2022 Donington Park GP – the return


, , , , , , , ,

After my last emo blog, if you’ve seen my Twitter and Facebook updates of how the day went, you might be expecting me to be a bit gutted.

If you haven’t seen, yet, my day ended during qualifying when the engine blew big-time, leaving a fist-sized hole in the engine block.

So, yeah – that part was a bit crap. Especially after that blog exposed my self-doubt that had crept in, and I’d had such a struggle to get focused to get back out there again.

The whole day was a bit of a mess, but surprisingly not for me. I’ll have to gloss over some of that stuff as it will get me in Trouble again if I have a full rant on here about it, but let’s jump in…

I missed out on racing during the Covid pandemic, when many rules changed to keep everyone safe, so I had a bit of catching up to do on how race days are now run.

The biggest change is an online sign-on process and scrutineering declarations, which, to give them their due, 750 Motor Club have done a brilliant job with, and was all nice and easy.

The bad news for us is that some cars still have to go through scrutineering, and at Donington the Formula Vees were chosen. This meant a much earlier start for us, and in reality consisted of waiting in the queue for ninety minutes when all the cars should have been done in 30 minutes. This meant my nice relaxed day started off with having to rush to get ready for the qualifying session by the time we’d actually been checked.

As it turned out, I needn’t have rushed, as we then sat in another queue for a sound test that took so long I wasn’t even allowed on track by the normal entrance, and had to drive across the other side of the paddock to go out through the pit lane.

I don’t know what the cock-up was, and for the sake of this I don’t care, but I will note that I’m paying a Hell of a lot of money to drive around a race track – NOT to do a noise level check. Also, someone really needs to be made aware that you cannot have aircooled cars sat with their engines running for very long – we will literally all blow up.

As many cars didn’t even get out on track before the session ended, we had to go out a second time, which again I’m not going to get into here…

So, first session:

Despite any anxiety I may have had before the day (or is it excitement? The two are very similar, and can be just the difference between a positive outlook!), I was straight back into it, falling asleep in the car as I was waiting to go out!

In my defence, my 3 year old niece Bella, was also spark out, soothed by the sounds of revving race engines!

My aim for this was to stay on the track, stay out of everyone’s way, and try and get some sort of feel for the car back. And see if we had full gear selection.

It was frustrating seeing cars pass me, but the first lap or two felt pretty horrible. The car felt very wallowy – but not just because I’d opted for a softer set-up – I’d just forgotten what it felt like to drive it. That’s something no race sim can replicate, and clearly it had been long enough that even my visualisations of laps was off. I didn’t want to disgrace myself by being dog-slow (especially knowing my former close rivals are all now much faster), but I also didn’t want to throw it in the gravel or worse just trying to look fast when my head wasn’t.

Looking back at the onboard footage, it doesn’t look anywhere near as bad as it felt to me. My vision around the track was completely dropped in favour of trying to hit a few braking points without locking up, and trying to get the car moving around a bit in the corners without binning it.

It was horrible, but also instantly great to be back behind the wheel. I could feel myself getting better and better with each corner, and my lines were still good. I attacked my nemesis corner -Old Hairpin – right from that first lap, getting back on the power as soon as I turned in, and taking a massive chunk of the inside curb. A slight lift as the car ran deep over the exit curb, but then straight back on the power knowing I hadn’t needed it.

I knew I’d be owning that corner for the rest of the day, and it felt good!

My braking into the chicane was terrible. Far too early. Too worried about taking too much of the left and right curbs. Far too slow in.

I locked up at the hairpin, then found I couldn’t get second gear, but it was so close I figured I’d work out a way to select it, or just do it in third (slower, but better than missing gears).

I got second at the second hairpin, controlling the wheelspin in the instant before changing back up to third for the finish straight, and was already vowing to brake much deeper for Redgate, visualising how much curb I’d take to the late apex just after the service road…

By the fourth lap I was still terrible, but definitely getting there. I knew where I could gain full seconds of time, and exactly how I’d do that, and was already getting the car sliding around a few corners without worrying about catching it.

