The fundamentals of wet weather driving in iRacing

Competing in the rain on iRacing is one of the toughest challenges you can face. So what are the basics that you need to know when at the track?

As a racing simulator known for its attention to detail and realism, iRacing has recently introduced the Tempest weather system, allowing drivers to experience dynamic rain conditions that significantly impact racing. 

In this article, we will explore the fundamentals of wet weather driving in iRacing, covering key features of the rain simulation, optimal car setups and essential driving tips to excel in challenging weather conditions.

Features of rain simulation in iRacing

The Tempest weather system in iRacing introduces a range of realistic features that enhance the immersion and complexity of wet weather driving. Rain’s long-awaited introduction to the platform certainly hasn’t let anyone down, introducing features that have never been executed so effectively in the sim racing space before.

Understanding what you are going to encounter will be crucial to your success, so here are some of Tempest’s key features that you must wrap your head around before getting behind the wheel on a wet track:

  • Tempest allows for dynamic changes in weather, including varying rain intensity, track moisture levels, and evolving racing lines due to changing grip conditions.
  • Raindrops realistically accumulate on the windshield, wipers clear them away, and spray from cars ahead impairs visibility, creating an authentic experience of driving in the rain.
  • The dry racing line becomes less effective as water accumulates on the track, forcing drivers to seek alternative paths with better grip. Venturing off the rubbered racing line becomes necessary to maintain pace.
  • Wet weather severely affects car handling, requiring adjustments to driving style and setup to navigate challenging conditions without losing control.

Need some more help in the wet?

We’ve got you covered with our Lap Guides and Hotlaps here at Coach Dave Academy. Make sure to check out this in-depth walkthrough with ex-Formula 3 driver Bart Horsten, who walks you through the basics of racing in the wet in an F4 car at Snetterton.

How to adjust your setup

Preparing your car for wet weather driving is essential for maintaining control and optimising performance. Thankfully, many of the changes that you need to make to your setup for the wet are quite simple because you don’t want to compromise the underlying characteristics of your car. Instead, it’s best to focus on making your vehicle more approachable, forgiving and less aggressive – much of which you can do using in-car controls.

Here are a few tips that will help you to navigate rain with more confidence:

  • Switch to wet tyres as soon as rain begins. Wet tyres have deeper treads and are designed to provide better grip on wet surfaces. Be aware that wet tyres affect ride height and aerodynamic balance. They also overheat quickly and lose grip once the track dries up.
  • Utilise wet ABS (Anti-lock Braking System) and traction control settings optimised for wet tyres. Adjust intervention levels to prevent wheels from locking up or losing traction.
  • Move brake bias towards the rear to prevent the front wheels from locking under braking. Adjust brake bias based on the severity of rain and track conditions.
  • Soften suspension settings to improve grip and stability on a wet track. Besides, softening damping and adjusting ride height can enhance the handling responsiveness in challenging conditions.

Check out the Coach Dave Academy iRacing Setup Subscription for ready-to-use wet setups for all popular cars in iRacing. Plus, you can install and manage them all with our free Coach Dave Delta app, making setups easy to get your hands on.

How to master the wet from the cockpit

Mastering wet-weather driving requires a blend of skill, patience and adaptability. Some driving techniques are specific to car class (open wheel, prototype or GT), but a few will help you in any car.

Utilise smooth inputs

Firstly, smooth inputs are key in the rain. Use gentle throttle and brake inputs to avoid sudden loss of traction, especially in cars that don’t have assists such as ABS or TC that could otherwise lend you a helping hand. On the whole, the less aggressive on the car you are, the better – and that’s particularly true on a drying track where tyre management is key.

Smooth steering inputs are crucial for maintaining control on slippery surfaces too, which is especially noticeable if rain has not fallen evenly on a track surface and you are crossing from slippery sections to grippier areas. Generally, it is easy to get stressed when you’re behind the wheel and the rain is lashing down but don’t let it get to you. The more relaxed you are, the more in tune with the car you will be, the less you will fight it and the faster you will be.

Don’t be afraid to try something new

Secondly, experiment with different racing lines to avoid rubbered areas of the track that become slippery in the rain; look for places with better grip away from the traditional racing line. As the rain falls, areas of the track that have been rubbered in become slick, making the racing line feel akin to an ice rink, so you have to always adjust your approach to corners lap by lap. 

The stereotypical “karting line” where you venture away from the standard optimal path around the lap to search for grip is simulated well in iRacing so you’re going to need to leave your muscle memory from those dry weather hotlaps behind.

iRacing’s force feedback helps with this as it accurately conveys the interaction between the car and the wet track surface, including the feedback on aquaplaning and loss of grip due to puddles.

Stay on your toes

Always stay vigilant and anticipate changes in grip levels in the wet, especially around corners and braking zones. Puddles and standing water can drastically alter handling characteristics so be prepared to adapt your driving style based on changing track conditions. Wet weather requires constant assessment and adjustments to maintain optimal performance.

As for the race strategy, plan pit stops and tyre changes based on weather forecasts and track conditions. A perfect pitstop call can absolutely make your race, but similarly, it can destroy it just as quickly – being on the wrong compound in iRacing is particularly punishing. Make sure to monitor weather updates during the race using iRacing’s HUD to make informed decisions about tyre selection and strategy.

Final thoughts

Mastering wet weather driving in iRacing is a challenging yet rewarding experience that adds a new dimension to the simulator. By understanding the features of the rain simulation, optimising your car setup, and applying essential driving tips, you can navigate wet races with confidence and skill. 

If you need help to improve your driving fundamentals or extract the maximum out of the wet races, explore Coach Dave Academy’s Never Lift driving course or individual coaching. With our help, you can become proficient in wet-weather driving and elevate your racing skills. Prepare for the unexpected, stay focused and embrace the challenge of mastering wet weather driving in iRacing!

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