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Thread: New iRacers' Handbook

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    Z_Stig's Avatar
    Z_Stig is offline Jason Lundy
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    Default New iRacers' Handbook

    Well, you've taken the plunge and have become a member of iRacing. Now what? This tutorial will attempt to answer some of the commonly asked questions about iRacing and show you some of the sim's features.

    Setting Up
    Once you haved joined a session, be it an official race, qualifying, practice, hosted session, league race, or private test, this is the screen you are presented with:
    Starting at the top center of the screen, take note of the weather settings for the session, along with a track map. Underneath that you'll see the 'Garage' and 'Option' tabs. At the bottom right is the 'Splits' tab. Opening it will show you your best sector times for this car and track combination of all time and just the session.

    The bottom of the screen contains the replay controls and the chat window. At the bottom left are the 'Entries' and 'Laps' tabs. Entries will show you all drivers in the session and laps will show all of your laps, as well as others'.

    When you open the 'Options' tab, this is what's displayed:
    This is where you will set up your basic driving controls. When starting the sim for the first time, or driving a new car, iRacing will guide you through the setup of your wheel, pedals, and shifting controls. Under the Force Feedback heading, take notice of the Strength, Damping, and Min. Force sliders. This tutorial here will help you set the optimal values for your wheel and the specific car you are driving: Optimal FFB Please note, every time a car is updated, (especially tire models) it is recommended to reset your FFB settings. It's also recommended to check the 'Use linear mode' as well. EDIT: It's now only recommended to use linear mode if you have a strong enough wheel, e.g., direct drive, servo wheel, Bodnar, accuforce, etc.

    Near the bottom of the options screen, you'll see a check box captioned: 'Use custom controls for this car' I also recommend checking this, since the various cars iRacing offers require differing levels of FFB and different control assignments. Under the 'Brakes' heading, notice a slider captioned: 'Force Factor' This is equivalent to brake sensitivity in other sims. If using a load cell or hydraulic pedal, set this value to 0.00. If using traditional pots in your pedals, you can set it anywhere from 1.60 to 2.00. Experiment to find your personal preference.

    Under the 'Control Assignments' tab, you'll find 'Enter/Exit/Tow Car' and the look left/right commands. Now a little bit on 'Enter/Exit/Tow': anytime you are at the main screen of the sim, you can use 'Enter' to start driving. In a non-race session, once on track and completely stopped, you can press 'Tow' to reset the car to your pit box, and and press 'Exit' to go back to the main screen. In a race situation, hitting the 'Tow' button will virtually tow the car around the track back to the pits. This is useful if your car has too much damage to safely drive it back yourself. However, there is a waiting period for this virtual tow, and it will vary based on the length of the track. Keep in mind, whatever key or button you map to 'Enter/Exit/Tow' accomplishes all three functions. The 'Escape' key on your keyboard is also permanently bound to the 'Exit/Tow' functions.
    Last edited by Z_Stig; 10-01-2014 at 10:19 AM.
    Jason Lundy
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    Z_Stig is offline Jason Lundy
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    Default

    More Options
    Under the 'Controls' tab, you'll find some functions you map to your keyboard, wheel, or button box. I'm going to focus on the 'Black Box' controls here.
    F1 through F9 will bring up the corresponding 'Black Box,' but I prefer to cycle through them using the buttons on my G27 shifter. Below is a screenshot of each 'Black Box' and its function:
    This box shows your current lap count, Best, Last, and Current Lap, and how much time is remaining in a timed race.
    In a multi-class race, scroll left or right to sort the standings by class (will be covered later)
    This is by far the most important box. It displays your position relative to everyone else. Useful when rejoining the track, or trying to catch another driver. It is also color coded: Red=Car lap/s ahead of you, Blue=Car lap/s behind you, Grey, or greyed-out blue and red=Car currently in the pits
    Shows your remaining fuel, and estimated number of laps left on the fuel in your tank. Can scroll left and right to change the fill amount, and check/uncheck the add fuel box.
    Check/uncheck each tire to have it changed or left on the car during the next stop. Can also change tire pressure for the next tire change.
    The temperature and wear displayed is not current, it is shows the tire measurements from the last time you visited the pits
    Not Shown: Pit-stop adjustments. Not every car will be able to make adjustments during stops, but oval cars, Formula One cars, and certain other road cars will be able.
    Not every car has adjustments, but this is where you find driver-adjustable anti-roll bars, engine maps, brake bias, etc.
    Adjust your mirrors here, adjust the Field of View, and change FFB strength here. Not terribly useful.

