Ending On A High Note I never thought I'd ever make this blog, but in a massive contrast to March 2020, I'm now at 1122 iRating and thought that it was high-time for an update.
As a flash reminder, in February 2019, after my very first podium and two 4th places after it - I was at an all-time high - 1187 iRating and still to this date, the highest I've ever achieved.
Come the same period in 2020 - at the Bathurst 12 Hours on the 8th of Feb 2020, I was down at 749 and that was AFTER gaining 15 iRating for the race.
2021 Rolled around and here I am, sitting on my high horse, 1184 iRating to my name...so how did it happen?
The last race I reported on in my previous blog (of this type) was Belle Isle - where I had just hit 1022 iRating - the first time since 2019. Unfortunately, it was only going to go downhill from there.
Before that though, I'd have fun in an Unofficial Week 13 series called "Battle Of The Small Wings" in my much loved Dallara F3.
Officially ending racing the day before I'd go up to Wolverhampton on the 20th, the first race of S4, 2020 at Watkins ended a good little run - myself having 1050 iRating as I went off to Uni.
I'd briefly come back for a weekend (to say "hi" to my parents) where I did the third round of the Formula 3 Championship and drove around Le Mans Alone for an hour.
I know I bring this up almost daily - but it was such a funny situation - and lost me no iRating or Safety Rating
Returning Home & Week 13
Amid raising COVID cases, Boris (Johnson) announced that there'd be a "corridor" for University students to return home - this being between the 3rd and 9th of December. I'd come home on the 8th, after sorting my MOT, an assignment and a lecture.
Unfortunately I'd be home too late to be competitive in Tuesday's race (too tired) and waste Wednesday doing something not worth while. (Video Idea For YT Channel Failed)
From Thursday to Monday I'd compete in an unofficial Week 13 for GT3 cars to celebrate the launch of the Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evo.
A Bad Start To The Season Week 1 would roll around on the 16th of December. Since I had never done any GT Sprint racing (And loved the Lamborghini to bits) I took a bite of the VRS GT Series - soon realising I'd have to make a pit-stop - which cause all sorts of calamities "Never Again" I promised myself - and I've stuck to that promise since - I was ideally looking for something like the Ferrari GT3 Challenge for the Lamborghini/multi-car/multiclass - but I found out that no such thing existed.
7 iRating lighter in the first 48 hours of the season was not a great start.
One series I did enjoy getting my teeth deeply into was the Formula 3 Series - only running two races (W1 & W3) last season, I wanted to complete a full season with it as I believed it was a step up/upgrade from the Skip Barber (I raced in the previous season I competed in)
Formula 3, S1, 2021 Oh boy was the S1, 2021 F3 Season crazy! Every single round, I'd experience something new...
W1 - Laguna Seca: iRacing Freezes before the race. I'm forced to shut down the sim. A loss of 109 iRating and I was back in the 900's. Ouch.
Attempt 2 would redeem me to 944 iR (after being 928)
(Attempt 2) Qualified: 11th
(Attempt 2) Finished: 10th (Attempt 2 IR): 944 iR (after being 928)
W2 - Sebring: My fault this time, I kept on cutting the exit of the penultimate corner (chicane onto the long straight). This gave me multiple slow-downs, and hence shuffled me far below where I should have finished.
(Not ruining the flow of the F3 Season, but I did an EES race with Joost and got up to 960 iRating as a result of it)
W3 - Nurburgring GP: Attempt 1, I jump-start and then am rear-ended coming into the pits to serve my drive-through/Stop-Go
Attempt 2, I get a good start but get caught up in a start pile-up, car is massively damaged Attempt 3 was my lucky escape, finishing 6th from a (then) record 7th place start. After everything that had happened, I finished my Nurburgring Nightmare and indeed the year with 849 iRating - a gain of +43 iRating from the previous race - putting me at 806 iRating after the second - my worst iRating of S1, 2021 by quite a long way - and hopefully it stays that way.
