What is Hot Lapping in Sim Racing?
Have I already told you that sim racing is for almost everyone?
Our favorite Sim Racing games have many fans, but we have different preferences. Some of them are racers, some are drifters, and some, are hot lappers.
In this post, I will tell you a bit more about it.
Hot Lapping is a part of racing
In the vast majority of known racing series, starting positions are determined by qualifying time.
What takes place during them is hot lapping, which basically is trying to make the best possible lap time.
What matters is what the stopwatch shows. It doesn’t matter if you run out of fuel right after your lap. It doesn’t matter if you save some tires for later. You’re driving at the limit of your own abilities to make a single, perfect lap.
Hot Lapping doesn’t end with qualifying, and certainly not in sim racing. Hot Lapping never lies because we measure our own results. Either we are better than we were yesterday, or we are not.
To start hot lapping in sim racing, basically, you just need to choose your favorite track and vehicle, set the car for two laps (slower outlap + your hot lap), choose the softest possible tires, and as little fuel as you can to maximize the result. Then push as hard as you can to achieve the best time.
Some sim racing games even have special hot lapping modes. They allow you to choose the perfect weather conditions, or even turn off tire degradation and fuel consumption – then you can push lap after lap.
Does Hot Lapping help you to improve your skills?
Yes. Hot Lapping is one of the most important training elements for any sim racer. It allows us to master a given track and significantly improve our understanding of the vehicle.
Before we start qualifying or racing, even if we don’t like hot lapping, we should train the track and the car, practice different setups, and check our lap times.
It is best to always try to reach the top of your own abilities, because thanks to hot lapping, you may find that you have a chance to find a few extra parts of a second.
For instance, when I was playing in the league, I already knew my car fairly well. I had a good feeling in the car and at the end of the season, I was in the top 3. I felt quite confident. The next track was the Nürburgring, which I know really well. So I knew the track and the car. Theoretically, I was ready for qualifying… Only theoretically. Thanks to hot lapping, I saw how this particular car is doing on this particular track, I found the right settings for myself and I improved my time by over a second in comparison to the first laps. Hot lapping is an essential part of your training.
Keep in mind that if you like to race against others, not just against the clock, don’t limit your training to hot lapping. It’s awesome, but you won’t learn too many racing tactics in it.
Why is Hot Lapping so special?
You might be wondering what’s so cool about hot lapping that some people only focus on it.
Since I love hot lapping, here are my thoughts:
- Hot Lapping is easy. Not in the way you think, though. It’s easy because usually, it doesn’t force you to play for long. You can quickly jump in and leave the game wherever you want. I’m a person who is obligated to be AFK almost all the time, so it’s very comfortable to me, and I’m sure it could be for many of you as well.
- Hot Lapping is measurable. I love seeing progress, and the stopwatch shows it better than almost anything I know. Winning a race is never as satisfying to me as beating a good time. Many times I was able to win the race because I came across some lame drivers. However, there was never too much luck involved when I was doing great lap times. I was able to beat the time only because I did well.
- Hot lapping is the best form of training. It may not teach you much about racing intelligence, but it will teach you the track, the car, the braking, choosing the racing lines, and basically almost everything you need to be fast. Constantly racing against mediocre drivers won’t teach you much, except how to avoid them well. It’s also a useful skill, of course, but it’s not the same.
Chasing World Records in Sim Racing
While the main goal of racing is usually to climb the league table, score as many points as possible, and win races, in hot lapping, the goal is to get one best lap.
It may sound boring compared to racing, but take my word for it, it can be just as much fun.
I remember when some time ago we started hot lapping with my colleagues. We picked one car and one track. We came down with times so low that neither of us could improve our own time anymore. We got so tired, so one of us checked the clock – it turned out we had been driving for twelve hours in a row. I think it was a bit stupid and irresponsible, but it probably shows how much fun hot lapping gives.
Just try it and check if it’s something for you. Even if it’s not, before you start racing on a given track with a given car, try hot-lapping for at least an hour, and see if you got any better. In my case, it helps me a lot almost every time.