Reader Submission #137 – iRacing and the Formula Renault 3.5 *UPDATED*

There’s a bit of a story developing on the iRacing forums today, and it’s one that you most likely won’t see covered on any of the major sim racing outlets, as it makes the team behind iRacing look extremely incompetent and lazy; willing to throw around thousands of dollars in licensing fees without anything actually coming of them. Today’s Reader Submission comes from a user by the name of Shannon and Nim are Ruining iRacing, though despite the obviously biased name, the entry is anything but – iRacing have teased the Formula Renault 3.5 for many months as a sister car for a vehicle already on the service – the Formula Renault 2.0 single-seater – but many have wondered why this car has not materialized in the same manner as the open-wheel ride pictured above.

We’ve now found out why, and it should make any iRacing member willing to spend hundreds of dollars on the service in the hopes of receiving a bunch of new content, question where their money is being put towards. In some cases, it’s merely being squandered.

Picture the scene. You’re running one of the biggest racing simulator services on the planet, and you acquire the rights to the Formula Renault 2.0 and 3.5. Excellent, a real coup that’ll bring in European racers in droves, which is good because that’s the market you’re weakest in. Finally, a proper ladder for the European road series. So you contact teams, and in true iRacing fashion, you find that you can’t get the data required to replicate the car.

Or do you even contact them in the first place?

In recent years, it has become quite commonplace for iRacing to announce something, only to never deliver. Long Beach is the oft-cited classic example, but we also have the Honda BTCC cars, an array of British motor racing circuits, the Silverstone update, various oval re-scans, and the list goes on. The tracks, perhaps, understandably got bumped, after all the Nordschleife and Le Mans were a lot of work, but what of the cars? Why don’t we have the Honda’s, the other three Aston Martin’s announced, the other BMW’s, and the Formula Renault 3.5? Even the Ferrari is seeming somewhat uncertain at this point.

Today, we have the answer, and it comes, like most information about iRacing, in the form of a post on the members-only message board. Way back, when people first began questioning the failure of the Formula Renault 3.5 to appear, a chap by the name of Diederik Kinds offered to introduce iRacing to a team he worked with, after iRacing had said they were unable to get any of the 3.5 teams to work with them. Now, that’s quite some stroke of luck. Sadly, the thread I’m sourcing has since been deleted for very obvious reasons, but thankfully I have taken enough screenshots to ensure everyone at PRC can understand the overall premise; those waiting for the FR 3.5 have come to know Diederik as the best possible route to getting this car in the game.

So the exchange starts with Tony Gardner himself:

Although we have no shortage of car production projects, it is our intention to build the 3.5 car. We are finally making some progress thanks to member Diederik Kinds who hooked us up with a good contact with a team this week who seems willing to work us. That was what we needed. Good job Diederik!

Diederik last posted on the topic in October of 2016, and we all thought that progress was being made, cars being lined up to scan, that sort of thing. Now it seems sensible that iRacing would be quite keen to work on this, after all they’ve spent money on licenses, and a license unused is money down the drain. None of us like to throw money away, and when running a business that is especially true, considering the number of loyal iRacing customers who will buy almost anything they produce, even if they never plan on driving it. The car would obviously have sold well, as evidenced by the enormous popularity of the Formula Renault 2.0.

Fast-forward to March of 2017, in a lengthy thread where someone asked if there was any news on the Formula Renault, eventually Steve Myers (the executive vice president and executive producer) eventually chimed in:

Sorry, nothing has changed here. I don’t own a 3.5 car and I haven’t found anyone that does that is willing to work with us.

He then quickly threw a distraction in there, saying fourteen cars would receive tire improvements. Initially the thread focused on the tire model changes, but eventually people started pointing out that there was a guy who said he’d work with them, and wondered what had happened with that. One chap wondered if iRacing just weren’t interested in making the car, given that the Formula Renault series isn’t anywhere near Formula One in terms of secrecy, so there wouldn’t be an obligation for teams to hide data from iRacing and refuse to work with them. Steve Myers did not take that observation very well.

