Both of These Were Once Deemed “Realistic”

If the late 90’s ballads of Justin Timberlake and company were too much to stomach, longtime iRacing member Ian Plasch has just uploaded a short yet hilarious comparison video demonstrating the absolutely mammoth changes iRacing’s tire model has undergone in the previous handful of years. Rapidly swapping between footage of an early New Tire Model iteration on the 2009 Chevrolet Silverado, and Version 7 of the New Tire Model on the 2016 Chevrolet Silverado, Ian’s video displays all you need to know about the evolution of iRacing’s controversial driving physics in less than two minutes.

During the first portion of the 91 second video, Ian is struggling to put the power to the ground on an early version of the New Tire Model, and his Silverado is skating around as if the track surface at Kentucky Motor Speedway has been replaced with black ice. The truck is actively trying to kill both Ian, as well as his competitor directly out the front windshield, and Ian’s virtual wheel wildly flails back and forth at a rate you will simply never see in any on-board footage of the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. To contrast this ridiculous driving model, Ian inserts footage of New Tire Model Version 7 into the mix, showing a race car that is almost boring to drive – minute corrections are simply not needed, and by the end of the clip Ian is purposely thrashing the wheel; the truck’s trajectory completely unaffected by his absurd inputs, continuing to follow almost a predetermined path. By the end of the video, both versions of this theoretical tire model are shown to be completely busted, invalidating nearly half a decade’s worth of research and development on the iRacing software. Neither piece of footage is realistic in the slightest.

As someone who was once extremely active within the world of iRacing, I’ve both raced with Ian and have been around for the multiple launch days of these allegedly groundbreaking tire model improvements, upgrades that completely changed how the game drove. And I think this video does a fantastic job of outlining iRacing’s biggest problem in the shortest possible way. Every single time a massive post-season update would drop and radically alter the handling model of a certain car, the iRacing fanboys would predictably congregate on the forums and loudly proclaim this update of iRacing was the most realistic yet – a pattern of behavior that has repeated itself for years on end.

  • In 2013, when the New Tire Model buzz was a prominent fixture on the iRacing software, iRacing fanboys boasted about how challenging and difficult the simulator was to drive; claiming iRacing was only for an elite group of sim racers – and if you spun wildly out of control or didn’t understand how to drive the car, it wasn’t the game that had issues – it was you!
  • In 2016, with the New Tire Model currently on Version 7, iRacing fanboys now claim this version is the most realistic iteration of iRacing yet, and the team from Bedford Massachussetts are finally headed in the right direction.

Yet when you line the footage up side-by-side as Ian has done in his latest YouTube video, both tire models are completely horrendous. When iRacers complain that their tire models are stuck in a constant state of disarray, this is exactly what they’re talking about. From update to update, the cars change in such a radical fashion, the game drives in an almost entirely different manner, and never is it all that accurate unless the stars properly align for a unicorn car/track combination.


50 thoughts on “Both of These Were Once Deemed “Realistic”

  1. Lol gollums are in bound,oooh my precious.
    Just goes to show how far off the tyre model has been/is for it to need such drastic changes.
    Sure we will have the usual here soon creating their own reality to justify this.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Another episode of “let’s nitpick on things we just betrayed superficially, because we need to write something to fill our blog.”

    Driving a car with an understeering setup in an oval makes a great effect on a comparison video.


    1. A better question is why the leading motorsports simulator is giving its users setups that are so dangerous they would never see track time in the real world.


      1. Trust me, everyone on iRacing either has a gripe with the fixed setups or an ego about “look, I can drive it, so can you.”

        It’s why I don’t run fixed anymore.


          1. If I’m not mistaken, I think the NR2k3 setups were built by someone from (the now defunct) Jasper Racing – so they were pretty damn good. They should be actively searching for this person.


  3. Normal service has been resumed on PRC. Tedious article full of barely coherent whinging. iRacing’s tyre model may or may not be shit, by half way through the article I didn’t care.


  4. “Neither piece of footage is realistic in the slightest.”
    I can´t see any evidence or explanations for this accusation. You´ve driven the trucks once?
    I don´t like iRacing that much and did not renew my membership, but when criticising it, i try to bring arguments for my opinion.


