Secrets of iRacing

Welcome to Secrets of iRacing where I will be recording my experience, tips, tricks, resources and other helpful information as I play iRacing.

Secrets of iRacing

Welcome to Secrets of iRacing where I will be recording my experience, tips, tricks, resources and other helpful information as I play iRacing.

Secrets of X is a series of blog posts I started with Secrets of iRacing and which has grown to include Secrets of GTR2, Secrets of Automobilista, and Secrets of rFactor 2. The “secrets” part is a little dramatic but there are quite a few tips and tricks I think new users will find very valuable and interesting.

Update 2017-03-14: Added Tuning Car Setups main section to cover car setup basics and added the first two sub-sections Virtual Racing School Setups Academy Basics and The Simpit with Shaun Cole on Basic Setup Tips.

Update 2017-01-02: Added Performance > Unpark All CPU Cores to Reduce Stuttering tip. Added Force Feedback > Enable Simple Min Force to Reduce Wheel Chatter tip. Added Going Faster > Use All The Track (And Everything Else) tip.

Update 2016-09-12: Added Tweaks main section and Disable Head/View Rotation with Slip Angle sub-section.

Update 2016-07-04: Added The Schumacher Advantage tip in the Racing section.

Update 2016-06-26: Added Racing tip about practicing new week tracks early, cleaned up section headings.

Update 2016-05-14: Added video, “iRacing Road Racing Basics with Wyatt Gooden @ iRace4Life 2016,” a very well presented on-track demonstration about learning road tracks.

Update 2016-04-14: Added Incidents section.

Update 2016-03-20: Added Graphics section about iRacing’s new DirectX 11 (DX11) rendering mode and notes about how to use it.

Update 2016-01-01: Added Going Faster section discussing what you do besides practicing to improve your lap times.

Update 2015-07-12: Added Race Sessions and Time Trials sections

Update 2015-04-28: Added Graphics section

Update 2015-03-21: Added Racecraft section

Update 2014-12-29: Added a racing tip, clarified some points, fixed some typos

Update 2014-11-23: Organized the post a little by adding and separating sections by topic such as sales, racing, safety rating, etc.

What is iRacing?

From the Wikipedia entry,

iRacing is a subscription-based racing simulation released by iRacing.com Motorsport Simulations in 2008. Official races, special events, league races, and practice sessions are all hosted on the service’s servers. The service simulates realistic cars, tracks, and racing events, and enforcing rules of conduct modeled on real auto racing events.

And here’s one of their game trailers,

Sales and Deals

iracing-saleBlack Friday Sales

iRacing has an annual Black Friday sale where account renewals are typically half off. For example, a one year subscription usually costs $99 but during the sale it costs $49. You can renew for multiple years and the the code they give you can be used multiple times even on different accounts.

iRacing Dollars and Credits Sales

iRacing has a sale around March (Update: They did the same thing Christmas 2014) where you buy iRacing Dollars and they’ll give you extra iRacing Credits for free. For example, buy $20 iRacing Dollars and they’ll give you $5 iRacing Credits free, or buy $75 iRacing Dollars and they’ll give you $25 iRacing Credits free. iRacing Dollars and Credits have equal value and can be used to purchase cars and tracks exactly the same. It’s a good deal!

Tech Tracks

iracing-spa-tech-trackTech tracks are tracks currently undergoing development by iRacing. They cost $5 which is half or more off regular tracks. You only get to keep the track until it becomes an official track at which time you will receive iRacing credit for how much you paid for it and you will have to buy the track again at full price. But, hey, at least you got to enjoy it until then!

Any other sales or discounts?

Sorry, no, iRacing doesn’t seem to do sales like other online stores like Steam where games might be 50% off or more. iRacing doesn’t sell cars or tracks at a direct discount other than the iRacing Dollars/Credits sales mentioned above. So try to score when you can!

Racing

Never Qualify On New Track Days

New tracks typically launch on Mondays in the evenings (EST). If you qualify just after the switch you’ll likely be one of a few who did and you’ll be at the front of the grid. Unfortunately, most smart drivers know new track days are typically going to be pretty bad for racing incidences so they don’t qualify and start near the back to avoid first corner wrecks. So, save your SR, and just practice before the race. Enjoy the ride around the track while all the bad drivers crash out early. Qualify the next day.

