The 24 Hours of Le Mans is upon us once again, and with it comes Oppositelock’s third annual 2.4 Hour race in Forza 6. Because of the large crowd and unique characteristics of the Circuit de la Sarthe some pretty significant rule changes have been implemented so please read on to find out what will be expected of you once we’re all out on track.


CLASS-SPECIFIC AND GENERAL RULES:

1. Prototypes should pass on the straights whenever possible. It’s a long race so unless you’re skilled enough (which very few of us are) or have a very clear opportunity it’s best to simply tuck in behind the GT cars and pass once you clear the apex. On a related note:

2. GT cars should hold their line heading into and going through corners. It’s up to the LMP’s to pass safely so GT’s should just focus on being predictable; while well-intentioned, braking early or jumping out of the way to give the prototypes an easy way through sometimes has the opposite effect.

3. Prototype drivers must be especially patient and cautious in their driving. If you’re in an LMP you shouldn’t be going 10/10ths while negotiating traffic. Just focus on making safe passes and set some consistent times and the few seconds you spent getting held up behind the GT cars should be made up by race’s end.

4. GT cars should pick a side on the straights and stay on it. Le Mans is mostly straights so this will be paramount to keeping racing clean. Holding your line gives both classes a bit of what they want: the GT cars have the option to choose which line they take and the prototypes get an easy path through.

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5. Lapped in-class traffic should immediately yield to cars on the lead lap. There have been a few incidents in these endurance races where cars that were way down in the order were needlessly holding up the faster drivers by driving defensively and fighting for position, in several cases causing crashes that necessitated pit stops. There’s absolutely no reason to do any of that, please just let the faster car by and don’t slow them down any more than you need to.

6. When exiting pit lane, stay to the inside of the track. The kink before the Dunlop chicane is an extremely high-speed, committed corner so if you drift in front of someone they likely won’t be able to avoid a collision and 8.5 miles is a long way to go in a busted car. Speaking of which:

7. If your car becomes damaged, stay off the racing line. Just because you doesn’t mean you have to inconvenience everyone else on track. Get out of the way and limp it back to the pits.

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8. Enable the map on your HUD. The map will help both classes by displaying what cars are close by, on what side of the track, and how fast they’re going which is all valuable information over the course of a 1.5 hour race.

9. GT cars should be constantly looking in the mirrors for prototypes. The prototypes are faster than you think they are. That being said, GT drivers should never be surprised by an LMP car because you should be checking behind you and looking at the map every corner to see if one’s coming up.

10. Communicate with your fellow racers. Most of us have mics, please use them. Something as simple as “on your left” can be the difference between a typical non-incident and a crash that sets you both back a huge amount of time.

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11. Unless you’re allowing a prototype to pass you should respect track limits. As we all known Turn10 doesn’t give a fuck about track limits and anyone who’s spent more than a few laps at Le Mans knows there’s several places around the circuit that can be abused. There’s nothing we can really do to stop you from doing it (apart from calling you out) but it’d be nice if everyone races fairly.

12. Call your inter-class passes. The GT’s should be paying attention but since none of us are professionals here it’d just be best for the prototype drivers to tell them where you’re at. Something like “on your left” or “inside after this corner” should be enough to avoid any major accidents.

13. Finally, yet most importantly, remember that the sole purpose of this race is to have fun racing with Opponauts, not competing against them. No one should be coming into this race expecting to win and you need to be OK with the fact that, despite everyone’s best efforts, you will probably be involved in some kind of crash during the course of the race. That’s just kind of how these big endurance races go, so please check your attitude at the door and don’t take it too seriously if something does happen, more than likely it will work itself out by race’s end.

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ROLLING STARTS:

1. Because standing starts and Forza’s in-game rolling starts suck, we’ll be trying something new this series and instituting a pace lap prior to a manual rolling start. This obviously presents some challenges with a field as large as the one we’ll have, but (hopefully) it’ll be pretty simple:

2. There will be a set roll-off delay between each individual car so everyone has a bit of room to get going and won’t have to deal with AWD Audis or whatever plowing into the back of them. It probably won’t be more than a few seconds so the field will still be together, just with a little room between them to safely navigate the .

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3. There will also be a delay between both classes. You’ll notice that GT cars always start 15-30 seconds after the prototypes in most multi-class endurance races, and we’ll be doing something similar so any LMP’s involved in a crash during the first few corners won’t have to fight their way through GT traffic after getting back on track.

