How To Get Out of Rookie in iRacing

When you start your iRacing journey you'll be in the Rookie class. There isn't much variety in Rookie, so progressing to D class should be your main priority. Here is the best and fastest way out of Rookie.

iRacing Mazda Mx-5 racing

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Your journey through iRacing starts in the Rookie class. And this can actually be one of the hardest places to race in iRacing. Everybody who is new to iRacing is placed in Rookie to cut their teeth and learn the tricks of the trade.

This makes Rookie a rather unpredictable place to race. Many sim racers who have transitioned from other racing games to iRacing will approach their racing in the same manner they do in other racing games.

And it’s safe to say we aren’t all the most careful racers when it comes to single-player racing. After all, a bit of bumper to bumper contact in almost any racing game is perfectly fine.

It isn’t good to assume the worst, but when racing against other Rookie racers, you absolutely should. Avoiding incidents with other drivers is the main priority when trying to progress out of Rookie in iRacing.

Below are my top tips for progressing quickly out of the Rookie class and into D class.

How To Get Out of Rookie in iRacing

Before I jump into my fastest method of being promoted out of Rookie, first we need to know what we’re aiming for. The criteria for being promoted from Rookie to D class in iRacing is extremely simple.

You need to achieve the following;

  • A minimum of 2 races (or 4 time trials)
  • A safety rating of 3.00

And that’s it. As soon as you meet those two requirements, you’ll instantly be promoted into D class. You don’t need to wait until the end of a season like you normally would with promotions. The promotion is instant.

Focus on safety rating

With those requirements in mind, you’ll see that the minimum race requirement is incredibly low. Competing in just 2 races is extremely easy to do. This means that the main task will be to increase your safety rating past 3.00.

And increasing your safety rating in Rookie class can be tricky. Not only are you learning a new game with new physics yourself. You also have to contend with other drivers doing the same. And competing in races with up to 11 other rookie drivers who are all looking to learn and improve can be treacherous.

iRacing overtaking

How does safety rating work?

The absolute quickest way to increase your safety rating past 3.00 is to not have any incidents each race. iRacing groups incidents into a range of severity. The worse the incident that you’re involved in, the harder you’ll be punished.

iRacing’s form of punishment is called incident points. The more incident points you rack up during an event, the slower your safety rating will increase. And if you collect too many incident points in a race, your safety rating might even go down.

For a complete explanation of incident points and how they work in detail, read our iRacing safety rating guide.

You can collect incident points for a variety of misdemeanours. Coming off track will net you incident points, as will losing control of your car. However, the highest amount of incident points is given for making contact with other cars and barriers.

The breakdown of incident points is;

  • 0x – Having light contact with the wall or barrier, or having light contact with another car on track
  • 1x – Driving off track
  • 2x – Having hard contact with a wall or barrier or losing control
  • 4x – Having hard or critical contact with another car on track

How to increase safety rating

Your goal while racing in Rookie class in iRacing is to avoid collecting any incident points. Making it through a race with 0 incident points will net you the biggest gain to your safety rating.

If you have an incident-free race in any of the Rookie races (which typically span around 20 minutes per race), you’ll gain around 0.17 safety rating. Taking that safety rating into account, you will need just 3 incident free races to progress out of Rookie.

Below is an image from one of my first ever races in the Global MX-5 series showing a perfect race.

iRacing how to progress out of rookie

The math works out to be;

  • Starting safety rating of 2.50
  • 0.17 safety rating gain per incident-free race
  • After 3 incident-free races, your safety rating would be 3.01

Every incident point you rack up during a race will mean you will be awarded fewer safety rating points at the end of the race. Meaning, that if you have multiple incidents per race, you will have to race in more events to be promoted.

On average, if you exceed around 9 incident points per race, you will be earning a negative safety rating. This means that your safety rating will start to decline.

Don’t push too hard

As mentioned above, you can rack up incident points from things that you do on the track, as well as incidents with other cars. If you drive off track or lose control of your car, you’ll gain some incident points.

Driving off track will gain you 1x incident points, and losing control of your car will gain you 2x incident points.

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To avoid incidents of you losing control or going off track, try to ensure you’re driving within your limits. As soon as you push too hard, that is when you can make mistakes or miss a braking point and end up off track.

It is very easy to push too hard during the heat of a race, especially in the first lap. However, I would advise holding back from pushing to your limit. Instead of making a brave overtake on the car ahead, think about whether it is too close to a 50-50 move.

You don’t have too much to gain from racing hard in Rookie class. Instead, focus on racing safely and within yourself.

