Everything you need to know about the iRacing Grand Prix Tour

There a few super popular series on iRacing like the IMSA series and Formula 4 that see full grids over multiple splits on every time slot. You will always find a race in series like these no matter what time of day it.

However, there are also series that are not popular at all and finding a race that has sufficient participation to allow it to go official is quite tricky. The iRacing Grand Prix Series is one such series. It is essentially dead for most of the race week with only one or two time slots going official.

The problem is that there a lot of drivers out there that enjoy the challenge of racing a modern Formula 1 car but are forced to race in other series due to the lack of participation in the Grand Prix Series. Thankfully, there's another option. iRacing introduced the Grand Prix Tour a couple of years ago that features the Mercedes-AMG W13 F1 car but it runs on a totally different schedule to the Grand Prix Series.

Race Format

Races in the iRacing Grand Prix Tour are full race distance with races lasting around 80 to 90 minutes long. This will include at least one compulsory pit stop for a change of tyre compounds. The W13 has Soft, Medium and Hard tyre compounds available. The softs are the grippiest but wear out the fastest with hards providing significantly less grip but are much more longer lastest. The mediums tend to strike the best balance of grip versus performance but you will need to run some laps to confirm what works best for you.

The iRacing Grand Prix Tour is available in both Fixed and Open setups. However, both series provide iRacing setups that are relatively competitive. Qualifying occurs just before the race as a private, two-flying lap session. It's recommended that you start your out lap in No Deploy mode and switch to Qual mode just before the final corner. Another way is to run in Qual mode on the out lap but keep your throttle below 100% to prevent the ERS from deplaying.

Races begin from a standing start and you should consider using Attack Mode just after the start to give you a chance of a quick overtake or two. You should also remember that since it's a long race, it's pointless taking early risks and damaging your car on the first lap in an attempt to win the race on the first corner. You will have plenty of time to overtake on track and during the pit stop phases.


Typical iRacing series run over a 12-week schedule. However, the Grand Prix Tour runs over the course of the calendar meaning that the season started in February this year and will run to November. The season comprises 23 races and you're allowed to not attend 4 races and still be allowed to complete the championship.

For further information, please visit the official iRacing Grand Prix Tour forum.

Mercedes-AMG W13 F1

The Mercedes-AMG W13 F1 car competed in the 2022 Formula 1 World Championship and finished the season in third place in the Constructors Championship. The car is constructed around a carbon fibre tube with double-wishbone suspension, and a turbo-charged engine supplemented by an Energy Recovery System (ERS).

Differential, Power Unit and Brake settings in the pit menu

It produces massive amounts of downforce and has incredible cornering and straight-line speeds. It is essentially the fastest car around any road course on iRacing. It is relatively easy to drive once you start to climb through the gears with a reassuring level of grip but needs a lot of skill to extract all of its performance.

The car has an 8-speed gearbox, multi-mode driver-adjustable ERS, driver-adjustable differential and brake migration.

In-car view of the steering wheel showing Balanced Race Mode

The main setting you should worry about is the ERS. This is adjustable via changes to the Motor Generator Unit-Kinetic (MGU-K). You should map buttons or an encoder on your wheel to this setting to allow you to cycle between the following modes:

No Deploy

The car runs only on the internal combustion engine with no input from the battery. This mode is only available in Qualify and practice sessions and should be used on your out lap of qualifying to ensure that you start your lap with a full battery.


This mode will cause the battery to dump its power as quickly as possible giving you maximum performance. You will deplete the battery over a lap so it's only for qualifying.


Similar to Qual mode but slightly less aggressive, this is a race mode that should be used for short periods to aid with overtaking.


This is your main race mode and should be used for most race scenarios. The system will charge and recharge to maintain a constant battery state based on your driving style over the first 3 or 4 laps.


This is similar to No Deploy and should only be used if you're desperate to recharge the battery.

Stage of Charge

The car's ERS tries to maintain a State of Charge (SoC) based on what mode you choose. For example, if you're in a race and running in Balanced mode, the SoC will endeavour to maintain an 80% battery charge. The system will deploy and recover energy over a lap to give you the best possible performance without dropping below 80% charge.

It must be noted that during a race, you can only make 4 changes to the system before it gets stuck on the last selected mode. You will get your 4 changes back when you cross the start/finish line and the system resets. What this means is if you change from Balanced to Attack, that's seen as two changes. Moving from Attack and back to Balanced is another two changes.


We suggest that you run several race stints on all of the tyre compounds to familiarise yourself with the different handling characteristics of each compound as well as to work out the wear rates. Lockups will cause a significant increase in wear so it's recommended that you practice braking as smoothly as possible.

The car will feel very different in race trim when compared to qualifying. The car will be heavy in race trim due to a full tank of fuel so you will need to get used to how the handling changes as the fuel burns off.

You will also need to run several qualifying simulations to understand better how to maximise the car's low-fuel performance. We also suggest that you practice race starts since this car can get away from you very quickly when you try to apply the throttle quickly from a standstill.


Due to the availability of three tyre compounds, race strategy can be quite open. You can choose to start on Softs, stop for Hards and go to the end or, stop again for Softs for faster performance towards the end of the race at the cost of the time for stopping.

Mercedes-AMG W13 showing all three tyre compounds

We suggest that you look at which tyre works the best for you in terms of performance versus longevity and plan your strategy around that.

Generally, it's best to run the car in Balance mode throughout the race. Switching to Attack mode can help you find some time but the SoC will then attempt to recover the spent energy when you switch back to Balanced. This can cause a significant loss in performance that may affect you for a few laps.


The iRacing Grand Prix Tour is a special series on iRacing that is not a jump-in-and-drive series. Despite the low requirement of only requiring a C Class license, the Grand Prix Tour requires a very high level of driving skill.

You will need to not only keep up a fast, consistent pace while trying to progress forward during the race, but you will also have to worry about tyre wear, fuel usage and changing track conditions. The car’s handling will change due to tyre wear, the fuel burning off and the track rubber in.

You can mitigate some of these changes by making small adjustments to the differential but it still needs you to be ready for anything.

The races are long so you must realize that you need to focus more on long-term goals and less on short-term, potentially race-ending risky manoeuvres.

iRacing’s Grand Prix is for the more serious committed drivers that enjoy the challenge of proper, full-distance Grand Prix racing with all of the challenges it offers in terms of tactics and strategy over one and a half hours during a full year. Despite this. we still think that everyone that enjoys grand prix racing will be able to enjoy this series once they understand it better and are willing to make the necessary commitments to make the most of this amazing series on iRacing.

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