    1. I will draw your attention to Friday Nights on Fox Sports 1, where you can view NASCAR Camping World Truck Series events live. I’ve been watching this series since 2004; trucks don’t do this.


        1. Full Races can be found on YouTube dating back to the first season in 1995. There are no isolated onboard videos, but watch two laps from Kentucky in any season and the trucks simply dont do what is displayed above.


  5. I just can’t get over the FFB being sub-par and the physics often behaving questionably.

    Example….A combo everyone can try, street stocks at Charlotte… To me, the entire feel is wrong. It feels like you’re pushing through (and sounds like it) and you should be losing pace. It just doesn’t make sense to me. There’s no reason to be driving like that. Time and again, I dropped time by pushing in harder than necessary. It’s like the sound/grip/pace/dynamics aren’t aligned.

    iRacing still seems to reward track placement over grip management and keeping the car settled/adapting to geometry . I haven’t seen all the videos, but the first one with the older model shows cars.. ACCELERATING away when breaking into a slide. That is wrong, that is broken. This isn’t news to many of the readers here, I’m just reminding people.

    These days, iRacing has dialed back the issue BUT it’s still there. Time and again, track placement will win.

    Everything just feels fuzzy, the tracks feel low poly and it’s all kinda fucked up.

    Let’s just go down to basic levels: have you driven a car in real life that isn’t broken from an engineering standpoint? You can feel things through the wheel. Depending on the sidewall/car, you feel little grooves in the road, you feel it’s 3D geometry within your entire lane, traffic markings are very noticeable, let alone a goddamn corrugated curb. This is with soft, tall sidewall comfort tyres.
    To me, iracing overall feels like I’m driving variations of ’94 crown Victorias with worn out suspension bushings with ~ half of the true through-the wheel feedback of the real thing. For street stocks, that’s not necessarily such a bad thing, but it’s still lacking a ton of detail. For other cars with harder sidewalls, it’s becomes increasingly ridiculous how soft everything is.

    I got pretty sick of it after 3 weeks and 120 usd of content 😦 WIll check it out again when something positive happens with the core due to hmd support, I don’t want to pay 60+ for broken dirt racing as it stands. Hopefully it will represent better value than their short track racing…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s easy to filter out most of the feel with your steering wheel settings, which will let you drive the over-smooth style that the current iracing shows.

      irl you wouldn’t run a racecar with no feeling (in some ways. I’ve had some feedback from endurance drivers that suggests they run fairly light steering) but what’s the sim supposed to do to discourage that? Can’t force you into running a desk-shaking FFB strength.


      1. It’s not about the strength. I’ve dialed in the ffb as well as I can for my hardware. It’s not about heaviness (there’s no real need for the wheel to be excessively heavy).

        It just has a very simple way of generating the low-force effects. I would think it was good 10 years ago.


    2. One more in the group of iRacing-FFB-haters:D
      I spent even >200 bucks on this shit, but i really get a better FFB out of every other racing title i have with AC and AMS as my personal favorites. And i own a DD-wheel, so that´s not making a difference. But with the Accuforce i can run Sim Commander FFB pure from the telemetry with or without ingame-FFB mixed and this traction loss effect on 200% is making a positive difference. I don´t use this effect in other sims because just confusing and unnecessary, but iRacing can be nice with Sim Commander.

      Most people loving iRacing really drive more by graphics and audio than the FFB.


      1. Lol iRenters spending over $200 for game content when the physics in that game are broken. iRenting seems to take advantage of the fact that no other developer in sim racing can create a competent online system for their sim. Otherwise no one would give any money into this scam.


        1. I was drunken while spending the most amount and regret it soon. And after spending that much money i thought, when not renewing the account they will send me pretty soon some special offer. But not really. Just recently they send me a 25% offer for renewal after >4 months, so 75 instead of 100 bucks for one year access without content. iRacing needs really some strong competitor to get them to the ground of reality and reasonable prices.


      2. I too have an AF, and have had great difficulty making it work well in AC.

        Until the recent Japanese DLC launch I didn’t really care, but between that and the upcoming DRM Revival mod, I’d really like to get back into AC.

