An Updated Look at iRacing

1392388151_orsrl_gt3As many of you have already discovered by now, PRC.net can either fall into the protagonist or antagonist slot when it comes to their relationship with iRacing. Still being on the neutral side of things myself, what PRC.net hasn’t done is review the sim as of November 2015. It’s easy to skim through the iRacing category and see most of the previous iRacing articles have opted to attack it instead, so it’s time to change that. While iRacing administration are locked in a constant battle with James, and now Sev as well, an unbiased review should be a welcome change of pace for our readers.

Lately I’ve been extremely busy, so I haven’t had time to continue my setup articles. The biggest challenge I face is continuing to dive into the deeper portions of setup development without giving away secrets that would stop the advantage my own team has had in NASCAR’s iRacing Peak Anti-Freeze Series, and currently the iRacing Pro Series where we will have over six members competing this season to make it into the big show next year.

This review was supposed to be done by Sev, but previous circumstances stopped that from happening. I don’t agree with how iRacing handled that scenario, but that is only one element of what iRacing provides to the general public.

22528902625_0cfecb4731_hAs of right now, November 2015, iRacing is the best it has ever been, in terms of the raw driving feel. For me personally, the dynamic track surface brought many great improvements. Not only does the car handle in a much more realistic way, and force feedback has been greatly improved, but the tire behavior is much more in line with what occurs in the real world. Tires heat up over a long run and develop a tangible greasy feeling, putting the race directly in the hands of the driver. In other words, it’s no longer a hot-lap competition with a set running order, but a true race, where equipment management and tire degradation force you to develop a strategy each time you pull out on the track.

ob_785cc3_10570403-10152583607226085-83522521762The biggest change to the driving style required on iRacing, is that you can no longer push 100% every lap. The tires will overheat, and you will start to drastically fall off pace, especially later in the run. Saving tires is the key to victory, as it should be, although it may currently be a little exaggerated. Not exactly in the way it feels but, in the time frame that everything happens. In real life, tires last a little longer than they do iRacing’s current build.

The seventh version of the fabled New Tire Model is also a drastic improvement over previous iterations. Much like Assetto Corsa before the Version 1.3 update, you can actually feel the tire loading through the wheel and giving you a lot of room to work with in the grip zone of the tire. The car moves around a lot more and doesn’t feel like a slot car, and rewards not only people who can drive fast, but those with very smooth inputs. Setup-wise, there is now also a huge difference between a hot-lap setup and a long run setup, especially in iRacing’s Pro Series where we get lots of 30+ lap runs under green flag conditions. This is due to theamount of fall off from the optimal settings for camber and ride height change as the car loads less in the corner.

16344072401_fc4253f801_oDynamic camber changes drastically over a run, as does the ride height and the compression into the track. In fact almost all the testing we do each week before a race has been done in the 80-100% track rubber setting, as it produces what the track will be like at the end of a run. For those new to the setup game, this is when you want the car working the best. Optimal pit strategy now relies on tire wear, and not on how far you can stretch the worn feeling in the tires.

Across all aspects of the sim, iRacing is much more realistic than it ever has been before, and Dave Kaemer, who foretold the New Tire Model would never show its true potential until the dynamic surface was implemented… Well… He was right. Many former Peak Anti-Freeze Series drivers who had once quit iRacing in frustration are now returning to the sim, including many of the real life drivers I talk to on a regular basis.

Hopefully we are not on the receiving end of another Shane Van Gisbergen incident, where a bunch of time was dumped into having a professional Australian V8 SuperCar driver give feedback and try to make the car as realistic as possible, only to have the whole thing change the next build.

iracing-8As usual, with any new physics model implementations, there were of course flaws and a few bugs. If you’d like to argue that the public has become one giant group of beta testers, you have every right to do so. Despite this trend in modern video games, the fact is that the precedent has been set, and consumers for the most part eat it up anyways so you can’t blame game developers for cutting costs by removing quality assurance testers.

