So you want to become a well-known road racer in the virtual version of America’s favorite road series?
The road to IMSA is very similar to that of other road series. Your quest to the top will take you through many different races and types of automobiles. You can look at the Blancpain Endurance Championship for more ideas.
For Rookies, I would suggest spending a majority of your time in the iRacing Production Car Challenge. This will be your first introduction into multi-class racing. This series pits the Pontiac Solstice against the Mazda MX-5 Roadster. These cars are similar in power, so there is not a large speed discrepancy, which is one of the most dangerous features of multi-class racing.
The obvious series for this level is the Grand Touring Cup. The Grand Touring Cup is a great series with a diverse selection of cars. For further advancement I would suggest the Solstice or the Mustang. Unfortunately the Jetta, though interesting because it is a TDI, is a real niche car, and there is no real equivalent at upper levels.
This series features a notable speed difference between the classes. Mustangs are the fastest, followed by the Jettas, and finally the Solstices. Enter into the series with the Solstice because it is a free car, and upgrade to the Mustang if you wish. You can also try your hand at some Cadillac Cup Racing to experiment with a little more power.
If you are thinking about racing prototypes, I would suggest doing some racing in the Spec Racer Ford. It will get you use to the open cockpit environment that you will see in the prototypes.
When you feel you have been able to grasp multi-class racing. Feel free to move up to Class C.
Again, the series diverge depending on what you which IMSA class you want to race in (GT or Prototype). Due to programming limitations, the iRacing IMSA series only simulates the Chevrolet C7 Daytona Prototype and GT classes (“Porsche” 911 and Ford GT).
For the GT racers, Class C offers the RUF cup (“Porsche” 911) which would be a great place for the aspiring GT class racer. Unfortunately this is a fixed series, so you will not learn how to set up the car. I would suggest taking time to learn how to set up a road car because the IMSA series is an open setup series.
For the Prototype racers, the Prototype Challenge is the series for you. This series features two different cars. The Riley Prototype is a maneuverable smaller track car and the Honda HPD Prototype is what is commonly seen as a P2 car in endurance racing.
Once you feel comfortable in your respective car and you have completed the minimum requirements, feel free to move up to Class B.
The IMSA series is a Class B series so you have concluded your journey. You need to work your way up to the top split of the IMSA series to really make your mark. Unfortunately, there is no World Championship for IMSA, the top split of the series is assigned to be the World Championship. Usually, the top drivers of the series agree on a single night to compete and this is considered the World Championship race.
Image credit: iRacing.com, onwheelstv.com
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