7 iRacing Tips for Beginners to Get Started in 2024

Written by Bushi

When it comes to Sim Racing titles, there are none more renowned than iRacing. For most sim racers, iRacing is the standard for an authentic “Simulator.” Even real-life Formula drivers (like 3-time champion Max Verstappen) always do events on iRacing.

However, getting into iRacing can be pretty overwhelming for new sim racers (it was for me), so to help you guys out, I have 7 iRacing tips for beginners that you can use to get started.

EXTRA: These tips will be broken into categories to make them easier to find and read. Some tips will focus more on driving, whereas others might focus more on general tips to use with iRacing.

General Tips

Choosing a Genre of RacingiRacing tips or beginners

When it comes to iRacing, one of the first things you might realise is that there isn’t just one type of car or even a single type of racing.

There are multiple types of racing with numerous types of cars to do those races with. So, choosing which ones you want to focus on is important.

Because it’s very easy to spend a lot of money on iRacing by not knowing what rabbit hole you’d like to jump down.

I’d recommend closely looking through some cars and even quickly watching a few different types of races on YouTube or Twitch. Get a feel for which type of racing looks the most fun to you.

Here are the genres of racing on iRacing:

  • Road Racing
  • Oval Racing
  • Dirt Racing
  • Rallycross Racing
  • Open-wheel Racing

All racers on iRacing will start at the “Rookie” rank (click the link attached to Rookie to skip to that part), and the best type of racing to do in Rookie, from my experience, is the MX5 races. It’s an enjoyable car to drive, and get used to the physics of this sim.

iRacing tips for beginners

After that, where you go is entirely up to you and your preferences.

Also, it’s not taboo to do multiple types of racing; there are many different types of racing for a reason. You can go from open-wheel racing to rallycross if you’d like. So don’t feel like you can only do a single type of racing.

Try narrowing your focus first to get the most out of racing on the sim before broadening your options later.

Personalise Your Settings

The experience you get from iRacing can be completely different from person to person, so personalising your settings is quite important for getting the most out of the sim. I HIGHLY recommend that you go through the settings and learn what you should change and what it should be changed to based on your preferred racing type.

iRacing is a sim, and most people would like to try and make the experience as close as possible to real life. Danial Morad (a GT3 driver for Mercedes) has made a video going over his settings for iRacing that is as close to the real-life feeling as he could get. Watch the video below if you’re planning on driving GT3 or something similar:

One of the ways you can change up your settings to improve your driving experience on iRacing is by changing the FOV of your car…

Setting The Correct Field of View

And that is quite important to get an authentic feel for the car you’re driving and get the correct “sense of speed” from the car. Knowing how to calibrate your Field of View (FOV) to the right setting can help you gain tenths per second (I know it sounds too good to be true, but watch the video below):

Regarding FOVs, there are a few essential things to consider to get the right FOV. In no particular order, here are some things I think are most important to consider with FOV:

  • Monitor Distance (How far the monitor is from your eyes)
  • Monitor Type (Single Screen, Ultrawide, Triple Screens, VR)
  • Type of Car You Plan on Driving (Rally cars will most likely require a different FOV to an F1 car)
  • In-Game FOV (This works hand in hand with your monitor type and distance)
  • Content (Are others going to be watching you drive? How much of the screen can they see?)

In my opinion, the first two are the most important for FOV.

Simply understanding how far the monitors need to be away from you and whether you will use an ultrawide monitor or a triple-screen setup will make things much more manageable.

That’s why Daniel’s video is a great watch!

Ranking System in iRacing

iRacing’s ranking system is pretty straightforward but also allows you to continually grind as it gets much more difficult as you move up to keep gaining points and much easier to lose them.

You have two ranking systems in iRacing – The Safety Rating and The iRating.

iRacing tips for beginners

Safety rating (SR) is self-explanatory; how clean can you keep it on track?

Are you sending it into turn one and crashing out like Lewis Hamilton did at Qatar (that was a sore one), or can you avoid corner-cutting incidents and collisions with other drivers?

And your iRating similarly tells others how skilled you are (specifically, how good you are at winning races).

For example, if you have an iRating of 4,000 and you race against a lobby average of 6K iRating and win, your iRating will jump up significantly; however, if you have an iRating of 4K and you finish last against a lobby average of 1,500 iRating, then you will lose a lot of points.

When it comes to your SR, you have names for each ranking. Everyone starts at Rookie for any racing class. After that, you go from D – A in rankings and for the absolute cleanest and best drivers, you’ll rank up to Pro.

You move up the SR rankings by getting to at least 3.0 (for every rank, you start at a 2.5), and then you will need to finish two more races (or four-time trials) to rank up to the next level.

I HIGHLY recommend focusing on your Safety Rating before you concentrate on your iRating, as it’s more important to find yourself in lobbies with cleaner/skilful drivers before you work on racing the quickest out there.

Just because a driver is fast doesn’t mean they know how to race!

Becoming a Better Driver

Turning Off The Racing Line

It feels weird saying this as iRacing isn’t known for having a racing line, but it does, and for new drivers, it’s easy to hold on to the racing line as a crutch. However, it’s simple to learn to drive without it. It just takes a lot of practice.

I’ve already talked about this topic briefly when I covered how to get better at F1 23, so I will take an excerpt from there as it can easily apply to iRacing and any other sim.

There are usually two ways drivers will approach a hairpin: a double apex approach (also known as V-ing off the corner) or a late apex approach.

