by Dean Chapman, Northern New Jersey Region PCA
Grab a bag of great advice from these wizards of the virtual race track!
Alessandro Torchio – Rio Grande Valley Region PCA, Zone 5.
Chad Dick – Connecticut Valley Region PCA, Zone 1. 1982 Porsche 930 Turbo ‘RestoMod’.
Nikki Chan – Upper Canada Region PCA, Zone 1. Porsche 981 Cayman S.
Jesse Lyon – Yellowstone Region PCA, Zone 14. 2016 Porsche 718 Cayman GTS.
Levi Nelson – Pacific Northwest Region PCA, Zone 6.
Mark Frost – Oregon Region PCA, Zone 6. 2018 Porsche 911 Carrera T.
“What do you ensure you always do before a race?”
Alessandro Torchio – “I should say “practice a lot!”, but I would be lying myself. Sometimes I am too eager to enter a race and I do that without proper training. And I get frustrated. And I lose iRating. And I keep doing it.”
Chad Dick – “Practice pit stops and strategy. The best way to find time safely on track!”
Nikki Chan – “Reboot my PC.”
Jesse Lyon – “Make Sure my VR is working and tracking.”
Levi Nelson – “An hour before I normally eat then practice and go over strategy with my Dad and Joe Stiefel, right before I drink water and cool my nerves.”
Mark Frost – “Get exercise.”
“What do you ensure you always do in a race?”
Alessandro Torchio – “I try to be as clean as possible. I might be a bit too conservative, but I am still learning to overtake.”
Chad Dick – “Please do not join a race on a track you’ve never practiced, or just bought before the session – unless it’s for PCA SR Arrive and Drive series. Nothing worse than following a car that doesn’t know the line or pace – it’s frighteningly unpredictable!”
Nikki Chan – “Get my VR view dead center with my wheel. I know… OCD right…?”
Jesse Lyon – “Fuel and tires.”
Levi Nelson – “Stay calm and not get upset when I make a mistake.”
Mark Frost – “Turn on Relative. Survive Lap 1.”
What do you recommend racers Never do before a race?
Chad Dick – “My goal is always to finish with 0x – I don’t want to ruin my race, and even more importantly, I don’t want to ruin anyone else’s!”
Nikki Chan – “Do a windows/firmware update.”
Jesse Lyon – “Drink An energy drink. It makes you far too jittery when the adrenaline comes.”
Levi Nelson – “Sleep because you might still be tired from waking up”
Mark Frost – “Compensate for a poor qualifying run by planning to make up the spots you think you should have been on Lap 1.”
What do you recommend racers never do while in a race?
Chad Dick – “Don’t EVER intentionally wreck another driver. It’s easy to lose sight of the ‘humanity’ in our sport – I try to remind myself that there is a human being inside that virtual vehicle…someone who has real thoughts and feelings…so, if and when an incident happens, take it off-line after the race and discuss it like adults with an open mind, looking for the opportunities to learn, improve and make friends. After all, that’s what PCA SR is for – Fun, Sportsmanship, and Camaraderie.”
Jesse Lyon – “fixate On the car in front of you. Look ahead of the car and focus on your land markers.”
Levi Nelson – “Get worked up when they make a mistake.”
Mark Frost – “Barge through on Lap 1. I mean, c’mon.”
How do you keep motivated for sim racing during the weeks and months?
Alessandro Torchio – “I do not need to keep myself motivated. I dream about my next race or about my last race, really. I watch A LOT of streamers, and YouTubers’ videos.”
Chad Dick – “The learning curve – as long as it’s steep and I have something to learn – it’s interesting to me. All I have to do is race with a few of the PCA Pros, and I’m reminded I still have a very long way to go to reach my full potential – so the finish line of sim racing is nowhere near in sight for me right now!
Also the PEOPLE – I’ve made many new friends in PCA SR, and many have earned my respect and admiration for their knowledge, experience, generosity, consideration, and etiquette on track. There are some really good people in PCA SR that keep me coming back.”
Nikki Chan – “Most of the time I’m motivated. I guess the key is not to overdo it, and it won’t become a chore.”
Jesse Lyon – “I take regular breaks so I don’t get burnt out.”
Levi Nelson – “Practicing I find complicated tracks really fun.”
Mark Frost – “Be sure to get outside and stay fit.”
Any other advice you’d share?
Chad Dick – “Focus on learning and progress over ‘winning.’
Of course, most people enjoy the thrill of competing to win…but I try to race without having the ‘expectation to win’ – because I believe expectations are just the recipe for disappointment. After all, only 3 people get to climb on the podium…and in the 60-car grids we’ve been having in Club, that means 57 might leave a race disappointed. Instead, I replace ‘winning’ and ‘perfection’ with the idea of ‘progress and learning – and I approach every race and practice with that in mind, asking, What is my goal for this race/session? What can I learn in the pursuit of that goal? And for me, I will keep racing as long as I keep making progress…”
Nikki Chan – “Yeah, this might be an unpopular opinion, but it’s what transformed the racing aspect of my sim racing.
When it comes to racing incidents, there’s always too much focus on right or wrong. Yes, we have rules, as a means to penalize the wrong-doer(s). But when I’m driving, right or wrong matters very little in my decision-making. By the time you need to discuss right or wrong, one or more cars are off the track and losing a number of positions. That’s if they can even finish the race. Every decision I make, when I’m in a race, starts with risk. What am I risking to make this pass, or to not defend, or to defend, or to pit now, or later, or to save fuel? Each of these considerations is paired with what I’ll potentially gain.
Essentially, we’re looking at the risk/reward of any situation, and it’s something that is core to my work during my financial career. But when it clicked for me in sim racing, I started to finish a lot more races, I started finishing a lot further up the field and even started winning races. We think of it this way IRL all the time, but I think sim racers often don’t make the connection. On a track day, how many of us have waved off a point-by because we were not comfortable taking the pass, whether that puts the drivers too much at risk, or we don’t trust the other driver enough? Just because a pass is there, doesn’t mean you have to do it, but for many, this hasn’t clicked in racing. And I’m not saying don’t take any risk. If it’s the final lap of the final race and you need that position to win the championship, by all means, SEND IT. But that just goes to show why (most) people are so willing to wave off passes at track days; there’s nothing to win from it.”
Jesse Lyon – “You Can teach speed, but not consistency. Work on your consistency before your speed.”
Levi Nelson – “Don’t start practicing the day before the race.”
Mark Frost – “Let’s make this fun. Show respect.”
And a famous quote!
“Sometimes you have a bad day, and you’re like, ‘I’m over this, and I just want to play tennis,’ or do another sport that doesn’t require any other variables, but then you have a good day, and it’s like, it’s amazing, and the success makes up for it.”
– Daniel Riccardo, Formula 1 Racer, and Big Personality
If you like what you’re reading here…
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Thanks again for reading. See you out there soon.