If there is one thing I really don’t appreciate it is someone implying I am lying. I think anyone that knows me would vouch for the fact that almost to a fault I tell people how it is. If you can’t look at the roster of cars that we have built and figured out that we build what we get data for than that is your problem. We will happily build the car if someone can put me in touch with a team that actually will work with us and not disappear when they find out all the data we need to build it.

Now let’s go back again to how the deal was made. iRacing obviously spent money on licenses for the FR3.5 (and the Honda’s, the BMW’s and the Aston Martin’s). In many of those cases, they claim they couldn’t get a car to work with. Let’s think about that for a moment, just imagine how easy that is to take advantage of: “Yes Mr. Myers, feel free to pay me thousands for this license, now I’ll allow you to use our car in your game” is a pretty easy thing to say during a licensing deal if you know none of the teams running your car are going to let them do it. Money for nothing, right? And yet what business would actually operate that way?

So with all that out of the way, we finally receive the bombshell which exposes exactly how iRacing works. From Diederik Kinds himself, the chap with the contacts to help get iRacing the car if they really wanted it:

Just chew on that for a moment. It exposes a staggering lack of professionalism in iRacing’s approach. It leads to some big questions. Do iRacing really want the car? Do they rub team owners up the wrong way? Is there a communication problem? One has to wonder if, when one is bankrolled by a billionaire, one starts to get a bit lackadaisical about spending money on licenses that don’t get used. Perhaps when hiring friends, one doesn’t acquire the best negotiators. Is this what happened with the Honda’s, the Aston Martin’s and the BMW’s?

All of this money, all of these resources, all of these licenses, they send one Email, and then lie to the customers about teams being unwilling to work with them. iRacing haven’t even tried to get the Formula Renault 3.5 into the service, they basically sent an introductory Email and left it at that, but yet they’re paying for the license, and they’re doing so with the money iRacers have provided them with. You’re giving them money to acquire cars they don’t even put the effort into creating in the first place.

So just think, how many other times has this happened?

What am I supposed to do, act surprised? Everyone knows iRacing is a small team full of hobbyists and left-over Papyrus staff members that have been given a literal mountain of money to run their operation with, so it’s certainly not all that much of a revelation to learn a lot of bone-headed decisions are made behind the scenes, and the company on occasion will intentionally mislead or outright lie to their customers – like telling users a server outage is due to DDoS attacks, when it’s actually just the result of iRacers constantly mashing F5.

The most we can do is just continue to make people aware of it, and hopefully sim racers will either make smarter decisions in the future and not give a company like this their money, or simply continue to ask so many questions on the official iRacing forums, the staff can’t possibly delete every last thread on the topic without looking like they’re censoring criticism.

Which, of course, we know for a fact they do.

However, all is not lost. Because of the discussion surrounding the existence of the Formula Renault 3.5, as well as some of Diederik’s exact suggestions, Steve Myers has confirmed that they will now be looking into contacting another Formula Renault 3.5 team in an effort to finish the car for the European iRacing audience.

Unfortunately, this now raises more questions than answers. There have been several pieces of content announced by iRacing, only to vanish into thin air, and it took months of customers begging for information, passive aggressive answers from Steve Myers bitching about a team “disappearing” on them, and the guy who organized it all to start asking basic questions, just for one future car to get back on track. Will this process need to be repeated every single a time an upcoming piece of content vaporizes?

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39 thoughts on “Reader Submission #137 – iRacing and the Formula Renault 3.5 *UPDATED*

  1. Donald J. Trump has been a exceptional President so far, he understands that the ticking time bomb of Islamization of western world threatens our very way of life.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Global warming will kick in far more disastrous than the 2nd WW soon and this stupid idiot makes everything worse. Icefree arctic this summer and the Methane time bomb goes off. That could kill all humans on planet earth and it´s called physics and science, not bullshit. Humans will extinct very soon. The question is not if, just when. Some scientist say in a few years, some say centuries. 14 meters sea level rise will come 100% certain, probably 80 meters, but that´s just for the next generations to come. Greenland is melting 600% faster than in the models, Antarctica just started as well and we see one Meter rise at least within the next couple of years.

