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iRacing Guide: Dallara iR-01

The Dallara iR-01 might be one of the fastest cars in iRacing, but by no means is it the easiest to approach. Let’s learn how to master it.

Many modern-day racing fans long for the days when screaming V10 and V12 motors used to fill the air around the world’s greatest racing tracks. In pursuit of making engines that are closer in configuration to their road-going counterparts, many global series have moved towards smaller engines that are fitted with turbochargers.  

While producing as much, and in a lot of cases more power, V6 and turbo V8 engines simply don’t sound as aggressive or raw as motors from yesteryear. This is where iRacing and Dallara come in.  

In a special collaboration between the two parties, they created a modern-day Grand Prix vehicle that wouldn’t look out of place on a future Formula 1 grid. The difference here though is that it features a 3.0-liter V10 engine, similar to the ones used in F1 during the 1990s and early 2000s.

Dubbed the iR-01, it is iRacing’s answer to calls from racing fans all over the world for the ultimate contemporary grand prix machine – and it is available in iRacing for you to experience.

Introduction To The Dallara iR-01

iRacing and Dallara wanted to create a vehicle that provided all the high-speed thrills of an F1-style vehicle but with none of the drawbacks.

Dallara’s extensive background in aerodynamic development helped to create an aero package that rivals current F1 machinery but doesn’t produce anywhere near the amount of dirty air. This means that drivers can follow each other much easier without losing grip in high-speed corners, making it easier to set up an overtake.

The iR-01 is similar to the current F1 ruleset in that its aero package predominantly utilises ground effect to create downforce. This means that the floor produces the majority of the downforce needed, creating reduced levels of dirty air as the wings on top of the vehicle can be designed to cut through the air more efficiently.

In iRacing, the iR-01 is currently eligible to run in two different series, one ranked and one unranked. The ranked series is called Dallara Formula iR, which runs in a fixed-setup format across a total race distance of 20 minutes. 

  • A C-level road license is needed to enter, which you can easily reach by running clean races in series such as the US Open Wheel D championship and FIA F4 Challenge.  

The unranked series is called Dallara Dash, which runs exclusively on oval tracks. A driver holding any license can enter, and each race runs for around 15 minutes. 

  • Both run at the top of the hour, though the Dallara Formula takes place every two hours on the evens while the Dallara Dash is contested every hour.   

The Basic Car Setup

The iR-01 drives differently than many conventional open-wheeled vehicles such as the Dallara IR18 Indycar due to its reliance on ground effect to create downforce.

This means that the vehicle can carry an unbelievable amount of speed through high and medium-speed bends, though can become twitchy when unsettled.

  • Caution must be taken with kerbs and any other areas that could destabilise the vehicle as if the underfloor aero is disturbed it can snap without a moment’s hesitation.
  • This also makes it tricky to drive at slow speeds, as the vehicle has been optimised for high-speed corners where ground effect is strongest.

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Aerodynamics and Bodywork

Working out how to get the most from the iR-01’s extreme aerodynamic package is the key to being competitive with the machine. However, due to the fixed setup nature of the current series available with the car, you cannot adjust many parameters to mould the vehicle to your driving style. 

The most effective change you can make is to the brake bias, although adjusting the subtleties of how you approach each corner can be instrumental to how much you can extract from the iR-01; it’s always important to remember that being smooth with your inputs to keep the aerodynamic platform steady will give you a more balanced car.

  • Winding brake bias backwards should allow the car to rotate more from the rear on entry to corners, which could unlock serious lap time if you have issues trusting the car will turn in for high-speed turns. 
  • The iR-01 is already fairly loose on corner entry at high speed with the stock setup, so minor changes should be the name of the game here.
  • A smooth turn-in is also important, as to keep the floor creating downforce in a consistent manner the vehicle’s attitude needs to be kept constant. 

Steering And Cornering

While you’ll feel like a hero when navigating high-speed corners with the iR-01, you’ll find yourself soon feeling like a zero once you reach slower bends, even though it weighs just 600 kilograms.

Much like the Mercedes W13 F1 car also available in iRacing, the iR-01’s setup has been optimised to take advantage of the incredible downforce it creates at high speed.

  • The vehicle tends to slide around more in slow corners, with the front, in particular, feeling quite heavy and with more of a bias towards understeer.
  • Getting the vehicle properly slowed down before turning into slow corners is key to getting the nose pointed to the corner exit as quickly as possible. Otherwise, you’ll find yourself having to wait an eternity as the tyres scrabble for grip.

If you feel a need to improve your setup game, head over to Coach Dave Academy and subscribe to our library of professionally developed setups for iRacing!

Power Delivery And Braking

The iR-01’s can very much act as a Jekyll or Hyde depending where you are on any given circuit. In high-speed bends, braking and acceleration are more straightforward as you have the downforce pushing the tyres into the tarmac. This means that you can hammer the brakes hard initially, before then bleeding off the pedal as you slow towards the corner apex.

It’s the same story when getting on the power as the iR-01’s downforce affects how aggressively you can utilise its naturally aspirated V10 engine, which has a smoother torque curve compared to a turbocharged motor and doesn’t provide any nasty surprises.

The real challenge comes at slow speeds, where the aero isn’t there to help you.

  • The vehicle can be snappy under power, so caution needs to be taken when trying to escape slower corners.
  • Short-shifting is a handy tool in this area until you reach a high enough speed that the downforce begins to push the car into the track.   

Final Thoughts

The iR-01 is the perfect machine to jump into to learn how to get the most from a lightweight, high-downforce single-seater.

The fixed setup nature of the series the car runs in also means you don’t need to worry about making setup tweaks to be competitive, allowing you to focus on acclimatising to the insanely high speeds it is capable of in corners such as 130R at Suzuka or the majority of the Spa-Francorchamps circuit.

Coming from lower-powered racers such as the USF200 and F4 can make the iR-01 intimidating initially, though, with a bit of practice, you’ll soon be slicing through rivals to the front of the pack without so much as a thought.

  • If you need any track tips or help with adapting your driving style to vehicles with high levels of downforce, check out the Coach Dave Academy YouTube channel which features tutorials and guides from our skilled drivers.

Image credit: iRacing

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