When we look at iRacing’s competition, it’s incredible how things can change in just a few short months. Oddly enough, it seems to me that Assetto Corsa has been going backwards recently in terms of realism, probably in favor of console users who would otherwise struggle with a hardcore racing simulator EDIT: (After a suggestion in the comments I realised AC’s most updated V5 model was only on GT3 and GT2 cars which I had not driven on 1.3.4. My main complaint of AC was always how easy it was to overdrive and yet not lose any lap time for doing so, in comparison to my own RL experiences. With the new V5 tire implementations this is no longer the case, you actually need to build the temp of the tire up appropriately and then although you can drive it aggressively, as you should it fits in very well to my driving style and promotes smooth inputs again so I have to say that if this is the direction of AC in the future and this development improves and gets implemented in all cars I may just have to start loading up AC again in my off time) rFactor2 has stalled out into releasing third party content as official content, while iRacing has taken a drastic leap forward. In fact iRacing feels a lot like a very refined RaceRoom Racing Experience at this point, a game which receives constant feedback from DTM and GT3 drivers.

Of course, iRacing bring with it by far the best multiplayer system, which nobody can deny is light-years ahead of any other sim out there. iRacing’s overall functionality, ease of use, and a rating system that promotes clean driving is the icing on the cake for a game that rewards the skill with top series like the Peak Anti-Freeze Series, Road World Championship, and the new Blancpain Endurance Series. The various top level series pay pretty well, much more than your average amateur racing series, and at a fraction of the cost of running a car in real life.

But like all games, there are downsides. Currently, my biggest complaint is with the staff itself, who have difficulty managing such a large and diverse community. These guys as a whole cannot deal with any article PRC.net publishes about their product, and go through great lengths to silence criticism.

iracing_com___v8_showcase___bathurst__turn1__by_firemikecreations-d6rjrezGiven the parts of the competitive side I’m privy to seeing with my own eyes, the staff are constantly getting accused of favoritism, and often not giving any responses to several issues that users have complained about for years in the protest system. Sometimes, the staff flat-out ignore criticism.

To give a recent example, the Peak Anti-Freeze Series Drivers Committee sent a lengthy document to iRacing, suggesting improvements for the 2016 Season. Shannon Whitmore basically told us to fuck off, and that he was not going to read anything submitted that undermined his view of what iRacing’s premier series should be. Given that this very dedicated group of drivers are competing for $10,000 over the course of a year, and investing a serious amount of time into playing a video game, it’s very reasonable for them to ask for more say in how the series is actually run. In a polite way, this undermines the dictatorship that Shannon likes to run, but that is the natural evolution of a racing league.

Of course, for the majority of PRC.net readers who are iRacing members, this behind-the-scenes drama should not have any bearing on the service for yourself, as the political side is reserved for the top fifty drivers on the service. Those who feel a sense of accomplishment just from finishing a race without damage will never be exposed this level of high school-tier drama, and it should not be a deciding factor in whether to try iRacing.

iRacingSim64 2013-05-25 15-37-14-10As a longtime member of iRacing, anytime a new build is released, the hardcore fanboys flock to defend it. They will always say it has constantly improved throughout the years, and the people that said it was the most realistic in 2011 are the same people that say it is NOW the most realistic, even though the title has gone through multiple tire model and force feedback changes. This often makes the forums an extremely confusing place immediately after the release of a major update, as the same names contradict themselves time and time again with their feedback.

From a real life Late Model Stock Car background, the game is finally living up to the hype of being the most realistic sim on the market. It’s definitely the closest thing we have at this point to driving a race car from the comfort of your computer room. The multiplayer service alone is every bit as revolutionary as it was when the game first launched in 2008, and along with the huge monetary rewards for top drivers, it’s nearly impossible to compete against. The exaggerated tire fall-off and childish playground politics do prevent the game from being perfect for longtime hardcore online racers like myself, but the complete experience is easily able to fetch a solid 9/11.

