iRacing - where to start, where to go and how to get there efficiently - a beginners guide, for beginners by a beginner |

iRacing - where to start, where to go and how to get there efficiently - a beginners guide, for beginners by a beginner


AOR iRacing GTE S3 AM Champion & Former S-Mod
Premium Member
Oct 19, 2016
iRacing - where to start, where to go and how to get there efficiently - a beginners guide, for beginners by a beginner

iRacing, as one of the most popular online racing platforms, continues to attract new drivers.
It's a super stable platform with an tremendously competitive and clean driver community.
iRacing is possibly the best multiplayer racing platform out there - and they understand like no other company, how to monetize their position.
(a hidden bonus feature of iRacing: listening to angry americans in voice chat! (no worries, you can mute them))

The high cost is something that might (and should) make you consider your investment, in money and time, into the service.

iRacing charges you first for your membership, not much different from Netflix, Spotify and others.
You can pay monthly, quarterly, annually or every 2 years for the privilege of using the service, servers and free content.
They regularly have offers for new customers at 50% discount, but seldomly offers to renew your subscription at similarly heavy discounts.

My first recommendation is, once you're sure you want to get into iRacing, immediately grab a 2 year subscription at 50% off.
You're likely not getting a better deal once you have an account.

When signing up, consider mentioning a friend who referred you - that friend will get some iracing credits for referring you.

Once you've got your basic subscription sorted, it's time to think what series you want to race in the future.
Planning your "career" is important, as it will save you a ton of money. Trying out as many cars and tracks as possible is not an iRacing thing, unless you've got the money to purchase all content. (lottery jackpot win recommended)

iRacing currently offers 4 categories (and career paths):

Dirt Road
Dirt Oval

I will skip all Dirt and Oval content for now. If anyone wants to write a career guide for that, please do so, I'll be happy to link it from here.

Now, let's look at the numbers that will be the center of your iRacing life:

In iRacing you have a skill rating, showing how competitive/fast you are (iRating), a time trial counterpart for it (ttRating), a Safety Rating (SR) showing how safe a driver you are and a license class, showing a combination of experience and safety, determining which series you can race in.

The license class basically prevents rookies from starting in Formula 1 and wrecking the entire field because of a lack of experience.

i/tt Rating: When you sign up, you start at 1500. When you beat drivers that are faster than you, you gain points. If drivers beat you that are slower, you lose points.
The number of points you gain or lose depend on a bunch of things, incl. the overall strength of the field (all iratings considered), your relative position in that field and other stuff. Rule of thumb: look at your cars number, finish at your car # or higher: gain points, finish lower: lose points.
Don't focus on this early on. It will naturally come to you and dial in a number representing your current strength.

Safety Rating: This is the important one. The safer you drive, the higher the number. The scale is 0-5, with 5 being most safe. You need a good safety rating to be promoted, and a bad one will also drop you in license class.
This is calculated based on how many corners you drive per incident and takes your last 10 (or so) races into account.
incidents are calculated as
1 point: off track / running wide
2 points: contact with a wall or other stationary objects or loosing control of the car (spin)
4 points: contact with another car

Note: Most races also see you disqualified at 17 points total.

License classes:

D class
C class
B class
A class
(Pro license)

You obviously start in rookie and work your way up. To get promoted, you need a safety rating of >3 (>4 for instant promotion) and need to fulfill the minimum participation requirement (MPR), which is usually 4 races or 4 time trials in a series on your current license level. Once you have your MPR, all you need is to get your Safety Rating to the required level. You can use any Rookie or above series for that.

There is a Pro license available too, for the top drivers competing for price money in the big series. To gain a pro license, you need to participate in qualification events/series.
There is also a iRating and Safety Rating requirement, but it's not very transparently documented.

Now, let's look at the different road racing series, and the classes to which they are available.

Each series has a weekly schedule (some exceptions for endurance stuff) and each series runs races many times per day. You can pretty much race on a competitive full grid any time, around the clock.
The tracks change every Tuesday, meaning the iRacing week is Tuesday to Monday.

