My iRacing Journey - Part Four: Daytona 24

My iRacing Journey - Part Four Daytona 24.jpg
iRacing is regarded as the gold standard for competitive sim racing. No other simulation features a comparable, dedicated multiplayer system that treats the races like real events. RaceDepartment writer Yannik Haustein is taking his first, long-overdue steps in the sim now and takes you along with him – this time, he recaps the Daytona 24 special event.

Endurance races are nothing new to me: Over the past year, I have participated in races from four to 24 hours in Assetto Corsa, the basics were present before the iRacing Daytona 24. A major difference: This time, our team was not set until the week of the race, not much practice – especially together – was possible beforehand. Since the Daytona road course is not among the more complicated ones in the world, I figured this would be alright, though. How to race in traffic could be practiced on one of the countless public Daytona practice servers before the event.

As we did not enter an LMP2 vehicle but rather a Mercedes-AMG GT3, we had to be alert for the significantly faster prototypes to avoid problems while getting lapped. For me, this marked a debut in the slower class of a multiclass race – and the team was all-new as well: Before Daytona, I had been racing with a maximum of three teammates, this time, however, we were five sim racers in total. This meant long breaks between stints, added to by several triple stints that had been scheduled.

Per our schedule, my first stint was due about nine hours into the race. However, in endurance racing, things usually do not entirely go to plan – though at first, it did: We had qualified second with the exact same time as the pole sitter and were fighting for the lead in class during the first quarter of the race and even held it for quite a while. Towards 9pm, the first problems surfaced: Two spins under braking for Turn 1 – one resulting in a drive-through penalty due to us sliding through the pit exit – and an impact against the wall on the exit of the Bus Stop Chicane that resulted in seven minutes of repair time, made us fall down the order.

At this point, we decided on an early driver swap, meaning I was in the car much earlier than planned. No problem, I thought, that would mean a longer night’s sleep for me. Even though I had not driven in the race before that point, the first lapses in concentration snuck in – I had been in the rig almost the entire time since the start, after all. My triple stint contained one or two spins as a result, as well as a slight impact with the wall at the International Horseshoe after I had gotten into the marbles under braking. Repair time: Four minutes.

This had dropped us far down the order. Still, the fast teammates that drove the first stints were still waiting for their second run in the car, so a lot was still possible. With this thought, I went to bed – and when I woke up in the morning and looked at our Discord chat, we were out of the race. An LMP2 car had taken us out in the chicane at dusk, continuing with the repair time we had on hand would not have made sense. We may have been way back in the classification already, but I still felt some disappointment.

Despite this, my first endurance race in iRacing was a positive experience – not least because the system behind it was so simple. Unlike in ACC, no specific join order for teams is required, and your teammates can adjust pit settings while they are not in the car, allowing you to simply focus on driving. A welcome change from the sometimes hectic end-of-stint moments in ACC.

What I learned

  • It pays to look after your car in iRacing. Compared to ACC, the damage model is more detailed and less forgiving, meaning the risk of having to retire from a race is higher. Additionally, there is damage that can not be repaired, for example to the floor, which will then stay with the car for the entire rest of the race.
  • The same holds true for the tires: Looking after them allows you to do even triple stints which in turn saves time during pit stops.
  • Saving fuel is extremely important in a GT3 at Daytona: To get to a stint length of about 60 minutes, early upshifts are not enough. Instead, we coasted with the clutch engaged before reaching the braking point to minimize fuel usage. It is a good idea to practice this technique beforehand, as it gave me some trouble at first during the beginning of my first stint.
  • Indicators for GT3 vehicles (like they use in real life) would be very useful for multiclass races, they do not work in iRacing, however.
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

Sorry to hear about the bad luck.
I keep thinking about joining one of these endurance races as I've never participated in one to date.
 
Totally have to agree with you on the simplicity of team racing in iRacing, they have it completely nailed. I've competed in many team events and done well in iRacing 24 hours, 12 hours, 10 hours 6 hours and 3 hour races including the odd few wins and although i'm an rFactor 2 fan i'm slowly losing faith and becoming a fan of iRacing. The only thing wrong with iRacing is the cost. Either charge me a monthly subscription and let me unlock cars due to my license level or charge me for the cars and tracks and get rid of the subscription. Charging for both is daylight robbery when I can't access the cars and tracks I've actually bought if i don't wan't to subscribe any more. Unfortunately iRacing does not have this issue nailed whatsoever.
 