2. Don’t exceed 90mph,keep a minimum of 100ft between you and the next car, and don’t drive aggressively during the pace lap. Slower speeds means more time to react to each other, which will allow us to avoid an incident during the pace lap. The LMP’s especially are extremely reactive to inputs so coasting into turns before gently braking and gearing down to 5th or 6th for the straights will negate a lot of the potential for accidents.

3. Form up on the leader after the Porsche Curves. P1 of both classes will coast down to 60mph for the race start, after which you can get alongside the car in front of you and get in formation for the start.

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4. Because there will also be a roll-off delay between the two classes we will doing a separate race start for each class, very similar to what we did at Daytona. After leaving the final corner, the pack will continue towards the start-finish line at ~60mph. Once the front row of each respective class passes the start/finish line the race will begin.


ONCE GREEN FLAG DROPS:

1. Hold your line. The closest together the you will ever be to (and thus the most likely to crash into) other racers will be at the very beginning of the race so you should stick to your side of the track and refrain from weaving around looking for a gap. If you’re behind a slower car you should either get off-throttle so you don’t run into the back of the dude, or if there is enough room...

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2. Pass as smoothly and and obviously as possible. If you see an open lane, gently drift into it so you can easily adjust your line if another driver makes a move and so that the other cars can see your intentions and plan accordingly. On a related note:

3. Yield to the faster car. If you see a faster car coming up don’t swerve or try to block them, let them by so no one crashes. This shouldn’t be a problem as long as everyone follows #’s 1 and 2.

4. Cars should go no more than two wide into the first corner. Having three or four cars go into turn 1 all at once just creates chaos. If more than two cars are in line with each other, the furthest car back should brake early to allow the two cars in front to go through unimpeded.

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FIRST LAP:

1. Lap 1 is where most of our crashes happen, either with people getting too pushy and aggressive or people not having the presence of mind or skill to avoid contact in heavy traffic. You won’t win the race on the first corner or the first lap, but you can put yourself in a pretty big hole if you spin off at the very beginning of the race. The goal of your first lap should be to avoid contact and stay on track, in that order. If you lose position by having to brake or adjust your line to avoid contact so be it, that’s a much more preferable alternative to you taking out three or four other cars and putting all of you in deep hole to start the race.

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2. You should leave at least a car-width of room on either side of you during the first few laps so that if someone gets a run on you there’s still room for the both of you to go through the corner at the same time. Similarly, you should leave a car-length between you and the guy in front of you so you have time to react to any sudden movements he makes.

3. Keep in mind that it takes a bit of time tires to fully heat up and until they do you won’t have as much grip as you’re used to. This means both cornering and braking will be compromised. Plan accordingly: brake earlier, turn in sooner, be lighter on the throttle, etc for the first lap or two. This shouldn’t be as much of a problem with our warm-up lap but I think it’s still worth mentioning


PASSING:

1. As in real life, it is completely up to the passing car to ensure a move is both safe and clean. However, the lead car should clearly signal its intentions; follow roughly the same line every lap and if you mean to block an inside pass, move inside well before the two cars approach the corner.

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2: While following a car, pay attention to the strengths and weaknesses of both the car and driver and use that information to make a safe overtake. Watch for the lines the driver takes, where your car has the advantage, where theirs has the advantage, where the other driver is slow, etc. There’s no need to force a pass in a corner if you can just overtake on the following straight.

3. If the passing car doesn’t have its front axle in line with the door of the leading car, the passing car should adjust speed and braking to ensure the leading car’s racing line is uninterrupted. I’ve watched at least a dozen of our races in full going back to the first Le Mans race and parts of almost every other race and the number one cause of non-rear-end crashes is one car sticking their nose where it doesn’t belong. This isn’t WWII so no divebombing please.

ANY INCIDENT INVOLVING CARS LEAVING THE TRACK:

1. In the event that there is contact causing one or more vehicles to leave the track, the aggressor should pull off to the side and wait for the other driver/drivers to rejoin before getting back on track themselves. We’ve had some new people so you may not be aware of this rule, but this is how we’ve done things going all the way back to the first Le Mans race last June. The idea is basically that if you cause a wreck you shouldn’t benefit from it.

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2. When rejoining the race after having an off, pay attention to incoming cars. You should be looking behind you the entire time you’re trying to get back on track so you don’t pull out in front of someone else who’s moving at a much faster speed.


Considering it is just a video game after all, none of these rules (apart from the starting procedure) will be enforced with an iron fist, all we’re trying to do is minimize the number of crashes and incidents we have in the races and thus make the racing more enjoyable for everyone involved. Be smart, be patient, and don’t be a dick and we should be fine once green flag drops.

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See you on track.