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DICKINSON: Sim, School, Workout… Repeat

Moorespeed’s Riley Dickinson files his latest Sportscar365 column during the extended racing downtime…

Photo: IMSA

Last month’s column was about the event in St. Petersburg, what we thought would be the season opener for the IMSA Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama.

Our season opener has been rescheduled, kicking off at the Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen (June 25-28) with the IMSA WeatherTech series.

This month’s entry will be about what I’ve been up to since then, and what is on the schedule for this week!

To say that sim racing has taken the motorsports world by storm would be an understatement. Various series involved with all types of motorsport have taken the plunge into this “virtual world” and this has allowed everyone at home to be able to still watch their favorite types of racing.

From the driver prospective it’s helped to not only satisfy my itch to drive, but most importantly Sim racing has given me the chance to compete at a high level and keep my senses sharp.       

Most recently, I was invited to race in the IMSA iRacing Pro Series.

I jumped at the opportunity and drove my newly designed Moorespeed/Hurley Haywood themed Porsche 911 RSR. It was the second round of the championship at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca.

Image: iRacing

This was my first ever pro race on iRacing as well as my first time competing at the IMSA WeatherTech level.

The race consisted of a full field of 50 IMSA drivers as well as other Pro drivers all in GTLM cars. Each driver/team had to bring their own setup to the event just like in the real world.

David Moore and I went through our normal race weekend procedures and treated this event as if it was the real thing, which quite honestly was pretty refreshing to do. 

The event itself was formatted just like the real world with a practice session, a 15-minute qualifying session, and an hour and a half long race. There was a competition caution in the middle of the race, which turned out to be quite important for me.

In qualifying, I had decent pace but failed to put down a quality lap, so I ended up in P35.

At the start of the race, I was caught up in a first lap melee which resulted in heavy damage to my car; However, the car was still drivable and I knew that all I needed to do was ride it out until the competition caution – to get a full virtual repair.

It took a few extra seconds, but my virtual pit crew got the job done quick…wish it was that easy in real life!

After the caution my Porsche 911 RSR was simply on rails, and I was able to slowly pick my way through the field to end up finishing 15th. 

Photo: Riley Dickinson

I was very impressed throughout the entire event with how real it felt. Everyone that competed, treated this like a real race and not a “video game”. For me it was just as intense as the real deal and maybe even more so.

From a fan’s perspective, even though this racing isn’t taking place in the real world, the level of competition is still extremely high, and the racing is as good, and possibly even better.

If you haven’t latched onto this new wave of virtual racing yet because you feel like it’s “not real” or “it’s just a video game”, I would highly recommend giving it a shot.

Our next IMSA iRacing Pro Series event is this Thursday, April 30th, at 6 p.m. EST and we are headed to Mid-Ohio for round three of the championship.

You can catch all the action on iRacing’s YouTube, Facebook, and Twitch channels where there will be a live stream for you to watch.

Also starting this week is the ACI Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge, which is going to be a 6-round championship. This series will travel to Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA tracks starting with Watkins Glen on Tuesday, April 28th.

The series will essentially be a virtual Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA with drivers from the series.

Like the GT3 Cup, this will be a single-make series, so all will be driving the spec Porsche 911 that is run in Porsche’s premier driver development series across the world.

You can catch Round 1 of the championship at 6 p.m. EST Tuesday night on ApexRacingTv’s YouTube channel, where you can watch via a live stream. 

Photo: Riley Dickinson

Last month I briefly touched on what I’ve been up to during this “continued offseason”, outside of just sim racing.

The overhauled workout program continues, and it is still primarily running, mixed in with a few other things. Since the last column, I have been chipping away at building additional running endurance, and in past four weeks I have logged a little over 100 miles.

Something else that I have been experimenting with is cycling. I have done a few long-distance rides and starting to appreciate it.

It’s a completely different workout and engages many other parts of my body. It has been cool to see the progress so far from my new regimen, and looking forward to seeing where I end up in June. 

I am sure many can relate to the current situation with virtual education. Whether you are a parent or a student, you are having to adapt to this new style of schooling.

For me, being a senior in a public High School, it has been an odd way to end the year. Our return date was originally pushed back a month, and recently that has changed again with the return to a normal school year being canceled.

Like many around the world, I’ve had to adjust to this new way of learning which is entirely online. It’s been quite a change of pace as I’m sure it has been for everyone.

I’ll admit, my first Zoom class meet was a bit awkward to say the least for everyone. Now it’s become a routine just like school was before. A few weeks to go, then a virtual graduation is in the works!

The good news with all of this that we still have racing.

Think about it, there are no other major Esports venues, no basketball, football, baseball….or anything else.

Thank you to IMSA, iRacing, and so many others for developing a format that allows us to compete in the virtual world. There is no question that all of us are ready to get back to the track, but for now, this is the next best thing so we might as well embrace it!

Riley Dickinson (@RileyD253) is the 2020 recipient of the IMSA Hurley Haywood GT3 Cup Scholarship, competing in Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama with Moorespeed.

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