It was kind of like receiving concert tickets to see a band you haven’t cared for in five years. iRacing’s September 13th surprise fell flat with many sim racers, as the introduction of the Audi 90 Quattro IMSA GTO to the popular online racing service did little to win over hardcore members that were hoping and praying for something more significant than just another car to purchase.
Yes, the accompanying video which served to introduce the vehicle to the userbase was a phenomenal piece of work – regardless of your opinions of the software itself – but with no official championship for the cars to compete in, and an apathetic stance from the community towards IMSA GTO entries as a whole, it wasn’t iRacing’s finest moment. After both Project CARS and RaceRoom Racing Experience included the Quattro within their roster of vehicles to relatively little fanfare, it’s difficult to understand why exactly iRacing felt the need to offer this car for sale.
It’s now been revealed that the IMSA GTO Quattro launch is going to be followed up by a second surprise scheduled for September 20th, 2016. Are they associated with one another? Probably. The Quattro currently has no official series for the car to be used within the iRacing service, and iRacing staff have said there are plans for the Audi to be used within a championship fairly soon. It would not be any sort of stretch to imagine an IMSA prototype from 1989 will accompany the Quattro to form a multi-class American road racing championship loosely based on the 1989 season. Given how few manufacturers actually posted a victory in the prototype class during the 1989 campaign, we’re looking at three potential options: the Porsche 962c, Nissan’s GTP ZX Turbo, and Jaguar’s XJR-10.
All three brands are not currently featured within the iRacing service, but rumors of Porsche coming to all major racing sims starting in 2017 have started to gain traction thanks to the end of the exclusive licensing deal with Electronic Arts. Yes, I’m aware of the fact that there were many diverse prototype entries throughout the 1989 campaign, but including a car that didn’t fare very well on the track would be an especially hard sell for the hardcore iRacing crowd – just look at what happened when iRacing scanned the wrong class of late model stock car.
There are also rumors that it may possibly be a new location rather than a car, and for that I’ll have to point the GPS somewhere in Europe. I’m not well versed enough in iRacing forum gossip to have any upcoming track leads, but earlier today InsideSimRacing guessed that it could potentially be either the Red Bull Ring, Salzburgring, or even the Sachsenring circuit, though again I’ll have to let the iRacing guys in the comment section below tell us what they know.
The recent influx of new content on the iRacing landscape has undoubtedly been a strategic move to cover up a lack of progress on the physics engine side, as guru Eric Hudec left the company earlier this spring, and the team have done fairly little to publicly introduce Steve Reis, formerly of Penske Racing’s IndyCar Division as his replacement. While all companies big and small obviously go through staff changes, hardcore iRacers with a vested interest in the competitive side of the simulator have been desperately waiting for under-the-hood updates to fix physics oddities they’ve discovered during competition, and the wave of new content is doing little to keep them satisfied.