Career mode is killing me

UPDATE: After going back and forth between Career and Free Play last night to try and figure out what the differences were I realized one particular factor that made a big difference…average starting position. Free Play tends to start me anywhere from 1st position through 7th, sometimes worse and rarely last position. Career seems to start me at or near the rear every time. Mostly I got 16th position, twice I got 15th and once 14th. Never got a better starting position than 14th.

To be fair I didn’t count the number of races in each mode last night, I just went about an hour on each and got a general sense.

Concluding that starting position meant everything and that I didn’t have enough speed or acceleration to catch up with most cars I figured it was time to shed my old training wheel ways, which was focusing on handling and brakes mainly. This morning I downloaded a different tune for the same car which gave me quite a bit more speed, acceleration, launch, HP and torque. The cost was some handling, brakes and weight.

What a difference that made! I’ve had enough practice that the downgrade in handling and braking didn’t seem to effect me but all of that speed and power had me finally competing. I won a couple (finally! Some Career Gold!), lost quite a few, but in the races I lost I at least felt competitive and they were really close in a few cases. Much more fun and thrilling! Now I don’t have to watch the pack get further and further away, I can be in there fighting for position. Sometimes succeeding, sometimes not, it’s all good because now I feel like I at least have a chance every shot I take. Feels more fair!

Conclusion: my simple butt should have thought to upgrade that speed and power some time ago. Especially since I was getting very used to seeing cars from behind. Way way behind.

I need some pointers or advice, any tidbit that might help.

I cannot place any better than 14th on any career race but usually place dead last.

In Free Play, if I take the exact same car and run the exact same tracks with the same number of racers, laps and the Drivatar Diff set to the exact same thing (currently running Highly Skilled), basically with EVERYTHING the same except for Free Play VS Career, I typically place somewhere between 1st and 5th place. Why would that be? Is career actually harder than free play? I’m having a super rough time with career and it’s frustrating. After about 2 dozen career races I’m not seeing any improvement at all like I improved in Rivals and Free Play over time, racers are always faster, corner better, I’m pretty much out of the race half way into lap 1. It feels like I’ll never get any career gold medal achievements but worse still, I’m not having fun with this because every single race is like “come on now” way early into the race.

I also feel that in career the drivatars are ramming me and pulling cheap moves way more than they do in free play., Sometimes I feel like I can’t get 10 feet without some car careening into me or running me off the road.

The short version: I can win Gold and Silver regularly on Free Play but I’m tired of coming in dead last or 14th if I’m lucky on career, EVERY single race.