Continue reading “Secrets of iRacing”

Beware insane customs brokerage fees for shipments entering Canada

I ordered an item online, from a shop in California, with a value of approx. $250. Shipping was something like $20 via FedEx. Okay, I ordered it. I got the item, was very satisfied. A few weeks later I get a customs charge of $90, 35% of the item price!

Update 2012-06-09: Ever since this happened to me I’ve been buying from Canadian websites. Even if they’re US companies, and they ship from US locations, their Canadian sites almost certainly will not charge the customs brokerage fees. For example, I’ll buy from Amazon.ca, Newegg.ca, TigerDirect.ca, all US companies but Canadian sites. The prices are higher but you avoid the cross border fees. And, remember, the tariffs and all that are there to protect Canadian business so consider that you’re doing something good for your fellow Canadian when you buy within Canada!

Update 2013-03-29: Another thing I’ve been doing is, if I must order in the US, I specifically order through USPS instead of Fedex, UPS, etc. I don’t know the specifics but, if you’re patient, it seems like I’ve avoided customs/brokerage by doing this.

I ordered an item online, from a shop in California, with a value of approx. $250. Shipping was something like $20 via FedEx. Okay, I ordered it. I got the item, was very satisfied. A few weeks later I get a customs charge of $90, 35% of the item price!

A friend mentioned a while ago that he shipped in a $50 item and was told to pay $50 in customs charges. He told them he wouldn’t and they lowered it to something reasonable.

A quick google reveals lots of other people with the same problem. This is idiotic.

The problem is the rates mentioned when buying an item are calculated for your location They know it’s crossing borders and going to Canada. Give me the real rate! Since you didn’t that means I didn’t agree to paying any other charges.

Wow! This totally strikes me as an extortionate and fradulent practice.

From now on, I’ll be shipping via US or Canada Postal Service. I’ve heard better things about their customs fees.

If you’re thinking of shipping something into Canada, think again, you may get dinged.

I wrote a nasty letter back to FedEx and I copied it to my MP and MPP.

I hope this situation gets better.

Dealing with Rogers Sales Department?

Dealing with Rogers Sales? Leverage. Maintain some form of leverage when dealing with Rogers. This is a brief history of my recent dealings with the Rogers Sales Department.

Update 2012-06-09: A friend referred me to RedFlagDeals.com and their forum thread about getting the best deal with rogers. Check it out for info on what deals are available and how to go about getting them.

Leverage. Maintain some form of leverage when dealing with Rogers. This is a brief history of my recent dealings with the Rogers Sales Department.

Up until a week or so ago, I had been using a ghetto Motorola V551 flip-phone. In late May, my interest was piqued on the iPhone 3Gs. I called into Rogers Sales and agreed to go into contract for the iPhone 3GS 8GB at $99. I got evenings starting at 6pm for free, $12 Value Pack for free, and the 6GB data plan for $25 ($5 credit) all perks because I was going under contract. A week passed and my phone had not arrived. I phoned back in and apparently they were out of stock. So I had them cancel my plan they happily put me on without having a phone to back it up.

In late August, after hearing interesting things about Android phones from my brother in law, my interest was again piqued. So I phoned into Rogers sales department again and came to the same agreement about perks. I picked up the $29.99 value (for going under contract) Acer Liquid E. Great phone, in and of itself, by the way. I recommend it.

Now, the thing with carriers is that contracts are leverage one way or another. You can get good deals if you’re not under contract. If you are on contract, you’re not going to get deals. If you have other non-contract services, however, like internet, cable or home phone, well now you have some other leverage to work with. Remember this when dealing with the sales department.

So, late August I phone in and come to an agreement with a deal that satisfies me. You know how sometimes you buy something or enter a contract and it gives you a bad feeling? Well I had a good feeling about this. I got what I wanted at a price I was willing to pay. Evenings from 6pm, 6GB data plan $5 off, $12 value pack.

So, I eventually get my phone and really enjoy it. I like the perks I have. I keep an eye on the My Rogers service, too, which tells you about your plan and your usage. I noticed a few things were off. Well, today, I phone in and find out that I do not have the $12 value pack thrown in for free, I do not have 15% discount for having three services (I also find out the actual 10% discount for 3 services only applies to your voice plan amount. Aggravating!), and the first person I talk to does not understand the 6GB data plan $5 credit.

