Sunday, 29 March 2015

iRacing Skip Barber race at Lime Rock Park

There are those that really dislike this track. Perhaps sometimes because it's so short, but also because as it's a base track we've all driven it a million times. But I can't help but enjoy driving here, even if it's now become a real struggle to find hundredths here and there to push my time down to within the really fast margins.

This is the one race I did this week. I would normally do more, but for a variety of reasons I chose to limit myself to this first venture.

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Combat Mission Battle for Normandy Keep Calm & Carry On Turns 6

Almost right at the end of the scenario, with just a turn or two to go after these.

Finding pace at Lime Rock in the iRacing Skip Barber

Improvement can sometimes seem elusive. You work on something for days, weeks, perhaps months, and there may be moments when it seems like you're making no progress at all.

That feeling also applies to sim racing. I have driven countless laps at Lime Rock in the Skip Barber. If you were to count up the laps in total across all tracks I've put in, Lime Rock Park would soar ahead at the top of the list.

The Skip Barber series is back at the track after a relatively long absence. Previously I think I've reached a pretty good level at most parts of the track, but turns five and six have caused issues; with turn five I haven't been hard enough early enough on the throttle, and at turn six I've been inconsistent with exit speed.

As I've returned here I've put in practise the thoughts I've had on markers, and that has certainly helped. It helps not only in being more consistent around the track, but it gives me more confidence to attack corners. Consequently while I'm still refining markers at those two turns I'm now right on the shoulders of some of the fastest drivers in the series.

Friday, 20 March 2015

A contentious moment from Suzuka in the iRacing Skip Barber

Here's something a little contentious.

I actually don't have a problem with my driving here. I'm the leader and my intentions are to block up the inside line into turn one. The fact is if you're beaten to the inside line there you've lost the position. The trailing driver complained that I didn't leave him room. Well, no I didn't. Because if I had he would have gained the lead, and I'm not in the business of handing the lead over like that.

But, judge for yourselves. What would you have done?

Thursday, 19 March 2015

Don't you love it when a plan comes together?

This has been the week in iRacing where it has all come together.

You might argue that the three races I entered this week were all "low strength of field". What that simply means is when the race entrants split into seperate fields by rating I fell into the lower rated split. But even with that caveat I won all three races quite comfortably.

That's not simply bragging. I know why I won those races. I put the time in during the pre season week at Suzuka and put down a solid fast time. And I worked all through every session I entered to find not just time but consistency through better use of markers. And I practised starts. Over and over again I practised the opening lap.

And all that hard work paid off.

Now I have my rating back up to about 1450 and with a good week at Lime Rock next week I might be knocking firmly on the door of the 1650 I peaked at previously. Then I can build over the rest of the season to reach 2000.

Work resumes this Sunday at Lime Rock - including practising starts.

iRacing Skip Barber Suzuka Race

The first race of the week at Suzuka in the iRacing Skip Barber.

Combat Mission Battle for Normandy Keep Calm and Carry On TURNS 4

More turns for the Combat Mission Battle for Normandy scenario Keep Calm and Carry On.

Wednesday, 18 March 2015

iRacing 15S1 Skip Barber Interlagos race

A start from pole position becomes a fight for first that has twists and turns right up until the finish.

Monday, 16 March 2015

iRacing Skip Barber Suzuka track notes

I'm still working on the turns at Suzuka, or more to the point I'm refining them. I have my optimal down to a 2.26.2 but consistency is eluding me so far. We're almost upon the first races so with the basics down for a fast lap I've put together the track notes for the circuit.

It's very much a challenging track, but here and there I see hints of my having mastered it. That might have to wait until next season - assuming it's on the schedule again - but each session gets me closer to the end goal of a fast time right at the sharp end.

Combat Mission Keep Calm & Carry On turns

The turns keep coming for the Combat Mission Battle for Normandy scenario, Keep Calm and Carry On.

Friday, 13 March 2015

iRacing Skip Barber Suzuka 2.26.9 hotlap

With the ceiling for a fast time adjusted upwards for the week I appear to have already been in the fast bracket. That makes it all the more sweet that I pushed my personal best down to a 2.26.9. I'm more than happy with that, and I'm not expecting to improve upon it before the end of next week.

It hasn't been easy. I find it to be a really challenging track which asks a lot of varied as well as difficult questions. And any track over two minutes in length is a test of consistency and concentration. It's very easy to not quite have the car rotated quite how it needs to be to maintain that hundredth or so you're up on the sector time.

Wednesday, 11 March 2015

iRacing Skip Barber pre season at Suzuka

I have never driven Suzuka all that well. I could itemise each and every corner and explain how poorly I have executed them. The only question would be which corner I have driven the worst.

So now is a good time to put my new analytical sense to good use and prepare for the forthcoming season.

Of course we don't know the weather for the first week. That's just one of the "quirks" for wont of a better word that iRacing has. As soon as the season starts we'll know the weather for each and every week; we're just not allowed to know what it will be for week one.

That said, we're all out there putting times down with the default weather.

I'm reasonably satisfied with how it's gone so far after about two hours of testing, but I need to find a second before Tuesday and my first race. I need to be on the ball before experiencing my first combined qualifying and race session.

Monday, 2 March 2015

Combat Mission Normandy Keep Calm first turns

Here is the second part of the Combat Mission scenario, Keep Calm & Carry On. It covered the first few turns and as such is a little lacking in action, but I explain my motivations in the unfolding first few minutes.

iRaicng Skip Barber Interlagos week start

I've been going back to basics since Mosport, thinking about markers, and remaining calm and analytical lap after lap regardless of frustrations. It's so easy to become frustrated and lose focus, when what you really need to do when things aren't going right is to ask yourself why that's he case.

That approach - and it's something I started a long time ago but kept deviating from - worked very well at Summit Point when I was within half a second of the very, very fast drivers.

For the last two weekends I put sessions in at Interlagos. In the first perhaps one and a half hour session I got my time down to 1.52.5. That was one and a half seconds slower than the fastest time in iSpeed. That's actually a good benchmark so early on as the driver is very fast indeed.

This last weekend I put in another two hours of testing. I had my optimal down to 1.51.5 but couldn't quite break through into the 51's for my personal best. That in itself was becoming frustrating and I was starting to think I would need to return to the quest another time. Then right at the end I achieved my goal.

There are plenty of mistakes in the lap, but these are details to iron out. Perhaps not this week as I'll be thinking more in terms of qualifying and racing, but next season when we're back here in the Skip Barber I might just have the technique to close the gap on the top drivers still further.

Sunday, 1 March 2015

Combat Mission Normandy Keep Calm Setup

I was there at the birth of the Combat Mission series of games. I was one of those fortunate enough to have played the initial demo for CMBO a million and one times. In fact I can still recall the thrill of encountering the game system, even with the flaws inherent in that early incarnation. It had a magic about it that few titles have.

Around sixteen years later I'm looking up a fairly old title in the CMx2 series. Combat Mission : Battle for Normandy. As the nomclature suggests, this is the second iteration of the game engine, which now features a more in depth representation of forces on the map, and allows for real time play as well as the ground breaking turn based system - WEGO - utilised in the first titles.

I have the base game patched to 3.0, and the Commonwealth module is installed.

What I'm going to be doing here is play through a scenario I have never looked at before. It could all end badly, or it could be a wonderful success. At this point your guess is as good as mine. The first video includes the briefing notes as well as my setup. As such there is no real action to speak of, but hopefully by the end of the video you will have a clear overview of the task at hand and how I intend to approach it.