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50 thoughts on “An Updated Look at iRacing

  1. Before the NSM update I couldn’t stand iRacing. It felt the furthest thing from a car I could imagine. Over my membership period (on and off since 2011) the quality has fluctuated from passable to horrible from update to update. Around a year ago was the last time I had given it a go before the NSM update, and it felt downright abysmal.

    But yeah, this update fixed a lot. In my opinon they have a ways to go on the road side, but the oval cars actually feel like cars now, and you can race them on multiple grooves. Finally I have fun racing from week to week at places that AREN’T Charlotte night.

    RIPIP conga line

    Liked by 2 people

  2. FFB is crap..Road users will clip it n the oval will turn it off ..what a baloney.

    Oval n open wheel series are good but series that need some real aggression like v8sc n Bttcc is broken n laughable to watch at utube cuz of that flaw random damage model n safety rating.

    Stupid 3min tow 7min repair time. i wonder how long it will be at Nords

    iRAcers give up their position so easy n not defend it again cuz of that that flaw random damage model n safety rating.

    U cannot test before buy the car to your liking.. u dont need the whole GT3 cars.

    IF u part of that div 4-10 divisions any series . u better of race with the ai in SCE,rfactor.AC,NR2003 or any codemasters F1..more fun n realisitic

    Dont worry Gregor Hutlu n Redline will always win the Champoinship.

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  3. So developing more the heat model of the tyre in Assetto Corsa where now requires more work from the driver and more perfected work of driving the car, and being more patient with heating the tyres equals to going back in realism and making it easy just because of consoles?

    Maple, read into what they said about the changes and continuous development of their tire model, and then judge if they are trying to reduce realism in favor of consoles, or if is exactly the opposite.

    Link to where Aris further explains the continuous development on this subject: http://www.assettocorsa.net/forum/index.php?threads/v1-3-4-tyre-model-fine-tuning-on-gt-cars-and-more.28093/

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  4. Is it only on certain cars?, maybe the ones I drove didn’t have the newest version. I will admit I didn’t try every single car on AC for the new build I went to my primary cars of choice which have always been the street based ones and stuff like the Miura.

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    1. NVM I didn’t notice “all changes are for the GT2 and GT3 tyres.” I’ll go try it right now. Wow I have to apologise for not reading through the patch notes thoroughly enough to realise that the V5 was only on the GT cars. Edited article to show my views on what I think of AC as far as V5 is concerned.

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      1. Isn’t the V5 update applied to all cars aside from a select few such as the Cobra, but then another updated fixed GT2 and GT3 tyre issues? Getting hard to keep up here..

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      2. Aside from a handful of cars that need to be updated (F1 + historic, ie 98T, 49, Exos, Cobra), tweaks are entirely in the domain of “setting values more realistic” within the V5 model. People find a specific issue (eg. Alfa GTA rear tires have weird grip, drift cars were running extreme tire temps), it’ll get fixed, but there’s no “all cars have less grip” type of fixes. The subtext is, if you find an issue, report it for that specific car, don’t say “AC drives too arcadey” say “the Z4 GT3 is fastest with slip angles of >10 degrees and that shit ain’t right” or whatever.

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      3. Except I don’t get paid to be a beta tester, and my iRacing commitments keep me from going indepth into AC anyway as far as trying to break the game.

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      4. I didn’t realize Beta testers got paid, I must have a backlog of paychecks from so many different devs. If i get them ill donate them to PRC

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  5. Being the best stock car sim when your closest competition is yourself 13 years ago is not a huge accomplishment.

    GT1s are reasonable, GT3s are close but only work in a narrow window, single seaters are still abhorrent. Dipshit administration and and officiating affects a hell of a lot more than NPAS (at this point there’s a good 200+ people running for pro across three series, for a start), it’s nothing short of a miracle if they manage to set up a major event properly and have the thing run smoothly. Or the first week of a season or a bunch of other things.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Thank you, for this. It’s nice to see someone preach about the value of iRacing and what it’s done well this new update, instead of the constant bashing.

