We love iracing but lets be honest, it is a complicated package on first look. So I am writing a wide series of articles built out of mine and my iRacing friends experience that I hope will help you get more out of this now brilliant platform.
Article 1: Safety Rating (SR)
We begin with Safety Rating or as it is commonly referred, our SR. Combined with iRating (which does a totally different job) SR and iRating are the heart of the iRacing structure making it the go to platform for easy access eSports competition!
I will cover SR in this first article and iRating in the second.
In the first months of iRacing I advise anyone who has good experience in real world racing to focus on SR and not IR. Anyone with a comptitive nature will naturally want to focus on IR although it really can be a mugs game in the first few months and will take away some of the fun of iRacing for reasons that will become apparent later.
The practical facts:
Your SR effects the license grade you can obtain. The license grade decides what series/cars you can race in and ultimately the experience of drivers you race against. Everyone without exception starts as a Rookie, even Fernando Alonso had to begin as a Rookie in iRacing in 2020, I kid you not!
The higher the license grade required to enter a category, the more experience you race against, not the faster… that’s where the iRating comes in. Think of Safety Rating being like survival of the smartest… not the fastest and that is crucial when you understand the competition.
When you race on a grid where everyone has an B or A grade license you will notice straight away the difference. Mistakes get made but much less frequently and proper door to door racing without disaster becomes much more common.
The war zone:
Once you make it out of Rookie and gain a D Grade license you are now in the war zone where all eSports, not just iRacing can be chaotic and why you need to get where the experience is more abundant, this is when iRacing really takes over!
The fact is eSports, on any software platform has a broader range of entrants than anyone reading this could ever imagine. I’m not just talking about attitude, mental ability or understanding of motorsport, the guy next to you on the grid may be driving with a single 24” 60hz monitor, a 10 year old Thrustmaster wheel clamped to a tressle table in an appartment with a family of 5 kids in the background. He's giving it his best shot but no way is he able to think or plan in the same way as you despite his pace over a single lap. The point is by its very nature at the lower license levels the competition is widely unpredictable for so many reasons and most of them cannot be seen to give us a warning. It can be as much about survival as it is about racing at this level.
Regardless of the above 98% of entrants in D and C Grade race series are people who are developing their experience, many are actually very fast but so much effort goes into being fast WE all struggle to think beyond our current moment, thereby becoming another casual/random liability, potentially 30 casual/random liabilities of varying degrees of risk all on track together. So what could possibley go wrong?