Virtual tire management a key to success at virtual VIR

May 29, 2020

Virtual tire management a key to success at virtual VIR

May 29, 2020

Thursday night’s IMSA iRacing Pro Series saw a podium filled with three different automotive brands. It also showcased how the drivers for those brands handled their virtual Michelin tires, as conditions at virtual VIRginia International Raceway cooled from start-to-finish in the 90-minute race.

The iRacing simulation works to mirror weather conditions as close to reality as possible. As such, track temperatures change over the course of a race, similar to real life.

At virtual VIR Thursday night, the track temperature cooled six degrees after pit stops. What began as 92 degree track temperatures cooled to 86.

WATCH: Congratulatory message from Tony Ménard, director of motorsport, Michelin North America

Race winner Kenton Koch felt more at ease racing his virtual Ford GT in the second half of the race.

Photo: iRacing/LAT

“It was more or less as conditions got cooler, the tires fell off less, and the fuel burn outweighed the tire deg,” Koch said. “Earlier the deg was more and the pace shifted. It was great to be able to go quicker in the second stint.”

Second-placed Shane van Gisbergen, racing a virtual Porsche 911 RSR, was adapting to a new car. The New Zealander had raced a BMW in the last few rounds. He’s become known for his tire-saving ability in the second half of races in this series. Lead commentator John Hindhaugh of IMSA Radio often notes this during the iRacing broadcasts.

Photo: iRacing/LAT

“The last car was really strong on tires too,” van Gisbergen said. “We put a lot of pressure on the Ford.

“For me, it’s about not driving over the limit. The tires here in the sim are quite different to real life. I just start easy, and it pays back later.

“It’s a fine art, but you always adapt. Never having done a long run (with this car), I didn’t know what to expect. But seeing the track was cooler I knew it would be better.”

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