Managing Frustration: Why You Should Keep Going

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Every sim racer probably knows that unpleasant feeling that sets in when things go wrong early in a racer: A collision in turn one, an unforced error just a few laps in or a backmarker not paying attention getting lapped result in a damaged car and wondering whether continuing is worth it. Our answer: It almost always is.

A damaged car means losing time, most of the time both on the track while limping back to the pits, and then for repairs during the stop itself. It would be easy to think about retiring if it happens early on - there is a big gap you will have to claw back, after all, and what are the chances that you actually do? Sometimes it would be tough to get back all the lost time, considering the pace of the competition. Sim racers then tend to calculate with the thought of "if it all stays like that" when it comes to the rest of the field.

What If...?​

The key word is "if": Rarely do things ever keep going consistently for absolutely everyone in a race, and this means that there usually will be opportunities to make up for lost time - simply because everyone else is likely going to make mistakes as well. Remember: If it could happen to you, it can happen to anyone else as well.

In very short sprint races, this might not necessarily apply, but any event of about an hour or longer is so unpredictable that a good finishing position is still within grasp even if throwbacks happen repeatedly. With this in mind, adopting a state of mind that focuses on the "never give up" mantra could end up netting you more positive results than you might expect.

Managing your frustration is extremely important in these cases so the damaged car gets to the pits without further incidents, but also to continue without trying to overdrive the car or still being angry after getting repaired. While this might seem difficult, trying to simply focus on the task ahead instead of what just happened goes a long way - even better if you have teammates that can encourage you and create a positive atmosphere.

Editor's Take​

The perfect example for this mentality at work is the Nürburgring 24 Hours Special Event in iRacing that recently took place. I took part in a GT3 Porsche with three teammates who had little endurance experience in iRacing, and our goal was to simply finish the race. After problems in qualifying, we started all the way down in 42nd overall.

Early in the race, we got collected in an incident between two BMWs an then hit another who had spun just in front of us at Hohenrain on the way to the pits, result in over 13 minutes of repairs after just the first lap. It was not the last incident that led to very long pit stops during our race, but we kept going and eventually even finished in the top 15 - in 14th, to be exact. On our way there, we regularly passed other cars that were stranded in the pits for an eternity.

Your Thoughts​

Have you ever had similar situations? What are your experiences with pushing through difficult scenarios in your races?
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


I successfully managed my frustration and keep playing, now everyone else is frustrated (just joking, I don't play online)

Edit: Al Pease, master of frustration management, in 1967 Canadian Grand Prix, he was lapped 44 times in a 90 lap race. in 1969 Canadian Grand Prix, he was black flagged for driving too slowly
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Love this article, to avoid frustration I always go in with a have fun at all cost mentality, but still wanting to finish in the points and high standings. No matter what happens in a race I always finish and walk away thinking what did I learn or how I can improve. I never quit because like you I have learned amazing things can still happen if you stick with it.

Even though it has become a cliche, my mantra has become Apexes & Exits, once I occupy my mind with this, any frustration or madness gets blocked out.


Chanoch Nissany is an Israeli-Hungarian auto racing driver now based in Budapest, Hungary. He is a businessman, and initially took up motor racing as a hobby. He is the first Israeli racing driver to compete in some of the higher levels of the international racing sports, such as International Formula 3000 and World Series Lights.

"I started when I was 38," he tells "I was a businessman, working in an office, and I remember sitting in the grandstand at Budapest.

"I saw the race and I said to my friend: 'I want to be an F1 driver'. I had never before sat in a go-kart or a racing car, anything. And I said to them: 'I want to be a driver'.

"My friends replied: 'No problem. When we get back home you take your medicine and everything will be fine'.

He made his F1 test debut in a run at Silverstone in July - nine seconds slower than teammate Nick Heidfeld after an engine failure cut short his running.
You can only leave if you are completely immobilised. Incidentally, it's a shame that tow trucks aren't implemented in almost any simulator.
If Club racing at racedepartement learned me one thing:

Never give up
My frustrations comes from knowing I can do better, but it seems as if I always have some sort of incident that shakes me up for the rest of the race.

I try to rationalize it as non knowing the track, or being unfamiliar with the car, but deep down I am kicking myself because I didn't prepare for the race at all.

I know what I got to do. Less mucking about, and time to roll up my sleeves and practice! If nothing else, at least I can stop beating myself up from not being ready.
Totally agree. As the saing goes: to win, first you need to finish . Being slow (on a controller), sometimes I'm able to get better results then other faster drivers, simply because they finish behind me, due to various problems...
When racing in an online race, it happens that 20 drivers have registered, only 15 participate and 5 stop during the race, so only 10 finish. That is disappointing for the drivers who do finish the race. With a little respect for everyone, I would expect you to always finish the race, no matter how wrong things have gone and even if you're running last. You can always learn from it. And once things go well and you yourself compete for the top 5, it's nice if the rest just finish the race as well. The trick is not to lose yourself after adversity. Not just during sim racing, but with everything in life. Getting angry is no good to anyone and it usually hurts you the most. If you manage to remain calm in unpleasant situations, you will benefit the most yourself. If something goes wrong in a fight with another driver and you think it's the other driver's mistake, you can get angry, but that won't win the fight. If you manage to just drive on as if nothing happened, you have the best chance. That's hard, but it's never too late to start practicing staying calm. One of Max Verstappen's qualities is not to be distracted by anything and anyone.
I did 2 races on Saturday. In the first race, I didn't quali worth beans and started 15th out of 20. Made a goal of making the top 10. In the first corner, there was Armageddon and I ended up 7th after the full course yellow. Cruising along thinking about how top 10 just became a gimme when I got pole-axed by a less than stellar dive bomb in a corner. Ended up 11th. Got more pissed than if I had just stayed 15th where I started.

The second race I qualified better and started 7th. I got a good start and held position. I got a good run down a long straight and did a double overtake. There was a crash ahead of me and I ended up in first position. Now we are cooking. I have good drivers behind and I am determined to win this race. I went into a corner too hot and decided the grass at the side of the track needed a trim. I got passed by the 2nd and 3rd place drivers. I caught and passed the 3rd place driver but never caught the second place driver.

How I managed these 2 frustrating races in one day was to say "The hell with sim racing" and went outside to play pickle ball.

Sim cockpit for sale. Cheap. :whistling:
Its hard to keep on Racing especially in Sprint Series. I was doing in the Winter a TCR 30 min Sprint Series and it just was dreadfull most of the Time. Like on Mosport, I get thrown into the Wall in Lap 3, managed to get back to P11 out of 19. But then there are Races like Fuji where getting hit and shoved into the Wall multiple times ending in dead Last, Monza getting rear ended in the breaking zone of Ascari staning in the Wall again, in Anadara (yes it was AC) getting hit on the hind quarter in a Corner and thrown into the way of a different Car getting T-Boned.
The most successful person in any endeavor has experienced more frustration than success. But take solace from an old engineering adage - You learn nothing from success.

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Yannik Haustein
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