1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.
  2. Band of Others is populated with passionate Gamers maintaining friendships from time of registration up to 15+ years. Members comprise of good people like you with widely varying levels of Gaming experience.

    We actively support a wide range of Gaming Genres such as First Person Shooters, Role Playing Games, Simulations and even Strategy Games.

    We maintain our own 500+ slot Teamspeak 3 Server with plenty of room for you and your friends to chat.

    For those of you looking for information on our iRacing programs such as Blancpain GT3 League and Practice Pals, please see here.

    Join us today, you'll be glad you did!
    Dismiss Notice

Band of Others Endurance - Development Program?

Discussion in 'iRacing Forum' started by Skid_Marc_, May 15, 2018.

  1. Skid_Marc_

    Skid_Marc_ Staff Member Admin

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2015
    Messages:
    894
    There was a lot of talk coming out of the iRacing Nürburgring 24...
    (did you know that NOT adding proper umlauts may actually hurt our SEO? Can confirm "Nuerburgring" is not an acceptable substitution in this case, despite being recommended by the article as the "correct" English spelling.)
    ...about a "Development Program/Team" for Band of Others Endurance. So far, I'm not really "on-board" with the snippets of idea's that I've heard, but I wanted to get the conversation started on the forums before the 24 Hours of Nürburgring fell too far back in our rear-view mirror, and I wanted to throw out a few ideas that may help drivers get familiar with the cars and tracks, proper handling of traffic, and iRacing's semi-convoluted "Team" system.

    The first thing I'm going to say is...

    #PracticePals

    Formed over three years ago, this is the cornerstone to all Band of Others iRacing activities. Practice Pals gives you the opportunity to turn laps along side people of ALL skill levels. The best way to become familiar with a car is to drive it. The best way to learn a track is to drive it. However, by yourself, both of these tasks can be frustrating, discouraging, and even futile, if you don't know how to improve. Having people to bounce ideas off of, or learn from, is integral! At the same time, the comms and camaraderie help take away the monotony of driving in circles.

    When it comes to Team/Endurance events, you have different people, perhaps with different driving styles, sharing one car. That means everyone on the team has to be comfortable driving the same car/setup. While we try to keep "current" setups posted on the forums, or uploaded in the Team Speak - File Browser, nothing replaces being able to be on track together, and discuss the pros/cons of a setup, live. Bottom line, everything we do, and everything you need to know, starts with practice, and that is why I feel the Band of Others Practice Pals program IS our "Development Program".


    That said, there are other ways, beyond Practice Pals to get experience. Practicing can get a driver a long ways, but no amount of practice can ever come close to racing. The only way to get race experience is by actually racing. You'll be surprised how much being in an actual race can change things. All of your lap times, your fuel numbers, your tyre wear, may (and will) all change when you get around cars, depending how aggressive, anxious, or laid-back you are around other cars. Our next Endurance Event will be the 24 Hours of Spa, a GT3 only event, so getting race experience in ANY GT3 car at ANY track between now and July WILL be valuable! Don't be fooled into thinking that, because it's a different track, or because it's a different GT3 car, that the racing will somehow be different. Each GT3 car has their own characteristics, but their capabilities, as far as braking, accelerating, and cornering, are similar enough that any experience you gain in a race, from passing, fuel strategy, and traffic management can be carried over into Endurance practice.


    The same thing goes for learning to manage traffic in multi-class series! First, you have to practice in the car that you're driving, and be proficient in it. Once you have done that, you need to practice around the other classes. Pay attention to the line that they're driving, so that you can anticipate what they're most likely to do or where they're going to place the car. Spending some time in EACH of the classes in a series will also give you insight into why they're doing what they do! Once you think you're comfortable around other cars, you'll need to jump into a race to discover that you weren't prepared at all! You're going to mess up, and your going to probably going to get moaned at, and other people are going to make mistakes at your expense, but that is why you need to do it! Racing really is the only way to learn to drive in heavy multi-class traffic! You need to learn what works, what definitely doesn't work, and what you shouldn't do but can get away with. The most experienced drivers. The other important thing to remember is that, regardless of your experience, NO ONE is going to do it right 100% of the time, whether it is a 45-60 minute race, a 90-120 minute race, 3 hours, 6 hours, 12 hours, or 24 hours, no one will do it right, every single time. Multi-class is a dance, and you're going to step on some toes at some point. The important thing is to learn from each mistake.



