There is a hidden, undocumented feature located within the iRacing app.ini file (Documents\iRacing\app.ini). This feature is called “DriverRotateHead”. The DriverRotateHead setting enables a type of “yaw” effect. By setting it to the correct value, you can more accurately observe the behavior of your race car as the front or rear drift or slide.
The setting locks your view from the cockpit to the car’s direction of travel so that, when the car is sliding, even a little bit, you will observe its movements more accurately. It’s important to adjust DriverRotateHead to the level that feels most comfortable to you. Some people are accustomed to the default setting of zero and won’t feel comfortable with anything else. If you’ve never changed it from the default setting, it might take some getting used to. You should start with a low setting and increase it a little at a time until you find what works best for you.
When you enable the DriverRotateHead feature, your eyes, or your virtual head, will rotate when the car becomes slightly sideways as you go through the turns. You can set the amount of head rotation anywhere between zero and one. Your eyes will remain locked to your car’s direction of travel, but you will see the cockpit around you begin to shift or twist as you drive through the turns. You will see the virtual cockpit and the hood of the car pointing in a different direction than the car’s direction of travel. If you’re racing in ovals that should always be slightly to the left in the turns.
You can enable DriverRotateHead by editing the app.ini file. It’s a simple text file that you can edit in Notepad or in the venerable Notepad++. You will find the setting under the [View] section of the file, or just press Ctrl+F and do a Find on DriverRotateHead. Note that you have to restart the sim before any changes to the app.ini file can take effect.
DriverRotateHead=0.250000 ; Percent to rotate drivers head with slip angle. 0 to 1 with 1 being 100%
I have my DriverRotateHead set to 0.250000 right now, and I think it makes the game/sim more immersive and actually may help me to better understand what the dirt cars are doing. It seems to make it easier to catch the car when it begins to develop too much slip angle. or, “when she gets too sideways.” When I get accustomed to that setting for a day or two, I’m going to try increasing to 0.3 or 0.35. I think somewhere around 35-40% should be pretty good.
You can try setting yours at 0.10000 (100%) to see how much it changes your view while you’re driving. If it’s too much, take it down to a low setting and start out with that. Some people like to leave it at 0.00000, and that’s fine. It’s really a matter of preference.
Think of it like this: If you’re in a turn and the rear end of the car starts to step out to the right, the car is actually rotating to the left or counter-clockwise. If you have your DriverHeadRotate set to the default of zero (off), your virtual head simply rotates right along with the car at the same speed and same amount. That makes it harder to detect that over-rotation, and it delays your corrective action (such as counter-steering, more throttle, less throttle, etc.). However, if you enable the feature, your virtual head tends to be more fixed toward your direction of travel while the car is rotating and pointing more to the left. You’re going to notice that right off and take corrective action sooner. In addition, you’ll be able to better discern the rate of the rotation and, ultimately, better judge the amount of corrective action that needs to be taken to get the car pointing in the right direction again. I think this is going to be even more important on dirt as quick reaction time is key.
DriverRotateHead is considered a preference setting, but I think it adds a lot to the simulation, and also helps you become a better driver. Don’t be afraid to try it.