Together with the formation lap, lap one of a race is statisticly the cause of most race incidents.
A cliché but so true: a race cannot be won but easily be lost on the first lap.
Things to keep in mind:
It takes at least
one full lap to get the tires up to thier optimum operating tempurature. Until that time, you can expect the tires to behave significantly less effective, creating less grip in cornering, and most importantly, longer braking distances.
The same goes for your brakes. Even if you warmed them up in formation lap [see the Formation Lap page for tips] , they will have cooled down and will need additional time after the start to become effective. This is especially true for the top grid position drivers who will be sitting idle at the start longer than the back of the field.
Stress, exitement, nerves, ego's and doubts... We all have them and we all deal with them differently, but one thing is sure; those factors multiplied by 30+ other drivers is asking for trouble. We need to keep our cool.
Always keep in mind that you are here to have fun racing, nobody wants an early exit to thier race or to cause it to others. If you survive a first lap unharmed, you have a shot at something. If you dont, or worse yet if your race is over on lap one, and all the practice and preperation will go down the drain.
The key is to try remaining as calm and focused as possible. If you are involved in an incident, it is a natural reaction to attempt getting back onto the track as quickly as possible. It is a difficult thing to watch other cars go by while you are losing positions. But keep this in mind, re-entering the track hastily is not only dangerous for yourself, but it is equally dangerous to the other drivers. Remain calm, take the time to make sure that you can re-enter the track without disturbing other drivers. Be aware that your car may have suffered damage that you might not yet be alerted to. As frustrating as being involved in an incident is, it can be equally frustrating to learn at the very next corner that your car has been damaged and once again you are off track. Stay calm, once back on the track after an incident, take the time to assess your vehicle in a safe manner; does it turn like it should [suspension damage]? Does it feel strangely loose [lost wings]? Cycle the HUD to the damage indicator page and assess the condition of your vehicle. It is much better to take the time to make the decision of whether you need to Pit for repairs or not, than it is to throw away your race in the very next corner simply because you were in too much of a hurry.
Every race the first lap is reviewed by the Legends Race Stewards.