I am not a perfect simracer. Nobody is. Not even Aliens like Greger Huttu. If he would be a perfect simracer, he’d win every race, and his laptimes would be identical for a given car condition. Perfection is a state that is impossible to reach. Wikipedia writes:
[Perfection is a state] which is so good that nothing of the kind could be better
However, as a simracer hoping for podiums and not just racing for the driving’s sake (which is a perfectly reasonable amusement), you aim for perfection. And that’s why this Blog is called “PerfectSimracer.com”. The title is not about me, but about what we Simracers want to become.
More appropriately, this blog would have been called “PerfectingSimracer” or “EverImprovingSimracer”, but that would have sounded more awkward.
What are some ways to measure your progress as you improve, given that your competing drivers may often change and given that you will probably switch your racing series sometimes?
Simply watching your position can work in a community that does not have a lot of member fluctuation. If you typically race against the same 75% of drivers, this is a simple way to measure success. But as soon as people (or you) bail out into a different series or community, your previous measurements become invalid in terms of your whole-career-watch.
With Top X% Position, you simple take the total number of racers in your series, and divide your own position by that number, and finally times 100.
Say there’s a total of 257 racers in some Indy Car series. Say you are on 27th position. Then you just do so:
- 257 racers
- 27th position
- (27/257)*100 = 10.5%
Now you can say to your significant other: “Darling, while last season I was in the Top 17%, this season I have improved, being in the Top 10.5% now”.
This is actually the measurement I usually tell my spouse about. Telling her/him just about position can result in “Oh, last season you performed Top 3 routinely, and now you just do Top 10s? What’s up with you?”, despite the number of competitors may have just increased.
Beyond some critical mass (let’s say the series consists of 50+ people), there will always be fluctuators at the end of the list, so you usually do not need to go fancy with median, percentiles and the like.
This is a pure lap time measurement. This is very valuable in the beginning of your career, when you often drive at the end of the pack, or do just hotlapping for yourself (personally, I’ve done months of hotlapping with no single race when I made the switch to Simracing). Likewise, it’s valuable each time you switch the series or league.
When you are really fresh on the grid, you can sometimes just take Real Life measurements. I did so in R-Factor, with the Sauber F1 on Montreal. Knowing that laptimes of 130 seconds is not as good as 77 seconds was just enough information.
However, later, when you are used to the car, you can look at other racer’s laptimes. Take your own time in seconds, divide it by the time of the leading hotlapper/qualifier, and multiply by 100. Example:
- Your time: 2:16.2 minutes = 2*60 seconds + 16.2 seconds = 136.2seconds
- Polesetter: 2:12.4 minutes = 2*60 seconds + 11.4 seconds = 132.4seconds
You see, the conversion is really simple: The number of minutes x 60, plus the seconds. And while it may seem you are really far off the lead with almost 4 seconds difference, you can see that it’s not too bad:
- 136.2 seconds / 132.4 seconds * 100 = 102.9%
In Formula 1, there’s a regulation that you don’t qualify if your time is 107% or worse of the polesetter. You would have qualified, congratulations!
As important as Top X% Laptime is for a rough measurement towards setup and qualification, it does not necessarily correlate with Race Craft and final results. I’ve seen Top Notch Hotlappers that fail in race because they don’t do enough crash-free laps consecutively. Your most important goal for a race, and therefore preparation, should be to develop a race line that let’s you finish the race, without loosing too many position or crashing.
Typically Top 2%-5% racer. Tries to not be slow.