By the in-lap I was starting to use proper vision through the corners, and driving and trail braking more on autopilot. If only I’d had more laps… Could I scrape into my target top 20?

14th and 8 seconds off pole was a surprise. I was even 4th in Class B, but also found some cars had never even made it out after the sound checks.

Not that it mattered all that much to me whether I’d been 1st or 30th – I knew I was getting faster and knew exactly what I needed to do. Should I firm up the dampers? Can Glenn fix the notchy throttle pedal? Damn it was good to be back!

There were a lot of irate drivers around the paddock who’d missed laps or the session, but I was feeling very zen and focused.

My race target would be a clean start, get a few laps in trying to hang on the back of people, and then I was confident I’d be able to start pushing forward.

Word came through we’d be running another 10 minute qualifying session, and before I knew it I was putting my kit back on and sliding back into the car. I clipped the AIM Solo 2 into place on my dashboard (I’d forgotten it before) so I could get some sector times.

This time I joined the track with more other cars around me, and had a brisk outlap to get some heat into the Hoosier tyres, thinking I’d build up from the first lap. I absolutely nailed the final hairpin, trail braking to perfection whilst keeping it in 3rd, but having to lift on the exit behind another driver who’d missed a gear.

I still wasn’t even holding it flat out down Craners, but this time I had a light feather and kept it in 4th just to see if I could carry the speed through Old Hairpin, see how it pulled up the hill, and conserve the engine a little until I was ready to drop the hammer.

I was seeing green LED’s from the AIM Solo letting me know everything I was doing was getting faster but I knew I’d be needing 3rd next time.

I floated it through McLeans, threw it over the blind crest at Coppice and squeezed the loud pedal…

… and the sound changed.

I had about a second to look in my mirrors for any signs of bad stuff happening before a shockwave felt like it almost lifted the car up in the air. What I couldn’t see, and what the reflections in the back of my helmet showed, was the fireball:

I stood on the clutch, knowing the engine had seized, and had a good look in my mirrors to make sure I wasn’t on fire, coasting down the back straight looking for a marshals post with a big old fire extinguisher just in case…

As it turned out, the fire had already happened by this point! Adam Macaulay watched my onboard video when I uploaded it a few days later and pointed out that you can see the fireball of the explosion reflected in the back of my helmet!

I also didn’t know at the time I’d had blown so violently that shards of piston/engine casing had punctured my own left rear tyre!

After the session finished I walked back to the car and saw the huge hole in the engine. A quick check showed I didn’t seem to be leaking more oil, so I got towed back in, and that was the racing over for me.

So it should be a terrible tale of a disastrous day after years of waiting… but do you know what?

I was so happy with the way my driving was improving, and how the car was before that, that I just couldn’t feel down abut it all. Of course I was gutted not to have more track time, and not to experience that long-awaited intensity of a race start, but I’d already extinguished all of those Demons nestling in my head from my last blog.

It was so good seeing the other drivers again after so long, and great to have Glenn, my sister Michelle and her boyfriend Mark there helping out (and supplying so much food we could have fed the entire paddock!), and I still enjoyed just being back in the thick of it all.

The biggest let-down was my knee, which did not cope with the day at all, and prevented me wandering around the paddock as much as I’d like as I tried to hide how bad it was from the other drivers. It’s properly knackered with a torn meniscus, ganglion cyst, and 20 degree flexion deformity. Somewhat ironically, it was absolutely fine for the driving, but standing, walking and anything else outside the car killed it. Luckily I’m having surgery to fix it in a few days, so that will be the last gremlin out of my way.

Oh, and we might need a few bits of engine, too…

Thank you to everyone who helped out, welcomed me back! And to my supporters Primrose Hospice and The Birmingham Superprix Project, who I kept in the dark a little after letting them down with false-starts over the last few years.

As soon as my knee and engine are back together, I’ll be back out there again – and that shouldn’t take too long, this time!

Getting my head into gear


, , , , , , ,

I don’t want to be a racing driver.

I like the thought of it more than actually doing it.

Many people have told me I’m no good at it .

It’s a waste of time and money, and I can barely afford it, anyway.

I’m socially anxious at the thought of having to talk to 40 other drivers and their crew.

