If you’re just discovering iRacing in 2023, you have a lot of catching up to do. The game was originally launched in August of 2008, meaning the game will be 15 years old this year. In that time, the subscription-based racing simulator has released mountains of content, and amassed over 160,000 active players (as of April 2020). That’s an awful lot of competition, but if you’re looking into an online racing simulator, you’re probably up to the challenge. In order for you to start climbing the ranks, you’ll need to start at the bottom. In this guide, I’ll share with you a few general tips that will make your iRacing experience more enjoyable, and hopefully have you gunning for the top spot in no time.
Don’t Give Up
This may sound pretty basic, and it is, but don’t give up on iRacing right away. If you’re relatively new to racing simulators, your first few hours in the game are going to be pretty rough. You’re going to crash into walls, misjudge corners, brake too late, and crash into more walls. Each car in the game handles differently, so you’ll need to spend some time with a few of them before you begin to learn what you like and what you feel comfortable driving. So if its the first or hundredth time you’ve rolled your car or slammed into a guardrail, take a deep breath, and try again using what you learned.
Enjoy The Base Content
As I said before, iRacing has been around for almost 14 years. Due to the game’s structure, most of the content that has been released since the beginning will be a separate purchase. Before you can play the game, you’ll need to pay a subscription fee. This subscription gives you access to a handful of cars and tracks, enough to get started. In order to play with the other almost 100 cars and tracks, you will need to purchase them individually. Each car costs $11.95, and each track can cost $11.95 or $14.95 depending on the track. That cost can add up quickly, so I recommend taking time to enjoy what is offered in the subscription before you dive into the full game and accept the cost associated with it.
Master One Car
Once you have found a car that you enjoy, I’d recommend sticking with it. Spending time in one car for a season will help you in the long run in a number of ways. The most important way is that you will build up muscle memory for that specific car. Since each car handles differently, each car will have different needs, even on the same track. Having that muscle memory for one car on one track will help you to be truly competitive, and this is what will allow you to win races and become eligible for higher-tier competitions.
Build Up Your Safety Rating
While you’re learning your favorite car inside and out, you’ll want to start thinking about getting out of the rookie ranks. There are a few ways to do this, but one of the fastest ways is to build up your safety rating. As you participate in races during a season, iRacing will keep track of how safely you drive in each of those races. It will record how often you bump into other racers, how many times you ran off the track, any collisions with guardrails or other objects, and how often you lose control of your car. When your first season ends, if you’ve been driving carefully and avoiding accidents, you should have nothing stopping you from being promoted out of the rookie class.
Get A Racing Wheel
Once you’ve found your car for the time being, gotten out of the rookie class, and are beginning to think about expanding your iRacing experience, you should consider getting a racing wheel. Aside from purchasing new cars and tracks, this will be the most effective way to get the maximum experience out of iRacing. This is a hardcore simulator, and it is built specifically to support enthusiast simulation rigs. While you don’t necessarily need to spend thousands on a racing wheel, pedals, curved monitors, and a hydraulic-powered racing cockpit, you can get a taste of that full experience by purchasing a reasonably priced racing wheel. Doing so will allow for a more immersive experience, and maybe even better play.
These are my tips for getting started in iRacing in 2023. I hope you find them to be helpful and enjoy the game more as a result. Good luck in your races, and may your tires never lose traction.