der Bayerische July/August 2020 - 16

A LT E R N AT E R E A L I T Y - T H E F U T U R E O F V I R T U A L D R I V I N G A N D S I M U L AT I O N R A C I N G
first time and most importantly "feel
the car", feel the weight transfer, and
try to settle the car before the next
input. The car felt somewhat slow,
but I was moving and I was driving
the school lines that I was taught by
our BMW CCA instructors. After a
couple of hours, I was still making
mistakes and dropping wheels off
track here and there, but I was getting
hang of it. I said to myself, "this isn't
bad, but it is still too hard to drive."
Fast forward to today - after
averaging 10 HPDE events a year
across tracks all over the east coast,
I was stuck at home just like
everybody else, trying to figure out
what to do. Naturally once I got off
"work" (which was my home office
upstairs), I'd casually come down to
my basement and do some more
iRacing practice. Then I noticed a lot
of people were hosting their own
races during this down time and I
started to join sessions with them.
So, this is where things get
interesting and where sim racing's
magic happens. iRacing created this:
fan-based competition around the
world on any track at any time. I'd
spend a lot of time practicing by
myself, but it was only when I started
driving with everyone else in iRacing
that it took things to a whole new
level. Sim racing, in general, helped
me with vision, reaction time, and
hand/eye/foot coordination, but an

actual racing experience was a new
level you just couldn't get anywhere
else. Certainly not with the frequency
and exposure I'm getting each week in
iRacing. In an HPDE event, things can
get pretty close to racing, but it's not an
actual race situation. With iRacing, I'd
race multiple times per week and the
learning curve and acceleration was
tremendous. Several other drivers and
instructors who started iRacing
recently have said the same.
I think we may have found a new
addiction!
Sim Racing Inputs
Sim racing can be deceptive. You
don't get all the sensations from (real
world) driving such as G-force, so you
have to rely on only a few inputs.
The first is your vision - you go
where you want to go. However, you
also have limited vision, depending on
size of your monitor and the
configuration of your point-of-view
(POV) angle. I choose to have a single
monitor. Many have a three-monitor
setup, but I find one wide-screen
monitor is better for me.
The second is steering - you get
all the steering feedback through the
wheelbase's motor. It can vibrate and
shock depending on what you're doing
(going over bumps, curbs, high-speed
vibration, etc.). Of course, the cars will
understeer or oversteer, so it really
exercises your reaction time just like in

(Below) The rig -- don't forget driving gloves, shoes, and headset with
a microphone to communicate while driving.

16

a real-world driving situation. I find
that I'm more focused during sim
racing than during real-world driving
which seems odd.
The third is your feet. I'm on the
gas or on the brake just like in real
track driving. I also left-foot brake in
real life so sim racing really took that
to a whole new level in terms of
finesse and control using both feet.
At the end of the day you can go all
out in terms of your setup depending
on how serious you are (and the size
of your wallet); the options are
limitless. Just like any motorsports
experience, how fast you go depends
on how much money you throw at it!
Sim Racing Equipment
It is hard to talk about sim racing
(I won't call it a racing "game"
anymore) without talking about the
setup and equipment. Just like in
real life, the experience is partly about
the cars and what you do with them.
As far as equipment goes, I have been
using a popular sim "rig" (the frame
that holds the components together),
monitor, computer, and racing wheel.
A good high-performing computer
with a high-end GPU is a must. The
GPU obviously handles the graphics,
but the CPU handles a lot of the
physics.
Another important
component is the connection speed.
I usually hard-wire my internet
connection to reduce any latency, as
opposed to using a wireless
connection. This way you won't
experience any glitches or lose the
connection in middle of the race,
which would be detrimental. iRacing
does an amazing job setting up a
remote server, and anyone can join
and race in a virtual session.
Recently, I decided to step up to better
equipment and procured a much
nicer wheel base and pedal system.
Not only are they built nicely, but they
come with a lot of customization and
a better feel for everything. You can
change the springs in the throttle for
different tensions. The brake has a
damper that lets you change the
preload and tension as well. It is
worth the money to invest in nicer

equipment as the new and better
equipment becomes available. Some
will opt for a VR headset for a fuller
experience, but I am currently sticking
to a high refresh-rate monitor (120Hz
or higher) as well as a low response
time. Once in the game, you can also
customize the car to your liking,
anything from tire pressure, traction
control, brake bias, brake compound,
aerodynamics, and more. The list
is quite extensive and makes iRacing
unique from other simulators.
It really tries to provide the best
simulated driving experience out
there with the best physics engine.
iRacing also updates their software
from time to time and introduces new
tracks and cars.
The NCC iRacing Program
It was around mid-April of this year
when I got an email from NCC
regarding my sim racing experience
and to see if we could set something
up for the chapter. I went ahead and
created an open practice for April 23;
with only three days' notice on a
Facebook group page, we attracted 21
people! So we went ahead with the
first race on April 30 on Summit Point
Main using the M8 GTE race car.
We had 19 drivers with varying skill
levels and backgrounds including
real racers, HPDE instructors, and
rookies. We have a fixed car setup so
that we can focus on the driving rather
than modifying the car. We are
currently running every Thursday
night at 7 PM. We are sticking to
BMW's flagship racecar, the M8 GTE,
for the time being. It is a monster car
- no ABS, lots of power, brutal
acceleration, and very fast all around.
On an actual race day, we start
out with practice for about one hour,
then we go through a qualifying
session. In that 10 minutes, you have
three or four attempts to set your best
lap time to position you on the
starting grid. After qualifying we have
our main event: a 30-minute sprint
race. We are using a double file,
rolling start, and it's quiet exhilarating
doing that for the first time! The
formation lap behind the pace car

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der Bayerische July/August 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of der Bayerische July/August 2020

der Bayerische July/August 2020 - Intro
der Bayerische July/August 2020 - Cover1
der Bayerische July/August 2020 - Cover2
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