I am currently in the process of completing ‘Sim Racing MasterClass’ course from Driver 61. I admit I went into it a little sceptical about the benefits of such a programme, and these are my thoughts so far…
Firstly, what is the Driver 61 Sim Racing MasterClass? Well, according to Head Coach Scott Mansell, the focus is to help sim racing drivers ‘ learn and perfect your core racing techniques ‘, with the aim of unlocking your own personal potential to achieve faster and more consistent lap time within your simulation of choice.
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Sounds great, but for someone such as me who considers myself a fairly decent and experienced driver, I went into this pretty unsure about what benefits I might realistically find. If I’m being perfectly honest, I suspected this would be more aimed at an absolute beginner level, and for someone of my experience level I worried it might become a little tiresome to complete as I got into the main thrust of the course.
I was wrong….
Having now almost completed the course, I’ve come away very pleasantly surprised about not only the level of depth the coaches are able to go into about specific driving techniques and styles, but the accessible way in which the content is delivered to the end user. The course has been run on iRacing, which is not a title I’m particularly familiar with, so my first worry was a lack of proficiency within the sim would ultimately hold back my potential to perform at my usual level, and maybe even mask some of my driving behaviours for the coaches to be able to assess.
Pleasingly, the way the course is designed supports learning at your own pace. Mixing up pre-session learning exercises with additional video content, I had the opportunity to practice and fully understand what each live coached session would entail ahead of the date, giving me some time and space to ensure I fully understood the subject matter, and ensure I can reasonably regularly replicate those techniques in the little Mazda MX-5 Cup car within the sim. Considering how ridiculously busy I’ve been in recent weeks – that feature was an absolute blessing!
Something else I like about the course is the wealth of content available to watch / read and review at your own pace. This is something that really suited my learning style, as often I would tap back into the videos to double check I’m doing the right thing, or to re watch and understand something that we are particularly focusing on in that given week. Again, with a fraught schedule of things I’m trying to do on a daily basis in the real world, the opportunity to keep dipping back in and refreshing myself was very welcome indeed.
Did it work?
This is the most important question of all I suppose. Did the tips, tricks and techniques taught by the Driver 61 team actually translate into some useful learnings out on the circuit? Put simply, yes. Of course some of the subject matter tackled things I’m already well versed in, but even then is was a positive experience to have a qualified and experienced driver reaffirming to me I’m doing the correct actions within the car, and these skills are easily transferable outside of the iRacing platform, so I’m able to use these lessons across the board with my favourite racing sims. Great!
I did pick up several new techniques as well, and from those techniques I have been able to add new skills into my driver armoury, that have (or will soon) come much more naturally to me as I continue to practice. My instructor has informed me that these will soon become more of a ‘muscle memory’ action than an active thought, allowing me to then be able to transfer my spare mental capacity into other aspects of my racing such as race craft / strategy / car condition etc. Since taking these lessons into practice, I’ve found I’m able to drive quicker over a single lap, but much, much more importantly to me, I now have a more stable and consistent approach to the way I drive out on circuit. Awesome.
Would I recommend the course?
The short answer is a resounding yes. As mentioned previously, I wondered if this would be a course more aimed at those new to sim racing, but with the way the content is presented, the level of detail in the resources available to review and of course most importantly of all, the live driver coaching, I’m now firmly of the belief that drivers of all skill and experience level can learn practical and beneficial skills and techniques to take into their virtual racing.
How Can I Get Involved Going Forward?
The next batch of registrations for the Driver 61 Pure Pace MasterClass are set to open from Saturday June 27th. Places are once again limited in number, and are open to drivers of all skill and experience levels. To register interest in taking part, and learn more about the course, visit THIS LINK.
RaceDepartment Premium Members can register for the course 2 days early, beginning June 25th. Discount link will is available in the Premium Member Discounts forum now.
How Much Does It Cost?
The standard price of the course, including access to the online materials and driver training sessions is $99.99. Thanks to our relationship with the team over at Driver 61, RaceDepartment Premium members will receive a 25% discount on course bookings, bringing the cost down to just $74.99.
Please note, the course costings are under what can be described as ‘early access’ pricing, and as such is likely to increase in cost over the coming months.
Does It Make You Faster?
I can only speak from my own experience, but to find out the answer that question, watch the video at the head of this article!
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