    So wait, before everything was all about practice, but racing is the best experience? How do we do that?

    Obviously, you start with your everyday iRacing official series; "VRS GT Sprint Series", "IMSA Sportscar Championship", and the "iRacing Le Mans Series".

    Then, iRacing has three series that can be used as a stepping stones to the Special Events and these are the best place that I see for a "Development Program"...
    "VRS GT Endurance Series" - Weekly / Saturday 9:00 and 19:00 GMT, Sunday 17:00 GMT / Team / GT3 / 3 Hours
    "iRacing Endurance Le Mans Series" - Bi-Weekly / Saturday 7:00 and 19:00 GMT / Team / P1,P2,GTE / 6 Hours (for this season**)
    "iRacing VLN Endurance Championship" - Schedule / Team / IMSA GT3, 911 Cup, Kia, MX-5 / 4-6 Hours

    Just like Pirelli World Challenge, British GT Masters, and Blancpain Sprint Series all step up to Pirelli World Challenge SprintX or Blancpain Endurance Series, and are all real life stepping stones to the 24 Hours of Spa...
    ...or...
    The IMSA Sportscar Series, the European Le Mans Series, and the Asian Le Mans series are all real-life stepping stones to the World Endurance Championship, and the 24 Hours of Le Mans...

    We already have one of the three series covered, but I'd love to see a Band of Others presence in the other two!

    The "iRacing VLN Endurance Championship" provides great team practice if you want to know everything there is to know about the "Nürburgring Nordschleife" (slightly different GP circuit between the Gesamtstrecke VLN and Gesamtstrecke 24h, but the Nordschleife is the Nordschleife) leading up to the "Nürburgring 24" or just good practice if you want to push yourself to be able to drive for 1.5-6 hours in a GT3, 911 Cup, Kia, or MX-5!

    The "VRS GT Sprint Series" provides individual practice for drivers, who can then team up for the "VRS GT Endurance Series" which provides great team practice leading up to the 24 Hours of Spa, or just good practice if you want to push yourself to be able to drive for 1.5-3 hours in a GT3 car!

    The "iRacing Le Mans Series" provides individual practice for drivers, who can then team up for the "iRacing Endurance Le Mans Series" which provides great team practice leading up to the "24 Hours of Le Mans", or just good practice if you want to push yourself to be able to drive for 1.5-6 hours in a P1, P2, or GTE car!

    Participating in these events, I think, are THE best way to prepare for "Team" / "Endurance" events. Its the best way to learn endurance strategies, to get race experience, to get traffic experience, to learn how iRacing's Team system works and it just flat out looks like ton of fun, as well!

    I am not available on weekends, but if there are drivers that are looking to participate in these events (I know @SavreticD has already started screaming for this to happen!!) I'd be happy to help out with charts, especially for VLN, and even iELMS for the people to get familiar with the charts. (VRS GT Endurance Series probably isn't worth the effort to do a full chart every single week for just a three hour event)


    What I absolutely don't want to see out of any B2O program is a bunch of new drivers relegated to a "Development Team". That is a poor way, imo, to develop. I'd rather have newer drivers teamed up with the more experienced drivers so that they can learn along the way. There may be occasions, like at Bathurst, where @Kelley G and @LoucMachine were added to the roster late, and ended up doing their first B2O Endurance event mostly on their own, but that was strictly dictated by circumstance. Car preference will always lead the way in a team's creation. What everyone likes, and what they're comfortable with driving should always be priority, but I don't want it to be the norm where new drivers are left on a team of their own.

