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Wow, not much posted in the Motorsports section for awhile. Anyone else out there sim racing? I built up a rig in winter of 2019 just before the pandemic hit. It was great timing. Anyway I run iRacing software and run in a few different series with different cars to challenge myself.  Any way here are some pics of my rig that I built myself. I run Thrustmaster gear with a Samsung VR headset.

20200324_215039.jpg

20200326_174906.jpg

Edited by clarkspeed
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Started out on PS4 with GT Sport, Assetto Corsa, Assetto Corsa Competitione, and Dirt 4.

GTS was great in that I could run with people over the net, but I got really tired of being punted going into turn 1, or assholes brake checking to spin you out when you started putting the pressure on, or people running into you and then you get the penalty. Ended up going to PC. I tried iRacing and didn't like the price, also hated that if you whif when practicing you need to go back to the pits to fix damage. It's a friggin game. I understand if you want to make the races go that way, but in practice it should be looser and more fun. I understand my lack of a DD wheel is what made the steering feel like a 70s Cadillac on iRacing and RF2. Just not enough feedback. I've been running Assetto Corsa pretty much exclusively. Steering feel is the best of any of the sims I've tried, including its successor ACC. There are also a ton of tracks and cars that you can download for minimal $$$.

For the sim I have a Ferrari Alcantara TH300 and Fanatec pedals, TH8A shifter, and a 32:9 monitor. I bought a pedal/wheel stand off of ebay that you set in front of a chair. Kept pushing it away, so I eventually got out to the shop and welded up a base that attached to the original stand and used an old Recaro from the Z's street days, complete with slider.

simrig.jpg

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I really really like the VR. I started with it and a new gaming laptop. I tried to switch to a monitor or giant TV for comfort and could not. I think a giant curved monitor might work, but I am not going to invest in that if the VR works so well.  I can look L & R 90+ degrees while racing which is just super cool in an open wheel car. The only real negatives eye sweat and I can't drink beer while racing. But it takes some acclimation, I started with 5 minutes, then 10 min, and so on to keep from getting sick. I have a bad inner ear, but I mastered it. 

 

I chose iRacing because they had specific tracks I wanted to master and cars that I am familiar with. Regrettably I have not had a chance to see if it makes me a better racer. But hopefully soon. It will be a definite advantage if I go to a new track. It definitely makes me a better race engineer for others because I know what to expect from the track.

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I wanted to go VR but didn't have the PC to run it and was worried about getting motion sick. From what I've read having a really really fast PC and being able to up the frame rate helps a lot. With the curved monitor I'm running a $500 i7 that I bought used off of Amazon. Had to add a cheapo graphics card for $150, but runs the ultrawide monitor just fine. I was tempted to go crazy and get a real gaming computer and VR, so that means it will probably happen in another couple years. ;)

Motion rigs are also super cool. Saw one that just does yaw for $2K, and you can get them with yaw, pitch, and heave for $6K. I've seen them used with monitors, but seems like VR is definitely the thing to do if you're going that far. There are prebuilt systems that go all the way up to $30K+ as well. It's definitely an advantage for a racer to be on a sim. As you say, all the pros are practicing on these, and I've found that at least in the sim I've made big improvements. Like you I haven't been racing in a while, covid + health issues. Ready to get back out there, but now looks like I'm going to cash out on this house which has about doubled in value in the past 2 years and move so maybe no racing in '21. We'll see.

I developed a strategy for tuning my driving skills which might help someone else. The gist is to stick to one track and run it with as many different cars as possible.

I had a couple cars that I was immediately fast with, like the Alfa 155 touring and Jim Clark's Lotus F1 from the 60s. When I tried with GT3 cars or GTP cars, ALMS prototypes, just about anything else I'd get my ass handed to me by the AI, which I always have set as high as it goes. The ALMS prototypes would just walk me so badly I couldn't figure out how they could possibly keep it on the track, and I knew the AI isn't that fast. Could not figure out what I was doing wrong, could not follow them to try and find a different line either because they'd leave me so quickly. I would also try one car at Spa, then another at Zandvoort, then another at Laguna Seca, then another and Nurburgring, etc. Finally I decided just to run one track, Nordschleiffe. I picked it because it's long, has just about every kind of turn imaginable, and it's fun. Then I picked a GT3 car that I didn't know at random. BMW Z4 was the first one. Worked on it until I could win. Then switched cars. Did the same thing. After about 10 GT3 cars I went back to my favorite, the 911 RSR, and knocked 10 seconds off of my lap time. Granted, it's a long lap, but that's still a huge gain. Now I can put 16 cars in the field, pick just about any GT3 car (there are a couple dogs), and get the lead in about 2 laps.