Note: The schedules are available in the iRacing member area, and iRacing is always publishing 3 months of schedules at a time.
Tracks usually change after 3 months, but you see a bunch of popular tracks coming back season after season.

Note: "Fixed" indicates a fixed setup series.

R Class Series (ROAD)
Global Mazda MX-5 Cup - Fixed
iRacing Production Car Challenge

D Class Series (ROAD)
iRacing Global Challenge - Fixed
iRacing Grand Touring Cup
iRacing Spec Racer Ford Challenge
Ruf GT3 Challenge - Fixed
Skip Barber Race Series

C Class Series (ROAD)
Advanced Mazda MX-5 Cup Series
Blancpain Endurance Pro Series
Grand Prix Legends
Verizon INDYCAR Series
iRacing Formula Renault 2.0 Championship
iRacing V8 Supercars Series
Kamel GT Championship
Porsche iRacing Cup
Pro Mazda Championship
iRacing ProtoGT Series
Radical Racing Challenge

B Class Series (ROAD)
Blancpain Sprint Series
iRacing Classic Lotus Grand Prix
IMSA Sportscar Championship

A Class Series (ROAD)
iRacing Grand Prix Series
iRacing Pro Series - Road

My recommendation is to look at these series and decide on a goal. Then plot the fastest way to get there.
Example: You want to run in IMSA, which is a multiclass series with Daytona Prototypes, GTEs and GT3s.
(GT3s also run in the Blancpain series)

To get into IMSA, you need to get to a B class license, so you need 2 rookie races, 4 D, and 4 C class races or time trials.

Rookie is easy: I recommend running the Mazda MX5 cup, it's a ton of fun and teaches a lot about car handling.
On D class, you can still get around without buying a car, but need to look carefully at the schedules.
You can e.g. wait for a week in which the Grand Touring Cup, Global Challenge or Spec Racer Ford is on a free circuit and run 4 races in one week.
Or, you purchase a car and come back to the series regularly. Skip Barber is hugely popular, an entry level open wheeler series, which is hugely competitive.

Leaving D class behind, C class is more tricky to do without purchases.
The advanced Mazda Cup is your best bet, check for a week on a track you own and go for it.
The C class contains a lot of purchase traps, niche series with a small but loyal following, but often only one race per week. This includes, at this moment, the Grand Prix Legends, V8 Supercars, Kamel GT, ProtoGT and Radical series.
Purchase content for those only if you intent to run them regularly!
The Porsche iRacing Cup is the most popular series here, but the car is a handful and only recommended to seasoned drivers.
Think: Speed and power of a GT3 car, but no ABS, traction control or even downforce. Brake too hard and you spin.
For friends of open wheelers, Formula Renault is worth a look, also considering we're running a popular AOR league with that car.

Once you have your MPR sorted and your SR up, you're on B class - and can start in IMSA or Blancpain as targeted.

A class is only relevant for Formula 1 fans, if that's your target, fulfil your B class MPR, but you will need to purchase content.


1. Get a fuel calculator. There are many available in the iRacing forums. I personally use SODE, which works excellent in VR - as I can completely control it with my voice. It automatically calculates the needed fuel load and makes sure your pit stop is smooth.
2. Safety first. Keep calm. Don't take unnecessary risks. You can always fight to get a position back, but you don't want to spend 20min in the pits, repairing avoidable damage. From my own experience: I blew the engine on my Ferrari 488 GTE in the Petit Le Mans, due to too aggressive shifting (red line). 40min repair time. Not fun...
3. Team racing does not affect your iRating but it does count towards your Safety Rating
4. Practice offline first. Once you know the track, Practice online. Don't jump into a race if you can't run the entire race distance without binning it.
5. It's expensive. It's really expensive. Pace your purchases and plan them. Group purchases into larger bulks to get volume discount.
6. Use the ingame voice chat. It's super helpful in many situations. Ignore angry americans.
7. Get a good setup and run with it. Fiddle around only once you're consistent. Don't tune too much. I recommend the virtual racing school setups.
8. Install trading paints. It syncs custom paints among all drivers. A must have.
9. Don't do donuts or run off track at the end of the race. Your cooldown lap counts towards your Safety Rating.
10. Have fun!
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AOR iRacing GTE S3 AM Champion & Former S-Mod
Premium Member
Oct 19, 2016
Hi all,
hope the above guide provides some value.
Please share your insights, correct me where I am wrong and provide feedback :)


