Scott Dixon will join a growing field of 29 drivers in Sunday’s second round of the IndyCar iRacing Challenge. But the kiwi admits there is a steep learning curve ahead before he can even consider being competitive.
After last weekend’s successful opening round from Watkins Glen which saw over 600,000 fans tune in globally, a further four full-time and ex-IndyCar drivers have signed on for the rest of the series.
The new additions include Robert Wickens, Ed Carpenter, Jack Harvey and Scott Dixon.
With the Eseries considered a serious affair, many of IndyCar’s top drivers have centered all of their focus into race preparation. Four-time Champ Car champion Sebastien Bourdais has already clocked up 316 simulated laps of Barber Motorsport Park, equating to nearly six-hours of racing.
Dixon on the other-hand has so far completed the less amount of laps of any driver ahead of Sunday’s race.
The five-time series champion saying that getting used to sim-racing has been a wild amalgam of fun and frustration.
“My lap count would have been lower, but I did two full-tank runs before I stopped,” Dixon told RACER.com
“I wasn’t sure I wanted to do this, and when I did, I found most all of the sim rig components were sold out! There’s been a total run on it. The intensity of settings and programs you need to do well is ridiculous. The fuel settings stuff, and being able to communicate with people while you’re driving…I had no idea.”
Balancing a wife, two daughters and a newly born son at home, Dixon isn’t sure his Esports debut will be any more than a one-hit-wonder.
“Emma [Scott’s wife] is already over it…I told all the drivers on our group chat that I’ll have a nice top-of-the line sim rig for sale next week,” Dixon joked.
“It’s hard. We’ve got the girls at home, and a newborn, so it’s just knowing if it’s time worth spending. I know some guys are doing private testing and doing like 10 hours a day. It’s kind of insane.”
Dixon also said that the transition to the iRacing software from the multi-million-dollar driver training simulators used in the Honda Performance Development centre has been much more difficult than anticpated.
“I remember my first sim test this year; I spent the first three hours just trying to get the tire model right before we did any testing,” he said.
“That’s the level of realism you’re dealing with. Then you start on something like this with iRacing, that is a real game, where you need to learn the tricks to cheat it. It’s interesting, but also uninteresting to me.
“It’s like driving a version of the real thing, but it’s more of an impression than anything real, and it’s nothing like the actual sims we use. This is a bunch of drivers training to be their best at iRacing, really, instead of it being IndyCar drivers using their experience to carry over and go right to the front in sim racing. Two completely different worlds. I’d say this is fun, but only as long as I go in approaching it as something fun to do.”
Round two of the IndyCar iRacing challenge will be broadcasted from 7.30 am NZT Sunday, April 5 via indycar.com.
Story Source: Racer.com