Getting Comfortable

Getting Comfortable

One of the most important basics in driving any car, and usually one that’s the most overlooked is clearly and simply: comfort. If you aren’t comfortable while you race you will not enjoy driving as much, nor will you drive it as well. You can’t drive fast if you’re not comfortable. Driving in unnatural positions will give you cramps.

In order to get comfortable while sim racing it means sitting squarely in front of your computer, the monitor slightly below eye level. You should be sitting as upright as possible because it helps to make you more alert. If money isn’t a problem, go out & purchase the largest monitor possible. The bigger the monitor the less eyestrain will occur, especially in those longer league races.

Upgrade to a more powerful PC….Why?

Because you will have better frame rates and you will be able to race with a full field drawn ahead and a lot of other options turned on that you couldn’t run with before. Options like smoke, and objects. You will be able to see trouble up ahead further than ever before. With objects turned on you’ll have better reference points for braking and acceleration.

All this adds up to seeing the track better than ever, and it allows you to react quicker to potential problems before it’s way too late.

The bigger the monitor and computer, the better the driver you will become. Consistency plays a major role in sim racing as it does in the real world. More often than not the driver that can turn the most consistent laps will be the driver in victory lane, especially when running league races with fixed setups. The bottom line here is, the better the equipment you have, the better the sim racer you will become.

Let’s assume everyone reading this is using some sort of steering wheel & pedal setup. If you’re not, then you’d better invest a little more money and go out and purchase one. Although I’ve heard of fast drivers in the past using joysticks and even the keyboard for steering, nothing can compare to a quality wheel and pedal combo for consistency and speed.

In my personal opinion a wheel and pedal combo will be the best thing you can invest in to help you become a better sim racer.

Your seat should have 4 legs and no wheels. You don’t want to be sliding backwards across the floor every time you accelerate. Your seat should be adjusted so that you have a bent-arm driving position, and the controls fall into easy reach. Distance from the seat to the steering wheel is really important and the extremes should be avoided.

Wheels:

Using a straight-arm style of driving caused from sitting to far away from the wheel is not only a fatiguing way to drive but also a less precise way. This method forces you to use your shoulders to steer instead of your arms. Find a position that is a comfortable distance from the wheel with your elbows bent at an angle of about 120 to 140 degrees.

When gripping the wheel, grip it firmly but not to tight. If you grip the wheel to tightly you will fatigue yourself and your tense muscles will cause you to make small, involuntary movements of the wheel if you are driving really hard. If you find your grip tightening just take a deep breath. That will relax your shoulders and arms, and your whole upper body will feel better.

The best hand position on the steering wheel allows 180-degree turns of the wheel without removing a hand from the wheel. Think of the wheel as the face of a round clock, picture where two o’clock is, put your right hand there. Now picture where ten o’clock is and put your left hand there. This is what is referred to as the ten-and two hand position. Now, with your hands at ten and two o’clock try to make a turn keeping your hands there without moving all over the wheel. About 95% of all steering can be accomplished from this position without having to move your hands or change position on the rim of the wheel.

By always gripping the wheel in the same position you will always know just how much steering you have to put in and, even more importantly you know just where straight ahead is.

Pedals:

Position your pedals so as to keep a slight bend in the knees for optimum foot and leg control. This will also help prevent leg tiring and cramps. You need to have enough stretch in your right leg to push the gas pedal all the way down and still have some bend left in the leg. If you don’t, your leg muscles could cramp up.

The left leg, when you left foot brake, should never be straightened out when you depress the brake pedal as far as possible for the same reasons as above. You should use the balls of your feet – or a place just a little bit forward on the foot – for optimum control and feel on the pedals.

Make sure your pedals are mounted solidly to the ground and cannot move. Nothing is worse than having to “chase” your pedals halfway across the floor 3/4 of the way through a race. Nine times out of ten it’ll result in an accident!

Connections:

Although sim racing is great fun for race fans, racers, and computer gamers, one cannot expect flawless entertainment. On-line racing can have its share of problems. The most notable ones include connection problems, boots, warping and problems with ping and latency. Because sim racing is a rapidly moving sport, movements and actions are properly thought of in terms of milliseconds.

When you get 31 On-line sim racers logged into the same race from 31 different locations, all utilizing different ISP points, you can understand that the possibility for problems exists.

Please understand that some of these connection problems can inadvertently contribute to race mishaps that are perceived differently from each racer’s perspective. This problem called warping, can sometimes lead to misunderstandings about an accident. The best way to deal with this is to allow plenty of room between your car and your online opponents whenever possible.

Warping occurs when the server has to guess where your car might be in the race based on it’s last known location. Warping and connection problems are a fact of life in the current state of technology that stock car sim racing uses as a platform. Warping has happened to us all before and I’m sure it’ll happen to us again, the only options we have are to minimize the amount of warping that does occur by using the best equipment available to us and by changing our connection settings to be the best that they can be.

If you’re lucky enough to have DSL or Cable in your area your well ahead of the game. If your thinking about getting a cable provider, make sure they have bi directional cable. There have been nightmare stories from different subscribers that having one-way cable serves no advantage to on-line racing if you can only download info fast but not have the ability to upload it at the same speed. Uploading is most important.

If your using a standard modem to race online, make sure you have a good quality modem. It does make a difference. Many of the internal modems that come with today’s PC’s are cheap winmodems that aren’t worth the room they take up. While they might be fine for surfing the net, they won’t be anywhere’s near capable of running a good quality warp free event online.

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