(Attempt 3 Q): 7th
(Attempt 3 F): 6th
(Not ruining the flow - had mixed success in the Road Atlanta EES Weekend - did one on Sat and one on Sun - gained IR on the Saturday one - TOT: 858 IR, but lost IR on the Sunday one - TOT: 847 IR)
W4 - Donington Park - Donington was an absolute treat and a half - great feeling and sounding car at a great circuit - ending this with a personal best finish of 5th place (from 14th!!) and with a single incident point, it truly was a day to remember. iRacing gifted me 66 iRating, I was back in the 900's again...big cheers to me!
W5 - Catalunya, Spain - After getting the University Of Wolverhampton Racing Team Livery (haven't taken it off since, except Valentines day) - I hit the track and had another belter, finishing 5th in WLV Colours. It was probably one of the best races of the season
IR: 973 (+60)
W6 - Zolder
After weeks of success and inching closer to 1K - a feat last achieved in December 2020.
I chose to race on Tuesday. I wanted my iRating early. After qualifying 8th, I was in for a good race - and after battling for the podium steps/top 5 for a portion of the race, on lap 11 it'd all unravel into a heap of shit. No censoring it - It was horrible.
He (3rd at the time) came down the inside of me down the hill and into the chicane, out-braked himself and locked up, getting it stopped much quicker then I could. I bumped into the back of him - he'd spin across the chicane and one way or another, I'd get caught up with him again, this second contact breaking my steering/suspension. I was out from battling for third, and there was nothing I could do - racing is a mean bitch sometimes - and this wild F3 season has thrown everything my way. Not content with the pain of crashing out of the top 5, I also got slapped with 31 iRating being taken away. I would not be trying this one again - bought the incident on myself, and I have no-one else to blame but myself. (or the guy I hit, but I was the one who hit into him - he was just Late On The Brakes)
IR: 942 At the time of writing, this was exactly a month ago - I've gained 180 iRating in one month - with me racing about once a week, that's about 45 iRating a week (give or take) Following this was The Daytona 24 Hours, where I'd not manage to complete a lap due to the car being disqualified. My iRating was not touched.
W7 - Detroit (Belle Isle)
My habit of doing Tuesday's race (first day of the iRacing Week) continued into Week 7. After jumping the start and knowing I'd have to serve I penalty, I'd retire before even crossing the start-finish to start the first lap. I'd attempt the very next race - this time with an appalling 866 iRating to my name
Attempt 2 went much better (naturally) - qualifying 6 places higher (10th) and would finish a respectable 6th place. Just like a yo-yo, I was back into the 900's - 923 on this occasion.
(Attempt 2) Q: 10th
(Attempt 2) F: 6TH
(Attempt 2) IR: 923
VRS Endurance - Imola
I wish I listened to my own advice during this race, but I didn't....
"You cannot out-perfect perfect"
During Saturday's race of the VRS Endurance race at Imola I absolutely fucking ACED my first double stint. Not only did I ace it, but I truly believe that I perfected it - I had a perfect stint.
After not starting a race since steam powered cars roamed the streets, to get in, be more than competitive with the field (hovering just outside of the top 10 by the end of my second stint - from 34th on the grid) with only 7 incidents in 2 hours I was beyond chuffed with myself - I had a huge blast and came out of the car grinning from ear to ear.
As I was more on the consistent side, I was also able to save a lap or so of fuel, pulling the car into the pits at the end of my second stint (and handing it over to Angel) in 3rd.
Although we'd finish 11th (Angel was under some HUGE pressure), I had one hell of a day and was now at 971 iRating....on the verge of hitting 1K....again.
Sat Q: 34th
Sat F: 11th
Sat IR: 971
Unfortunately, Sunday's race....wouldn't go quite as well as the previous one did.
With a slightly higher SOF (Strength Of Field)/level of competition progress up the field was much, much slower - and whilst I was avoiding all the incidents last time, after two hours I'd amassed 16 Incidents.
