Reader Submission #136 – Picking Up iRacing’s Slack

2What if I told you there’s a way to unfuck some of iRacing’s most blatant shortcomings? That’s the theme of today’s Reader Submission here at PRC.net, as an anonymous member of the service’s private Winstel Cup Series – a championship created to re-live the glory years of NASCAR’s fourth generation body style – has written to us explaining how the group of drivers were once under the spell of iRacing’s disastrous driving model, only to successfully experiment with key variables in the garage menu to produce an on-track product superior to the vanilla iRacing experience.

The result has been nothing short of spectacular; to this cluster of sim racers attempting to re-create Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s fantastic string of seasons flying under the Budweiser banner, iRacing has finally lived up to the enormous subscription and content costs the brand asks its users to continuously fork over each year. But it wasn’t without some work that really shouldn’t have been necessary in the first place, and today, we get to learn how they pulled it off.


3jpgHey PRC, I’ve decided to write this article for you guys because I feel like the community should know about what we’ve found within the iRacing software that makes it significantly better than the default game most of the users play.

I’m involved in a league called the Winstel Cup Series, which runs the K&N Pro Series car at large speedways to sort of emulate early 2000’s top level NASCAR events. On paper, this probably sounds like a surefire disaster, as iRacing tries this same kind of combination in the official mock K&N series every user can access by default provided they have the appropriate license level, but there’s a reason behind why these events are so brutal. Most of the fixed setups iRacing uses for this low-level series are above 53% cross weight, which makes the car handle like a dump truck. Usually, you have no front tires after about ten laps, and the car plows into the wall. This creates a nightmarish situation for anyone looking to have a good time from the car, and it gives drivers who have no clue what they’re doing, far too much confidence.

After our first season in the league, we switched to much looser setups that rewarded raw driving talent, and to our surprise, the average number of cautions each event dropped from a hefty six, to just three. The trickier setups also created much better racing, with the average amount of leaders and lead changes seeing a tangible increase as well.

We also discovered that tire wear within the iRacing software accelerates dramatically with hotter weather. In some cases, it’s downright unrealistic, completely contradicting the service’s goal of a highly accurate simulation. At the season 2 finale in Atlanta, in which we ran weather conditions of 90 degrees and clear sky,  we saw lap times drop off by three whole seconds in just ten laps. This is incredibly unrealistic, especially because iRacing’s scan of Atlanta Motor Speedway is from 2006, due to what the track logos are.

However, with this tire wear, we actually generated proper multi-groove racing. Atlanta, Charlotte, and Rockingham all lent themselves to a racing environment where every lane worked at both ends of the track, and during the closing laps at Atlanta, we had seven cars battling for the lead; everybody being able to use their own groove. However, four out of the seven cars still chose the bottom line, proving iRacing’s new surface model works, but not as well as they would like it to.

The next thing I’d like to address is the iRacing draft model. It’s broken to no end, and there are several problems that we could not fix to what we’d like, as it’s a problem with the sim itself. Some of these include side-drafting speeding the host car up instead of slowing it, and the last car in line falling out of the pack no matter how much draft there is. These problems can be reduced with the changes we’ve made, but they’re absolutely ridiculous in the context of a simulator. First, we put a 2.90 final drive gear in the car, which helped the racing tremendously. It seemed to be more like the 2001 NASCAR restrictor plate package than anything else, and we were able to have a good race, rather than the single file events iRacing usually puts on at Daytona and Talladega. Secondly, we added 250 kilos of weight penalty, which helped the last car in line not lose the draft as easily. We also kept the weather at 90 degrees and clear, which wore out the tires to about a second of fall-off, making the outside the dominant line during these races, and thus more realistic.

What we have done proves iRacing can be what iRacing promotes itself as, but it’s an oddity and takes a lot of work to make it right. You’re much better off picking up a sim like ARCA Sim Racing if you want something out of the box that works as intended, and makes it easy to find a league. However, I didn’t write this just to bash iRacing, it’s still the best sim racing service in the world, it just needs a lot of fine tuning.


urlThis sort of falls in line with what I’ve heard about iRacing’s atrocious default setups. Because of how many updates each car goes through, and how many cars there are on the service in total, plus all the different tracks which sometimes require alternative configurations, there’s simply not enough time for the staff members to create solid baseline setups for every single car to ship with every new build. The setups iRacing do churn out are often rudimentary configurations just to get new drivers around the track without spinning, occasionally carrying over from a previous build even if certain cars have received fundamental changes under the hood.

It’s very frustrating to deal with as an end user, as you’d think there would be some effort made to point people in the right direction – especially with how complex the garage area can be regardless of any mechanical experience you may have under your belt. And as a large majority of the popular oval racing series on iRacing rely on fixed setups rather than the ability to adjust your car in the garage area, only a fraction of iRacing members get to see the true power of the software.

