Next month marks five years on iRacing for me, time "I" fly's as they say and so I thought it would be a good time to reflect on how much iRacing has changed since then. In 2017 there was no special events calendar and there was a few leagues in Australia but it was mostly V8's and a few other bits some GT's bit of oval but that was it. Bit different to today where every almost every decent car to drive and race probably has a well run League backed up with in house live race control and and live broadcast, the standard of those two varies somewhat but overall the standard is very good.
When I first got on iRacing I pretty much knew straight away that running a League was going to be where it was at for me but you I don't jump straight in and so I wanted to race in a few different places and see what the landscape was like, some of those experiences lasted one race and some lasted years and one of those is the OSR V8 Development series which is interesting because I HATE the car, it's not fun to drive, it's heavy, braking is hard, it's got way too much power and not enough down force but the interesting things is when I look back at what cars and series I have spent the most amount of time guess what, it's in OSR V8 Dev's! So what does that tell me?
OSR has been around for a long time in fact 39, 12 week season which amounts to 9 years of full time racing without a break! You just don't get to be around that long without doing things mostly right and it is no accident that the V8 Dev's series has become the first and best stepping stone for anyone looking to race the V8 Supercars.
It's hard to have that longevity in anything in this world and being able to do that in the highly volatile and constantly changing sim racing world makes it even more an impressive achievement. The Dev's series has often been maligned as a bit of a crash and bash series and look when I started it kinda was but what has kept OSR going for so long is the way they have continued to develop the series and move with the times.
When one joins iRacing in Australia they quickly discover how Supercar centric Australian Sim racing is, the number one online series in this country is SCOPS which is basically the top level of drivers and there are some serious drivers in there, you could take anyone from the top split and put them in virtually anything else real or sim and they are gonna be on the pace for sure.
It also just happens to be one of the hardest cars on the there to master, very technical car to drive and you need to be good at off corner throttle applications as well as the obvious braking this car requires. Too much power and not enough grip means if you can master this car you can master anything and that along with the fact that it is the number one real life class of tin top racing in this country it seemed like a logical choice for me to start there.
The thing is I suck in the V8 Supercars! I mean I can drive one but I'm 5 seconds off the pace at Bathurst which actually sounds and looks litk a lot but with 23 turns it's .2 or 2 tenths every corner, one tenth going in and one tenth going out, but five seconds is five seconds. I think it's for various reasons, as I said it's probably the hardest car on there, and a combo of I just don't have the speed to race them at the front.
I first raced Devs back in 2017 as it seemed a natural place to start racing the V8's, OSR used to run an open setup race on Wednesdays as well, now replaced by the Formula Vee on that night. Big fields of good drivers to test yourself against it was a lot of fun despite getting beat up somewhat from time to time. I did a few seasons and then started my own League racing which took up 90% of my racing for the next few years until recently when my league racing was having a break and so I wanted to keep racing something regular to keep my eye in so to speak and so I looked around at a lot of different leagues, GT's, Oval stuff etc but I was drawn back to V8 Devs for a few reasons, I know it's a hard car to drive and I kind of wanted to see if I had improved as an overall driver in the last few years.
So I signed up for season 39 Devs and from round one I noticed several majors differences to last time I raced them a few years ago. The most noticeable thing was the overall driving standard which has improved remarkable, probably a reflection of sim racing maturing overall and OSR also now run live Race Control which also makes a difference, the fact that they know someone is there means people are less likely to send it and look to be fair back when I started Devs there was 2 - 3 splits and good luck going over all that especially considering this is a free to enter league.
The other main thing i have noticed is the quality of the setups has improved out fo sight, back when some weeks the set would be not that much and while everyone is in the same boat no one wants to race an understeering dog on a hot track. The setups now are very good, so good I would say you could easily take these to open set races and a good driver would do very well in them.
I always had a top 20 finish in the series overall as one of my goals but never ticked that box and with well over a hundred plus drivers it wasn't easy and so I thought I like a good test and this would be a good chance to see what a few experience had done and see where I am at and I'm happy to say I finished 15th overall out of about 70 drivers this season so the improvement is there even if we don't notice it as we go along.
I would highly recommend OSR V8 Dev's series for anyone looking to get into the V8 Supercars, yes it's hard the car is what I call "deep" and you won't master deep paddling around in the kiddie pool.
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