times I can set aside to drive.

With that in mind, the hugely popular GT3 or Formula Renault 2.0 series need consideration. The downside of both of these is that my iRating would put me in the top split and it'd be a very humbling couple of races each week. The upside is that I'd be sure to get some interesting mid-pack action every time I strapped in for a drive.

SeriesRacesWinsAvg PTSAvg Start PosAvg Fin PosAvg iRAvg SR
Mazda Cup 17721473.35.611-0.02
Adv Mazda MX-5 Cup (MX5-C) 763536.79.0-2-0.03
Star Mazda 731379.29.4-90.09
Grand Touring Cup (FR500) 7027771.92.7180.05
Prod Car Challenge (SOL) 3619901.91.9420.04
Spec Racer Ford Challenge 342426.47.32-0.05
Skip Barber Race Series 2203211.711.0-27-0.05
Grand Touring Cup (SOL) 226713.03.1180.04
Ruf Cup 170366.611.7-54-0.06
13th Week Mazda Cup 155573.08.1190.04
Blancpain Endurance Series 1203516.717.8-370.15
Global Challenge 602813.313.3-34-0.03
13th Week SRF Challenge 304513.012.3-460.22
IMSA Sportscar (R12C) 30392.33.0-460.04
IMSA Sportscar (FGT) 21343.03.5-24-0.04
Prod Car Challenge (MX5-R) 10601.03.0-3-0.24
Road Warrior Series 107621.08.001.83
Adv Mazda MX-5 Cup (MX16) 1021.017.0-131-0.11
Global Challenge - Open 102110.010.0-380.03
Corvette Challenge 10363.04.0-500.10
Formula Renault 2.0 107020.014.0-7-0.02 MAZDA MX-5 Cup 10011.011.0-90-0.01

Safety Rating3.28
Corners Per Incident27.67
Total Driving Time304 hrs 47 mins
Race Starts575
Race Finishes459
Race Laps7845
Race Incidents3785
Podium Finishes209
Top 5 Finishes277
Average Finish Postion6.8
Qualifying Sessions290
Qualifying Laps2067
Qualifying Incidents1325
Time Trials Run44
TT Laps907
TT Incidents473

Found time to race

My life has been rather busy lately, what with buying a house and welcoming our second child into the world.

I finally managed to find time to sneak in a couple of races, the first was a very enjoyable win at Bathurst in the Solstice in a Production Car race. The second was more entertaining; a 3rd at Lime Rock in the Spec Racer Ford.

I wouldn't have every considered myself very good in the SRF, having not spent enough time in the seat to really get a good grip of the thing. Basically any time I get near the edge of the envelop I quickly find myself pointing in the wrong direction. Still, I decided to jump into a race at Lime Rock because that track has always been good to me.

I qualified in 3rd in the top split and found myself in the lead after the left hander. I quickly messed it all up though and was dead last after the first lap.

I managed to come to a some what stable lap time and managed to climb from 11th back up into 5th. With 10 laps remaining I felt confident of hunting down 4th and managed it a couple of laps later. I realised I was gaining on 3rd at a good rate and even though I was some 16 seconds behind him with 8 laps to go I maybe had a slim chance of catching him by the end of the race....

With 6 laps to go I caught a glimpse of him down the main straight and each lap I was making big gains:

I'd strung together 8 quick and clean laps and I pipped him as we crossed the finish line!

Damn I've missed racing.