        I know FFB is very subjective (I don’t mind iRacing FFB at all, but don’t have much to compare it to), but do you have any setup tips? I’m especially curious about the AC settings.


    3. The undenieable fact for me simply is, that I can not immerse myself anymore when driving iracing.
      The driving is all completely fucked up. Today I can have a realistic experience with other sims.
      And I don’t mean more realistic, because iRacing in retrospective is just wrong, it never was the real deal, or anything close to realistic. It has great ranking system, and back in the days I’ve had many fanatastic races, so that sucked me in, and I eventually got fast, but it was never that I felt as I was actually driving, it was all about making the right inputs to avoid the car stepping out. To be fast all you had to do is find the correct line and be supersmooth on the wheel. I still miss the competitiveness though, but other then that iracing is like a game that was really cool years ago, and once you start it up you get the fizzes because of the old times it reminds you of, but then you realize how bad it is by today standards.
      So I try to keep the good memories of the races, and the time spent with pals sharing setups and tweaking the cars.


  6. I stumbled upon the Reader Submission #96 about iRacing and read it. Oh shit… did David Kaemmer really said that in the forum??! I went to check it out in iRacing (in disbelief) and yes, sadly, in fact he said that friction is a better way to cool down tires than the air surrounding the tire as it travels.

    If I haven’t read this from the iRacing forum itself I would have let my ego investment on iRacing lead me and disregard this. A series of questions came to my mind afterwards:

    Why then there are vented brake rotors and not friction cooled brake rotors?

    Are those openings in the bodywork of past and modern formula cars just for the sake of aesthetics? Why is then the engine not touching the asphalt / concrete (and all of the mechanical stuff for that matter) if friction is a better cooling method?

    What’s the point on using lubricants for mating assemblies subjected to friction?

    Why do people use fans and air conditioning and not rub sandpaper on their skin in hot days to chill?

    Why did my engineering (and even elementary) education institutions kept me in the dark and didn’t teach me better?

    And the last one:


    My time and my money are worth something and yes, I am testing other sim options because people, WE deserve better. We deserve that the math models developed for the sims we spend resources on are based on actual PHYSICS and real world testing.


    1. Did you read the fanboys creating their own reality to justify David k’s statements.
      Some race engineer came in and said he’s right but gave no proof other than his mumblings,while discounting the f1 ir footage and sniping at folks for giving unsubstantiated claims,while actually doing that himself.
      He also said that this type of info is so hard to find because it’s so secretive.

      Really,the basic principles of how tyres interact cooling wise is only know by a few select teams.

      Man,I wish other Sims would implement an online structure like racing’s cuz I’d quit asap.

      The old fail safe of wip is a cop out plain and simple,dirt will release broken and take years to get to an exceptable level.


    2. I’ve not renewed my subscription to iracing for half a year, and propably never will, so can not access the forums anymore, but with regards to the cooling of the tyres, the patch of the tyre that touches the road, is “propably” dissipating more heat into the road, then the remaining thread of the tyre does into the surrounding air.
      This simply is because air by itself is an isolator, and a good one.
      Aircooling always relies on the fact that a large surface area is circulated by a huge amount of air.
      In case of the tyre, the circulation is hampered by the air being trapped in the wheelarchs, and the tyre coming without the fins that make a good heat sink.
      So thats why you see brake ducts and gulls in the fenders of performance street cars, to allow the air to effectively pass through the brake calippers and at least somehow flow around the tyre.
      The heat conductivity of a typical stretch of concrete or tarmac by far exceeds the capabilities of air, so this has nothing to do with friction really.

      However, the big secrecy surrounding tyres is the knowledge of the exact correlation of all things that play into it, not the basic principles.

      All that we know for sure is that while driving along a straight, the tyre cooles down, and this is “propably” more down to the contact patch then it is down to the air around the tyre.
      And in the corners, the tyre heats up because of the heat that is generated due to the power that must be transmitted through the contact patch, the friction in between, the deformation of the tyre, and so on.

