Today’s Reader Submission comes from Randy M., who describes to us the wild world of iRacing monetization. Not only are iRacing kiddies paying for a subscription, paying to host sessions, paying to have pro versions of livery sharing software, paying for cars, paying for other people to paint them custom liveries, and paying for tracks, but they’re also paying for setups.
Yep. Welcome to iRacing.
Have you noticed the concerning trend of iRacing members/teams charging for setups, team liveries and “one on one” setup advice?
Of course, I am sure these are all proper businesses and have their tax
returns from the income they are making fully declared. Basically, its a “pay money to join team” approach. Why do people insist on trying to make a profit from a hobby? Next we’ll be seeing a Patreon to grant someone a new gaming PC each year. The above team are not the only team doing this, but perhaps doing it the most blatantly.
Why are so many third party elements monetized in iRacing? The answer is simple: Mommy’s Mastercard Motorsports. You’d be surprised at how many underage kids are on iRacing with their parents credit cards, and those kids need a way to sustain their subscription and the costs of buying new content. A lot of these kids either take to developing setups, or getting damn good at photoshop. Regardless of which path they take, there will always be an equally large flock of inept baby boomers with more money than brains, who can’t paint a car or develop a setup to save their lives. That whole crowd is their market. I’ve personally ran across guys where iRacing is the only video game period that they’ve invested any time into.
I myself stuck to fixed setup racing, and when it came to painting cars, would just palette swap the default liveries the templates came with. Again, some guys can’t even do this:
Why in God’s name are people paying for setups? This one’s a simple answer too: Because it’s iRacing. I’m sure the fanboys will rip on me for this one, but as I’ve said time and time again on here, iRacing’s physics aren’t very good, and making a car setup for a game that is inherently broken takes years of understanding exactly what about the game is broken so you know where to begin.
For example, a few years ago, the driveshaft in the Sprint Cup cars spun the wrong way. This fundamentally changed how the cars behaved under power. In another build, iRacing forgot to enable the draft model on the Mustang. In one questionable build, before the Dallara DW12, IndyCars were overheating in the draft at a faster rate than two Sprint Cup cars tandem drafting at Daytona. Coil binding, a technique used in real stock car racing to pin the car to the ground using a combination of wacky spring settings and downforce, didn’t work in iRacing. The K&N Series Impala a few years ago was found to have a hidden traction control setting. In a build before the car was placed on the New Tire Model, telemetry showed the left rear tire wasn’t physically touching the ground.
Recently, one of the builds caused the DW12’s brakes to transfer the insane amount of heat to the tires after only a few corners, and this caused problems. Then you have some pretty crazy shit, like how the lowest spring rates available for the McLaren MP4-12C GT3 are 300lbs stiffer than the average size used in all iterations of the car available in other sims. Another crazy aspect was how astronomically low some tire pressures were – while 27 – 28 PSI is a good default setting virtually anywhere, iRacing let you get away with crazy values like 21.5 PSI that actually benefit your car’s performance – values Michelin suggests you shouldn’t use in GT3 cars.
So anyone with prior setup knowledge, whether it be in other racing sims, or in real life, is totally shit out of luck when it comes to developing a competitive setup for iRacing. Nothing logical works. The guys who have been around the game for ages are the ones who have an advantage and can charge for setups that take advantage of the shortcomings in the physics engine. They know how the game’s broken, as they’ve been combing through build notes for years and conversing with the staff members to get tidbits of info about the physics engine, so they can find ways to work around it. It’s actually smarter to pay for one of these wizards to make you a setup, because everything you’ve learned in other racing sims, or from what you’ve read online about how real race car setups work, don’t apply.
If you try to make your own setup, you won’t get anywhere.