I often talk with beginners on my stream, and I love it. One question that I wanted to answer in detail though, to both beginners and seasoned iRacers, is the difference between iRating (ir) and Safety Rating (sr), but even more, what to do with it.
What is iRating (IR)
iRating is basically an indicator of how you perform on iRacing. Although it sounds simple, it is a pretty advanced calculation that can be difficult to grasp. In simple terms, you lose iRating for finishing in the lower “half” of the grid, and win iRating for finishing in the front part of the grid. Depending on your skill, compared to the rest of the grid, “half” is not exactly middle, and may be a larger part of the grid. It roughly works like the ELO system you have in chess tournaments. You either gain or lose iRating, depending on where you finish your races, but it also considers your competitors and their ratings, so that you don’t gain any easy advantages.
What is Safety Rating? (SR)
Safety rating is an indicator of how safe you are on track. It is a very cold way of calculating how many incidents (x’s) you have had, divided with the number of corners you have gone through. It does not consider if it was your fault, or the other drivers’ fault. You get X’s by going off track, losing control, having contact with other cars. An incident point is a point, even if you go off track to avoid an accident, or if you get hit by an other car without it being your fault. In a way you need to be prepared for anything at all times.
This of course favors very careful drivers and does not encourage racing. You will gain SR very fast by minding your own business and staying away from fights on the track. At some point though, you’ll have to put some SR on the line, to gain IR. It’s up to the driver to decide when it is worth it or not.
SR affects your license class (D to A), that in turn opens up the races and events that you can join. In my opinion, SR is way more important than IR even though you don’t always have a say on how it goes.
How to use it?
The short and easy answer to this is don’t!
This is also the reason why I feel strongly about this, and putting it into a post here. I see way too many racers using IR as an indicator of how good they are, and trying to affect it. Either staying away from tracks that they don’t like or not joining in or events that they are not sure they will gain IR from.
iRating is a tool to place you in a split that fits you. It is a measurement tape that measures your progress and growth in your racing career. Staying away from races you don’t feel you can win, is like standing on your toes when being measured. At some point, you’ll have to get off your toes, and get back to where you really are. Instead, try to live up to the iRating you really are, and grow up to where you want to be. You will not get better by staying away from racing that you don’t like or tracks that you don’t know. Instead, you will get better, and grow your skills, by getting more experience, joining races, and practicing what you don’t feel comfortable in.
Don’t let iRating (IR) affect how you use iRacing. Use iRacing to get better at racing, and your IR will eventually get better.