You may be asking yourself “Why is Sev writing an article saying bad things about iRacing? Is that not reserved for James?” And that would be a very good question to ask! James has been on iRacing since 2011, whereas I have never had an account. I am still pretty new to racing simulators, so my time has been spent on Game Stock Car Extreme and rFactor, with a bit of Assetto Corsa mixed in at the very start.
Two weeks before James wrote the very controversial article on the Camaro in iRacing, he offered me the chance to test out iRacing under his secondary account. I had no desire to enter a public session, I just wanted to see what it was like to drive in an offline test by myself. At the time iRacing had a very poor reputation, and I had heard numerous bad things about the tire model, so I wanted to try the game without investing my time into creating a full account.
With the alternate account login details, I installed only the Mazda Miata and Lime Rock Park. I chose the Test Offline option, and spent five minutes configuring my graphics. I drove maybe ten or fifteen laps before uninstalling the game. The car felt fine as long I was under the limit of what the tires would allow, but when I began to push for faster lap times, the car felt floaty and not really connected to the road. I was very unimpressed. I do not say this as an armchair race car driver who thinks he understands everything about physics, but as someone who has driven a dozen different cars, fifty laps of the Nordschleife, and competed in a partial Formula Renault 2.0 season.
But the strange thing about racing simulations, is that they can change every month. Unlike The Witcher series, which has been vastly superior to The Elder Scrolls for many years, Assetto Corsa may be the hot new simulator everyone is interested in, only for Stock Car Extreme to get a must-have super high quality mod. Sim racers may wait months for a good version of the Lotus 49 in iRacing, but suddenly rFactor 2 updates their Brabham BT24, and everyone recommends to buy rFactor 2. As someone who is still a bit new to this genre of games, it is difficult to keep up with, but I’m learning.
Even though I do not agree with how iRacing has treated James for posting critical reviews of iRacing in the past, I had heard good things about the recent surface model update from people I trust. I had heard the cars were producing lap times that were much faster than the real cars, but the feel of driving was said to be improved from when I tried it in May.
I used the promotional code, PR-RINGEXPO2015, to register myself an account on iRacing.com. After I had completed the purchase, the website would not let me access the member site to begin racing, and the information box said Error 403 – Your Account Has Been Suspended.
I was unsure why the website would give me this error. I had never received any notifications from iRacing in the past, as I was not a member. I emailed support@iRacing.com to see if this was an error.
It was not.
One of the stewards of iRacing.com, Nim Cross Jr., had told me that because I tried iRacing on somebody’s account who was now banned from the game, I was guilty by association. I was told both my PC, as well as my location, are permanently banned from iRacing.com because James has apparently raced from my location. This is obviously impossible. I like James, but he has never been to my house, and when I was on his account, I drove laps in an offline test session by myself. The only thing they know about me for sure is that I am a friend of James, and that was enough for them to blacklist me.
I had never even gotten a chance to drive in an online race .I was very excited to try iRacing and see how much the game had improved from when I had tried it briefly four months ago. I am instead sitting in front of my computer monitor in disbelief. It is funny to see the stories James posts about iRacing, and the comments section afterwards, but I did not think I would become the next story.
I guess I probably have to comment on this in the original article, because I’m sure anything I post in the comments section below will get buried by iRacing apologists and shills. I’ve come to expect this from the sim racing community, and apparently so have others. So let’s get started.
First, no, we here at PRC.net don’t have a vendetta against iRacing. I know some people like to call me the Derek Smart of racing games, but there is a difference between truth and sensationalism. The reason we get labelled as sensationalist click-bait is because sometimes reality is more bizarre than any fabricated story you could dream up. Hence why I’ve stopped watching reality shows.
Given that people don’t want to lead my lengthy article breaking down common criticisms that arise whenever we pick apart iRacing, I’ll spoon feed it to the readers right now. Open wide and pretend it’s an airplane coming in for landing.
I was suspended for two months in 2013 for an inappropriate paint scheme, the one pictured above. iRacing cannot actually suspend you for an inappropriate car livery, as a third party program not affiliated with iRacing is what people use to display custom car skins. When I pointed this out, iRacing hid behind their line in the Terms of Service that says “we’re iRacing and we can do what we want.” Some people on Reddit found this absolutely absurd.
