Article 2: iRating (IR)
I hope Article 1 gave an idea how the Safety Rating works in practical terms. The second essential feature to understand iRacing... is the iRating or IR as its often referred.
Where SR dictates what you can race by how safe you have been, IR decides how fast your competition is on average. Every time a driver enters a race, the iRacing server will assign them to a grid, known as a “split” based on their iRating, moving other drivers up or down accordingly until race start time.
This way 5000+ drivers from all over the world can sign up for a 12PM GMT race start and yet all the splits have comparable driver standards based on performance (their IR). Still with me…. Ok lets look at how we work with it in real terms…
What IR does:
Let us imagine 100 drivers sign up for a race at 7pm on a track that holds 25 cars.
The iRacing server will place the 25 highest iRated drivers that signed in to “Split 1”, the second highest to “Split 2” and so on.
Everyone races at the same time, same track etc but the splits are formed entirely around each drivers IR.
The result is you race people of comparable pace, but not attitude or experience which takes us back to why SR is so important in the early license levels.
How does IR work:
In essence you have a score, the iRating. Every time you enter a race and reach the qualifying start time you will either win or lose IR taking or giving a percentage of IR directly from the competitors in your race. This is calculated around an algorithm that iRacing employs and it seems to work well.
Naturally the higher up you finish a race, the higher your IR reward and visa versa. If you do not finish a race at all for any reason, your IR will take what can only be described as a kicking!
In my experience if you finish inside the top 10 on a full grid you will typically gain IR. Gaining IR outside the top 10 is less consistent because it is affected by many factors, after all there must be a point where sizeable percentage of the split starts to lose their IR or it would not account for performance!
How much you win or lose depends entirely on numbers… the number of competitors entered, finishing position of you and the people around you and their IR.
It follows therefore that the higher the IR each driver has, the more competitive they must be.
After each race you will see your new IR and SR score in your Profile. If you look at the race results you will see who won or lost what for both.
Now with these I welcome your input but for me I believe there is a pattern that I think is useful to reference when judging our own expectations in iRacing.
1. We all find our natural IR position and it will go up and down, FACT. It’s easy to think we should be higher but having been on the IR wave for while I think it is actually relevant and fits performance at relevant times.
2. IR seem to have an genuine associated pace, as above. Drivers with circa 1800 to 2500 IR are typically faster than drivers with lower scores, HOWEVER the drivers with 3k plus IR always seem to have a bit of extra pace over everyone but similar high IR drivers.
My top tips for gaining IR:
1. NEVER race without practicing first. You need to know the circuit, with braking points and with a good idea of how the car behaves on cold tyres on that track.
2. ALWAYS give yourself at least 15 minutes prep before a race to get your eye in.
3. If you cannot see the race through FOR ANY reason you will lose a lot of IR so only commit when you know you can see it through with no hardware issues.
4. START TIME & GRID have a huge effect on your potential IR, in the UK evening and weekend races are best for IR gains. If lots of people enter a race, naturally IR splits will be tighter. If its quiet, let’s say 2 or 3 splits you may get lucky and have a chance to disappear into the distance OR you may get battered because the mix of driver levels is wide.
5. START POSITION. Start at the front or start at the back. Some tracks are worse than others, so a bit of experience comes in and after a while you know when to go and when to wait.
6. WHAT IS IMPORANT! Before you race be clear what you are racing for, it is always great to win but you won’t get anything for it beyond slightly more IR than second place earned. So pick your moments and think... “what matters most to me right now, the win so I feel good for an hour or the IR so I get better quality races in future”.
I hope this makes some sense to you budding iRacers.