    The 'Select Next, Select Previous, Increment Selected, Decrement Selected Control' allow you to scroll through the settings on each black box. I mapped these to the directional pad of my G27 shifter. The 'Toggle Selected Control' allows you to check/uncheck the various options.
    Last edited by Z_Stig; 12-07-2013 at 12:55 AM.
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    Jason Lundy
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    Z_Stig is offline Jason Lundy
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    Default More Options (continued)

    More Options (continued)

    Let's go the 'Options' tab now. Here you will find an assortment of quick chat text strings. Very useful are the 'Pitting In/Out' and 'Pass Left/Right' commands. You can also change units of measurement here. The 'Split Time Delta' is extremely helpful tool that will help you improve your lap times at every track. Once you get your driving line and braking points down, the 'Split Time Delta' will help you shave those last few tenths off your times.

    Here is the 'Split Time Delta Bar.' Green means you're gaining time; red, currently losing time. Note the ghost car in the review mirror. This is the time you are driving against. You can also turn off this ghost car with the checkbox labeled 'Display reference car.' There is also many different ways to measure your splits. These can by cycled through by assigning a key or button to the 'Cycle Splits Delta Display' command, and they are explained below:
    This is the first and the simplest split time. It takes each sector of your all-time best lap and compares them to the current. 'Delta Display Bar' is delta time for entire lap. I don't use it much.
    Takes your all-time best sector times and adds them to create an 'optimal' lap; your theoretical best time if you will. 'Delta Display Bar' is delta time for entire lap. Very useful.
    Same as above, except the 'Delta Display Bar' will show the delta time for each sector, not just the entire lap. Very useful for trying to get that 'perfect' qualifying lap.
    Takes each sector of your best lap this session only. 'Delta Display Bar' is delta time for entire lap.
    Takes the best sector times of this session only and adds them to create an 'optimal' lap; your theoretical best time if you will. 'Delta Display Bar' is delta time for entire lap. I usually use this during a race to help with setting a consistent pace.
    Same as above, except the 'Delta Display Bar' will show the delta time for each sector, not just the entire lap. Very useful for trying to get that 'perfect' qualifying lap.
    Compares the current lap's sectors to the previous lap's sectors. 'Delta Display Bar' shows delta time for entire lap.
    Last edited by Z_Stig; 12-07-2013 at 01:41 AM.
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    Jason Lundy
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    Z_Stig is offline Jason Lundy
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    Default More Options (continued)

    Can you hear me now?

    Here you can configure sound levels, mic and headphone settings for iRacing's built-in voice chat, Push-to-talk, and your spotter settings. iRacing has two spotter sound packs included: an Australian and an American voice. There is several sound packs availble for download; one of the more colorful ones is Jimmie Johnson's crew chief, Chad Knaus. Luckily there is two versions available, one uncensored and one family-friendly. Jimmie Johnson Spotter Pack Here you can also have the spotter call out your lap times to you. I use a Brit for my spotter pack.

    It's all about the setup
    Ah, we're getting a little closer to racing now. Welcome to iRacing's 'Garage.'

    The look of the Garage will vary by car; the Williams FW31 has five tabs and every setting the real life boffins (engineers) at Williams had access to, while the Miata has a few suspension adjustments available. For those of you campainging in our GT Endurance Series, take note of the 'Weight Penalty' at the top of the Garage screen. Here you will adjust the weight penalty to the required amount for your car when testing alone.

    Next notice all the buttons on the right hand side of the Garage menu.
    • iRacing Setups: Default baseline setups iRacing provides. Some cars will have a setup for every track, other cars will have a high downforce, medium downforce, and low downforce option. Word of caution: While some of them are very good and great setups out of the box, these setups are not updated often and some of them are...let's say just a little off.
    • Shared Setups: When in any session, public, hosted or league, other drivers can share their setup with you. When they do it will appear here. You will only see setups for your particular car.
    • My Setups: These are setups you will have made or downloaded. Setups can be downloaded from CMS or the iRacing forums. Certain cars will be hard to find a setup for. (Williams FW31) Download setups to this location: Documents\iRacing\setups\(The folder for the particular car the setup is for)
    • Save As
    • Share: This is where you share your setup with other drivers of the same car. You can choose to share with a particular driver, or everyone in the session.
    • Export: I think this exports the setup as a CSV, but I've never had to use it and am not totally sure.
    • Delete: Highly recommended after scratching your head for several hours trying to setup the Williams FW31


    Hidden tweaks
    iRacing also has some settings for the sim and graphics hidden away in the .ini files. Here's how to get to them:

    First let's look at the app.ini. Here you can change the autochat messages and also configure pit macros, all under the [Autochat Messages] heading . Under the [Driver Screen] heading, you can choose what black box is displayed by default when you enter your car. Under the [Pit Service] heading, you can choose to have all pit services unchecked in the black boxes related to pit stops.