Unbelievable.

So I tell the billing department person I need action on this because the contract agreement has changed. Fortunately, although I asked for Sales, she redirected me to Retention. The Retention department is where you want to be when you need to talk serious with Rogers. But, remember, you must have leverage.

My leverage came in the knowledge that I know what I agreed to the first time, I verbally confirmed it repeatedly, I told this to the Retention person, I have two other non-contract services in case I need to use them as leverage, and I have a long history with Rogers – I’ve had a phone with them since 1998. Clearly, I’m probably not out to screw them over.

In Retention, I’m told I actually do have evenings from 6pm. Good. The 6GB data plan $5 credit wasn’t done but is doable. Fine. The $12 Value Pack is impossible, has never been an offer (*cough* *splutter* *vein pop*). Dear me. I was silent on the phone for a minute. I was seriously thinking of bringing out the other two non-contract services as leverage. Instead, I asked could he apply a credit to any other charge on my account to bring my total cost to the same price that I agreed to when I initially went under contract. Silence. “Oh yeah, here’s what I can do! …” Turns out Rogers has some non-dollar amount Value Pack equivalent that gives you more than the $12 Value Pack and they can credit it right back to your account, making it free.

Unbelievable.

So, here’s the deal, when Rogers says they’re giving you something for free on the phone, they’re not, and people you talk to at Rogers won’t acknowledge the “terms” that you’re using. What they do understand is “credit”. What they can do is charge you the original price and credit you back on your bill – accomplishing the same goal. They just play dumb for reasons unknown to me.

Here’s the thing. I agreed to a contract with specific terms. Rogers changed those terms on me without notice. What is up with this practice? Isn’t this illegal? Shouldn’t it be?

The kicker is they had no solid details on my account about my previous phone call in which I agreed to go under contract. How is that possible!

So, to everyone who has to deal with Rogers:

  • Leverage. Make sure you have it. Either be free of contract when talking to their sales department or have other non-contract services to bargain with if things are really bad. A long history of good customer relationship is a bonus, too.
  • Contract Perks: To get you under contract, when you’re not currently under one, Rogers has a few perks, of which I know of these:
    • Evenings from 6pm. This is an add-on you can pay for. You can get it for free going under contract. Remember, ask for an “offset credit”, not “throw it in for free”, which is how I worded it and they wouldn’t acknowledge that.
    • 6GB data plan for the price of the 500MB data. A $5 credit (remember, “offset credit”). You may be able to work a better deal than $5. The price for that kind of data is very high to begin with.
    • (Rogers Internal) Value Pack. This is the not the public value packs you can see on their website. If you go under contract, ask about whatever value pack they can give you that is the equivalent or better of the $12 Value Pack and ask for an offset credit.

What other perks do you know about? Would love to know.

Remember, Canadians pay some of the highest phone rates in the world. You are getting taken for a ride. The only thing you can do is try to get the best deal possible in a bad situation. So, don’t worry about asking for these perks. If they’re going to lock you in to a multi-year contract, they owe you and they should be happy to retain your business.

When all was said and done, I ended up with a 3 year contract $10 higher than the one I actually agreed to the first time. I’m still a little ticked off at that but at least it’s only $10 higher. This is all not to mention that my account, summing all service prices, is in the hundreds of dollars a month.

Shame on you Rogers for treating your customers like this.

Upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

The epic blog over at Pick Fretz’s Brain has got my ol’ noggin churning. Jamie’s post, God of Justice, got me thinking. Jesus taught us how to live. He went to tabernacles. He taught there and he also taught outside in the open air. He invited, lived among and befriended the sinners, outcasts, rejects, poor, depressed, maimed and general unlikeables in society.

There is a problem with the church today – and it is the church.

What we have created in the past two thousand years Jesus once tore down in three days and rebuilt.

We have somehow created a religion of structure visitors. We visit the structure every Sunday.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying the prayers, praise, love, adoration, worship and servanthood given in that building are not real. Much of it certainly is and there is absolutely a place for what Sundays, and countless other activities surrounding the church building, represent. Christians need each other. We need teaching. We need to praise together and support together.

