One of the most surprising stories of the year came out of the iRacing community today, as the 16th Street Racing League announced a legitimate partnership with the Verizon IndyCar Series.
Running from October to December, the events will be streamed live on IndyCar.com with full commentary, and the series will receive additional sponsorship from Racer Magazine. As the championship is not officially sanctioned by iRacing, this allows the 16th Street organization to use truly unbiased stewards, unlike iRacing’s own Peak Anti-Freeze Series that subjects “outsider” drivers to questionable calls.
This is a massive victory for the IndyCar community on iRacing. Previously, iRacing themselves have created official online championships with huge prize pools sanctioned by NASCAR and SRO, but a truly independent endeavor organized by the users, for the users, was once thought to be completely out of reach. Obviously, that no longer appears to be the case. Now that the IndyCar guys have been successful with their quest, and the league is set to begin in a few weeks time, the spotlight is on the NASCAR portion of the community, who are rumored to be planning either an independent series or a drivers union to avoid problematic iRacing stewards.
While the series is invite only, the championship prizes are unquestionably badass. Not only does the winner receive what’s essentially a VIP pass to every single IndyCar event during the 2016 Season, you’ll also get a set of brand new tires for your car, enough iRacing credits to pay for all upcoming content in the forseeable future, and a Sirius/XM Satellite Radio receiver. In short, it’s a really nice package they’ve put together.
This accomplishment couldn’t have happened to a better group of guys. With the astronomical price iRacing asks for each piece of content, entire communities have sprung up around each individual car as if it’s an entirely separate racing sim. Just as I was getting into the K&N Stock Car on iRacing, I was spending a mammoth amount of time driving the Dallara IW05 in Fixed Setup sessions, and have competed against a large portion of drivers who will make up the 16th Street grid this fall. These are some of the nicest guys on iRacing, and it’s great to see their hard work pay off.