    Feel free to explore around, as most of the settings are self-explanatory.

    In the renderer.ini, we can further configure our graphics. First we have three compression options. iRacing recommends to compress all textures in the sim. This includes paints on cars, driver suits, and helmets. However, if you have the video memory, feel free to to uncompress all textures. Everything looks so much better and crisper! Personally, I compress driver suits, and leave uncompressed helmets and cars.
    Last edited by Z_Stig; 12-17-2013 at 06:45 PM. Reason: Added .ini files
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    Jason Lundy
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    Z_Stig's Avatar
    Z_Stig is offline Jason Lundy
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    Default iRacing Tips and Tricks

    iRacing Tips and Tricks
    The tools listed hereafter are not necessary to race, but I found they greatly enhanced my experience and made me a more successful iRacer in some ways.

    • iSpeed
      Get it here: iSpeed - iRacing HUD and Lap Analyzer
      I run it on my 7" USB monitor while racing. I compare laps on my main computer using Lap Analyzer. Many people in iRacing use it and the laps of people who do use it are available in the Lap analyzer for different cars and tracks. You can compare your laps to the fastest drivers on the track you are running that week. (Thanks Mike!)
    • Atlas Telemetry

      Atlas Telemetry is made by McLaren and is the telemetry system the entire F1 paddock uses. It is very powerful and takes some getting used to, but can help in making setups and if I'm honest, is pretty cool to play around with just for kicks.
      Here is how to get started with it: Atlas Telemetry
    • iRacing Fuel Calculator
      Made by yours truly after running out of gas in couple CMS races Find it here: Here is how to get started with it: Fuel Calculator
    • Motion Cockpit View
      This is a cool little plug-in that adds some head movement in iRacing. It's very immersive and it helped my driving, especially while cornering and trying to save a slide from becoming a spin. If you get sick easily, you might want to stay away from this one, because a bump track like Lime Rock shakes the driving view quite a bit. Motion Cockpit View
    • Trading Paints
      This is one of the coolest programs for iRacing I've seen. iRacing has a on-site paint shop, but the schemes and sponsors you can choose from are very limited. Of course you can paint your own car but no one will ever see it. Trading Paints solves that problem by uploading your paint scheme to other Trading Paint users' computers while downloading their scheme to yours. It makes for some incredible shots like this:
      Trading Paints is free and available here: Trading Paints - Upload, Download, and Share Sim Racing Paint Schemes and Car Files for iRacing.com Motorsport Simulations
    • Gimp
      Gimp is an open-source image editing program. It's just like Photoshop, with the same capabilities, but it's free to use! I use Gimp to paint all of my cars, helmets and driver and crew suits. Download Gimp here. And the iRacing forums have dozens of tutorials and and tips and tricks to get you started painting. Painting Forum
    • Ed Racing
      Ed Racing is a very informative site, with many tips, tricks, and general iRacing information documented. When I first joined iRacing, this website elevated me from noob status very quickly. Check it out at EdRacing.com


    Well, that's about all I can come up with right now. Of course, feel free to ask any question in this thread; from generic to more specific questions, I'll try to answer them.
    See you all on the track!
    Last edited by Z_Stig; 09-30-2015 at 11:29 AM. Reason: Added iSpeed
    Jason Lundy
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    Don Fryman's Avatar
    Don Fryman is offline Resident Pawn Broker
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    Default

    Wow...that's a lot of information! Going to have to sit down and read through it.
    Maybe it will help me get a better handle on iRacing and make want to join you all in the GT series.

    Thanks for doing this.
    Don
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    davidan is online now David Anderson
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    WOW This is Awesome!!! Jason you rock!!
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    __________________________________
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    my personal motorsports blog


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    Hoogs is offline Christien Hoogveld
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    Default

    Thanks Jason. Very well put together. :thumbup:
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    lopsided is offline Bailey Lagstrum
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    Default

    Look now, I only have so many bonus cookies I can share so don't think by answering all kinds of questions you're gonna get the whole bag!!.
    Very nice Jason, I'm sure the noobs will really appreciate it. lol

    Okay, so when I use the Tow button there is a time appropriate "penalty" associated with it, got it. And if I follow correctly... say you have very minimum damage and hit the pits.... you'd be using your "fix it fast" option (or whatever the 1 time freebie thingy is called) in a less than optimal time than if you say... did some serious damage and needed a lengthy repair.

