Felix Rosenqvist column: The secrets of sim racing

IndyCar star Felix Rosenqvist will be providing a monthly column on PolePosition. With the season on hiatus because of the global health crisis, he starts off with insight into his online racing exploits and his thoughts on the unexpected delay to 2020

Samma utseende på bilen i den virtuella världen

Samma utseende på bilen i den virtuella världen

Hey everyone, thanks for reading my new column. We should have started the new IndyCar season by now but so far the only racing I’ve been able to do is online, as you might have seen.

IndyCar has a race that starts on Saturday, right after The Race’s All-Star Esports Battle – IndyCar practice starts right after that race finishes, so that’s going to be fun! I’m ”travelling” from whatever that race is gonna be, across the sea to whatever the race is going to be in IndyCar. That’s the good thing with Esports, you can do multiple championships and be in multiple locations at the same time.

I’m not really surprised IndyCar has put together a full grid because it’s pretty easy to do from home. And it’s good to do something. Everyone involved wants to get some bang for their buck because everything is just locked down right now. It becomes a pressure from everyone who’s paying for the real deal, for example my sponsor NTT Data this is a huge opportunity for them to get something going on in terms of racing.

I think after The Race did their race in the Nurburgring it seemed like everything just took off. It always starts out as a laugh. When we did that first race, right after when everything got called off, I think I practiced for one and a half hours in total or something before the race. It was pretty calm. 

Felix Rosenqvist flitig vid simulatorn

Felix Rosenqvist flitig vid simulatorn

And then for the second race they released the track and the car really early and I was just doing laps and laps and laps! Everyone was, so it was getting serious – the lap times just kept getting better and the real drivers just kept get better and it got probably too serious at some point! 

I counted and I did almost 500 laps on the Indy road course. If I have to do this every week I’m going to be done with driving for the rest of the season! I’m taking it back a notch, I want to keep it at the fun level because at the end of the day it’s not where I make my living. But you can see how good the guys who do it regularly are. 

Sometimes when you’re in a real car and someone does a crazy lap time, you don’t know how to beat that. We all have that feeling. But this is like on a different level, some guy will do a lap time that you literally start looking if he cut the track somewhere. 

Then you start practicing, you start doing the laps, and suddenly you’re getting closer. I think Esports more than real racing is just about practicing. They have an edge because they’ve done the laps but as this whole sim era goes on, I think the real drivers will definitely catch up as we do more.

I find a lot of the time is how you brake and how you come off the brake into the corner. That’s sometimes natural and sometimes not. That’s the thing with sim racing, you have to learn what works for the sim and not necessarily for a real driving style – hitting kerbs in specific ways, and I’ve seen guys even using like the grass to rotate the car on entry. 

They’re really good at finding those things you can see when you follow the onboard of them and it doesn’t really look like a clean, natural driving, it’s like ‘what is he doing’, and then he’s like six tenths of a second quicker! They have an advantage of not knowing what it feels like to have what we think is a smooth, nice driving style. It’s interesting, you definitely learn something even if it you might not want to use it in a real car. 

Ikväll premiär för Indycar Racing Challenge

Ikväll premiär för Indycar Racing Challenge

And I can confirm that I did quite a lot of iRacing this winter and when we tested IndyCar the first time I felt pretty out of shape, because I had just learned something completely different. And that’s something I’m taking into consideration now. You just have to kind of keep that to the side and not take too much of it for real life. 

Speaking of real life, I hope that once we get going we’ll get at least two test days because we barely got going before St Pete was cancelled. Testing at COTA was cut short and at Sebring we had one day. We haven’t been running for seven months now, it’s kind of unreal.

I think it’s going to get busy once it gets going. I think that’s a lucky scenario here for us in this whole mess, that our season ends in September. The weather in the US is good until at least October, and many times November. There’s plenty of tracks, there are plenty of ways to fill out the schedule. 

// Felix

Red anm: Felix Rosenqvists krönikor kommer vara på engelska för att nå så många intresserade som möjligt med tanke på att han tävlar i Nordamerika

Indycar Iracing Challenge och American Red Cross GP på Watkins Glen, med både Felix Rosenqvist och Marcus Ericsson till start, kan du se LIVE på Indycar.com ikväll kl 21.00.

Felix har tuff dag idag då han också ska köra The Race All-star Esports Battle som du också kan se LIVE

Blogginlägget postades i IndyCar.