When we think about racing we mostly think about turning fast laps, qualifying well, and then finishing it all off with a podium finish or a win. The sad reality is that’s just not how racing works. The truth can often be much harder to swallow. It can even be frustrating. Let’s talk briefly about frustration in racing and having realistic expectations.
Causes of Frustration
When racing, there are all kinds of things that can get in the way of a top finish. Lack of practice, bad qualifying stint, or even just getting tangled up in traffic. Maybe your setup just isn’t where it should be for this race. Maybe your pit strategy isn’t great for this race. Maybe your nerves got the better of you and you’ve run off the track. Or maybe it’s as simple as being stuck behind a slower car who is heavily defending.
Whatever the reasons, frustration can ruin your race. Allowing yourself to become angry or frustrated only compounds the problems you’re already having.
As hard as it may be you must try to stay focused and calm. Things may have already gotten off to a less than great start so now it’s time to focus on your race pace and make up as much as you can.If you’re stuck in heavy traffic, then keeping your cool is very important. Taking somebody else out because you’re pushing too hard is unacceptable. You should never ruin somebody else’s race because you were frustrated. Keep your head. Keep digging and try to safely improve your situation.
What you expect going into a race is going to largely affect how your race goes. If you were slow in practice and slow in qualifying, I’ve got some bad news for you. You’re probably going to be slow in the race too. Qualifying mid pack and trying to pass 10 cars with a dive bomb is not real racing. It’s a bad attempt to make up positions on cars that are probably faster than you. Diving into the inside on turn 1 causes more crashes than anything else in racing. If you’re a real racing driver and you believe at all in respectful racing, you don’t do this.
Instead try to be positive about where you are starting. If you’re mid pack, then focus on racing your race and see if you can make up some spots. Some of the best racing you’ll ever have in your racing career (real or sim) will be mid pack. Good battles for positions happen all through the field, not just up front. Focus on what you can salvage through good races instead of resorting to desperate racing
Racing beyond your limits will result in crashes, runoffs, and even a DNF (did not finish). A DNF is the worst-case scenario here. Instead of losing everything because you were frustrated, try to make the best out of the situation.
As a long-time sim racer, some of the best battles I’ve ever experienced were in the middle or even the back of the pack. Focus on what’s good and let the rest go. You’ll have a much more fulfilling experience and much less stressful racing career.