With the release of the much anticipated Nurburgring Nordschleife for the 60,000+ sim racers over at iRacing.com, a fourth laser scanned version of the iconic German auto racing facility has landed in a hardcore PC racing sim. Seen previously in rFactor Pro, Assetto Corsa, and arriving shortly in RaceRoom Racing Experience, comparisons between the several different renditions of the track have already began appearing on numerous mainstream sim racing websites, even though the iRacing version has only been available for less than a day. Sim Racers are desperate to somehow prove their version of the Nordschleife is superior to a version offered in a rival racing sim, and I’m here to shit on pretty much everybody equally.
Laser scanning the 12-mile behemoth was the responsibility of one company, listed as an official partner of the Nurburgring, and they simply sell their officially licensed laser scanned point cloud of the track to developers who have acquired the Nurburgring license for use in their racing sim. Developers interested in implementing a laser scanned version of the Nordschleife in their current racing sim project are specifically asked on the official website to contact a company named 3D Mapping Solutions GmbH and purchase the point cloud from them. Obviously, each team can put their own personal touches on the thousands of trackside objects, but what you’re driving on and the immediate surroundings are identical across four very different racing sims.
As per Nurburgring regulations, an operation such as iRacing can’t show up with their own scanning equipment and say “we’re doing it completely on our own.” The track even requires companies to obtain special permission before taking the thousands of reference photos required; shutting down the track on separate occasions for each developer to obtain their own unique geographical data is something the track simply won’t allow.
This means that any developer claiming their version of the Nordschleife is the most accurate are merely filling you with sheer marketing lingo, and fanboys debating over the accuracy of each specific version of the Nordschleife are arguing over a moot point. This is Badge Engineering in Sim Racing form.