I have some physical problems at the moment that will stop me doing it.

We’ve had so many false starts to get back racing in the last few years, it’s just not meant to be.

There is just too much against me.

I’m just letting everyone down.

I don’t deserve it.

All of those thoughts have gone through my head since I last raced in 2018. Some of those were even eating away at me before then, if I’m completely honest.

Which is all a bit alien, considering that I’m a very positive person who strongly believes that every one of us can live our dreams. Most people also know how chilled out I am about life in general, even under the heaviest of pressures in the most dire of circumstances (“I’m so laid-back, you can see the soles of my feet when I’m walking” as my Dad would say).

I know mental health has become a much more open and acceptable topic over the last few years, but it’s still something racing drivers aren’t expected to get into – unless you have a ‘real’ diagnosed condition with a fancy name you can put to it. The rest of us are just sort-of left to fend for ourselves… and writing that I realise I am assuming anyone else out there ever feels anything like this?

Maybe they don’t, but I’m pretty sure most people do, whether they race or not.

I guess my main issue is self-doubt. Imposter Syndrome.

But despite any of these thoughts creeping into my head in the past, I can guarantee one instant cure for it:

When I drop that visor down, this is my moment.

This is the best I can be.

This is my chance to push myself to the extremes and show myself what I’m capable of.

This is life and being alive.

And you know what?

I am good enough.

I can do it.

I love being a racing driver and I’ll always have that in my blood.

My time to do this is limited, and I don’t want to have any regrets about what I was too scared to do.

I’m not the type to be scared, and I’m certainly not the type to give up if others don’t think I’m good enough.

By the time you read this, I will be at Donington Park GP circuit on an Easter Monday in the year 2022.

Whatever the rest of the day offers me, I’m going to take it with both hands.

It feels amazing to be back.

Preparing to re-start and post-Covid fitness


, , , , , , , , , , , ,

The amazing thing is that this is where I had my first ever Formula Vee race back in 2015, and so will be a bit like a re-birth after my two year lay-off.

The Covid lockdown was tough for my fitness. Actually, that’s not entirely true – it’s been so damned long that I’ve put on weight, lost loads, then put on even more into the start of 2021.

More serious than that, was that my overall fitness was terrible. Working from home, rarely going out of the house, no gym, and with no real fitness routine, things had got pretty dire.

I started doing quick five to ten minute online workouts – mainly from Billy Blanks’ Tae Bo program. This was brilliant to get me moving again, and quick enough to fit in on a morning work break to get me away from staring at a PC all day. Highly recommended if you don’t think you can face full-on fitness malarkey (and if you can, he also has hour long, 5000 calorie killer workouts).

Tae Bo "I Like What You Do" (Part 2) - YouTube

There is a fitness program provided with the iZone Driver Performance Training, but that looked far too full-on, so I’ve saved them all to work through when I want something more hardcore. My main focus was to get back to the gym ASAP, which I finally got to do. Oh how I’ve missed that heavy bag for slamming in Thai-style elbows and shin kicks, rather than just filling my face with Thai Pla Sam Rod!

Other than working the bag, my two or three weekly sessions have been all about getting my aerobic fitness back up, and flexibility. I have a strong martial arts background so losing my flexibility for the first time since I was eight years old has really bugged me!

Lots of cross trainer, indoor cycling, rowing and pounding it out on the treadmill. I will switch my focus back to core strength by picking up my weights and going back to 100 squats per day and stuff.

iZone also helped with other things that are often overlooked, and I planned to change this year anyway: I barely used to drink liquids, but upped that to at least two litres per day. I switched to an ‘intermittent fasting’ diet (basically skipping breakfast and having two meals per day between 12pm and 9 in the evening – you just need to learn that feeling hungry doesn’t mean you have to eat). Kevin from iZone recommended healthier snacks that you might not expect – like greek yoghurt, peanut butter or cheese so that your body gets the fat it needs to think it’s full. And I always have a nut mix of almonds, Brazils and walnuts as they all give great nutrition.