      Like

  2. Yes Mr. Myers, feel free to pay me thousands for this license, now I’ll allow you to use our car in your game” is a pretty easy thing to say during a licensing deal if you know none of the teams running your car are going to let them do it. Money for nothing, right? And yet what business would actually operate that way?

    anyone want to provide any proof of financials or any money actually exchanging hands at the inking of a deal? Maybe all that happens is that iRacing is allowed to build a car but no licencing fees are paid until the car is actually developed and released.

    If deals actually burned a giant hole in iRacing’s pocket you damn well better believe we would have all of those old pieces of content that have been teased for years. No business would let money go to waste like that, but this whole reader submission is just all conspiracy theories anyway.

    Diederik isnt owed any sort of progress update. He offered up some help in connecting people his own time (good on him) but if he was expecting to be brought into the full process and given daily updates along the way as if he was an employee, then hes an idiot.

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      1. So James, are you going to edit the article with actual truthful information like you do with other games when someone gives you correct information or just leave it because its iRacing and you hate them and your a pussy bitch.

        Im banking on the later because you have no integrity.

        Also you were spotted praising ISRTV on their iracing first look video.

        Liked by 1 person

          1. Am I not allowed to praise an ISR video and give credit where credit is due? Billy Strange Jr is a former sprint car driver and a while back I commented that I’d love to see some of his on-board footage mixed into ISR videos because it gives their material an extra bit of credibility. It’s cool to see it finally come to fruition.

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            1. The video is good and you should like it, but Its just out of character for u.

              Based on that steve meyers screen, this entire article is pretty much rendered a big ole lie. The fact that you even posted it in the first place from someone who goes by that username shows you do absolutely no fact checking, how is anyone supposed to believe anything your write. If someone sent you a reader submission saying that iRacing was being sold to Eutechnyx, youd post that shit in a heartbeat without bothering to actually look into the claims yourself.

              If your going to be a shit blog, be a shit blog for everything. If your going to be a news site about sim racing, be a news site. Dont be a news site to things you like and a shit blog about things you dont.

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              1. Quote from Steve Myers:

                “I did get put in touch with another team because of this thread.”

                So if this discussion would have never happened, the FR 3.5 would have literally just sat there and been forgotten about.

                Like the Civic.

                And the four British tracks.

                And Long Beach.

                And NJMP.

                And numerous oval re-scans.

                And the three Aston Martins.

                And the other handful of BMW’s.

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                1. I’d like to know how the article is bullshit?

                  Its a rant submitted by someone who is openly bias regarding a topic in which they did not have all of the information & jumped to conclusion regarding the responses from steve initially by calling him a liar.

                  iRacing states that they sent a questionaire to the team and they never responded. If you choose not to believe this, that is your perogative, but do not state that as a fact. THAT is bullshit.

                  And they have been pretty busy with dirt this year. Id say they are somewhat distracted by that project so the 3.5 fell to low priority when they contact never responded.

                  Should they have kept prodding? sure, but they didnt. oh well

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                  1. Again:

                    >hey fuck you
                    >also I did what you said

                    iRacing proved Deiderik right. They sent one email, had zero initiative to actually follow up and work something out with the team, and then basically ignored the thing until someone called them out on it. Had Deiderik not brought any of this up, it would have vanished into thin air and been forgotten about.

                    Like

        1. When has James ever acknowledged a substantive error, and corrected it?

          Of course, I can understand why he might not enjoy venturing down that rabbit hole, as he’d obviously have little time for much else.

          I do wish he’d stop wasting good writing on lazy speculation, especially considering how much I enjoy his better stuff.

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          1. If the posts were so damn long, i could probably find it quickly, but I remember it happening a few times where there is an “Edit:…” at the top of bottom of the article which relates to some comment made below it. Im pretty sure one of them was on an AC article. If you really wanna see the evidence I could go do some digging, but its not really a good use of time id say.

            Im sure james could point you to it quickly.

            Like

            1. Although I’m sure he’s occasionally corrected specific factual errors, and even acknowledged the Turn 10 buying Kunos absurdity, but he often embraces wildly speculative claims (according to his fancy) with little to no supporting evidence.

