I need to keep better notes! This was meant to be on the list of sim racing tips from last week. All the better that it has become it's own article, because it is highly important, and it applies to real-life track driving & racing just as much as it does sim racing.
In-car camera footage is often treated like security footage – you only review it if something went wrong. But there is a lot that can be absorbed even from the mundane.
Learning From Yourself
Reviewing telemetric data is vastly helpful to some people, but "data" has a steep learning curve, and without help, may be too difficult or tedious for some people.
Watching your own in-car footage is an easy to way to review and absorb what went on during your session. You'll probably pick up on a lot of things that you didn't notice or didn't retain.
I'm a pretty safe and conservative driver, choosing to leave a lot of margin (and time) on the table in order to stay within the limits of my abilities. Even so, when I am reviewing my videos I find that I am under-driving the car even more than I intended.
Everything seems less dramatic in video than it had felt on track; slides that you swore were full opposite lock were really just a small correction. However, video footage is usually effective in assessing if you are over- or under-driving the car by a notable margin.
In reviewing my videos, I find that I make very few corrections, and the tires are still well under their limits, with no squirm, sliding, or audible signs of letting go. After watching my footage, I usually conclude that I could easily push harder, while still staying within my skill limit and the capability of the car.
Sim Racing Replays
Usually in real life we are only dealing with one camera, so there isn't a ton of footage to review. In iRacing, you can re-watch the entire race from any car, and from 15+ camera perspectives.
I find it immensely helpful to review my sim race footage immediately after the race ends. I often watch from my perspective, as well as any drivers that I had battles with, and will even watch some of the accidents that I wasn't involved in.
This is helpful for finding pace (where you are, or someone else is faster through a corner), but even more helpful for honing race craft.
Whenever involved in an incident, it is very easy to blame the other person. Our natural reaction is that we had no part in the crash. Of course it could only be the other idiot's fault.
The reality is two (or more) parties usually play equal roles in car to car contact. Even if it was only because you were [fairly] trying to defend against somebody that was clearly faster, you might find in review that it would have been wiser to let them by safely rather than try to defend the position.
When I'm heated about on-track contact, I usually soften my stance after watching the replay from multiple perspectives. I try to learn from what happened and file that away for next time I'm in the same scenario.
Things To Look For
Here are some things to look for when reviewing your video footage or sim replay:
- RACING LINE
- Entering too early? Exiting in the middle of the track? Consistently missing an apex? Make note of it.
- Are you driving the car tense or relaxed?
- Can you shake off mistakes, or do they continue to compound?
- Are you driving smoothly, or jerky?
- Note if you are upsetting the car by accident (if so, smooth your inputs), or on purpose to force rotation (if so, fix the setup).
- How well are you reacting to what your car and the other drivers around you are doing? Are you mimicking the lead car's mistakes?
- Keep an eye on any gauges or lights that you can see. Are they doing anything strange that you didn't realize while driving?
Feeling Frisky? Ask For Feedback
If you aren't ready to be critiqued, obviously you can skip this step. However, if you have any fellow friends that drive or race, post your video up on YouTube (you can make it private), send them the link, and ask for their honest feedback.
You can make the video public and ask for any peanut-gallery feedback to be shared, too. Or post it on track-oriented Facebook groups. Anywhere that you think might be relevant.
Look for trends in the feedback and determine if there are practical ways that you can improve on those items.
Life bombards us with troves of data, statistics, and information that we don't always know what to do with. Hopefully this article helps with some ideas on how to review your track videos or sim racing replays in order to improve your pace and hone your race craft.
I'm usually lazy and don't download my track videos until weeks after the event, which isn't nearly as helpful as reviewing it at the track or shortly after. This is something that I want to be more constituent about, because I place great value in watching the replay.