This has all lead to me dropping a stone of weight I’d put on, but more importantly hasn’t been anything so extreme that I can’t easily sustain all the changes. It also means I’m not denying myself the odd takeaway or fried breakfast – hey, I still want to love food and this isn’t exactly Formula One!

All of this has also massively stabilised my blood sugars and generally seems to suit me. So that must be worth a few seconds a lap, right?

I have plans for a few other things to boost my performance when I get back on track – some of which I might tell you about in another blog, but possibly not all of it!

I hope you have all been keeping yourselves in shape – you never appreciate your fitness until you don’t have it any more. Go on – do a quick Tai Bo Body Blast and see how good it makes you feel!

We’re missing the first round!


, , , , , ,

You may have noticed a distinct lack of, well, me, on the entry lists for Cadwell Park this weekend.

I can confirm that we won’t be there, this time.

Frustrating as it is, we have to remember that racing is only a hobby for me (unless there are any spare F1 or GT drives going?), and there are still some more important things in and around Racing Team Vee that we’re still in the process of sorting out before we can re-focus on racing.

I’m sure you will all understand that these are difficult times, but we do fully intend to be back as soon as possible!

Croft, next month? To be totally honest, it still seems a bit shakey, but if it is at all possible it’s a track I love so you can bet it’s still on the cards…

Good luck to all the Formula Vee drivers this weekend – you’ll see a few familiar faces returning to the grid along with some brand new to us. The races are being live streamed on video from the 750 Motor Club website, so be sure to take a look.


Stay safe everyone, and have some great racing!

2021 Season Gets Green Light!


, , , , , , , , ,

Yes, folks – after sitting out the last two seasons, I’m back!

Driving for Racing Team Vee, and proudly supporting Primrose Hospice, The Birmingham Superprix project and CRPS Racing 4A Cure, I will return to racing in the 750 Motor Club Heritage Parts UK Formula Vee Championship.

I had been dubiously awaiting the latest Covid announcement, but Motorsport UK have give the go-ahead for club racing to start on 29 March 2021. Of course, this will always be subject to any further lockdowns or restrictions, but with the vaccine working its way through the general population I think we’re all feeling much more positive about where things are heading.

In my time off, you’ll probably be unsurprised to hear that I’ve still spent every day obsessed by racing, so although my seat time has suffered, I’ll be coming into this season more prepared than ever, and also much more hungry!

I have been sim racing lots using iRacing, especially driving the Skip Barber car which is probably the closest to a Formula Vee, and have a few more changes going on which should boost my performance.

You may have seen my name pop up on the list of iZone Performance drivers. This is something else that has been a huge change, as I have been active in their daily Zoom training in all aspect of improving my performance – physically, technically, and especially mentally. This training has been amazing, not just for racing, but for strength and motivation in everyday life through this pandemic. Go check them out!

The iZone coaches have also reinforced some realisations that I was slowly coming to myself about approaching things from a much stricter and more structured way, and I have a few more essential things to sort out for the next time I get back in the car.

It’s an exciting time, and you can of course expect blogs, videos and lots more from me and my social media accounts along the way. Feel free to contact me if you would like to get onboard as a sponsor or support me and the team in any way, or if you think I can help you or your brand.

And again, in case I don’t say it enough, if you’re reading this then thank you! I love your support and words of encouragement and am eternally grateful to have you all with me!


Primrose Hospice Virtual Santa Fun Run 2020


, , , , ,

With the whole mess that is 2020 a lot of charities will be missing out as they can’t do many of their regular fundraising activities.

This is no different for my sponsors Primrose Hospice, but they decided to go ahead with their annual Santa Fun Run.

Normally, this would mean 200+ people in Santa outfits would get together and go for a mass run somewhere, but this year with social distancing in place for the pandemic, we would have to do things differently. A ‘virtual’ run where we sign up and then pick our own time and place for the weekend.

Along with my fiancé Julie (who loves Christmas so much she may well be 90% Santa’s Elf), we wanted to get involved, and so thought we’d turn the whole situation around a little, and rather than a 5 or 10km run, we went right to the other end of the spectrum: we’d get stupid suits we couldn’t run in and just go for making idiots of ourselves to get people smiling!

