Racing Etiquette

Original Author- GCoffman

This article is soley my opinion and views on driving etiquette in the online racing community. You may agree or disagree with what I have to say that is entirely up to you. However, I do hope that after you read this article you will take something away with you that will help you become a more respected and better online racer. I feel that most of it is simply just plain old common sense.

Driver etiquette basically stated is your personality and courtesies that you display while your racing. Your online identity is made up of how you drive, how you compete against others, and how you act while online. Are you known as a clean, patient, courteous driver or are you that driver that scares you when you get near him on the track because he/she is so unpredictable? Developing proper driver etiquette will not only make you a better online racer but will gain you respect from your peers.

RESPECT – This is by far the most important aspect of developing a good drivers etiquette. In my eyes, online racing is all about giving respect to the people your racing against. “Race your fellow drivers with the same courtesy and respect that you would want them to race you.” For example, lets say your in a race and your just kind of riding around and “logging laps”. By no means are you off pace but your simply just being patient and trying to save something for the end of the race. The driver behind you catches up and no sooner than he gets there he’s up under you in the turn. He pushes up the track and now you’ve just found the outside retaining wall. Has that ever happened to you? Of course it has! Now, would he have wanted you to do that to him if the situation was reversed? I seriously doubt it. Point being… give the respect that is due to your fellow racers on the track and race them like you would want them to race you.

BE PREPARED TO RACE – You hear this all the time but what does this really mean? Does it mean since I can run one of the fastest laps that I’m ready? No, it doesn’t. Being prepared has a lot more responsibility rather than just being the fast guy. Before logging in to the server for your race you should have plenty of practice time at that specific track. Know what your setup can do and know your limitations as a driver. Practice running each line and not just the preferred line. Know your pit window and practice pitting as if you were making a green flag pitstop. Practice like your under pace and getting ready to go green then hit the gas and learn what your car is going to do in turn one with cold tires. If you happen to wreck at some point in your practice session and tear up your rear spoiler and bumper, don’t fix it. Go to your pit and put on 4 fresh tires then head back out on the track with damage. Know how your car will react with damage and how much wedge / track bar adjustments will make it drivable without looping it constantly. These are things that I do in preparation for a league race to try and be as competitive as I can.

GREEN, GREEN, GREEN – I think the first thing we all do on that first lap when we hear those famous words is to drive the wheels off our cars. Why do we do this? I mean if you’re not in a position to lead the first lap then why drive like it’s the last lap of the race? Try to constrain yourself from doing this. The first few laps are for getting your tire temps up and letting the field spread out. Contrary to popular belief they are not really for racing. Get relaxed, have some patience and get settled in to the race. Then you can start picking off those positions. Why battle for position in those first few laps and end up causing a wreck that will normally result in a big pileup? Does this sound familiar? Ever get caught up in one of those wrecks when there are still 150 laps in the race and then say to yourself, “WTF was he thinking?!” Well, there you go… save the racing for later in the race, not the first 5 laps.

THE THREE LINES – At every track there are three different lines you can drive: the preferred line, the low line, and the high line. You should know and understand what they are and how to drive them. The preferred line is the line you get when you turn on the yellow driving arrow on the track. It’s high against the wall on the straights, low in the turns, and then back out to the wall exiting the turn. The low line is when you’re racing with a driver on the right side staying low or in the middle of the track down the straights and entering low in the corners and staying low when exiting. The high line is when you’re racing a driver to the left of your car and riding the wall down the straights, entering high in the corners and exiting high against the wall. It is very important that you know how to race each line to find the different braking and acceleration points. Spend time practicing these lines with a friend. Use your brake in order to maintain side by side racing and see how many laps you and your buddy can run. This is excellent practice and will increase your skill as a racer and give you some awesome side by side action come race time!

AGGRESSION – Aggressive driving definitely has its place on the track but you have to learn when to be aggressive and when not to be. We all know that certain driver that always seems to be in a hurry to get to the front no matter what time frame the race is currently in. This is a perfect example of being over-aggressive. The over-aggressive driver will usually make a dumb attempt to pass someone and take themselves out along with their competitor. Learning when to be aggressive and when to just ride and wait for someone to make a mistake rather than forcing an issue comes with learning to be patient and experience. The more experience you gain you will learn to start making critical on-track decisions by analyzing your situations and asking yourself questions. Questions like who are you trying to give or take the position from? Are they faster than me? At what point in the race are we at and how many laps are left? If it’s early in the race just let them go if they’re in such a hurry. If your damaged, how bad and are you off the pace? Over-aggressiveness will 9 times out of 10 get you in trouble. You can never go wrong with being patient and run your own race. Stop worrying about what everybody else is doing and where they’re at. Run your own race, be patient so you’ll have a car at the end of the race. Then you can be aggressive and fight for that critical position.

USE YOUR AUTOCHAT – It’s proper driving etiquette to communicate via your autochat messages to your fellow racers. I would personally recommend keeping your messages simple and clear. For some people the chat is hard enough to read and having to look up 3 different times to read, “I’m blazing out of the pits – DON’T HIT ME” will sometimes in itself end up causing a wreck because the message is different and it takes the drivers concentration away to read it. You don’t really need to add your name in with the message because the sim already displays who is talking. I feel that using the K.I.S.S. method (Keep It Simple Stupid) works the best. Messages like:

“Pitting this lap..… Pass High —–>”, and “<—- Pass Low” are simple, easy to read and understand.

TEMPERS, TEMPERS – Lets face it, we are all human and we all make mistakes. The internet is not a perfect place. Incidents will occur sometimes simply due to warp. Control your temper when and if you get wrecked. Avoid “flaming” the driver in the race. Nobody wants to hear your mouth for one and it’s annoying as hell to other drivers. Most of the time if you go back and look at the replay you’ll understand a little more clearly what exactly happened. The only thing flaming does is make you look like a complete ass. People will always remember that guy in the lobby that is always talking smack about other drivers and they will almost always lose the respect of their peers. So try your best to keep your temper in control.

LAPPERS – We all will find ourselves in this position at one point or another during our online racing career. Remember that it’s the faster cars responsibility to get around you and it’s your responsibility to move out of their way as safely as you can. Don’t brake your neck trying to move. The faster cars will get around you and they still need to show some patience and give you the chance to move in order to execute a clean, safe pass. The main thing to remember is that no matter where you are on the track, whether your high or low, hold your line. Have you ever been leading a race and come up on some lapped car who is actually trying to get out of your way but he shoots all the way across the track in front of you just to get to the high line and ends up wrecking you? Contrary to popular belief the “high line” is not always the only place for lapped cars. This has been drilled in to every online racer’s brain and now it’s like some kind of unwritten rule in the community. Sure, it might be the preferred place to be but if your already in the low line then don’t shoot across the track in front of the lead cars just to get to the preferred high line. The most important thing you can do as a lapper is hold your line for the faster cars.

Thanks for taking the time to read this article and I hope this has given you a better understanding of online racing and respecting your fellow competitors while on the track.

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