With iRacing’s several newly-acquired car and track licenses, comes an interesting setback displaying the age of the underlying game engine. Easily the most popular discipline of road course racing among the iRacing.com servers, GT3 sports car racing commonly features a multitude of marquee brands and car models all slugging it out against each other in the quest for superiority.
As the popularity of the real-life Blancpain Endurance Series has skyrocketed in the past handful of years, so has the popularity of the class in PC racing simulators. Assetto Corsa, Project CARS, RaceRoom Racing Experience, and even Grid Autosport are bombarded with brand new sports car entries, each title boasting a more relevant selection of GT3 cars than the other. In iRacing, however, due to technical limitations, the field size is shrinking.
As Steve Myers has stated on twitter, both the Ruf RT12R and Ford GT will be phased out of official GT3 sessions starting in March with the addition of the Audi R8 and Mercedes AMG. This is not due to sim racers complaining about the Ford GT being outdated, or the Ruf RT12R being over-powered compared to the rest of the grid. The underlying engine simply does not support more than five unique car models on the same track, and sacrifices have to be made. Less than a year ago, the GT3 variant of the Ruf RT12R was one of the most popular choices for sports car drivers on iRacing, and now the car is being taken out of competition due to licensing obligations. With a five car limit, the new additions take priority over the older cars.
This comes at a time where other games are expanding their GT3 field. Project CARS continues to release monthly DLC packs, Assetto Corsa’s third Dream Pack DLC will implement both the McLaren 650S and Mercedes AMG, and currently RaceRoom Racing Experience offers the most diverse cast of GT3 entries at a whopping ten. There is no limit on how many different car models are allowed on the track at once; this problem only occurs in iRacing.
As iRacing ages, it will be interesting to see how many more limitations cause problems as the developers try to constantly inject more and more features into the software. Under oath during a court battle prior to iRacing’s public launch against Tim Robinson, David Kaemmer estimated iRacing’s source code is 65% unaltered code from NASCAR Racing 2003 Season. With how far technology has advanced since the development of NR2003 in late 2002, there is a genuine possibility that more road blocks will pop up, and iRacing 3.0 will be required sooner rather than later. The five car limit may be a sign of things to come.