The first of a few posts on iRacing; this one focuses on my overall thoughts on the rookies – the first races you’ll take part in on joining the sim.
I read all the guides about “surviving rookies”. Safety Rating is king – don’t race for wins, concentrate on having clean races. I’ve watched videos of people getting through rookies, and I was aware of the challenges ahead.
However… some people recommended starting from the pitlane and running at the back, away from the unpredictable rookies. I wasn’t sure this was the right way of doing things. I’m not a slow racer – I’m no alien, but I’m no backmarker. So running at the back from the start would only see me come upon slower cars, and either running really slowly to stay behind them, or having to try to pass them. Not ideal.
The issue would seem to be surviving turn 1 (and others, depending on the track). Once you’re round there, the faster guys in front will pull away, and the slower guys behind will drop back. If there are people out of place, then let them go – you’re not racing for position, you’re looking for a clean race, and if there’s a faster car wanting to come past, you’re better off letting them go at this point.
Some will argue that you should be racing – the point of rookies is to learn skills, after all. But are these the drivers you want to be racing? Probably not. Maybe you’ll find someone that gives a bit of respect and you can battle with… but you’ll also find the other learners here, and giving people a bit more room at this stage in the sim seems the sensible thing to do.
The other reason for not just running at the back is your iRating. It’s hidden during rookies to ensure you concentrate on your Safety Rating, but it is still affected by your results, and will still determine which split you end up in. Top splits will have drivers with higher iRating, and bottom splits the lowest. iRating is affected by your finishing position in the race, so by running at the back, your iRating will go down, and you’ll end up in the bottom splits, which should (in theory) contain the worse drivers – those that finish their races at the back for whatever reason. Are these the drivers you want to be running with?
I got through rookies and would recommend this strategy – qualify as normal and race, but don’t get drawn into on-track battles. If you’re faster than the car in front, don’t take any chances; if someone faster is closing in from behind, let them go. You’re after a clean race, and will have plenty of time for proper racing once you’ve picked up your D licence.