During this time, I had been writing reviews for RaceDepartment, and eventually evaluated iRacing in its current state, scoring the game at a very nice 7 out of 10. iRacing president Tony Gardner believed that this positive review, describing iRacing as “photorealistic” and “the closest you can get to NASCAR from the comfort of your own home” was somehow myself a personal vendetta, and fired an email off to site owner Bram Hengeveld, calling for my dismissal otherwise they would pull support from an upcoming online league.
It didn’t work. I continued to write for the site until late 2013.
Like Sev had been told a few short days ago by Nim Cross Jr., iRacing tried to pull the “guilty by associating with a guy we don’t like” card almost two years ago.
In 2015, a few months after establishing PRC.net, I wrote another detailed review of iRacing, focusing on the experience newcomers are dealt with when first subscribing to the title with the help of a group of friends. Within 24 hours of the review going live, my computer had been blocked from accessing iRacing.com. Four months later, upon emailing support@iRacing.com like Severin did, I was told I would have nothing to show for the money I’d spent on the game, and iRacing’s Terms of Service allow them to remove you “for any or no reason.”
As predicted, the article blew up, and most people pointed out that what iRacing did was actually illegal. In short, they cannot construct a Terms of Service that is extremely one-sided; a contract that forces iRacers to become viral marketers and only say positive things about the product, or risk being permanently banned from the service without explanation or fair reason. The iRacing Terms of Service violates both Canadian and American unconsciousnability laws. No individuals have chosen to pursue this yet.
As mentioned earlier, fanboys still claim I’m some crazed hater with an irrational vendetta. You know, for an alleged crazed hater, I sure have a lot of evidence that backs up my side of the story, something your average crazed hater doesn’t have.
Instead, they resort to really comical stuff, like this:
According to this guy, joking around in the chat, knowing common NASCAR rules which allow drivers to pass on the outside at the start/restart of a race, and winning races, is worthy of a permanent ban. No fun or skill is allowed on the iRacing servers, but I guess I didn’t get that memo, being banned and all.
Of course, others just go for character attacks. Those are fun, too:
In 2013, I drove my ass to fellow PRC.net contributor Maple’s place in British Columbia to hang out for a week or so. I signed onto my account on his PC, and won a few races. If Sev signing onto my account from his PC to run ten minutes worth of practice laps warrants a permanent ban, why wasn’t Maple banned for signing onto my account from his PC? It was literally the same thing. Of course, we’d be able to take an extremely homosexual bathroom selfie to prove that we were just chilling for the weekend, but iRacing never sent me an email saying “bro, you live in Edmonton, and a computer from Penticton, fourteen hours away, has accessed your account. Are you aware of this activity?”
Maple is still on iRacing.
In 2014, iRacing released the Super Late Model for short track aficionados. I’m not poor, but a bunch of my bros on Teamspeak didn’t want to give iRacing any money given the lackluster state of the sim at the time, so I changed my password temporarily to “chrisd”, and at one point there were no less than five of us running the Super Late Model in simultaneous practice sessions at New Smyrna with other drivers, all under my account. I never received an email from iRacing notifying me that I had reproduced clones of myself and was not only playing iRacing from Edmonton, but New York, New Jersey, and Dallas as well.
All three of those guys are still on iRacing, even though iRacing clearly has the data that we were doing some shady shit that night.
In 2015, I indeed gave the login info to Severin for my evaluation account. I think it was a week or two before the Street Stock article. He drove what must have been ten minutes of the Mazda MX5 at Lime Rock Park in a private offline test before saying “this is shit” and uninstalling the game. I mean, as much as I can try to pretty it up for the sake of an article PRC.net, at the end of the day we’re dudes on a Teamspeak server and Sev spoke his mind on what he thought about the game.
Again, no Email from iRacing saying “bro, someone from Germany, you know, the other side of the planet was on your account in a private offline test session for ten minutes. What’s up?” And no Email from iRacing saying “bro, your account was accessed for 30 minutes by another iRacing member in Edmonton who lives approximately 10 minutes away from you. Were you at his place to run laps in his rig, or is there someone trying to hack into your details and commit identity theft?”
Yet for some reason, Severin is the only guy explicitly blacklisted.
We’ve done our best to obfuscate the names of anyone who contributes or has an indirect hand in what gets posted on PRC.net, because developers like iRacing indeed have a tendency to get salty as fuck and take drastic measures. We’ve never revealed the last names of Chris, Mike, Sal, Vince, “Maple”, or Greg in any articles here on PRC.net.
We uh, may have forgotten to do so with one guy…