Eyes off the Clock: Disabling Your Delta Can Help You

Ginetta G55 passing under the Donington pit clock.png
Consistency is key in sim racing – especially in endurance races, but sprints also profit from a steady pace without major mistakes. What sounds simple is not necessarily easy to achieve: Trying to make up for lost time can lead to overdriving the car, which in turn results in more time loss. Switching off the lap time delta can help in these cases.

Knowing where you lose time and seeing where you gain it is a great tool to practice different lines and approaches to corners, and having the immediate visualization of this int the shape of the live delta is extremely handy. Unfortunately, as useful as it is for this purpose, it can often be the opposite in racing situations: Repeatedly looking at the live delta can be a big distraction, and, even worse, make you try too hard to regain time, losing even more in the process.

Racers want to go fast, be it on the real track on in a sim rig. As a result, not caring too much about lap times might seem counterintuitive, but that is exactly what helps in races: Focusing on keeping a comfortable pace, especially in longer races, will almost always result in a decent or even good finishing position. Rule number one: Stay out of trouble and you are going to be fine.

Less Distraction in the Race​

If you find yourself looking at the delta multiple times per lap, consider switching it off for the race. You will be updated on your times once a lap when you cross the finish line in most titles or thanks to Crew Chief, so gauging your pace is still possible to make sure you are in a certain window that you and your team are aiming for.

From personal experience, racing without the delta (and without a prominently displayed lap time, too) helps consistency immensely. Not everyone will have a problem racing with it on, but if you find yourself struggling to avoid mistakes and a steady pace, switching it off is something you could give a try. Additionally, you could try to focus on how the car's behavior changes as tires wear and fuel is burned off, find a comfortable race pace and be aware of what is happening around your car. That way, you may not always stay out of trouble, but you will certainly increase the probability – which will come in very handy in almost any kind of race.

Your Experience​

With the amount of racers and their collective experince present here on RaceDepartment, we want to know: Have you tried racing without the live delta or is it something you find useful during races as well? Got any more tips for fellow sim racers to increase their consistency? Let us know in the comments below!
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

Comments

I am of the completely opposite opinion: for many years I have never used the delta and I could never figure out where I was wrong and above all if it was a setup problem or my driving, both in practice and in qualifying sessions and race, since I use the delta instead I can understand very quickly (in driving, in braking points, acceleration, etc ...) where I'm wrong. So, in my opinion, the delta is essential if you want to improve constantly, saving even several hours without straining your brain too much to understand what to touch and what to leave alone.
 
Club Staff
Premium
So true.
In the first months of my online racing I made a lot of mistakes by looking at the delta and try to make up time lost also because I was very anxious to improve my speed.
I've turned off the delta after I got the advice to focus on consistency instead of speed.

After some time I got more relaxed and could turn it on even during the race without going to overdrive again when the delta became red.
 
The delta actually helps me. After I set a time, I can use the delta to determine where I am not consistent. Then I will make corrective actions to not lose time in those sections. Once I get to that point, I will then see if there is a way I can decrease time in those same sections. Once I notice that I am losing time in sections where I wasn't losing time before, I know I am pushing too hard and I need to get more focused.

I used to chase those record times I saw sim racers were achieving on tracks. That just made me crazy. So what I did was look up the ACTUAL records at each track by real cars. I found those records were a lot different that what the sim times were. And much more achievable when driving the sim.
 
First thing i did on iRacing is to disable the constant delta on-screen. There can be such a thing as too much on-screen information that is only distracting from actual focus on the driving itself.
 
Premium
I tend to turn of all HUD features after the first few laps so that I can get into a flow, eventually I turn it back on again when I need some important info, I tend to bind a key to the HUD on the wheel for that.

I tend to start calculating in my head by looking at lap times and other different statistics. More then once I completely forgot to brake because I was mentally trying to figure out some data.
 
I am of the completely opposite opinion: for many years I have never used the delta and I could never figure out where I was wrong and above all if it was a setup problem or my driving, both in practice and in qualifying sessions and race, since I use the delta instead I can understand very quickly (in driving, in braking points, acceleration, etc ...) where I'm wrong. So, in my opinion, the delta is essential if you want to improve constantly, saving even several hours without straining your brain too much to understand what to touch and what to leave alone.
The article talks about races though
 
The article talks about races though
Yeah, I was gonna say something like that. These are not opposite views, they can be complementary. Delta can be useful in many ways, especially when practicing/setting up the car, and turning it off can also be helpful, especially in long stints.
 
The delta actually helps me. After I set a time, I can use the delta to determine where I am not consistent. Then I will make corrective actions to not lose time in those sections. Once I get to that point, I will then see if there is a way I can decrease time in those same sections. Once I notice that I am losing time in sections where I wasn't losing time before, I know I am pushing too hard and I need to get more focused.

I used to chase those record times I saw sim racers were achieving on tracks. That just made me crazy. So what I did was look up the ACTUAL records at each track by real cars. I found those records were a lot different that what the sim times were. And much more achievable when driving the sim.
Your second paragraph touches on a completely different subject. Times usually are lower in sims, for some reason. I don't want to discourage you, but if you chase the IRL records instead of sims records while driving in a sim, you are just turning your game to "easy mode" most of the time.
 
Premium
Delta is an invaluable tool to go faster and I recommend everyone to use it in practice (driving and setup work) and quali. In the race it isnt as useful unless you know when the crossover point for new tires is, then you can plan your pitstop at the exact right moment.
 
Premium
I have always found it distracting in a race but a great tool for practice once you know a tracks layout. In race I tend to just quickly glance at my lap time after each lap instead. That gives me a more meaningful reference point in my opinion.
 
I found it discracting until I changed my approach a bit. Previously when I saw I lost time, I was trying to regain it, then would overdrive and lose more time. No however when I see I lost time, and I know what my regular laptime for a track is, I focus on not losing any more time. For example: if I lose 1 second on the first corner, I want my laptime to be no worse than 1 second off the regular one. In some cases this leads me even to regain some time. Plus the delta in this case helps a lot to see where I regained it and then try to replicate this on a better lap. I found this mentality very helpful for consistency.
 
It really depends...there are days where I can ignore everything, get in the zone and pump out consistent times...but then there are other times where I just drive, but the times fall off and I'm not sure exactly where.

So I have mine set to "session last lap", which helps me to gauge if there's more pace left in the tyre but my technique wasn't optimal, or if I need to pit when the laptimes have consistently fallen off a cliff but my technique is consistent. In iRacing specifically there's no tyre wear percentage while driving, so your only gauge is by feel and laptimes (and tyre temp data if the car has that functionality), so the delta really helps: When it drops off (or drops off substantially more) on only 1 or 2 corners then in most cases it's a technique adjustment needed, but when the entire lap drops off it's usually tyre degradation. This is 'need to know' info if you're doing longer races where you want to manage tyre deg carefully to maintain or improve your position.

For me, looking at only the last laptime tells me nothing specific and can sometimes force me into doing more mistakes, where you might push more in an area you're actually doing great in and possibly force a fatal error trying to improve it.
 
Last edited:

Latest News

Article information

Author
Yannik Haustein
Article read time
2 min read
Views
4,050
Comments
15
Last update

What is the reason for your passion for sim racing?

  • Watching real motorsport

    Votes: 137 66.5%
  • Physics and mechanics

    Votes: 90 43.7%
  • Competition and adrenaline

    Votes: 96 46.6%
  • Practice for real racing

    Votes: 38 18.4%
  • Community and simracers

    Votes: 58 28.2%
Back
Top