    **It looks like, more and more, iRacing is integrating "Special Events" into other series.
    The "Daytona 500" was long ago added to the "NASCAR iRacing Series", the first running of the "Kings Royal" has been moved to the new World of Outlaw Series, 2018 "24 Hours of Le Mans" will be added to the "iRacing Endurance Le Mans Series", and the 2018 "Bathurst 1000" will somehow be incorporated into the "V8 Supercar Series".

    With the addition of Belle Isle this coming season, iRacing will have 15/18 Indy Car tracks and a complete IMSA schedule, so I'd love to see a dedicated series for these cars. That would absorb the "Indy 500" to the theoretical Indy Car Series, the "24 Hours of Daytona", "6 Hours of the Glen", and "Petit Le Mans" would all be absorbed by theoretical IMSA series.

    The "Nürburgring 24" could be absorbed into the VLN Schedule (I know it isn't technically VLN, but it's the same cars....), and the "24 Hours of Spa" which could be added to the "VRS GT Endurance Series".

    All that would be left over in the current Special Events calendar is the "Roar Before the 24", and the "Bathurst 12h".


    Final thought, because I know when I do posts like this I'm all over the place..

    I'd like to compile a list of resources for new iRacers (Setup Resources, Apps like Trading Paints/DRE/JRT/Crew Chief, we already have one thread about the "app.ini" settings... This will probably be yet another thread, and @Duke when we have time we should probably talk about the best way of going about this. If anyone else would like to help/contribute to this, please PM me or we can talk about it in TS!
     
    Last edited: May 15, 2018
  2. Kenadian

    Kenadian Staff Member Site Admin

    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2011
    Messages:
    8,048
    I understand your points of view @Skid_Marc_ but I worry that forcing people to drive outside their comfort zone may only serve to keep some people away.

    I was present in Teamspeak when this idea was brought to light and it was well received both in TS and on Twitch. The common theme this idea was based upon is some feel varying amounts of pressure up to and including the event just by the mere fact they're teamed up with experienced Endurance Drivers.

    They fear that if they do something wrong they will let their Teammates down and for some that fear brings around varying levels of guilt. Not only that but if you're Driving scared or without adequate confidence you can bring about your own demise, we've all seen it, we've all done it.

    In some cases this trepidation is reason enough to not take the leap and give Endurance Racing a try.

    For this reason alone I felt and still feel there's no harm in trying it once and if it works great, if not we lose it.
     
  3. Skid_Marc_

    Skid_Marc_ Staff Member Admin

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2015
    Messages:
    894
    But everyone feels that way! Don't discount anyone who has ever participated in a Band of Others Endurance team and think that they, at any time, felt any different! No one wants to be the person to bin the car for the team, but name one B2O driver that hasn't totaled the car in an iRacing Special Event! How are you going to overcome that? Are you suggesting that if you're running with people of "lesser" experience, that you wouldn't feel so bad about ruining their race? A guy with 500 iRating might be more frustrated or disappointed that someone ruined their race than an "experienced" Dennis or Noël are even capable of.

    People need to be clear that we're not talking about "experience" as quality/pace of driving. There are only a handful of drivers at B2O that matches the likes of Noël and Dennis, but that isn't what we're talking about. The "experience" we're talking about is simply experience with iRacing, the team registration system, manipulating the black boxes when no in the car, know how Team Speak works, know how to navigate the B2O forums, that know how to drive with people talking, that know it's okay to tell the people talking to "...shut up..." (for a second), to shut up for a second in team speak when someone asks, and that know they're with drivers who have had their race ruined (or have ruined the race for other people) before.. That is experience. Not putting down the fastest lap times, racing in the top split, or even running at the front in any split. Those are all nice bonuses, and we love that stuff, but that isn't what we're expecting every time we sign up for a Special Event!

