Mario’s iRacing Challenge

Mario (twin brother) has finally installed iRacing and is starting to drive in the virtual world. He’s got my old computer, a single 1080p monitor, Logitech G29, and a bean-bag chair for a cockpit. It’s not exactly ideal, but at least he’s on board. His first couple sessions were at Lime Rock Park (Classic configuration) in the Global MX-5 Cup. That’s a great place to start. He reported that his best laps were 1:01.6 and then 1:01.3. For a first-time iRacer with a janky rig, that’s pretty good.

We were talking about the Rookie placements and when to do them. I suggested he wait for a track he wants to do. Charlotte roval is next week and then Tsukuba 2000 Full the week after. I mentioned that I had never driven Tsukuba before. It wasn’t in iRacing when I was active. At which point he threw down a challenge.

The Challenge

Mario has driven Tsukuba many times in Gran Turismo, but not iRacing. I have never driven Tsukuba, but I have a lot of hours in iRacing. The rules: 10 laps and post your times.


  1. 1:11.877
  2. 1:09.288
  3. 1:09.752
  4. 1:08.647
  5. 1:07.838
  6. 1:08.241
  7. 1:07.909
  8. 1:07.381
  9. 1:07.416
  10. 1:07.846

In his next session, he posted a 1:06.658. From the lap times, it doesn’t look like he’s crashing. There’s pretty consistent improvement. This safe, consistent pace will work well in the Rookie races.


  1. 1:06.553
  2. 1:06.493
  3. 1:06.294
  4. 1:06.210
  5. 1:06.182
  6. 1:06.174
  7. 1:06.183
  8. 1:06.678
  9. 1:06.401
  10. 1:06.543

In my next session, I posted a 1:05.694. I drove the first 10 laps with the racing line on. Sometimes I do this when learning a new track. But it definitely interferes with my driving. I turned it off in the next session and dropped 0.5 seconds. I still don’t know the track very well, and I’m not very well tuned in to iRacing. I’ll improve if I work at it.


I haven’t been on iRacing in a while. I actually created a new account so I could go through the Rookie experience again. For my reintroduction to iRacing, I did some lapping at Lime Rock (59.883), and also tried out the new-to-me Rallycross offering. At the intro level, that’s just the VW Beetle and either the Daytona rallycross course or Phoenix. I have to say that the iRacing rallycross is pretty fun, especially when you switch cars. MX-5 on dirt is a hilariously fun.

Back to the challenge. First off, it’s pretty unfair. Every part of my sim rig is superior to his, and I have a lot more time in iRacing than he does. However, he has more time in Gran Turismo than I do in all of my sim racing combined. How valuable was that? Not much I think. Playing Gran Turismo or Forza with a hand controller is not the same as a force feedback steering wheel. And also a FFB wheel is not a real car. But the similarities between a sim rig and a real car are a lot closer than thumb-operated joysticks and any wheel.

So do yourself a favor and get a sim rig and hop on iRacing, Assetto Corsa, rFactor 2, Automobilista 2, DiRT Rally, etc. It’s fun and useful. And feel free to boast when you beat whatever time I post.

4 thoughts on “Mario’s iRacing Challenge

  1. I tried the Skippy at Limerock in 4th challenge last night. I got down to 1:03.x, I still find that car damn near un-driveable.
    Maybe it’s the Logitech wheel not giving any good feedback but the rear of the car gives zero feedback before coming around. The car spins if you touch a single blade of grass, maybe they should change the texture to ice to match the grip. I absolutely love the way the 2016 Clio cup cars feel, it’s like driving a more powerful version of our race car. The New Jersey Motorsports Park Lightning circuit and Canadian Tire Motorsports Park are a blast to drive, they’re both pretty simple and subtle.


    1. In my experience, Logitech wheels don’t give good feedback on oversteer. You have to adapt your driving a little to anticipate the rear coming around. It’s very hard to catch as a reaction. If you drove my rig, you would have a much easier time. With the Thrustmaster, I can put 9/10 laps under 1:02. With Logitech it would be 1 out of 10. I just made up those numbers, but it’s in that ballpark.


  2. Finally got my sim rig set – should be mostly here today in fact. I’ve fooled around before with Forza and other console games but never iRacing/Automobolista/etc. Do you have a good primer that you recommend for getting started, assuming that one is interested in driving realism? In the past I’ve found that even in things like AC which I played around a bit with, you had to work somewhat to turn off the video-game-ness of it.

    FWIW, I signed up for iRacing and also picked up AC and rFactor2 when they were on sale earlier this year. Going to get Automobolista2 as well. Mostly interested in using the games to become a better driver, with a minor focus on learning some actual racecraft that might translate to Champcar et al.

    I look forward to running this challenge as soon as I figure out how to get going with cars/tracks :)


    1. Turn off all assists. Some assists, like ABS, may be on from the factory and cannot be disabled. My advice is to drive Formula trainers and the like. They have great visibility, no nannies, and minimal downforce. Examples include Formula Vee, Formula Ford, Skip Barber, Spec Racer Ford, Formula Junior, etc. If there’s a choice for tires, use the hardest ones. Learn how to drive a sliding car first. Then figure out how to race.

      I always recommend that people try iRacing for the Rookie experience. The Global MX-5 Cup is a good learning platform and the selection of free tracks will keep you busy for a little while.


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