The “normal” late apex approach is done like this:iRacing tips for beginners

Firstly, you will brake later into the corner. This is because you will do most of the turning late into the hairpin to allow for a later apex.

After braking into a hairpin late, you will turn in later than usual. This ensures that the exit is taken with the car as straight as possible, allowing you to get on the power much quicker.

Once done, you will hit the apex (where the car is closest to the corner) towards the end of the cornering sequence.

A “double apex” approach usually goes like this:

Usually, you would brake at the typical braking point or potentially even earlier, depending on the corner, so you can turn the car early to hit the first apex.

Once you’ve hit the first apex, you can allow the car to drift out wide slightly and then hit a sharp turn before hitting the second apex. Once you’ve done this, your line around the corner will look like a V.

When it comes to iRacing, be mindful that tackling corners will ultimately depend on the car you’re driving. For example, a fast car with massive amounts of downforce (like a Formula car or a Prototype car) will most likely benefit from the excerpt above.

However, a slower car with little to no downforce (like the MX5s or other GT3-type cars) will require a different approach.

I’ve found a guide series (made by iRacing themselves) going in-depth about being as fast as possible with your racing lines:

Understanding How to Brake With Certain Types of Cars

Braking is where most of the time is gained and lost. If you’re not using the correct braking techniques, you could lose seconds per lap to the fastest drivers.

There are 2 main ways you will see people braking when it comes to driving.

Right foot braking and left foot braking.

iRacing tips for beginners

Right-foot braking is more commonly used when dealing with a car with an H shift pattern (specifically, with manual transmission).

This is necessary as you’ll need your left foot free to control the clutch.

Left-foot braking is usually used when you don’t have to deal with manual transmission. For example, in Formula 1 cars, you only have a brake and throttle pedal. Your startup clutch is usually behind the wheel.

Therefore, you do not need a clutch and can use your left foot to control your braking.

Back to right foot braking, there is only one way to do this, and that’s by doing the heel & toe technique.

With heel & toe, you’ll use your toes and upper foot to control the braking and then use your heels to slightly press the throttle pedal at the same time as the clutch. This is because you can match the engine’s RPM (Rotations Per Minute) with the clutch, allowing for a smoother shift.

In Le Mans terms, you do it to have a smoother experience in the car.

You have two main techniques with left-foot braking: trail braking and pump braking.

I won’t go into trail braking that much here as I’ve already made a video on trail braking, which should explain this technique more easily.

One thing I will say is that on iRacing, the braking feel is more realistic, so to avoid locking the tyres, you probably won’t use more than 85% of the brakes going into a corner in most cases (unless the car has Anti-Lock Braking System or ABS for short).

Pump braking is similar to trail braking and, in my experience, is better to use in wet conditions (which isn’t on iRacing as of now, but we will still talk about it).

With pump braking, you will use the same technique as trail braking, but once you release the brakes, you’ll apply the brakes again but with less force. Like how you would when using an air pump on a football (or soccer ball for any Americans reading).

As you approach the corner, you’ll apply less and less force with each “Pump” until you’ve reached the apex.

As mentioned before, from my experience, I feel like this technique is better used in wet conditions, and even then, it is still easier to just trail brake.

Learning How to Battle on Track (and WHEN to Battle)

Battling is a huge part of racing (well, duh… you need to pass people to win races).

It seems simple in concept, right? Once you hit the track, you’ll be amazed by how many drivers DO NOT know HOW to battle (or, more importantly) WHEN to fight.

Knowing when and when not to go for a move can be the difference between winning and DNFing. For example, if you’re in a Formula 1 car and it’s the final corner on the penultimate lap, do you go for the move or wait for DRS?

Well, that depends on a few things:

  • How much ERS do you have?
  • How much ERS does your rival have?
  • How many DRS zones are there throughout the lap?
  • What tyres are you and your rival on?

Those are just a few questions you’ll need to be able to answer in a fraction of a second to decide whether to go for the move.

If you have a lot of ERS and your rival doesn’t go for it, ERS can be powerful enough to hold off their slipstream and DRS.

If you’re on 20-lap old hards and your rival is on 20-lap old softs, that is also an excellent time to go for the move. Your tyres have more grip as the softs have most likely started to (if not already) die off.

If you both are on hards, but there are 3 long DRS zones on the track, maybe it’s best to hold off and make your attack towards the end of the final lap.

Another example of when to go for a move would be during the middle of the race. You’d find yourself asking questions such as:

  • What’s my tyre wear like?
  • Will the clean air improve my pace, or should I rely on the slipstream?
  • Have any of my rivals gone for an undercut?
  • Can I pull away from the guy ahead if I overtook him now?

Again, there are more questions to think about as the race unfolds. You wouldn’t want to overtake somebody just for them to overtake you back on the next corner. That loses you both time.

Moves need to be decisive.

Maybe if your main rival has gone for the undercut, going for the move to get into the pits as soon as possible is the more intelligent choice to minimise that undercut.

You will understand what to do and what not to do with more racing experience, so get on the track and get some experience!


Now, that was a lot of content (it’s difficult not to give so much information when it comes to iRacing because of how complicated it can be). However, it was necessary to get through to help you get started with this incredible sim.

These beginner-friendly tips for iRacing should hopefully be enough to get the ball rolling; feel free to bookmark this to come back to later, as it is a lot to take in on the first read. I will be making more content going into more detail about some of the topics we covered in this one.

Until then, if you have any extra questions, please ask me in the comments below or via email (at anthony@virtualgpracing.com).

I will help out as much as possible (though I will admit I am NOT an iRacing expert…).

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