Is IndyCar Racing III on the horizon? It’s the question we’re asking ourselves today, as a few extremely minuscule hints – too small to be picked up by all but a handful of sim racers – have painted a vague but intriguing glimpse into the future of sim racing. It’s a stretch, probably the biggest stretch we’ll ever make here on PRC.net – and we fully understand that some people won’t be on board with what we’re about to show – but there’s a chance that an unofficial sequel to the legendary IndyCar Racing series of the 1990’s is set to make a triumphant return to the market. Don’t fucking murder us, but hear us out, because there are a few dots we can indeed connect.
The team at Image Space Incorporated are building something. In a thread entitled “At ISI“, Gjon Camaj makes vague references to the company moving towards the future, working on a project that other forum members refer to as “not rFactor 3.” Image Space Incorporated have done nothing but build racing simulators for the entirety of their existence, so it is highly improbable that they are building anything other than a hardcore racing simulator. We have also received word from a trustworthy individual that Image Space Incorporated are indeed building a racing simulator to “use” the rFactor 2 engine, not “develop” it – as is one of our most common complaints regarding the current crop of modern simulators.
Late last year, a member of sim racing modding team UnitedRacingDesign held an impromptu Q&A session on 4chan’s small, hostile, and incredibly unpredictable sim racing community thread. While blasting the “adult children” who would quickly bust out their credit cards for payware mods that he himself wouldn’t purchase, a very interesting tidbit was revealed: Image Space Incorporated supplied most of the data for the 2015 Dallara DW12 – complete with unique aero kit and engine specifications. One must ask themselves how the team at ISI became privy to this brand new data, when rFactor 2 features the now outdated 2012 car, and no plans have been made to implement the new cars into rFactor 2?
So to recap what we’ve got, Image Space Incorporated are building a racing simulator that’s not rFactor 3, and for whatever reason, they have an almost complete set of specifications for the most recent Dallara DW 12.
Hmm. Let’s dig a bit more.
All the way back in 2014, almost a full year before the game’s disastrous release, Project CARS was supposed to include the Indianapolis 500 as one of the marquee events within the title’s extensive career mode, as well as a near-complete roster of real-world Verizon IndyCar Series drivers. It’s now May of 2016, a year after the game’s release. There is no Indianapolis Motor Speedway available in Project CARS. There are no real-world IndyCar drivers available in Project CARS. The outdated Dallara DW12, prior to the introduction of the ugly yet functional aero kits, is available as part of a larger DLC pack based around North American auto racing series – with a complimentary assortment of fictional liveries. Nobody has really explained why the IndyCar partnership with Project CARS just sort of evaporated into thin air.
IndyCar has flirted with entering the world of modern sim racing before, albeit with an entity that most prefer not to talk about. SimRaceway, an isiMotor product that mixes the insane cost of iRacing with the overall feel of the original rFactor, struck up a partnership with IndyCar and planned to release an entire stand-alone game, peppering SimRaceway with an abundance of obscure IndyCar tracks in the process – such as Phoenix and Edmonton – yet the title’s extremely poor reception saw interest vanish almost immediately as the cars hit the virtual shelves of SimRaceway’s online shop. While there’s obviously not much to show for it, the fact that IndyCar actually tried to get some sort of proper racing sim built means they’re kicking around and clearly interested in a video game rendition of the American Open Wheel racing series.
Lastly, the Twitter feed of sim racing YouTube personality EmptyBox has been strangely quiet as of late. The popular figure has uploaded almost no new videos in a month – to the point where folks on Reddit actually became concerned about him – and has spent most of his time on Twitter casually discussing the current IndyCar season with his followers. However, a goofy dialogue with ISI’s rFactor 2 Twitter handle vaguely hints at an upcoming announcement to coincide with the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500.
It’s a stretch. A big stretch. The biggest we’ve ever made. But we can only do so much with the info we can access.
- Image Space Incorporated are building another racing simulator.
- The upcoming simulator is NOT rFactor 3 – and therefore it won’t be a smorgasbord of random cars and tracks, with the sim designed to be used as more of a modding platform.
- Image Space Incorporated hold in their possession a near-complete set of data for the 2015 Dallara DW 12, complete with individual engine and aero kit numbers.
- The current-spec Dallara DW12 has not been announced for rFactor 2 at all.
- The Verizon IndyCar Series partnership with Project CARS just sort of vanished.
- IndyCar has already shopped around for a potential developer to make a fully-fledged IndyCar simulator, unfortunately picking the wrong team to collaborate with and left with a half-baked SimRaceway expansion that basically nobody played.
- A twitter exchange between Matt Orr and the official rFactor 2 account warranted a strange response when Orr asked about an upcoming announcement.
Welcome back, IndyCar Racing? Cross your fingers.