Oculus Rift and other stuff that makes me faster

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When it comes to the question, what makes one fast, it often comes down to better gear. Better pedals, better wheel, a stable rig. Well, there are Aliens out there with a simple Logitech Driving Force wheel. I would say it is not the “better” gear it is the gear that makes you comfortable, that suits your needs. When there is nothing that distracts you from the driving and you are confident to get through the next corner, then you are fast.

I just passed the 1600 iRating mark. For me this is something special. I never had 1600 iRating before and if you check the career stats page, you will see that I was down to under 900 at a point in time after some bad luck. The rise startet in February, just before the Sebring 12h race. I had a Thrustmaster 300 Wheel with standard pedals. I still have the wheel but just before Sebring, my break pedal broke. I was lucky to get new ones just in time, as I had only two days left. Even with the TM pedals, my “deserved” iRating was about 1200.

The new pedals were Fanatec Club Sport V3 pedals and I also ordered the brake performance kit. When they arrived I had a few hours to get used to the new pedals and I needed around five laps. It went quite well. I was at least, not slower than before. With time I got used to the brake and installed the Brake Performance Kit. It made me not only a bit faster but, more important, more consistent. I got closer to my optimal laps. Most of the time I’m in 1 or 2 seconds slower than my optimal lap, sometimes closer or matching.

I also built a kind of rig. Because I’m using an office chair I pushed myself back by pushing the pedals and it was quite annoying, because I had to use more of my brain to actually not pushing me backwards than driving the car. So I built a wooden plate for my pedals that also held the chair in its place. That helped a lot with stability and also I stayed at the same spot all the time.

Then I got the Oculus Rift. At first I was not that convinced to even get one. But I got one eventually to test it out and it just changed my world. Beeing actually “in” the car is and beeing able to just look around is such a game changer, you just have to experience it yourself to believe it. You can actually see distances and look at the apex of a corner. I used to have a single monitor setup. So every time someone was beside me, I was not able to see who he was. Most of the time I was just too precautionary. So in a fight for a position I was more likely to back down as I didn’t want to wreck anybody. Now I can see this and I’m able to get more closely to the opponent without a collision. I also got more consistency in terms of hitting a lap time within a second around the Nürburgring Nordschleife.

So I improved with all those new gear. I got faster and more consistent. My iRating improved and it goes up, I don’t know for how long. Yes that is true, but foremost it made me comfortable. I had to use less attention for things like the position of the brake pedal, because I’m now using a load cell and I don’t have to get used to different distances to the wheel because my chair is fixed. And I know where my opponents are, at least most of the time. This made me more comfortable and more confident that I can go through the next corner at that speed. It made it more intuitive for me. And that is, I think, makes me faster in the long run.

So the question you should ask yourself, when you are planning to buy new gear, will it solve a problem that I have while racing. Is there something that I always have to be aware of that distracts me from concentrate on driving. If this isn’t the case it will most likely doesn’t bring you any advantage. But at least you have new shiny gear. If that alone makes you happy, that’s also ok.

That is my approach to the question of gear. What do you think?

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