So, on Saturday 6th December we donned these suits:

Oh yeah! And the plan was to do a minimum of 5k but looping around the streets of Bromsgrove and including the main shopping streets for maximum exposure.

Almost as soon as we’d left our house we were passing people in the street who already had some change to drop into our tin before we got to them, and the honking horns of passing drivers (especially over the Oakalls footbridge) was fantastic to hear and really spurred us on!

We also got a great reaction walking through the High Street from children and adults alike, with a few chasing us down after having seen us.

We took an amazing £38.30 in cash donations while we were out and about, and special mentions have to go to the woman who stopped her car near Finstall and walked back to give us some money, and the Policeman who pulled over to tell us he loved the costumes (who has since tracked us down on JustGiving to donate, as he didn’t have any cash on him)!

Which reminds me, you can still throw a few quid our way on JustGiving at this link:

James Cater is fundraising for Primrose Hospice (justgiving.com)

It was touching to see the Bromsgrove community showing their appreciation for us and Primrose Hospice, and if we made you smile in these dark times with our clowning around then we’ve done our job!

But, of course we weren’t the only Santa’s out there this weekend, with several of the Primrose staff running around Sanders Park, and many others from local companies to the numerous individuals who support this great charity getting out there. We got lucky with sunny (though chilly) weather on Saturday, but others still battled their way around on a much wetter Sunday.

We love all your efforts, and hopefully we can do it again next year under more normal circumstances.

Did you spot any Santa’s around this weekend? Let me know in the comments!

Calling it for 2020


, , , , , , , ,

I was hoping for a surprise end of year blog to say we’re getting out there for a race, but unfortunately that hasn’t happened.

Glenn and myself have decided to call time on the 2020 Formula Vee championship so that we can concentrate on other things and look towards racing in 2021.

It’s been a very weird year, to say the least, and I hope you are all safe and well?

Glenn has still been very busy this year caring for his brother and dealing with the day to day aspects of his business during the Covid-19 lockdown, and I’ve been kept busy working from home in my day job.

The Sheane is very close to ready, and just needs the engine to be put back together and a bit of paint on the nosecones to be raceworthy, so the plan was always to sit back and see what happened and maybe jump in to do the last rounds at Oulton and Donington.

Watching from afar, it seems like Motorsport UK and 750 Motor Club have done an amazing job getting things moving around the Covid restrictions whilst still keeping everyone safe. That has been great to see how the whole sport (and world?) can adapt so quickly to make the most of things.

It’s been great to see so many new names high up the leaderboard of the Vee races this season, and of course a well-earned (at last!) congratulations to James Harridge for winning the 2020 title already with an almost flawless 6 wins from 7 races in the home-built Maverick.

It’s been frustrating not to be out there racing, but Racing Team Vee are equally feeling the loss of the Formula Vee paddock family.

I will be carrying the Primrose Hospice and Birmingham Super Prix Project logos on the car, so am eager to get their names out there again for the great work they’re both doing and help build support.

We hope to see you all back out there for 2021, in a more normal world, and wish you all the best!

Motorsports UK Esports Series and iRacing update


, , , , , , , , ,

In a very strange year, it’s now October, and the only racing I’ve done has been online.

This does mean I’ve sunk many hours into sim racing with iRacing, and improved a fair bit from where I was for my last blog.

I have now completed my first ever full season with iRacing, and also completed the minimum number of weekly races so that I get $10 credit back to spend on the game. If you complete 9 out of 13 weekly races in a season you get $4 credit, up to the maximum of $10 up to a certain licence class, with another $10 available for A and B class events.

I finally have the A licence now, but to be honest it only really allows you to do a couple of much longer endurance events, which I don’t want. I’d much rather have their 15-40 min race format, because I have a job and fiance who would not agree with me doing 24 hour online races!

More importantly, though, I actually did quite well in my overall leagues in the iRacing series I was racing in.

My main race series is still Skip Barber, but I also did pretty well in the RUF, Radical and GT. I stopped racing the basic MX5’s which were a major learning series for me, but still dip in occasionally and also do a few of the Advanced Mazda Cup races. I also concentrate more on the other open wheel series: Formula Sprint, Renault 2.0 and F3. And I’ve used my $10 credit to buy the Ferrari GT3, which seems like a good series to do.