ALMS cars are easy to beat now too, but I still can't drive the Player's Special 79 Lotus F1 very well, so I'm going to keep working at it. When I get that one down, there is a mod to make the AI faster in AC, I'll do that next. The gains didn't really come from adjusting the line, only minor adjustments there. It was getting the front end turned in, aka not overdriving into corners, and getting on the gas sooner, and adjusting suspension/tire pressure settings to get heat in the front tires. 

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On 7/27/2021 at 7:12 PM, clarkspeed said:

Wow, not much posted in the Motorsports section for awhile. Anyone else out there sim racing? I built up a rig in winter of 2019 just before the pandemic hit. It was great timing. Anyway I run iRacing software and run in a few different series with different cars to challenge myself.  Any way here are some pics of my rig that I built myself. I run Thrustmaster gear with a Samsung VR headset.

20200324_215039.jpg

 

 You need about 20 heaters added to your rig for realism of the cockpit :-)

 

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I try to challenge myself any way I can. I try to race cars with manual shifter as much as possible to practice heel and toe and I wear race boots. Even put myself at a big disadvantage sometimes by running races with no practice. At this point, I only race head to head. Yes it is a crap shoot in iRacing to avoid wreckage, but I find the better I get, the better I am at avoiding.  In certain races, you are guaranteed a podium if you can qualify top 10 and stay out of trouble.

I don't like driving the GT cars and faster. Too much electronic intervention and in iRacing the higher level you go, the more you are diving into setups. To win requires dedicating yourself to 1 or 2 cars and even paying for setups. I don't have time for that. My ultimate goal is to master that 67 Lotus GP car, what a handful, but those cats only race a couple days a week.. I own around 20 tracks and I do race multiple cars on each. I find my biggest gains come from stepping away for a couple of weeks. When I am really trying to find speed I find myself over driving. When I return to a track after some time off, with any car, I almost always set a new personal best. Just like in real racing, the magic happens at turn in. When I attack it with some kind of calm, confidence I always go faster.

I don't have a lot of PC. I can look up specs if you like. Paid $700 for thr laptop on Amazon. Basically minimum vid card required for iRacing. I had to up my memory for the headset, but that is all. I got the Samsung VR headset new for $200. They may be cheaper now. They are rated very high for screen quality, but crappy for the hand sensors. You don't use the sensors when racing. It's pretty damn immersive. I can't ever go back to a monitor. As far as dizziness, I have a horrible inner ear. I get sick on roller coasters and every time I go to sea on a boat. It took me about 2 weeks to acclimate to 1hr+. Someday I may upgrade to DD and motion seat, but it is low on priority list. Maybe next pandemic.

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  • 2 weeks later...
Posted (edited)

As I was just posting on Aydins build thread and forgot to mention earlier in some threads, I have grown quite reliant on live time slip data when I practice and qualify in iracing. Jon does Asseta Corsa provide this?  I just assumed it did. With time slip rate you can see immediately if you blew the turn or found a faster way. That's why I don't really want to pursue a driving coach, if I ever get to the point where I can't find more speed experimenting, then I will have plateau at a very high level. But of course consistency wins races, not ultimate lap times. And consistency comes with being very comfortable and confident at executing.

 

But I think we were talking about data in one of your threads. The ability to see that time slip real time is much more important for the non-pro level driver.  Instant feedback is a wonderful thing. Could even benefit at an Autocross. And you don't need to analyze data. Just the feedback in your peripheral vision or in your ear. There are a few systems out there that provide this. I upgraded my Race Technology stuff to do this in my car. There is a verbal unit out there that does this but I forgot the name.

 

This is exactly how the pros operate. They experiment ALL the time and have the ability to analyze good/better/best with their head.

Edited by clarkspeed
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The newer cars on AC often have it integrated into the dash display, and you see it there. Older cars will give you sector times, but not real time data. I guess it's more realistic that way, but like you, I really love having the data realtime. "Oh, I got on the gas earlier and I made .2 seconds by the end of the straight" kinda stuff.

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This is going off topic, but here is a video I made last year of the screen I developed for my race car.  The Race Technology stuff is all programmable which doesn't make it easy, but on the other hand you can develop a screen that shows anything you want.  I used a video screen instead of their dash but may switch to a dash in the future. it is a little jerky this way.

 

Ignore the track map on the left, it only shows up on later playback.  The screen on the right is mounted in my peripherical view.  The top lap time is best overall, the bottom is predicted.  The top bar chart is % rate of time change, think instant feedback that you are gaining or losing time at that point on track.  Brake harder, it goes green, miss an apex, it goes red, etc. The bottom graph is total lap delta to the best lap. and there is a counter above it showing how many seconds ahead/behind you are. 

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