Super Moderator
Staff member
Super Moderator
iRacing Coordinator
PCARS Coordinator
Premium Member
Aug 6, 2016
I will just add that there is a certain pattern in the tracks rotation over multiple seasons. I only know the pattern of the skip barber series, but I think it would be about the same for some other series. This information is from the iRacing forum so I don't think I'm allowed to copy the information directly.

Every season of the Skip barber series will have 2 free tracks and 10 paid additional tracks. After a track has been on the calendar for 3 seasons in a row it will not be on the calendar for atleast the next 3 seasons. A track that's newly added to calendar will be part of the calendar for the next 2 seasons.

So basically if you want to run one particular serie, look which tracks are new for the season you're participating in and buy those. Then you will be assured that you can race those tracks next season aswell (assuming the other series will have a similar pattern to the skip barber). On the other hand you want to avoid buying tracks that have been on the calendar for 3 straight seasons, otherwise you won't be able to race those tracks for atleast 3 seasons (again assuming the other series will have a similar pattern to the skip barber).

If anyone knows how to find the pattern of other series, please let me know.


AOR iRacing GTE S3 AM Champion & Former S-Mod
Premium Member
Oct 19, 2016
yes, there is some sort of a rotation and it's quite safe to buy the usual, popular tracks such as Spa.
They'll come up in most series :)

Scott Newton

Premium Member
Premium Member
Feb 26, 2017
Pretty sure once you receive D licence you start at 1350 iRating but dont quote me on that.

Also need to add the Pro/WC Licence to the list and the Series that are associated with that being 'Blancpain GT Series' & iRacing World Championship Grand Prix Series'. Incase someone that wants to try it and is good enough to reach that level they know it is out there.

In regards to the FR2.0 there are 6 tracks that are retained for the next season and the community votes the other 6 to be brought in and repeats each season. AOR FR2.0 championship runs on the official iRacing schedule so no having to buy separate tracks if you wish to run it alongside the official series.

Might pay to mention if you are buying content, buy it in chunks for that season as there is a discount for buying multiple pieces of content at a time.


AOR iRacing GTE S3 AM Champion & Former S-Mod
Premium Member
Oct 19, 2016
Thanks for your reply! I believe it used to be 1350 but is now 1500. At least I am quite sure I had 1500 when I started last year.
Will add the pro championships later, thanks for the reminder on those.

Good tip on the formula Renault rotation. And I fully agree, bulk purchases are highly recommended :)


AOR iRacing GTE S3 AM Champion & Former S-Mod
Premium Member
Oct 19, 2016

Might be worth adding LMP1 to the info as that has been released since this guide was completed
Cheers, yes, a minor update is needed. I’ll have little time in the next 2 weeks but will try looking into it after that unless someone beats me to it :)
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Really Useful Person
Oct 24, 2016
The 2016 LMP1s are eligible for the iLMS.
The iLMS requires a B license and can be competed in the LMP1,HPD and GTE cars.
The sprint series features races of 60 minutes every couple of hours.
The endurance series features multi-driver races of 360 minutes every fortnight.
The best purchases for this series would be a GTE car(IMSA also) and the tracks featured in Weeks 2,4,6,8,10,12 as that means you can do both the Sprint and Endurance Series.Also, the Sprint grids are bigger on these weeks.
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Premium Member
Premium Member
Feb 26, 2018
@Stephan @GIXXERosg @Kivitagapeidus @Gosutoo
Hey, I found some useful tool in order to know what series you will be able to race in !

