Arrow McLaren SP’s Robert Wickens says the F1 sim experience helped him in achieving success in iRacing IndyCar Challenge events.
Many of those who have jumped onto the iRacing IndyCar Challenge scene just recently have struggled to keep up with the more experienced campaigners of the virtual world such as Sage Karam, Will Power or Felix Rosenqvist.
However, Wickens has proven himself to be an exception to the rule. The Canadian – who only started iRacing just prior to the second round at Barber – finished eighth in his first event and 26th in the second, where they raced at a oval circuit.
However, his second iRacing IndyCar Challenge was plagued with crashes, and therefore not representative of his pace – although he was using a new system sent by Max Papis. Speaking to media including FormulaRapida.net, Wickens relayed his experience.
The Canadian said the sims as a development driver for varying teams in F1 many years ago helped him with racing in the current times, as he reckons the experience – of some sort – carries over to iRacing IndyCar Challenge, which explains his competitiveness.
“Sim experience, I mean, in terms of the home simulators I have none,” said Wickens. “But experience through simulation, I did a lot of development work for F1 simulators with Red Bull, Mercedes, Williams, Renault. I was the behind-the-scenes guy when I was in Europe in my pursuit of a race seat.
“I’m aware of the simulators, the quirkiness that goes along with them. Every piece of software is a new animal. iRacing does a great job of giving the everyday person the chance to drive a very realistic car. Wickens also spoke about how these experiences in iRacing are the first steps in his journey back into the cockpit of an IndyCar.
“Yeah, I mean, simulation was always step number one for me,” he said. “Unfortunately through one reason or another, it was very challenging to basically do it right. I didn’t want to purchase an Amazon setup, try to learn on that.
“I wanted to build a good foundation that you can evolve and make better. Like I said, I see this as a great training tool for me to make my hand control second nature, but I didn’t want to do it on a budget. That was always the challenge.
“Now obviously with what’s going on in the world, current pandemic, the simulation, the virtual racing, eSports, basically took center stage and made it all reality very quickly. I guess you could say I’m almost a beneficiary of what’s happening in the world right now,” summed up Wickens.
Here’s how Round 3 of iRacing IndyCar Challenge went
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Here’s Sage Karam on essential seat time in iRacing
Here’s Will Power and Graham Rahal on realism of iRacing
Here’s the revised schedule of 2020 IndyCar season