So, as you can see, I finished right up the pointy end of several leagues, which I was chuffed with! This means I get promoted to tougher leagues, so we’ll see how this season goes.

I should note that this is NOT the best way to go iRacing. You should concentrate on just one or two cars and master them. This will mean your iRating goes up as you’ll do far better at your specialist series. If you jump into multiple cars, your iRating score sorts you into races accordingly, so if you’re fast in Skip Barber and then jump into the unraced Ferrari, the game assumes you’re just as good in both, so when you finish right at the back your iRating drops as well.

But I’m doing this for fun, and am happy with an iRating around 1500 as long as I get to drive different stuff.

Last week, I also had my first ever genuine win in the Motorsports UK iRacing Esports Series!

I do quick race reports on my Facebook pages, so you should have seen them already if you’re following them (and you should be!).

I like some layouts of Lime Rock Park, but hate the one with the West Bend Chicane, so you can imagine my ‘joy’ as I logged into the pre-race practice to try the Dallara F3 around there.

However, I soon found I was within a second or two of the usual fastest drivers, and knew I could improve with more laps. I qualified in 3rd place!

With a decent start I actually crossed the line at the end of the first lap in the lead, but lost a place soon after… although I was still right on their tail for the next few laps.

I dropped back a little, but then caught and passed them, and despite several cars giving chase and almost catching me, and some very close calls with some cars I was trying to lap, I won by 6.5 seconds!

Not bad at all!

That leaves me 5th in the championship, but don’t think I have much chance to gain more than a few places, but I’ll give it my best shot. It might be the last time this series is ever run, so I have to make the most of it before I jump back into a real car on a real track…

Which still might be on the cards for Formula Vee this year… Watch this space!

Motorsport UK iRacing Esports Series


, , , , , , , , ,


After my last blog, I signed straight up for the Motorsport UK iRacing Esports Series , and was assigned a qualifying slot to decide what league we’d be in.

My session was an absolute disaster because of tech issues. My laptop had finally reached its limits for gaming, and I was getting around 20fps with no laps registering through the whole of my qualifying.

Thankfully, I was given another slot, where I managed to lay down a couple of laps that was enough to get me in.

Then it was time for the long overdue tech upgrade – I bought a reconditioned desktop PC set-up for £500, featuring a Nvidea GTX1650 GPU and Intel i7 processor. Basically the best bang for my buck that I could get. Old but will still more than do the job. A bit like the Sheane Formula Vee I race!

I could also justify this because it gave me a monitor, keyboard and mouse that I can use for working from home, rather than my current work laptop. It might save my back, and to be honest is something I should have done at the start of lockdown when I knew it would last more than a few months. (there you go – now you can justify it to your wife, too!)

It boots up in around 20 seconds! Sometimes you just have to get the right tools to make life easier for you…

So things were looking much better just in time for the first race at Silverstone GP in the Dallara F3 cars we’d be using for the season.

I made a great start, weaving through the field until I found a car slam it’s brakes on around the outside of the first turn, and I slammed into the back of them.

This was the first I knew about damage not being turned on in the sim. This is great as you can keep going, but encourages everyone to drive like idiots.

You might notice that on my recovery I ended up, well, upside down, as another car hit me.

This put me dead last, with so many incident points that a couple of minor off-tracks gave me a drive-through penalty as I tried to fight back through the 28 car field.

Finally things settled down a little, and I finished 17th. Not bad considering my fastest lap was about 5 seconds off the pace, so at least I’m consistently slow!

The Dallara F3 is a good car to drive (it feels a lot like the Praga R1), but as I’m not used to driving it at all, let alone used to downforce, it’s going to take me a while to get up to speed. Plus when I took a look at some of the other names in the field, they’re racing this kind of car in real life, so have a bit of an advantage there!

That said, it’s great to be amongst them, and I can learn a lot from them.

