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iRacing » iRacing Series Explained – How Series Work
iRacing series are the backbone to every iRacing season. They allow you to compete in different cars and racing disciplines. Here is the ultaime guide to how iRacing series work.
Every racing discipline in iRacing has its own set of series for you to compete in. Each individual series consists of a different set of cars, different tracks and rule sets. These are designed to emulate the structure of real-world championships. You can compete in different series each season to increase your iRating, safety rating and to go for championship wins.
iRacing series give your calendar and career structure. They serve to give you a championship to compete for every season. They also allow you to race in different cars, on different tracks with different stipulations.
During your time with iRacing, you will spend your time participating in different series across different racing disciplines. Every discipline has a wide variety of racing series to participate in, with each series spanning 12 weeks. These give you structure and a championship to fight for.
Before we jump into more detail about iRacing series, first we should look at the weekly structure that forms the iRacing calendar. Every year is divided into four individual seasons. Each season consists of a 12-week championship, plus an extra 13th week called “fun” week.
Within these 12 weeks, every series will host races across 12 tracks. These tracks will rotate on a weekly basis. So the first week of each series will consist of a single track to race on. Then the second week will be a different track and so on.
You can practice and race on each of these tracks as many times as you want each week, and your average result will be taken from your best 25% of races. I’ll talk more about championship points and scoring a little later on in this guide.
For more information on iRacing seasons and how they work in detail, read our iRacing seasons guide.
As you progress through the licenses and unlock more series to race in, you will start to notice different types of series. Each series has its own race structure, which can include different length race sessions as well as some requiring pitstops due to duration and your fuel burn.
There are also certain series that come in both open and fixed formats. These refer to the car setups that you can use in that particular series.
When deciding between entering an open or a fixed setup series, you should consider whether you want to adjust your car setup. If you do like to spend time tinkering around with your car setup then the open series is the best one for you.
You can also use iRacing setup shops such as Premier Racing Setups and Coach Dave Academy to download iRacing car setups. These setups are normally created by iRacing professionals and are among the best car setups you can use in iRacing.
A general rule of thumb when choosing between fixed and open series is that an open series will generally be more competitive. This is because most of the participants of an open series will spend a lot longer practising and tuning their own car setup. Or they will be using professional car setups.
As I mentioned above, fixed series doesn’t give you the option of creating your own custom car setup. However, some fixed series does offer multiple preset setups to choose from. These can include high and low downforce setups. This gives you a little variety when trying to gain a competitive edge over other racers.
However, due to the jump in and go nature of fixed car setups. It is in the fixed series that you’ll find racers who spend less time practising. This isn’t always the case, as you will still have a lot of fun and competitive racing in fixed series. But a general rule of thumb is that open series is slightly more competitive.
The majority of series in iRacing are single-car sprint races. This means that you are competing without a teammate, and are racing purely by yourself against a field of other iRacers. However, there are some series that are specifically classed as endurance race series.
Endurance series allow you to enter with a second player who serves as your teammate. Your teammate allows you to swap drivers mid-race, giving both drivers stints throughout the race duration. They can also act as your spotter and engineer when they aren’t in the car.
Endurance series races can be extremely fun if teaming up with a friend, and if you’re looking for a serious challenge in iRacing.
The racing series that are available to you are entirely dependent on your license level. Different licenses allow you to compete in different race series.
When you start as a rookie, you’ll only have two race series for you to compete in within each discipline. As you progress up the license tier, from Rookie to D, C, B and A classes, you’ll unlock more race series that you can enter.
If you move up a license class, you can still participate in any series that is accessible in a lower class. This allows you to stick with cars you know and feel comfortable with, instead of forcing you into different cars.
As mentioned, when you start, your Rookie license will only give you access to two series. There are two series for every discipline when you start. Higher licenses will unlock more race series. Typically, as you improve your license class, you will gain access to faster cars and more competitive series.
While you will still be competing with drivers that have a similar iRating to you. The series generally become more competitive due to the amount of time required to progress your license. You can only get promoted through racing safely in a range of races. This means, typically racers in higher license classes are more experienced. Although this isn’t always the case.
For a full list of every series within each license, read our complete iRacing progression guide.
During each season, you can register and participate in as many series as you like, as long as you meet the entry requirements. Participating in multiple series in iRacing will almost always increase your time commitment each week. However, it’s a great way of racing different cars every week.
A good way to consider whether multiple series is a good idea is to break down your time commitment per series. The example below uses a fairly average time commitment to work out how much time would need to be spent on iRacing each week.
If competing in just a single race every week with a few hours of practice and a single qualifying session, you’d require around 3-4 hours per week per series. IT can be a good idea to practice for longer before racing, especially if you don’t know or feel comfortable on a track. Also, more races can help you improve your overall championship points earnt each week.
That means, at the very minimum, each series you participate in will require around 4 hours of time. That is a complete evening of sim racing, or a good few days if taken in 1-hour sessions.
To compete in multiple series each season, you would need around;
Of course, you can forgo the practice sessions and jump right into races across multiple series. This will considerably lower the time commitment per series. However, unless you are extremely comfortable with multiple cars and tracks, this can impact your performance potential.
Each race series has a running total of championship points. However, these are not restricted to the other racers who you race against in an individual race. Instead, these are earnt in each race you compete in. Then your championship points from each week’s event are totalled throughout the season. You are then placed in the overall championship standings for that particular series.
Your championship points earned aren’t accumulated throughout the week. So if you participate in multiple races, you won’t receive all of the championship points that you earned in every race.
Instead, weekly points are determined on an average of your best 25% of races. This means that if you suffer a poor result in a race. You can participate in another race to potentially improve your championship point earnings for that week.
This 25% average means that if you participate in 4 or fewer races in a week, only your best result will count. If you participate in 5-8 events, your best two race results will be averaged to form your championship point earnings. If you race 9-12 races in a single week, your best three results will be averaged.
You will also earn more championship points depending on the strength of your competitors. Every race you participate in is valued by the Strength of Field (SOF). The SOF is a calculation of every other competitor’s iRating. The higher the average iRating, the more championship points will be awarded.
This means that you can earn more points for finishing first against stronger opposition than you would if you finished first against weaker opponents.
Your overall number of season championship points is your total race week points. This takes your points from every week within a season and totals them up to form your overall season points.
Much like your weekly points are calculated by only taking your top 25% of race results, your season points are calculated from your best 8 races from a full 12 week season. This means that if you miss some weeks, you won’t be penalised. As long as you compete in at least 8 races each season, you will receive full season points.
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.
You can use the links below to shop for your favourite sim racing products, or for any products that we may have recommended. These links are affiliate links, and will earn us a small commission, with no additional cost for you.
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