I mentioned in a previous blog the 26th - 31st was almost silent....but there WAS something I missed.
Three races that bought the end of 2020 on iRacing to a little bit of a "bitter" close.
Race 1: EES (Euopean Endurance Series) 6hrs - IMOLA
My first endurance race since NEC in August '20 would be the opening round of Season 1, 2021 European Endurance Series (previously branded ELMS or Endurance Le Mans Series) on Boxing Day.
The drama started even before we started the session as for some unknown, bizarre reason - I registered as "crew" (crew not being able to drive the car) and only Joost could drive - so we had to quickly withdraw the car and leap into a car we were both registered for - this one I COULD drive - fortunately we were both able to start the race with no further dramas.
I did the race with Joost in a Ferrari GTE and we both had a reasonable time - despite some spins, wall kisses and other misadventures. It was fun - but a little annoying that there were so many incidents (between us). This may have been down to a lack of practice or because we thought Imola was easier than we had imagined or other reason.
We both gained safety rating and iRating and finished 15th in GTE class - so there was a positive there and I was an arms-reach away from 1000 iRating
Race 2: Formula 3 (F3) - Nurburgring (Attempt 1)
48 Hours remained of 2020, it was December 30th and Nurburgring was the third round of the F3/Formula 3 Championship - and after a decent battle in practice - I slowly got into the rhythm and found out Nurb was a very enjoyable and flowing track.
I'd qualify 12th, fill the car with fuel and sit on the grid.
The red lights would come on and......I'd jump start. I instantly stopped and waited for the green to be shown and launch with the field.
This didn't fool anyone and I was a handed a 30 second stop go penalty - damaging, but still possible to pick up scraps.
Upon coming into the pit-lane I was going REASONABLY fast, before slamming on the anchors to meet the pit-speed limit - a car behind me however...."missed his braking point and went careening into the back of me, punting me perpendicular to the pit-lane and sort of stuck in the wall. The penalty, damage and tow back to my pit-stall was too much and I quit. A delicious 871 iRating was attached to my name. BRILLIANT!
Race 3: Formula 3 (F3) - Nurburgring (Attempt 2)
Let's skip the bullsh*t - Practice, Qualify (13th), fill the car, sit on the grid wait for the lights to go out.....and away we go.
But No. Guy further up on the grid (same line as me - outside) stalls, is hit by another race, I take avoiding action to the outside, get spun and then someone launches over me and with the damage I have I'm thinking...."what would happen if I hadn't been involved in that pile-up? (limping to the pits and then waiting for repairs ruining all chances of a good fight). I quit, lose more iRating and fall to 806. Lush.
Race 4: Formula 3 (F3) - Nurburgring (Attempt 3)
As the age-old saying always goes "Third Time Lucky" and so too was my shambolic F3 Day. As before, let's skip the "cut-scene" practice, qualify P7 due to the amount of laps I've done, and then onto the race. I don't jump start. Nor does anyone get left on the grid. The pack makes it into turn one.....
Following the Red Bull destroying someone's race, someone cuts me up and we both spin, his left rear wheel/tyre disintegrating.
I'd rejoin in 13th and over the next 16 laps, I'd crawl my way back up to 6th place - only taking 6th in the last four laps and incredibly focussed/aggressive driving.
After all I had been through, this felt absolutely AMAZING and bought a sigh of relief and much shouting over the team radio! weaving and donuts were also a part of the celebrations.
849 was the iRating. January 14th marks my two-year anniversary on iRacing and this time last year I was going through a similarly difficult period - on 3rd January 2020, I was at 813. Come Bathurst I was at 749...after gaining 15 iRating. Hopefully I/my computer will behave during 2021 - and if it continues to do so, I can firmly say that after a YEAR of iRacing, I have improved my iRating - and if in the 900's - aim for 1K this time 2022!
A Cruel End To The Year
Since October, I've been losing iRating at a dangerously rapid rate.
The month before - September - saw my highest iRating since being a D-Class - peaking at a whopping 1050.
The last race in which I didn't lose iRating was ironically the race where I was all alone in a Supercar at Le Mans with no competitors (the race before, F3 at Suzuka - I gained a little bit of iRating).
After returning home and doing an unofficial series during Week 13 (not losing any iRating) between the 8th and 14th December - my experiment with the VRS GT Series (40 minutes) backfired massively and lost me some iRating - but only a small amount.
Week 1, Season 1 in F3 then wreaked absolute devastation on my iRating - my computer freezing during qualifying of the first race of the season at Laguna Seca.
This forced me to quit the sim and loose a massive chunk of iRating. 109. 109 iRating they took. My maximum iRating was only 1050 and that was at its peak. Before this race it was at a "decent" 1037. Now I'm sitting on 928. Nothing. Peanuts. Scraps. I'd retry the Laguna Seca race - not because I'd suffered an "engine failure" the race before - but because I loved racing and wanted to see how well I could do in the field iRacing put me in. I'd finish 10th, and go up to a slightly less miserable 944 iRating.
The next race was at Sebring - I'd finish P11 and further gain iRating. 953 was the number and despite it being low, it was still increasing and slowly rising from the damage Laguna had done.
Following this would be the previously mentioned race at Imola and I'd go up to a promising 960. But 2020 had one more nasty surprise for me.
Nurburgring. F3. As mentioned above I lost 111 iRating (in total) which was a fun day out. Let's see what 2021 brings!