It was not as fun as previously - picking up incident after incident - knowing that off of the back of yesterday's success.
I'd hit 1001 iRating again - but in the most bittersweet way possible - I didn't want to hit 1K during this race - maybe a race that I did well at or deserved to hit the achievement.
Sun Q: 35th
Sun F: 17th
Sun IR: 1001
W8 - Road America
We return once again to my wild Formula 3 Season. With 2 iRating separating me from the noobs, I once again chose to race on Tuesday.
I qualified 8th...again (running theme) and had a decent start, before spinning at turn three due to cold tyres.
After cursing at myself a bit, I'd get the car restarted and head into turn four...where I was then rear ended (or clipped), spinning me around again. Less than 20 furious laps later, I would come home in 7th. Sounds mediocre starting from 8th - but after falling to 12th, it wasn't a half bad result.
Next was EES at Silverstone - I had a night stint so I don't remember a single thing (as it was dark)
F: 33rd (21st In Class)
R9 - Okayama
Still being relatively close to 1K, I once again did Tuesday's race....and as expected it went rather wild.
After getting used to my "Slippery Sock Syndrome" (new socks/lint/low grip) Okayama began well, qualifying 13th, getting a good start from 13th, before getting in a big battle for 4th/5th by the 2nd lap...which ultimately ended with me flipping upside down/getting flipped (interesting physics)
I'd do practice for the second race, but immidately felt guilty that I'd gone from upside down in the wall, to having another crack at it - thinking back to Zolder when I crashed (not on lap one) and didn't have a second attempt - but then I remembered my three attempts at Nurburgring and gave it another shot on Wednesday, a new day - a new start. (Attempt 2)
This would be a really, really solid drive from me, picking it up from the gravel bed and then coming home 20 laps later to finish 5th - less than a second behind 4th
W10 - Brazil
My most recent race to date (almost) - Once again I (foolishly) opted to go for the Tuesday race - 1026 still being decent, but I wanted to jump up further - maybe break a record, but the only thing I'd end up breaking is my entire car. W10 - Brazil - Attempt 2
I eventually persuaded myself to give Interlagos another shot - the thoughts of "What If" were too strong and since I had achieved lap-times in practice of those near the front and I was taken out in a big-multi-car pile-up, I think I owed it to myself to see how well I could do.
In Open Practice, I was competitive as before, but come qualifying I was about to get the shock of my life....
I ONLY WENT AND SLAPPED IT ON POLE!!!!!
I did a 1:30.172 - Not far off my all time best of a 1:29! I was beyond surprised - I knew there were fast guys who were able to achieve 1:29's and I was guessing that I had qualified near my average of 5th or so
The race would go immaculately, getting a good start off the line (no jump!), battling for 1st for a couple of laps before settling for 3rd place (2nd spinning, but gathering himself and catching up/passing.
This race would give me a total of 1122 iRating - The 4th highest I'd ever been - and highest I'd ever been since my debut season - specifically Laguna Seca, the final round of the season. The race was clean and I only got x3 incidents (for off-tracks) throughout the entire race. The start can be seen here.
W11 - Road Atlanta
I don't know if it was because I was bored, or because I was fairly competitive, but I'd race on Tuesday - wanting to see if I was skilled (in my split) or just lucky (On Thursday)
After qualifying 7th, I knew I was in for a fairly normal race...but what I DIDN'T expect was after 20 laps of hard battling that I'd finish 3rd - a my first back to back podium in any (single) series! This also marked my second most successful season in iRacing after getting three podiums in the Skip Barbers (1st at Donington, 2nd at Montreal/Canada and 3rd at Mosport). If I get a podium at the final round at Monza that'll match my best season to date.
The race was even more exciting with plenty of overtakes, action and incidents.
Now at an iRating of 1184 - I'm at the edge of breaking my all-time Personal Best iRating - I'm going into the unknown! I my iRacing account is about to see never-seen-before numbers - but that relies on both Monza and Bathurst going well.
Thanks for reading!