    That said, are we going to throw a brand new driver onto a team with Dennis or Noël? Probably not. When everyone has posted which car they prefer, I've done my best to group the drivers the best way I/They/We see fit. For Nürburgring, it was last minute, but Noël was still on a team of drivers that had a decent amount of experience in the Porsche, and a decent amount of experience at the Nürburgring. Dennis ran with a team that had a decent amount of experience in the Mercedes AMG GT3, and a pretty decent amount of experience at the Nürburgring.

    So I don't see the "...forcing people to drive outside their comfort zone..."

    You and Matt were originally going to try out the Porsche. You weren't comfortable with it, so you switched. Nobody was forcing you to run the Porsche. There were no "Wow, you really screwed Noël over by leaving the Porsche team... " comments. If all of the "developing" drivers are okay with the same car, then it's fine, but if one of them isn't? Wouldn't it be "...forcing people to drive outside their comfort zone..." to put them on the same "development team", instead of placing that driver on an "experienced team" with people driving the car that they're more comfortable with? Their comfort zone could be speed, it could be car, it could be track. Not every person will come into B2O with the same discomforts. The whole point of development is to try to get people comfortable with whatever they're not comfortable with.

    I do not see the best option as going into a BIG event and trying to 'label' drivers. I'd rather give people as many opportunities as possible to gain that "experience".
     
  4. Kenadian

    Kenadian Staff Member Site Admin

    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2011
    Messages:
    8,048
    Well hopefully some more people chime in on this topic because I can see you're not on board with it and I'm pretty neutral in this regard.

    So if you agree or disagree with what's been stated then now is your time to chime in aspiring Endurance Driver.

    Thanks.
     
  5. Deb

    Deb Moderator

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2016
    Messages:
    667
    I'll chime in some. I know that when I first started driving with B2O, I was so intimidated. My only track experience was on tracks that I had done endurance races and it seemed like I was learning a new track every week and then having to get on the track with very experienced drivers, I felt a lot of pressure. Sometimes I didn't race on Friday for that reason. Sometimes I really wanted someone to take me around the tracks and show me the line.

    When I first started driving, Bedo and Reid would take the time to take me around the track, show me the lines, we did random stuff like figure eights and skid pad, I think that training was extremely valuable. If there is interest in that, I would think it would be beneficial to have a session once a week or every two weeks or something. I know I could still benefit from that. I find the VRS videos very helpful, but like you said @Skid_Marc_, it is the driving, seat time, that is critical.
     
    Anson Bennette and Skid_Marc_ like this.
  6. Rees Wagen

    Rees Wagen Casual

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2018
    Messages:
    15
    I am totally for, following an experienced driver round the track and learning the lines and breaking points. Bedo and Deb taught me millions on the ring. Also a good resource of "stuff that you need to know" would be helpful. but most of it I guess is experience.
    like what I learned on the 24 nurb, was that you could blow the engine if you try to drive back to the pits, or that if I alt-tab to TeamSpeak and switch in teamspeak to a different channel and then get back into the sim I lose my FFB, and that I should have been able to feel that in the pits prior to taking off, and when pulling back into the next pit stall to reset my wheel, caused my throttle to be stuck (not wanting to blow another engine), I hit the escape key to kill the engine, only to then learn the hard way, that this means you get towed....3 pit boxes backwards for about 9 minutes.

    the VRS races are also a good suggestion to take part in, after Bedo and Deb's coaching I was actually competitive, when it was on the ring las week. although I hope I get into the better splits soon, as here are some pics from my last one...

    Desktop Screenshot 2018.05.13 - 23.05.04.71-2.png
    Desktop Screenshot 2018.05.13 - 23.05.12.26-2.png
    Desktop Screenshot 2018.05.13 - 23.05.48.35-2.png
    Desktop Screenshot 2018.05.13 - 23.05.53.23-2.png
     
    Deb and Noodleguitar like this.
  7. SavreticD

    SavreticD Core

    Joined:
    May 31, 2017
    Messages:
    428
    I don't know. I see what Marc want to say, I agree but on the other hand, I agree with the development program, stupid I know.Of course, I don't want somebody to ruin my race, my teammates race but also I don't want label drivers so I'm not sure how to do this
    Maybe if driver as aware he is not experienced and he say that....?

