iRacing: iRating

With all the interest in iRacing these days, I thought I would do a couple posts about iRacing itself. I’m not going to focus on driving technique or racecraft, but rather the community and service.

SR vs. iR

iRacing ranks you by two very important numbers: Safety Rating (SR) and iRating (iR). Your SR depends on finishing races without incidents. Your iR depends on winning races.

In order to move up the license ladder from Rookie to A, you need to improve your SR.  Why do you want to improve your SR? Because with each license class you unlock new series to race in. That’s the only reason. If you’re racing in private leagues, your license generally doesn’t matter.

While SR is supposed to be an indication of your safety, iR turns out to be an even better indicator. There’s no way to get a high iRating without also being a very safe driver.

iRating starts at 1250

As a Rookie, you have a default iR of 1250. This is invisible to you while a Rookie. Depending on how well you perform in the Rookie races, your iR might be a little higher or lower when you finally get to see your rating in the D class. In the graph below, at the left end is where racers start: with an iR about 1250. Over time, here measured by how many official racers one does, iR generally increases. But it’s very driver-dependent. Some drivers go up, some down, and some stay the same. Even after 1000 races, some drivers have low iRatings. I think most drivers who aren’t good at iRacing tend to stop racing in official events or maybe they quit altogether.

Not many drivers have a high iRating

The distribution of iRatings is shown below. It’s not normally distributed, having a very long tail. Not many drivers have an iR above 2500. How does one get a high iR? By driving in a lot of races and doing better than average.

Safe but not too safe

The graph below shows that there is some correlation between incidents and iR, but it’s not that strong. It’s possible to have a very high iR and still have 5-8 incidents per race. But once you’re over 10 incidents, it becomes less likely. It’s also interesting to note that some very safe racers have really low iRatings. Driving so carefully that you’re way off pace is not the way to win.


The data here is for all racers ranked D and above in the UK. I tried to get larger slices of the data, but ended up on error pages with no data. It’s probably possible to get more data via an API, but I was lazy and went through the web interface.

12 thoughts on “iRacing: iRating

  1. Great data. Thank you for posting it, its really important to know how the people in top get there, i was worried because im getting lots of iR but cannot improve a lot on sR, with an average of 4-6-8 inc. Try to make it 0 inc, but when u are on 4th or 3rd o 2nd…. gonna fight my position.
    Thank you!


  2. People get to the top by winning and consistently staying in the top 25% of the race. You need to choose 1 or 2 series and car. Practice before the races and get good. Guys who have lose SR usually end up losing spots and damaging their cars. They dont end up getting tons of Irating althoguh they might be fast. Driving to safe is also a dumb thing because youll get stuck and what fun is that? Here is the thing thoguh. When you get past 2.3k i rating you will lose it quickly because you will start racing with seriously fast folks up above your skill level. Therefore you might end up staying around 2k. Its also very hard when idiots just ruin races and you have bad luck. When you get to the 2.5reegion its very easy to lose irating and drop quickly back down to 2k.Ive done it many times and i am descently quick and qualify in the top 5 often against 2.4k and high racers. This game is very fun, competitive and so frustrating.


  3. Love the data you pulled (even if it’s just the UK) and how you visualized it. I’m not fast myself, but have managed to make good improvements through staying out of trouble and finishing races. I’ve linked to this page from my iRating article on my website which has tips for beginners as well :) Cheers! –


  4. The game is a rip-off. The protest system is a joke, they are so scarred of losing a handful of subscriptions that all they do is give everyone a warning, There’s no incentive beyond SR to stay clean, iRacing put up this facade of moderation but after 3 years it’s pretty clear they don’t do anything, ever. They will allow their races to be an absolute wreckfest rather than start handing out suspensions and , here’s the key part, ACTUALLY EXPLAINING TO PEOPLE WHAT THEY DID WRONG.
    Their lobbies are genuinely worse than GTS and all anybody ever says is “get your iRating up then”, completely ignoring the fact that it’s impossibe to raise iRating when getting wrecked out of the race 50% of the time.
    Iracing don’t care though, all they care about is counting the money, COMPLETE RIP OFF.


    1. I agree with some of this. iRacing is expensive. There’s a monthly subscription and then you have to buy cars and tracks. If you end your subscription, you have no access to anything. It feels like you’re paying rent, not buying a game.

      I have never protested anyone. I don’t know how that system works. But I have a different perspective on incidents. You can avoid most incidents if you make that your #1 priority. However, if your #1 priority is going fast or placing well, you will end up in wrecks. Once you get your IR up a bit, you will find fewer incidents. IR is a better indication of safety than SR. I’m sure other people have said this. You can get your IR up above 1500 simply by staying away from the carnage. Start at the back of the race and let the field crash themselves out.


      1. Did you get out of lower splits before the influx of players with lockdown? All due respect, lots of experienced (and very sincere and helpful) iRacers don’t seem to realise the vicious cycle that lower splits are now. It is often impossible to raise iRating and due to the amount of racers who seem to drive like idiots with carte blanche from the devs and their ‘stern warnings’. The problem is there is an incentive to farm SR in iRacing as it literally locks out content. Therefore raising iRating is the only way to get clean(er) races, below 2k it is a catch-22 situation of needing to get in faster splits to get against safer drivers but being unable to get there because of constant DNFs due to being in sub 2k lobbies.


      2. I haven’t been on iRacing in ages. What you’re experiencing is called Elo Hell in other games. Does Elo Hell actually exist in iRacing or any other competitive esport? Hard to know. I can tell you that in Overwatch I intentionally reduced my rating to below 500 and climbed straight through Elo Hell without any hiccups and I’m not a very good Overwatch player. I recorded every match and graphed it.


      3. Ah, never heard the term before, that’s quite interesting reading. Honestly I believe the problem would decrease hugely with a bit of effort from the mods though, the lower splits are a wreck, but the vast majority of their playerbase plays in those splits, and a huge amount of people are short-changed by iRacing’s laissez faire attitude to handing out the odd suspension


      4. Are you on iRacing because you want to race or because you want to drive? I think iRacing has better organized racing than any other platform. You’re going to get crashed out of racing in every other game too. Have you tried any of the leagues? You don’t have to race with random unsafe people. You can join a league and get to know people. If it’s driving and not racing that attracts you, you could do the time trials. Nobody will wreck you out of a time trial but yourself. There are other fun things to do in iRacing like rallycross or driving the MX5 on rallycross tracks. There’s much to like about iRacing even if the low-level racing sucks. Then again, there’s a lot to like about Assetto Corsa without ever having to pay subscription costs.


      5. Hi Danny, I just started iRacing 10 days ago and when I leveled up to D class i had about 750 iRating, definitely in the bottom splits. I found that by working on my lap times and being patient in races a lot of people would crash out and I would gain rating. I’m up to 1200 now and confident I can keep pushing it higher. My stats put me in the top 5 22% of the time after 31 races. Nothing special, but it’s evidence that you can gain pretty quickly with the right driving style.


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