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  7. AC is going away from realism because of consoles … most stupid assumption ever 😀 And I even don’t like AC. This site is hilarious.

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    1. Yeah totally unreasonable expectation,Its not like every single PC only game that has gone to console has been dumbed down to fuck wit levels so 12yr olds can play,oh wait? actually can you name ONE pc only title that DIDN’T get reduced to a playskool level for console?

      Im not saying its a certain event AC will dumb down, but to pretend consoles dont rip the soul out of great PC games and the worry that AC will dumb down is unrealistic is wrong as history has shown.

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  8. Under no circumstance is the price of this title acceptable. Not only does it require monthly subscription but also the purchase of tracks and cars. Enjoy racing the skip barber on the North American circuits? Well next time they release a new track you can be it will be on the skip schedule almost forcing you to buy it. You don’t ‘purchase what you want/can’ you end up being forced to make purchases whilst being given the impression it was the customers choice. 300$ plus change for all of the content. For a game? It’s a joke. iRacing is just a investment cult, much like the manson family or such, weird promises become a warped reality in the minds of the people that have put so much effort and money into iRacing and they will defend it ruthlessly and against logic.

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    1. I agree they do tend to release new tracks and force them onto the schedule but considering the release schedule isn’t that often its actually quite easy to cover future tracks with your participation credits, The case with Monza being on the Oval schedules when it released just made alot of people boycott that track to the point that even if someone won top split that week the low points would automatically make it a drop week. Companies can only abuse us if we allow it to happen, sadly 90% of people allow it to happen. But it is similar to PCARS in that way where people feel they have to defend the game simply cause they have invested into it, Why you constantly get the hardcore fanboys that have less then 100 starts in 2 years and <2000 irating. If the other sims managed to create a multiplayer that was at least half assed as good as iRacing they wouldn't be able to monopolise the competitive community so much but because of the infrastructure and the ability to win over $10000 for an 18 week schedule its hard to justify going anywhere else for the competitive side of the community.

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      1. Funny assumption that only people defending pCARS are “investors”. Is it really that hard to believe, that the game/sim is quiet successful and there is lot of people liking it? Too hard for you to understand, isn’t it?

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      2. lol @ anon.

        I like pCARS. It’s probably my most-played sim right now because I like a good solid career mode, and I’m not an investor.

        But damn methinks thou doth protesteth too much.

        You sound like. MEGA a shill.

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      3. I like that they add new tracks into the schedule as they are released.

        Could you imagine if they didn’t? That would make no sense.

        It’s a little pricey if you’re just starting out, but I’ve been on iracing since 2010.

        Works out to be about $170 per year. I spent $100 on drinks last night… It’s all about percieved value.

        I’m OK with it. I do however expect an excellent service and iracing isn’t quite there yet.

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      4. that’s actually not a bad point price wise…
        nice meal out for 2 is somewhere around $60 and up, and lasts an evening.
        same amount in Iracing is what, a few months of fun evenings?

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  9. Due to the fundamental phyics flaws in iRacing, every race car needs major fudging , also handling changing a lot every year is sign of serious fundamental problems. rFactor on the other hand has top class physics engine and tire model and that’s why even most Formula 1 teams like Scuderia Ferrari and Red Bull Racing build their incredibly complex development simulators using ISI technology as base.

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      1. Excuse me, I don’t take it lightly when people call me liar. My information is gathered talking to dozens of simracing experts over the years

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    1. But several v5 aren’t finished yet. For example the alfa romeo gta is not how it should be with the v5. It was better previously. And will change for other cars too in the next months.
      We can of course review and look for odd behaviors and then report, but we shouldn’t give them a final judgement yet, since they added new parameters and concepts to their tire model with 1.3, and there are too many varied cars/tyres to finish them all so soon.