    But also just throw 4 drivers in one team and not teach them is not the solution either so basically he needs to learn in Practice pals, Friday in races etc,by the time next Special event comes up he will be ready for any team anyway. For the new drivers showing up few days before event I don't know
     
    Skid_Marc_ likes this.
  8. Noodleguitar

    Noodleguitar Moderator

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2014
    Messages:
    1,439
    Marc has a good point, you get most of your experience by just racing (ideally multi-class). During that you automatically find out how pushing ruins your tires and how spinning makes the surface like ice for 1-2 laps. Most official races are full of intense racing so there is plenty of opportunity to see what the handling of other cars looks like over the network and of course to learn the behaviour of the average opponent. You also get a sense of when to look ahead and when left / right or behind. The mechanics of the simulation are also very important for endurance races and are not always intuitive in iRacing, such as yellow flag displaying, spotter calls, pit collision behavior, time between session launch and gridding, qualifying opportunities and what causes black flags.

    I don't believe you need 100's of races of experience before jumping into team endurance racing but there is no reason not to be prepared. The skills to deal with traffic and driving the car at a steady and comfortable level is mostly experience. We can definitely help newer drivers by giving feedback on their decisions (ideally via replays) or practice routine, and of course explain the sign-up procedure and general team stuff.

    I can understand if newer drivers want to join iRacing just to be able to race with a team in endurance events. However, because of the responsibility to the rest of the team these races are not something we can easily turn into a learning event. Many drivers on the teams have invested lots of money and time into iRacing and you can add a lot of specific practice and setup testing to that before every single event.

    That said, if a new driver has put the effort into practice and finds himself able to drive consistently I don't see a reason to group them together in a "B-team". Of course, almost everyone will be nervous if this is their first big team race, carrying the heavy and slippery responsibility of taking care of the car for their stints. We can make that a little easier sometimes. We would never ask a new driver to start the race for example, unless we don't have a choice. And unless we're going for a competitive result, we also don't care about pace if it's not hindering the other teams in the race. Through the many events we have raced in, we have often seen newer drivers contribute more than their expectations to the race, with a confidence boost to the whole team as a result.

    The only time I could see new-driver team being a necessity is when we have question marks about their consistency or comprehension of racecraft, or are a late addition to the roster or something. I personally would not want to be part of such a team as we shouldn't hide the fact that the team exists to get their feet wet and is not expected to achieve good results.

    Say a new driver did his practice and is prepared for a big event. I don't see a significant increase in risk having this driver be part of an "experienced" team because there is a fairly equal chance that any of us either make an expensive mistake or become the (un)intended target of another team's mistake.

    I kind of left the mentality required for endurance races out of my story because this is likely not a problem if we've already accepted the driver as B2O material. It would make me uncomfortable if we have not spoken to a new driver or seen them on track a few times before an event though.
     
  9. Deb

    Deb Moderator

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2016
    Messages:
    667
    I don't know that I am an advocate of a B team. Driving with more experienced drivers is a lot pressure, but it also forces you to step up your game. It is difficult if you are driving an endurance race in split way above your skill level though, having experienced that early on, you are always driving on the defensive, so I do think there is a question of undermining self-confidence. The more I drive, the more I find out that confidence plays a big factor. But confidence comes from knowledge and experience.

    What I do think is important because it gives you confidence is being able to be safely OP, or close to OP. You know an endurance race will drop your time, so the more safely OP you are in practice, the better for endurance. But you can only get there by knowing the line and I mean really knowing the line, not just the big picture line, but the details (precise points in a particular car with a particular setup in certain weather) and having the confidence to deal with/catch mistakes and go off line for other drivers. Geez, when I first started, I didn't realize how much time you can save just by practicing your pit-ins and now I am learning how about to drive considering fuel saving. A lot of this I have learned from making stupid mistakes and then I'm like, hey guys, why did this whatever it might be happen? If a development program speeds up that process,that would be awesome.
     
