8 Tips for the iRacing Indy 500

Eight Tips for the iRacing Indy 500.png
The Indianapolis 500 marks the next 2022 special event in iRacing - the legendary race takes place every year in May, just like its real-life counterpart. However, for many SimRacers, especially in Europe, oval races are a big unknown - that's why we've put together some tips for you that should help you in the virtual Brickyard.

Setups are not touched upon in this article as they are an entirely different science in their own right, and the upcoming special event on May 14th and 15th uses fixed setups. Instead, it focuses on basic hints on how to approach the race.

1 - Practice, Practice, Practice​

Especially in the early stages, the Indy 500 is quite comparable to an endurance race. The correct line around the four corners of the 2.5-mile oval can be learned relatively quickly, so you might think that you don't need to train much for the race - but the opposite is true: tackling full stints also means learning how the car behaves as the tank gets emptier and the tires get increasingly worn. Accordingly, you will then know what to expect and how much fuel you will consume per lap without slipstream.

Ideally, you'll also venture into a shorter race than the Indy 500 before you jump into the 200 laps at the superspeedway. That way you will learn how to deal with traffic, slipstreaming, and yellows.

2 - Weight Jacker​

The Dallara IR-18 has a weight jacker that can be adjusted from the cockpit. This changes the ground clearance at the right rear and can thus influence the weight distribution on the car - if you need more turn-in, you increase the setting, if the rear is too nervous, you decrease it. The weight jacker is a useful tool that you can work with throughout the race to improve handling. Try and see in practice how it can help you.

3 - Smooth Inputs​

Races on high-speed ovals are a game of inches, and the Indy 500 in iRacing is no exception. If you turn in too abruptly, you are more likely to lose the rear end or have to correct too much to be fast. Smooth inputs on both the steering wheel and the pedals are incredibly important - also to keep tire wear low. Additionally, it allows you to position your car much more accurately.

4 - Beware of Kerbs and Walls​

The four left turns per lap are not as simple as they may look: In the middle part of the turns you have to be careful not to touch the kerb - otherwise you will instantly spin out into the wall in most cases. You can put the left front wheel over the white line, but beware of not dropping down too far.

At the exit of the corner, the next challenge awaits you in the form of an unyielding concrete wall. There it is similar to the kerb - get as close as possible, but without contact. Even minor contact with the wall can otherwise end your race very quickly.

5 - Listen to Your Spotter​

A race on a road course can be managed without a spotter, but on ovals, a second pair of eyes is indispensable: At over 350 km/h you have virtually no time to look at a radar - instead, for example, Crew Chief informs you about what's happening around you so that you do not accidentally collide with the competition.

6 – The End is the Important Part​

Oval racing is a bit like high-speed chess. In the real Indy 500, too, you can see how the drivers first take it easy for about 150 laps - then after the last pit stop, things start to get intense. The key is to stay on the lead lap until after the final round of stops and then attack. Bonus tip: Oval wisdom says that in the fight for victory, it's better to be in second place at the start of the last lap than at the very front - that way, you can take advantage of the slipstream to win. Disclaimer: This does not always work.

7 - Careful on the Brakes​

A modern IndyCar can cover the 2.5 miles of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway at full throttle without any problems. As a result, you have to be all the more careful on the brakes when it comes to pit lane: as they are normally used exclusively to drive to your pit stall, the brakes are ice cold and lock up very easily - so remember to brake carefully when approaching pit lane to avoid unnecessary spins.

8 - Respect is Everything​

If you behave like an axe in the woods on an oval, you will quickly find yourself up against the wall, in the worst case with several opponents whose race you have also destroyed. On superspeedways, respect for your fellow racers is even more crucial than on road circuits: Leaving each other enough space to survive pays off just as much as clear, committed moves before overtaking maneuvers that do not put either party in danger. Always keep in mind: Any small mistake or contact could end in a huge accident – a risk that needs to be minimized.

Of course, this list is far from complete. Feel free to leave any additional advice in the comments below or on Twitter @RaceDepartment to help your fellow sim racers!
About author
Yannik Haustein
Lifelong motorsport enthusiast and sim racing aficionado, walking racing history encyclopedia.

Sim racing editor, streamer and one half of the SimRacing Buddies podcast (warning, German!).

Heel & Toe Gang 4 life :D


what I always say: factor in a lot of extra time for the plentiful yellows. The race can easily take 30mins or 40 mins more than you expected! As Yannik said: it's all about the last dash after final round of pitstops (so usually after the last yellow). I usually pitted each yellow and filled the tank to the brim and took fresh shoes. Once we were down to a race distance that can be run on one tank, shoes only. Worked fine.
I dont see any in car adujstment to bind or one to set in the setup for the weight jacker, is it named something else?
I dont see any in car adujstment to bind or one to set in the setup for the weight jacker, is it named something else?
It's called "Right Spring Set". Hope it's not too late. There are ore races tomorrow and next week.

I'd add:

#7 - Move the brake ball. all forward, it's safer for the purpose of entering the pits.

#6 - In iRacing the dynamic of the race is often like this: (1) Laps 1 to 50: 2 laps in green, crash, 4 laps under yellow, restart, 2 laps in green, crash... and so on. Just survive this, don't care about your track position, it doesn't matter much. Around lap 50 the ~30 car field is reduced to ~20 and only 10 to 15 cars are actually in one piece and able to race full speed. Be one of them... (2) Around lap 110 you should start to plan your pits wisely because the race is beginning to be decided. Because the field has been reduced so much, sometimes the last ~100 laps will be all in green, unlike what we usually watch on TV, so be aware. Staying close to P1 or having a good pitstop plan is crucial from this point onwards.
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