The 24 Hours of Lemons has decided to get in on iRacing. ChampCar and LuckyDog have been doing this for a while, but it took a pandemic for Lemons racers to join in the fun. It just got started this week, and will be going through some growing pains as it optimizes its operations, but it’s already headed in a good direction. Let’s look at some details.
The cars in iRacing aren’t very Lemony, but the organizers have picked the most Lemony cars available. Each race is limited in the number of cars that can be run, and the organizers have done a nice job distributing these between A, B, and C classes.
- Class A: Street Stock (Camaro) vs. Mustang
- Class B: ND Miata vs. Jetta (diesel)
- Class C: NC Miata (RHD) vs. Solstice
iRacing offers various ways to balance cars, such as using fixed setups, ballast, and power modifier. For now, they are using open setups and ballast. I expect some tuning over the first few weeks.
There weren’t any Mustangs in the race that I saw. My experience in the past was that the Mustang was a good deal faster. It certainly handles better. But the Camaro is definitely more Lemony than the Mustang or any other car, so that’s my choice. If you want the Mustang, it’s $11.95.
I think this class offers the best racing. FWD vs RWD. Diesel vs gasoline. Japan vs. Germany. 4 seater vs. 2. Sedan vs. Convertible. If you want to drive FWD, this is the only choice you have, so prepare to fork over $11.95. If I wasn’t racing the Camaro, I’d race the Jetta.
I think it’s a strange choice to use a RHD car in the US, but that was the decision for the NC Miata. While, the NC Miata is faster than the Solstice in the right hands, the Solstice is much more forgiving. If you’re just getting started with iRacing, you’ll have better success in the Solstice than the 2010 Roadster.
There are quite a few tracks in iRacing that Lemons visits, but most are paid content. These are the 4 tracks penned in so far.
- Summit Point – Lemons has been there a few times, but not recently
- Laguna Seca – Lemons has never been there, but many Lemons racers have in Lucky Dog and ChampCar
- Lime Rock Park – Lemons has never been there, and I doubt they ever will
- Barber – A regular part of the Lemons schedule ($14.95)
I think that the organizers have made a good selection of tracks to begin with. I think the next track they should add is NJMP. This is a “Tech Track” that was laser-scanned but never finished. At $5 it’s cheaper than standard tracks, but the quality is good. It’s probably the most Lemony track available because it’s unfinished, and should definitely be part of the series since Lemons goes there regularly.
While there are no Lemony cars, you can dress them up with Lemony skins. The Trading Paints service allows people to view custom paint jobs. If you’re not running their program, you can’t see custom paint jobs. While Lemons is usually rules-light, in this case they are rules-heavy, and require people to have custom paints. I’m all for it.
Last night I joined one of the practice events. It was great seeing the rainbow tiger stripes of “Sorry for Party” and the rusty Camaro, for example. It definitely feels more Lemony with custom skins. How was the racing? About what you would expect. Cars flipped and ran off course into the trees before turn 1. I was gridded randomly at position 29 of 30 and had a front row seat for lots of crashes. I made my way through the field and took the lead with a few laps to go when the race leader made some mistakes. I didn’t make a great pass. I just inherited the lead after the guy in front overcooked a corner. We were running the same lap times, so it would have been hard to pass him otherwise.