As promised I’m reporting back on the results of my iRacing.com’s virtual Daytona 500 race Friday night. There were over 1600 on-line racers spread out over 40 “splits” each split made up of 42 cars. My split had drivers from all around the world, the US, Canada, Germany, Australia and Brazil, truly an international field of drivers.
Obviously I had a great race, the racing was very intense but I managed to complete all 200 laps around the 2 ½ mile Daytona International Speedway and bring home the win. Here’s a brief recap on how the race progressed for me.
My qualifying time had me starting the race in 3rd place so I decided to try and stay near the front of the 42 car field and hopefully avoid the carnage that would ultimately take place behind me. That was a good decision; the first part of the race was marred with multiple crashes and caution periods.
At lap 28 I was running in 6th position when the leader tangled with a lapped car causing a big crash in front of me, I wasn’t able to avoid a spinning car and damaged the front end of my car. Although I could see that the hood of my car was bent up the car seemed to be OK so I decided not to pull into the pits to repair the damage. Not pitting put me in 4th place for the restart but I soon found out my car was damaged more than I thought, although the car handled OK I had lost about 15mph in straight-line speed, I continued on until lap 45 when I finally had to pit for repairs dropping down to 12th place.
This is where the race started to go my way, three things happened in this pit stop that would shape my race going forward. First, I lost one lap to the leaders. Second, my pit crew did an excellent job repairing my car (after the pit stop it bad fast). Third, and most important, I was now on a different pit sequence for tires and fuel than the rest of the field. This meant that I would be able to stay on track while the cars ahead of me pitted for tires and fuel. Everything played out as I had hoped, when the leaders pitted on lap 86 I was able to pass them and get back on the lead lap in 6th position.
As I said earlier my car was fast, really fast, rocket ship fast, and now that I was back on the same lap as the leaders, my speed, coupled with mistakes by others, allowed me to take the lead on lap 135 and cruise home for the win.
I have to say that the 3 hours and 45 minutes that it took to complete the virtual 500 miles were incredibly intense, my hands and shoulders were sore from gripping and constantly turning the steering wheel. The level of concentration it takes to drive a virtual race car at speeds up to 200mph within inches of other cars is beyond imagination; I was worn out at the end of it, but not too worn out, I was still able to spray virtual champagne all over my pit crew!
Unfortunately I was not able to capture video from the actual race, however, I did have video from one of my practice sessions prior to the race. The video link below will show you just how immersive on-line racing is, giving you and idea of what I see when I’m racing at Daytona as well as what the spectators watching the live video stream of the race saw.
For those of you that tuned into the race broadcast on Glacier TV, leave a comment in the comments section and let me know what you thoutht of the race. I had a great time doing this race, over the year iRacing does several of these special races and I’m going to try and race in all of them. The next big one is the Virtual Indianapolis 500 on Memorial Day weekend, hope you all will tune in to the braodcast and watch.