The next round is at Spa on June 22nd, so I will try and get more practice in. That is hard when I’m doing ok racing the Mazda MX5, Skip Barber, RUF GT3 and a couple of others in the regular iRacing series, though!

We’ll see if this all helps when I get back in the real car…

The Return To iRacing


, , , , , , , ,

I hope you are all safe and well out there? Or, to be more specific, I guess – in there.

With all racing cancelled due to Covid-19 (you might have heard of it), if you haven’t switched on to all the brilliant sim racing that is being broadcast, you really are missing out. Many ‘real drivers’ have switched to sims for their first time ever to try and get some of that buzz back. And you know what? It works!

Me? Well, I last did a blog on iRacing years ago. In fact I let my subscription run out and hadn’t played it for around 3 years.


Mainly because my internet connection wasn’t good enough, so I’d get my laptop hooked up to the TV, plug in the wheel and pedals, fluff up a few pillows, and then on the first lap of the race my connection would drop out, no times would be recorded, and my game ratings just took a dive every time…

Add to that a not insubstantial monthly fee, and that was that.

But despite having most of the other racing sims, I still knew iRacing was the one I really wanted to be playing. The one that was most rewarding to race against others on.

I signed up for one month for $15, as tax is now included. That’s a crazy increase!

IMG_20200407_143107 (2)

My first impressions (after a few hours of downloads and updates) were that the tyres felt much more realistic – especially on braking where they’d nailed the floaty feeling before it locks up.

I’d also forgotten how to drive the sim, and my safety rating took a clattering, along with some more disconnection issues…

But I reset my brain again. I started driving like Miss Daisy and put the racing line back on. I did a load of Time Trials with just me on track, so I could lap consistently without going off track without overdriving the car everywhere.

I concentrated on the Skip Barber and Mazda MX5 only. The Skippy is the closest the game has to a Formula Vee, and feels great. The MX5 is much less forgiving, and will swap ends frustratingly quickly, but the actual racing you get is brilliant.

ir skippy

I’m trying to get my C Grade licence back, so will literally start the race slowly and keep out of everyone’s way to let them pass me through the first few turns. Assuming they’ve still not taken me out, I then drive a few slow laps, and half the field will crash on their own or in tangles. I then just cruise through and normally end up in the top 5 just through consistency.

If someone is catching you by 2 seconds per lap, just let them through. You’ll gain a lot more by avoiding the incident points for contact and following them to see how they’re faster.

Honestly, all you want to do is stay out of everyone’s way and even if you finish last as long as you have no incident points your rating will climb and you’ll be put into races with more careful drivers.

Do that a few times and you’ll find yourself leading races and THEN you can start to enjoy it all.

I’ve definitely got the bug again, so will be taking out a full year subscription.

ir mx5

I also remembered a few essentials for people using their laptop and basic equipment:

  1. Plug into your router with a top quality (class 8) ADSL cable, and do not use a WiFi connection.

  2. Use the lowest graphics setting. I have a very high spec laptop, but it’s still only barely good enough…

  3. Lower the screen resolution slightly to get more FPS (frames per second).

  4. You need a custom desktop PC if you want it to look pretty, but you can still do it if you have limited space and just a laptop and your TV screen.

So I’m still building my skills up again, but loving it for a few hours a day. I might even try some oval racing – or the new dirt oval and rallycross that’s now in the game.

If you’re on it, feel free to add me as a friend – I’m called ‘James Cater’ weirdly enough.

I bet you’ll enjoy it, once you’ve slogged your way out of the crash-happy Rookie series!

ir spipcrash


Did you know that Motorsport UK licence holders get 3 months of iRacing for free? Click the link in the Members Benefits section of your account and they’ll send you a code in an email.

As someone already paying for iRacing, I tried this and the code did not work – I’ve queried this with Motorsport UK to see if it’s for first time members only, or if it will work when my sub runs out…

Also, there is an e-racing championship being organised by Motorsport UK and iZone for all licence holders, with analyses and stuff all free for you! You need to sign up to the league before Monday 25th May (tomorrow!!!) ideally, or you won’t be guaranteed a space. The link in the last mag is wrong, so go here to sign up: www.bit.ly/izone-esports