      I bet anyone any sum of money, that companies like Michelin, Pirelli, Toyo, etc and also many serious and experienced race teams can estimate quite exactly how much a given tyre on a given race car will heat up on specific part of a track, under specific environmental conditions, and depending on the cars setup
      Pirelli e.g. gave the F1 teams strict specification on the maximum allowed camber settings, and iirc RedBull knew better, and blew their tyres.

      Thing is, all this information has been gathered by experiment mainly, and over decades of ongoing developement. There is no chance that we get true numbers and relations for a given tyre, let allone for all sorts of tyres being simulated in the sims of today.

      As I understand it, the behaviour of a tyre can not be calculated exactly, it can for the most part be experimentally explored, and then described mathematically with approximation only.

      So if a simultaion is to replicate the behaviour of a tyre, and can only rely on approximative mathematical equations, and on correlations that are kept secretive, what really can we expect??


    3. If you don’t understand the concept of a wheel, then I’d say that’s a personal problem, not your education.

      Rolling friction is significantly lower than sliding friction. So the equivalent is more like touching something cold (a beer, perhaps) and finding that your hand cools down.

      Fans only work on humans because of evaporation; unless you want to drip water across your brakes and tires constantly you’re getting way less air cooling.


      1. I am sure that any friction, rolling or not, will generate more heat in the tire than it could ever transfer to a bad thermal conductor…like the road for example.


  7. That’s why I quit iRacing after I’d spent almost 3 years actively racing there. I was tired of all those “realistic” changes to the way cars behaved. To me, Kaemmer is no better than a pimply teenage rFactor modder throwing in random numbers into his tyre model, according to what he thinks is correct.


  8. iRacing physics kind of are what they are, IMO. Pretty meh.

    That said, I’ve pumped about $60 into their pockets over the past month in resub fees and additional content for the simple fact that – while it’s not perfect – you really can’t beat the on-demand online racing availability.

    It’s funny that a lot of people mention that a huge % of the code is carried over from nr2003 – I don’t doubt it for a second, but the ironic thing is, I still fire up nr2003 on a semi regular basis and I think in a lot of ways it drives *better* than iRacing!

    When I first joined up on iRacing back in 2013, the physics were still very reminiscent of “Ice Hockey” on the NES. It was often very frustrating, but every once in a while you would get in the zone and it was pretty exhilarating to be one with a driving model actively trying to pitch you into the Armco. But then you’d dip a couple inches of rubber onto the grass and come crashing down from your high.

    Contrast that with today and you see the opposite extreme – super grippy. I guess if I had to pick one extreme, it would be “super grippy”, except that I don’t like how grippy the cars are when you go off track now. I’ve seen multiple times over the last month where guys have gone off into the grass under circumstances where IRL their day would end with a severely banged up car (or even in the hospital!) yet, under the new tire model, they are able to keep the throttle on the floor (!!!) and not even lose a position (in some cases).

    Seeing the sim swing to these opposite extremes indicates to me they probably *should* take the plunge on a total rewrite and apply all of the lessons over the years to a fresh, clean start. But, I’m assuming the cash flow is just way too good to justify that kind of endeavor (people would rather have new content).


    1. But that isn’t entirely accurate. While iRacing isn’t amazing, the track temp and surface conditions can swing the grip each direction drastically. Get a very cold track, it is very slippery but gets bettery as the tires warm, get a warm track, its pretty damn grippy and get a very hot track, it gets very slippery again. That is how it is for the road side, anyway.


      1. You can have that in AC/AMS/rF2 as well with SRS for free, so why spending alone 100 bucks just for the access every year? SRS (SimRacingSystem) is the thing what´s missing in SimRacing before and couldn´t find in iRacing also because of the stupid point system. Contacts or aboard a race due to damage is common in racing and should not lower championship or global points. Aboard a race in iRacing and you are fucked. Just don´t get to many contacts in SRS and you are fine. Till now i can tell, people are driving more clean in SRS than in iRacing.


  9. By the comments of the video author it looks like this video is more about criticising the fixed set ups than the physics.


    1. yea, but we all know PRC uses any material out of context to fit their dialog. Sort of like most news networks these days.


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