This week was a rather momentous occasion in my fledgling iRacing career as it involved my first involvement in a ‘paid content’ official series. The Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car is certainly a drastic step up from from a Mazda MX5. The track was Circuit de Barcelona Catalunya and the single make Porsche cup series offered what I naively thought would be a level playing field as it quickly became evident that as ever, setup was still king.
Come race one, I found myself towards the tail end of the grid with a lowly lap time of 1:52. For reference, the pole position driver had set a 1:49. I was three seconds off! The race nothing short of a disaster, ending when I collided with an upturned car that slid back across the track on the exit of the final corner. Oh well, it couldn’t possibly get any worse. I was right, the next race I finished 5th from 15th on the grid. My race craft was solid but my pace was still poor. Averaging a 1:51 during the race, my best bet was to stay out of trouble and capitalise on battles and the mistakes of other drivers.
After feeling rather downtrodden by my lack of pace I decided to go setup hunting. I found one posted by a rather unknown German You Tuber and gave it a crack. It made a world of difference. I was able to consistently run in the 1:49s and even lower, with a number of 1:48s. The next few races felt amazing, finishing 3rd, 4th, 5th and 3rd again. Consistent top fives were uplifting and feeling confident about my own pace meant I spent the races attacking and gaining positions. I felt like I was no longer on the back foot anymore and thus was able to push.
I never managed to find myself in the 1:47s, although I did only see a few drivers posting such times. My qualifying always let me down and I never felt I had a real opportunity to go for a win as a result. My final race ended in a DNF and a massive hit to my safety rating, through no fault of my own I may add.
The next track is Road America, one of my absolute favourites so I’m excited to give it a go and see if I can improve on the results of this week. The cars are unbelievably fun to drive, I’ve always preferred lower downforce cars because it feels like one is really being forced to drive it, the analogue way and all. Maybe I’m already an old-fashioned so and so. Either way, its a blast.
Another goal of mine is to get stuck into GTE racing, a series such as IMSA or ILMS, as for now I’m biding my time, I will most likely try my hand at it when one of the series is running a track familiar to me. Porsches are keeping me very occupied for the time being anyway.