Totally have to agree with you on the simplicity of team racing in iRacing, they have it completely nailed. I've competed in many team events and done well in iRacing 24 hours, 12 hours, 10 hours 6 hours and 3 hour races including the odd few wins and although i'm an rFactor 2 fan i'm slowly losing faith and becoming a fan of iRacing. The only thing wrong with iRacing is the cost. Either charge me a monthly subscription and let me unlock cars due to my license level or charge me for the cars and tracks and get rid of the subscription. Charging for both is daylight robbery when I can't access the cars and tracks I've actually bought if i don't wan't to subscribe any more. Unfortunately iRacing does not have this issue nailed whatsoever.
Out of all the things I subscribe to I mind iRacing the least. I wait till they have a good deal going (45%-50% off) then up for two years. I have enough content that I get 20% off the rare thing I need to buy.

Plus I can actually them doing things with my money to improve the sim. That beats the heck out of everything else where I'd swear every update actually makes the service worse.
 
Hey Yannik.

I was in the same spilt as you at Daytona 24 in an LMP2, not the one that hit you ;) Thought that I had seen your name somewhere and now it all makes sense. Yes iRacing really makes the whole team/endurance racing easy. just love. We are a "team" with 15ish guys aging 35-44 years mainly doing teamracing, 6H every other Saturday and as many Special Events we can :)

Yes it costs, but 150$ (if your renew black Friday) for two years of fun is cheap I think. Yes you need to "buy in" the first year with tracks and cars, again if you buy 6 things at a time you get a discount.

See you on the track...... Sebring 12H next ;)
 
Staff
Premium
Hey @Thomas Gunderson, cool to see you here :)
Sounds like a great team thing you got going on. I randomly met a guy on a public ACC server, we started chatting and now, we're doing all kinds of endurance stuff (with a few others, so we got our own recreational team now) and even a podcast together.

Hope I can talk him and the others into Sebring, always wanted to do that race - see you there, hopefully!
 
We too planned to try to keep the car clean and just run competitive laps until the last few hours of the race, thinking a clean car would put us in the lead.

By the time I got in the car, four hours after the start of the race, we were two laps down-but clean. I had practiced for a few weeks (probably turning 2000 laps) and the night before I did a race against the AI. Practice helped but the AI race really helped as it told me what I could do in T1 to not only keep cars behind me but to get out of T1 faster. It also helped me in dealing with race-pace traffic.

I was the fastest driver on the track.

By the time I gave up the car after a quad stint, we were two laps ahead. Unfortunately, we had a bit of...misfortune...during my nine hours between my stints. When I got back in we were 1.5 laps down. I got in for a triple and at the end we were 30 seconds behind P1, even though we were 6 MPH slower on the straights due to damage. The very same damage that caused us to be slower on the straights gave us more speed through the infield and bus stop and when we came out onto the straights we would protect our line.

Another driver cleaned up for us, running a triple at the end, and was involved in a 40 minute battle with P1, who was trying to put us two laps down. He was clean and faster than us from the bus stop to T1, but not that much faster.

We had our driver stay on the yellow line from the bus stop to T1. The P1 car could get along side us on the approach to T1 but he was forced to take the outside line and had to let us get ahead on exit.

With nine minutes left the P1 driver disconnected! We were worried about fuel so we brought our driver in for a splash. As he was leaving the pit box P1 was able to reconnect after a tow and a driver change. He got out before we could pass while he was in the pits and beat us by 30 seconds.

Great race but a damaged car killed us.
 
Staff
Premium
Hey @Noctam! It's to reduce the revs even further and save more fuel because of it. Doesn't do much for a lap, but will help over the course of a stint.
I think Alexander Rossi did something similar to win the 2016 Indy 500 when he was far ahead but running on fumes. At least Ì still remember Bryan Herta in his hear telling him to clutch and coast :D
 

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