      What seems odd is when people think they have gone back in realism due to consoles. If that would be the case, they wouldn’t be adding new concepts to the tyres and further developing car systems and other physic elements for the game.

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    2. Actually 90 percent commenters don’t even buy licensed AC. It’s a mass media organized mind – you have bad life, but news said that someone is much worst then you – kick him off.

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  10. As a console sim racer (forza) with an overly expensive setup for pc I actually tried iracing not long ago when it was first put up on steam.

    I was not impressed. All I ever heard was how PC Sims are SIMS!!!!! And console sims are baby arcade racers.

    Aside from strict rules in the PC space like flag systems, false starts etc the driving models themselves aren’t all that different. Playing forza 6 with a proper setup feels great and conveys the feel of driving a real vehicle around a real track. It does so get over yourself and shut up.

    I racing on the other hand does the same but in a much more hardcore way but let’s be honest it should. You are paying monthly fees and for cars and tracks. You aren’t plunking down $60 and that’s it.

    The perfect sim for me would be mix of both worlds. The refinement of forza whether its the visuals or meticulous audio with the more hardcore aspects of a PC sim like random mechanical failure, flag systems etc.

    Microsoft should put forza on PC and make… I guess a hardcore edition. One not designed for the masses. Take everything that forza does well and mix it with what makes a PC sim what it is. It would settle all the arguments quickly.

    Let’s face it…PC Sims seem to be slapped together with so many issues you can drive a bus through the holes. They are made by small dev teams who are in way over their heads trying to satisfy communities they can’t ever hope to. The market is too niche to ever make enough money to attract a proper studio.

    Each different sim does something good but none of them are the whole package and that’s a problem. It means people like me will never devote the time and money and unfortunately without my money and this other guys money you will be forever stuck where you are.

    Then we have studios like slightly mad who see what I see but instead of trying to fix it they are weasles looking to take advantage and swipe everyone’s money.

    That’s why I’ll happily stick with forza my slightly leas hardcore sim missing false starts and black flags because at the end of the day it looks amazing, it sounds amazing and it feels great. It also has a very large community behind it and were that series on PC and some of racing’s rules implemented into what’s ready there…it would take over pretty quickly.

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    1. The end result of pretendracecars.net, everybody. Telling thousands of readers to abandon independent sim developers and their modding communities for Forza.

      Liked by 2 people

    2. I don’t think your Forza PC suggestion will be particularly popular given the elitism around here, but you’re absolutely right about shoddy development by understaffed developers and the lack of a good all-in-one sim. The amount of polish isn’t even close, which is why Assetto Corsa will be a terrible disappointment to console players (Project Cars has already proven itself to be a half-assed Forza) There isn’t a single sim out there that functions well as a game which is consistently enjoyable to play (except maybe GSCE), and yes that’s a big problem.

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  11. I like the article and agree about the political BS that goes on in the op levels of iR with the staff and their cronies they pawn out to keep an eye on the good teams. The only thing I disagreed with is the number of people that have to deal with the high school level drama. That’s true for DWC, Pro series, and even some of those legit competing for pro spots.
    As you said, very few ever hear about what actually happens and even if we deal with it/hear it from teammates it still goes on but we are still here going strong because this is no doubt the best thing out there but a little humility from the reich would be nice huh?

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    1. LOLLOLLOL ” I dont think this info is true, its got to be 100% false” Reads Chris overland the guy who had his girl friend cheat on him while he lived with her and her parents “To see this makes me upset because I believe that iRacing will never improve iracing simply cause this document was released on this site. I wished I have never given Austin this information in the past.”

      yeah these articles are false.

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  12. To see this makes me upset because I believe that iRacing will never improve iracing simply cause this document was released on this site. I wished I have never given Austin this information in the past.

    Like

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