I’m unsure why iRacing would intentionally cripple themselves in this department, and instead ship out god-awful baseline setups that are borderline retarded in a competitive setting ,when even their own users are figuring out how to work with the software, not against it. Their entire marketing gimmick is aimed at a hardcore audience who want something more demanding than literally every other racing game every made in the history of home computers, and people are paying top dollar (plus VAT) to say “I’m an elite sim racer.” So with such an influx of so-called hardcore sim racers who in theory should know their way around a pretend race car enough already to wheel a proper setup, why are they instead bundling the cars with configurations that are legitimately detrimental to the racing experience?

This is too stupid to be intentional; you seriously can’t tell me a bunch of guys in a private league somehow figured out how to make the on-track experience infinitely better, but then again, we’ve seen time and time again with iRacing staff that some of them don’t know what they’re doing, and are merely there as a reward for their time spent with NASCAR Racing 2003 Season.

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31 thoughts on “Reader Submission #136 – Picking Up iRacing’s Slack

    1. Oval track is such an odd thing. It’s never really interested me (even though I’m from the Redneck Heartland of Tennessee), mainly because it’s such an artificial creation: Driving in circles, Cautions every so often just to keep the cars bunched up, looks like about 100 cars on the track at the same time. It’s sorta like a Spec Series Traffic Jam.

      I think it’s also one of the few racing series where a driver can look like an out-of-shape slob and still be #1 (Tony Stewart). Repeatedly (Tony Stewart). I reckon them thar NASCAR boys don’t end up with supermodels a whole lot.

      And God, the cars sure are ugly as shit. Camry’s, Fusion’s and a discontinued Chevy. These are not sexy beasts.

      Yeah, I know I just pissed a bunch of people off. It’s PRC. I’m just trying to fit in around here 😉

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Agreed. I’ve never understood oval racing. It does seem very artificial with the cautions. One car spun to the infield and you have to do like 4 laps crawling around. Doesn’t sound like a good time to me. I went to a few Nascar races at Michigan in the early 2000s and it was fun just for the sound/thunder experience.

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      1. ??? Why? Ah, I get it. On PRC it’s not political correct to call out oval racing for what it is. Grow some balls and get over it…

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  1. My auto renewal is OFF for the first time since I joined 3 plus years ago and it is staying that way. March 1st, I’m done. I’ll check back in 6 months, maybe. Depends on the information I’m getting here on whether they have fixed there shit or not.

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  2. My auto renewal is OFF for the first time since I joined 3 plus years ago and it is staying that way. March 1st, I’m done. I’ll check back in 6 months, maybe. Depends on the information I’m getting here on whether they have fixed their shit or not.

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  3. James, you’re slacking. You forgot to write an article about the Project Cars 2 screenshots which have been tweeted by SMS. I’m disappointed in you. 😦

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        1. Yes, it’s true. SMS “bribed” Sev by offering him free access to Project Cars 2 which honest and unbiased users had to pay for. Ian Bell is really talented as a pied piper.

          Liked by 1 person

            1. Checked it a while ago but still after the latest update regarding fixes. Could improve my lap-time with way less camber (i think -0,9°) and that shouldn´t work on BRNO.

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  4. “However, I didn’t write this just to bash iRacing, it’s still the best sim racing service in the world, it just needs a lot of fine tuning.”

    What a bs sentence – what you wrote makes iRacing not a simulation anymore
    At best iRacing has the best racing (multiplayer) service in the world ….

    iRacing is known to be quite unrealistic – its thereby no sim anymore

    Pressures are not working realistically, tire wear is not working properly, dynamic track states are not working properly, weather is broken, physics are broken (there are bugs from 1997 in it still remaining from Grand Prix Legends), Slipstreams are unrealistically strong in most cars (ie. extreme 2+sec for the Merc GT3), Broken 24h Events where very often people lose connection midrace … the list could go on a while
    This is no sim, this is simcade at most! And for sure not the best MOTORSPORT SIMULATION

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    1. Well, since you have stated someplace else that you consider Project Cars realistic in a pure sim sense, you are clearly an expert on racing software physics and your wish-wash above is not worthless drivel at all.

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  5. The stupid thing about this is that iRacing shouldn’t actually need to work on setups at all. They could just use their own software to capture what setups that their own users are using to create default setups automatically.

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  6. I race often on ARCA Sim Racing X. He community is small. Like maybe 100 drivers or so, but the sim makes you feel like you are connected with the track everywhere you go. Maybe the GNS is connected “too much” but no the less still pretty good. Just wish they had better looking graphics and models. Can’t complain because it’s free!

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  7. oval racing pushes everyhting to the extreme edge as a mattaer of fact over the edge then just slightly less than… road course is its own set of challenges dont misunderstand me but oval racing is the easiest to see the drivers choices and feel of the seat drivingtalent is visable , i find that i can see more from an oval driver driving and comparing to others corner entry middle and exit.. hard to see on a road course so spread out over time,., in oval it all happens a s one fluid motion……. aimplist way i can explain it. SRZ Racer X ~Robert Lovell

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  8. When using iSpeed and VRS, it because very clear as to where you are missing/gaining time at road courses. In reality, you don’t even need them since you can compare your apex speed via replay to someone faster and listen for their throttle application to see how early they can get on. Any turn before a long straight should be the first place to look and back to other corners from there.

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