Be sure to check the boxes below:

For example, I wanted to know which road series I could do with free content in the following this week and the next one:

This week:


Next week:

So, next week is a really good week because you can rank up to B licence for free !


AOR PCars PC Ginetta GT5 S1 T2 Champion
Staff member
iRacing Coordinator
Feb 28, 2018
I noticed yesterday that half the field in Fanatec Global Challenge is just farming SR and not actually racing.
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Junior Karter
Jan 16, 2019
How many clean races does it take to get to 3? i did one race and got .7 but that was 25 laps or something in the mazda. production car series i belive.


AOR iRacing GTE S3 AM Champion & Former S-Mod
Premium Member
Oct 19, 2016
How many clean races does it take to get to 3? i did one race and got .7 but that was 25 laps or something in the mazda. production car series i belive.
It depends really. Safety Rating is calculated by the number of corners per incident. Tracks with many corners bring a bigger bump than tracks with few.
Keep on racing, keep it clean and you'll get there :)


AOR PCars PC Ginetta GT5 S1 T2 Champion
Staff member
iRacing Coordinator
Feb 28, 2018
ok, I joined. do I set up and run thru Steam?
Probably depends on you vr headset. My WindowsMR headset is using SteamVR. I have no idea about Rift.
I have found no use to install iracing through Steam. You need to open it through their website anyway.
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F1 Senna Equivalent
Apr 1, 2016
could i get nordschlife for the special event coming up, then get one GTE.

the 911 for sound
or the 488 because 488



Pro Karter
Sep 9, 2018
This was awesome, thank you so much for that.

I'm a huge GT sim racer but I have become very excited about the oval series as well.

I'm actually working on a plan for how to progress through it in the most cost effective way. I'll let you know once I type it out and you let me know if it works out.

The only thing I would add is if your interested in the open wheel side the Indy series is another path. But some tracks will have to be purchased.

But that's the same with GT3.

But great article
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Steve Allan

F1 Reserve Driver
May 12, 2019
I've only been doing iRacing for a good month or so, and I came up with an idea to help with spreading out the costs (cause let's face it, iRacing can get expensive).

With the use of a spreadsheet and a word processor (I personally use Excel/word, but the free ones on google should do the trick as well) look for the series/"Career" path that you want to go down. For me, I've gotten the bug for Endurance racing/GT racing. So when iRacing releases the next season of racing just before Week 13 starts use the find function of the word processor and type in the tracks that are mentioned (for this example I'll use Silverstone) and then put the resulting figure into a spreadsheet. Do that for all the races you that feature in D, C, B, A and even pro licences, and then you will know roughly how many times a track is used. Then when you've got a bit of money in the bank or credit card. You can purchase the right tracks when you want/need them.

In regards to cars, this is more of a subjective purchase. Like I said I'm really into endurance stuff, so for myself, I would rather get cars that would offer more fun in terms of racing (and after seeing the real life Le Man race last weekend clearly it's going to be GTE/GT3 cars) so go for cars that you like in other racing games/real life. So for myself, I love the Ferrari 488, so I got those. Of course over the course of using iRacing, if I were lucky to be asked to join someone's team and they used a Ford, Mercedes. Then, of course, would be a different purchase altogether.

I hope you guys don't mind me throwing this idea out there. But I've done past expensive (or could become really expensive) hobby's in the past (mostly tabletop wargaming) and tried to use that experience and knowledge for iRacing.


AOR PC GT3 S12 T4 Champion
Premium Member
Jul 9, 2016
@Stephan I finally *cough* worked on iRacing a bit, thanks again for laying out how to advance as I looked at this thread multiple times. Went from R to B in 12 races plus a few TT's. I made some dumb errors along the way but it was a learning curve. Rookie is frustrating only because of the people in there but after that iRacing becomes enjoyable. D class and Skip Barber's is a lot of fun! C to B was Rarri GTE and after setting up the peddles right I was able to stay in the top 10 - 5 while still avoiding a lot of people lol.

Thanks again for a great post!