    I must say I really like the way iR does their lap/sector timing because I am accustomed to using Delta times when I practice. I like to turn on their ghost car and try different approaches to a corner, it makes it easy to see whether what I'm trying is a beneficial or simply hurting my laptimes. So even if I don't have enough experience to know the best approach, I can still improve on my approach.
    In the past I've just had to pick certain spots on the track and try to remember my exact time or speed at that spot to analyze it. Not really ideal.

    Do I recall seeing a change in color of the names on the Relative (car order) screen when we were racing? I thought I saw some names turn blue and assumed it was an indication they were lapped cars. I dunno, I could be confused there.

    When I make changes to my Brake Bias for instance (I'm using my D-pad) do I need to hit an additional button to enter/save/activate that change or is it "live"?
    I tried typing something for Chat but noticed it didn't do anything when I hit enter so I'm guessing I haven't mapped something I need.

    It looks like you can assign a single button for pit presets under the Auto Text Chat menu like this (#fuel 2g$). One day we're gonna have to get more indepth with the Pitting options/functions.

    Bummer about the Tire wear/temp not being current, I wonder if the data is there though? Gonna have to see what it displays on my tablet. I use a very cheap 7" tablet with software called Dashmeterpro. I like using tablets for certain info. so I can get those "graphics" off of the screen whenever possible. It also means I can view info. without needing to cycle thru the HUD or multitask at inappropriate times.
    However, my initial purpose for the tablet was fuel mileage. It provides a variety of options there, even a blinking light when fuel is low. I have run out of gas on far too many occasions and it's always been my fault as I overlook something and do the wrong math.

    Bailey

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    Z_Stig's Avatar
    Z_Stig is offline Jason Lundy
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    Quote Originally Posted by lopsided View Post
    Look now, I only have so many bonus cookies I can share so don't think by answering all kinds of questions you're gonna get the whole bag!!.
    Very nice Jason, I'm sure the noobs will really appreciate it. lol

    Okay, so when I use the Tow button there is a time appropriate "penalty" associated with it, got it. And if I follow correctly... say you have very minimum damage and hit the pits.... you'd be using your "fix it fast" option (or whatever the 1 time freebie thingy is called) in a less than optimal time than if you say... did some serious damage and needed a lengthy repair.

    I must say I really like the way iR does their lap/sector timing because I am accustomed to using Delta times when I practice. I like to turn on their ghost car and try different approaches to a corner, it makes it easy to see whether what I'm trying is a beneficial or simply hurting my laptimes. So even if I don't have enough experience to know the best approach, I can still improve on my approach.
    In the past I've just had to pick certain spots on the track and try to remember my exact time or speed at that spot to analyze it. Not really ideal.

    Do I recall seeing a change in color of the names on the Relative (car order) screen when we were racing? I thought I saw some names turn blue and assumed it was an indication they were lapped cars. I dunno, I could be confused there.

    When I make changes to my Brake Bias for instance (I'm using my D-pad) do I need to hit an additional button to enter/save/activate that change or is it "live"?
    I tried typing something for Chat but noticed it didn't do anything when I hit enter so I'm guessing I haven't mapped something I need.

    It looks like you can assign a single button for pit presets under the Auto Text Chat menu like this (#fuel 2g$). One day we're gonna have to get more indepth with the Pitting options/functions.

    Bummer about the Tire wear/temp not being current, I wonder if the data is there though? Gonna have to see what it displays on my tablet. I use a very cheap 7" tablet with software called Dashmeterpro. I like using tablets for certain info. so I can get those "graphics" off of the screen whenever possible. It also means I can view info. without needing to cycle thru the HUD or multitask at inappropriate times.
    However, my initial purpose for the tablet was fuel mileage. It provides a variety of options there, even a blinking light when fuel is low. I have run out of gas on far too many occasions and it's always been my fault as I overlook something and do the wrong math.

    Bailey
    Cars a lap down to you will appear as blue on the Relative black box and cars a lap ahead of you will be shown as red.

    Any in-car adjustments you make (ARBs, brake bias, fuel maps) are live.

    To chat, you can type directly in the chat box or while in the car, you can hit 'T' I believe and start typing.

    As far as the tire temp/wear, iRacing does not say much about that data. They say it's too prevent any 'cheating.' This doesn't bother me personally, because you can't see tie wear data in real life. Tire temps and pressure you can however, and I would like to see those.
    Jason Lundy
    iRacing co-admin
    Never give up, never surrender!

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