I would always recommend jumping into practice sessions before a race. Open practices don’t affect your safety rating, meaning they’re the perfect place to push your limits to see how far you can push your car.

Test out the track limits during a practice session, and find your ideal braking point. Then once you jump into a race, not only do you know where the best place to push and where you should be conservative. But you’ll also be a faster driver from the practice laps you put in.

iRacing How to progress out of rookie class

Avoid incidents

While racing in iRacing’s Rookie classes, you need to remember that every incident you are involved in will slow down your progression. Even the most minor incident and the smallest number of incident points per race will slow your progression.

Taking our example of being promoted in just three races. Imagine that instead of averaging a 0.17 safety rating gain per race for a perfect race, you ended up gaining 3 or 4 incident points per race. This will slow your net safety rating gain down to around 0.08 on average depending on track layout.

With an average gain of 0.08 safety rating per race, you’d need to compete in 7 races before being promoted. That is a lot more than the 3 that you would need if you didn’t have any incidents in each race.

Give other cars space, a lot of space!

As I mentioned above, almost every other car on track will also be jumping into iRacing for the first time as well. Many will be learning the physics and limitations of the game, and many will go above those limits.

Racing in the Rookie series can be one of the most dangerous places to race. Races here will generally have higher incidents as a lot of drivers will lack experience found in other license levels.

It isn’t fair to assume everybody will be low skilled, as there are many who are incredibly fast as soon as they start iRacing. And you can have some extremely fun races in the Rookie series. In fact, some of my most thrilling races came in the Formula Vee and Global MX-5 series. So much so, that I will often jump into a Global MX-5 race if I’m looking for a quick race.

But while your main priority is to increase your safety rating and stay out of trouble, always give other cars space.

I’ve had many incidents in Rookie races where cars will drive into the side of me to push me off track, or punt me from behind in a braking zone. These are some of the incidents that happen when drivers are new to iRacing. And they’re to be expected.

I touched on this a bit earlier on, but even when racing wheel to wheel or fighting for the lead in a Rookie race. You should always leave more space than you would in other classes or other racing sims. Don’t push to your limit and attempt risky overtakes.

Instead, give space to other drivers. Keep an eye on those around you, and stay alert. If you see an incident unfolding ahead, slow down and do your best to avoid it. Remember your goal is to avoid incidents like they’re Pastor Maldonado!

iRacing VR racing

Race back to back races

Moving on from a focus on incidents. Making the most of your racing schedule can increase the speed at which you get out of Rookie class in iRacing.

In fact, would you believe me if I told you that you could progress out of Rookie class in just an hour and a half?

Each discipline in iRacing (Road, Oval, Dirt, Dirt Oval) each has two series for you to race in. In the Road discipline, that’s Formula Vee and Global Mazda MX-5 Cup. The races in these two series happen every 60 minutes. However, they are staggered. So every 30 minutes a new race is starting.

Global Mazda races start on the hour, and Formula Vee races start at half past the hour. And each race lasts around 20 minutes.

This means that you can jump straight into a Formula Vee race just minutes after finishing a Global Mazda race. By doing this, you have almost no downtime. And this method will maximise your time on track and fast track your progression.

If you race your Global Mazda race at 4:00pm, a Formula Vee race half an hour later, and a second Global Mazda race at 5:00pm. This could be enough to get you promoted out of Rookie class. That is assuming that you don’t have any incidents in any of the races.

Don’t rush

While this whole guide is about how to progress out of Rookie in iRacing in the quickest way. My last tip will be to slow down and not rush your progression. If you do get promoted in just 3 races, but you spend all 3 of those races not competing with other drivers. You may end up under prepared for the challenge ahead.

Ultimately, iRacing is extremely competitive, and you’ll want to be racing close to your maximum and getting faster season on season.

But if you cheese your way through Rookie, just to jump into much faster cars. You may end up not being as competitive as you could have been if you’d spent some more time practising and racing in the Rookie series. You may also not be as safe of a driver in wheel to wheel scenarios.

You will naturally progress out of Rookie class at your own speed. The more time you spend in races in the Rookie series, the more prepared you will be for the much more challenging series ahead.

Are there any iRacing promo codes for new members?

iRacing often runs promotional codes giving reduced price memberships. These normally apply to new members only, but sometimes you can pick up a renewal code, so it’s always worth checking.

Read our iRacing promo code guide for a full list of working 2022 iRacing codes.

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Article written by Mjolnir

Mjolnir is one of the main setup creators and content writers for SimRacingSetups. He has had years of experience in sim racing, both competitively and casually. After a decade of sim racing experience, he co-founded to share his passion and knowledge of sim racing and Formula 1 with other sim racers.
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