But the church as a physical entity and as a thing that we “do” is a misconstruction. It is something man-made, developed, just as the Jewish elite had created their system, before Jesus came on the scene, we have created our own system. And it’s an efficient, well-oiled system for what it does. But for all that it does, it has only the fraction of the impact that the true body of Christ is capable of.

I believe it’s Matthew 16:16-20, specifically verse 18, that many would point to supporting the idea of the church as a physical thing or something that we do. But always remember God’s Word is a cohesive document where all parts of scripture support and clarify all other parts. So I look for clarification on the “church” and find Paul, the main man setting up physical churches, speaking on other issues but clarifying the church:

17 He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.
18 And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy.
19 For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him,
20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.
Colossians 1:17-20

Not even Paul considered the church as something built of the physical and something done by people. Ephesians 5:22-24 is also helpful.

Note how both portions of scripture clarify what the church is. The church is the body of Christ. The body of Christ consists of all those that believe on Jesus’s name.

The church upon the rock, against which the gates of hell will not prevail, is not the thing we have made the physical cornerstone of our faith.

Perhaps we have placed too much emphasis on the church as a physical thing and not enough on how Jesus taught us to live outside the walls of our tabernacles.

I love the Old Testament and it ties in perfectly. Read Isaiah 58. The great thing about God’s Word is that it is His Word and He has been saying the same thing for six thousand years. If only we would listen.

9 He said, “Go and tell this people:
” ‘Be ever hearing, but never understanding;
be ever seeing, but never perceiving.’
Isaiah 6:9

We shouldn’t be like this. We can not let history repeat itself.

Many Christians have lived their lives and served in the way Jesus taught and they have gone unnoticed. Maybe that’s why we don’t get it. They’re not loud enough while others are loud enough for both.

I think I’ll just end with the entirety of Isaiah 58. God always could speak better than me.

True Fasting
1 “Shout it aloud, do not hold back.
Raise your voice like a trumpet.
Declare to my people their rebellion
and to the house of Jacob their sins.

2 For day after day they seek me out;
they seem eager to know my ways,
as if they were a nation that does what is right
and has not forsaken the commands of its God.
They ask me for just decisions
and seem eager for God to come near them.

3 ‘Why have we fasted,’ they say,
‘and you have not seen it?
Why have we humbled ourselves,
and you have not noticed?’
“Yet on the day of your fasting, you do as you please
and exploit all your workers.

4 Your fasting ends in quarreling and strife,
and in striking each other with wicked fists.
You cannot fast as you do today
and expect your voice to be heard on high.

5 Is this the kind of fast I have chosen,
only a day for a man to humble himself?
Is it only for bowing one’s head like a reed
and for lying on sackcloth and ashes?
Is that what you call a fast,
a day acceptable to the LORD ?

6 “Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen:
to loose the chains of injustice
and untie the cords of the yoke,
to set the oppressed free
and break every yoke?

7 Is it not to share your food with the hungry
and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter—
when you see the naked, to clothe him,
and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?

8 Then your light will break forth like the dawn,
and your healing will quickly appear;
then your righteousness [a] will go before you,
and the glory of the LORD will be your rear guard.

9 Then you will call, and the LORD will answer;
you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I.
“If you do away with the yoke of oppression,
with the pointing finger and malicious talk,

10 and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry
and satisfy the needs of the oppressed,
then your light will rise in the darkness,
and your night will become like the noonday.

11 The LORD will guide you always;
he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land
and will strengthen your frame.
You will be like a well-watered garden,
like a spring whose waters never fail.

12 Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins
and will raise up the age-old foundations;
you will be called Repairer of Broken Walls,
Restorer of Streets with Dwellings.

13 “If you keep your feet from breaking the Sabbath
and from doing as you please on my holy day,
if you call the Sabbath a delight
and the LORD’s holy day honorable,
and if you honor it by not going your own way
and not doing as you please or speaking idle words,

14 then you will find your joy in the LORD,
and I will cause you to ride on the heights of the land
and to feast on the inheritance of your father Jacob.”
The mouth of the LORD has spoken.Isaiah 58