As this question comes up quite often, I thought I’d make a blog post about it.
TLDR; Get faster. Get more cautious. Don’t expect instant results.
iRacing is an awesome game. However, it can be really really frustrating when you are new. Ever race gets your adrenaline going, but also has crazy people and cars flying everywhere. With some patients and training, things DO get better.
As a driver, iRacing has two main ratings for you. Your Safety Rating (SR) and iRating (iR). You need safety rating to participate in more advanced series. You need iRating to get into higher and higher splits. When too many people register for a race to fit on one track, multiple splits are created. The higher the split, the better the drivers. That’s where you want to be.
To get safety rating, you have to finish races without hitting people, getting hit by people or leaving the track. Coming in last place doesn’t matter. Just don’t hit or be hit by anything. Your two best bets are to practice until you are several seconds faster than everyone else, or to miss the start, start from the pits and hope you can just drive by people as they spin/crash out. If your goal is to get a higher SR, that’s the path!
To get iRating, you need to finish each race as high as possible. However, the common newbie mistake is trying to win every race and ignoring the obvious fact that you have to finish the race to win it. I think everyone goes through this. Here is my frustrated post after playing iRacing for two months. The simple, but effective advice in my opinion is to focus on getting faster. Racing is so much fun, but you shouldn’t just race. That isn’t the way to earning iRating. To earn iRating, practice 75% of the time. Want to do a 40 minute race? Practice 120 minutes first. Want to do another race? Practice another 120 minutes. Read the forum’s. Message the top guys, join teams, groups and practices. Find a coach. Read a racing book. Do anything you can to get better and faster 75% of the time.
The last tip is have patients both in races and in results. In a 40 minute race, you don’t need to pass someone ASAP. Even if you are 11th and the 10th place car is so slow and erratic, wait for the right time. Make sure that person can see you before the turn in of the corner. Ignore who is in the right, it doesn’t matter in the lower splits, survival does. You can start a race 11th, not pass anyone and still get a top 5 position sometimes. You also have to realize that you might put in 120 minutes of practice for a 40 minute race and get knocked out in the first turn. It happens.
The good news? It gets better. Sure, I still get in infuriating wrecks. In fact, I just walked away from a track I was pretty darn fast at last season. I was wrecked out four consecutive races and decided to start training for the next week’s track instead. However, that is the exception, not the norm these days. In the highest split, you start to learn the names of the other drivers. I know who might hit me and who I can trust to race. I’ve had some awesome experiences outside of the lower splits, and you will too. Just hang in there.