    Anson Bennette and Skid_Marc_ like this.
  10. John Navara

    John Navara Core

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2017
    Messages:
    110
    This has been an interesting read for me. I joined #practicepals a little over a year ago. I enjoyed the Monday and Wednesday night practice sessions and the Friday night league races when I was able to make it to them. With 4 kids in high school sports, it made me busy, especially on Friday nights and I wasn't always able to participate. I was always the slowest one but was still able to get driving time around other cars which helped immensely.

    When the signups came out to join the 24hr of LeMans last year to drive with B2O, I was a little hesitant to join the endurance team knowing I was the newbie, but several of the team members reiterated the fact that things happen during endurance races and that I was ready for event. I was scared as hell as it was my first endurance race. The other problem was that they introduced the 488GTE right before the event and getting used to a new car was a PITA after spending so much time getting used to the Aston Martin (I had only been in iRacing for about 8 months prior to the race).

    I still hope to join in a few #practicepals sessions in the future and look forward to it.

    John
     
  11. Kelley G

    Kelley G Casual

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2017
    Messages:
    48
    Interesting read. Personally I think having designated Development program nights would be a bit of a stretch (I like the idea, as I always like learning, but getting people to show up would be a challenge). I know from personal experience getting consistency down is challenging but practice by myself and in PP helps tremendously.

    @Deb mentioned skid pad which is something I have never done, and could benefit from. That being said scheduling something like that I think is going to need to be done last minute (a couple days notice) and would be more of a special occasion thing.

    I find the biggest help for getting better is during the actual event when your team gets to watch you drive. Thinking back to Sebring I jumped into the DP with very little experience with it but by mid race I was driving very confidently thanks to coaching from the team. That being said that is to late.

    I would love to find a way of designating certain members to be instructors in certain skills (skid recovery, speed, setups, traffic management etc.) so new members would know who to approach for the best info. Thinking back to my days as a corner marshal we used to have racing schools all the time. The instructors were just another car on the track a lot of the time, but could be approached if you wanted a little one on one.

    These race schools also had scenario's implemented and this is something I would like to see in the final day or two of practice before a special event. Practising passing and being passed, and racing 2 wide for multiple corners. These things start off at slow speed and pick up the pace each lap. Practicing starts is another thing (grid up and race for the first couple of corners. then start forming up to do it again.) Obstacle avoidance was another (we threw pilons on the track so I don't know how to go about this in tracing) All these things are things that happen during a race but not very frequently. I think they would be beneficial to all drivers, especially the new ones so that when you go into a corner 2 wide (or even 3 wide) in the actual race it isn't the first time your experiencing it in that corner. (I would be happy to send out a few emails and see if I could get a list of these "drills" if there was enough interest)

    The above paragraph could be converted into a development program very easy, but is something I would like to see the night before the big race.

    Anyways just throwing ideas out there. Apologies for the unorganized post.
     
  12. Jes_971

    Jes_971 Core

    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2015
    Messages:
    457
    Just a idea, just shooting from the hip..... grain of salt... yada yada.

    First of all, I love the idea of B2O getting more involved in the 2 other endurance series. I think in whatever capacity it would benefit our endurance outings to simply have more experience in that setting.

    Maybe some kind of evidence that meets the requirement of driving standards that we're looking for. This would qualify them to drive with experienced drivers if they decide they feel comfortable with that. If not, by their choosing or lack of evidence then placed on a "B" team?

    I also really like the idea of "mentors". People in the community that are titled as such that the new peeps can seek out for advice. Granted that everyone in the community should be a "mentor" to a certain degree anyway. Even if it is only a simple, positive comment directed towards them once in a while. Providing that said new member is honest, sincere, and respectful and that that is a reciprocation of what we've shown them from the start.
     
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2018

Share This Page