              As contravening arguments, and evidence, emerge in the comments, he’ll rebut some anonymous absurdity before quickly moving on to the next post.

              An example that immediately comes to mind began with his claims that iRacing members were being banned in droves for TOS violations (amidst claims that the TOS itself was outrageous and illegal).

              In fact, I’m pretty sure someone was temporarily banned, for sending forum screenshots to PRC, or violating the TOS by linking a PRC article, and I’d be the first to agree that iRacing needs to lighten up when it comes to policing their brand, etc., but members weren’t suddenly being banned, let alone in droves.

              Moreover, Austin dramatically conflated complete service bans with the temporary loss of posting privileges, and poured his righteous outrage into multiple haranguing posts.

              After numerous comments distinguishing truth from fallacy appeared, care to guess whether anything resembling a correction was subsequently posted?

              Keep in mind, my initial comment above was not at all vindictive, and I readily acknowledge James’ writing chops (if not the veracity of those words).

              Liked by 1 person

            1. I’d like to know how the article is bullshit?

              Myers’ response was:
              >hey fuck you
              >also I did what you said

              So now it’s clear as day that you pretty much have to bitch, moan, and work iRacing into a corner for them to do anything.

              Like

              1. Personally, I wouldn’t be surprised if they simply aren’t that interested in the car.

                Steve’s response seems to suggest otherwise, but when we already have the R2.0, Skippy, Pro Mazda, and McLaren, how will the R3.5 affect participation in those series?

                From what I understand, the series doesn’t even exist anymore, or at least isn’t affiliated with Renault any longer, so I’m not sure how relevant the car will continue to be in the future.

                Moreover, as the service/game evolves, priorities and member interests change along with relevant technologies, all of which conspire to laugh in the face of the best laid plans.

                Finally, as someone mentioned above, we simply don’t know anything about the underlying financials, and drawing conclusions about their business acumen is ridiculous.

                That said, I wish iRacing were more transparent about these things, and they’re certainly vulnerable to that sort of criticism.

                Liked by 1 person

  3. I still can’t believe that iracing is still trying to license a BTCC car (this time the Ford). Just do the Audi RS3 TCR and be done with it. Also, its been awhile since there’s been a car capapble of both oval and road racing, and the Dallara IL15 would fit that bill.

    Like

  4. I don’t know why people still care about the 3.5, it doesn’t race anymore and it wasn’t anything spectacular. It’s not like classics like GT1 cars, or the old Loti. It’s just some crappy modern open wheeler. Waste of time IMO.

    Like

  5. You forgot to mention the “new ui” they released a video of. That was yet more iRacing vaporware that never materialised into reality. 2 years later and it’s still not been released or mentioned by the staff since.

    iRacing should stop talking about what they are “working on” and actually start finishing things before they start bragging about them.

    Like

  6. To be fair, renault dropped support of the fr 3.5 series at the end of 2015, with it continuing from 2016 onwards as the Formula V8 3.5 series instead.
    Assuming iRacing had a license agreement from Renault, that may no longer be valid after they dropped support for that series.

    This doesn’t explain the lack of communication or the other cars however.

    Like

  7. iRacing love to try and use features of their game that aren’t even finished and working yet as marketing tools, they’ve done the same thing with dirt for the last year.

    Like

  8. Thank you for publishing this. I’ll just note that it did get edited a bit, and I didn’t put the apostrophes on Hondas, BMWs etc. They don’t belong there.

    iRacing got called out, Myers lashed out and I’m pretty confident we still won’t get the car. As for why we want it.. it’s an f1-speed car with a screaming V8 but still modern. What’s not to like?

    Liked by 1 person

  9. The apologists over in the iRacing forums are having a field day with this one, as usual they’re falling over each other to make excuses on iRacings behalf and insulting anyone who doesn’t blindly worship the company. They’ll probably start a donation drive to purchase Steve Myers a gift for all the undue stress this has caused him. Tony just said they’ve had to push the release of Dirt, the new UI and the new damage model back several years because their developers found these forum comments so hurtful and untrue.

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    1. Yep, the forums are, and always will be, a complete cesspit. It’s basically the Trump presidency over there, with news only official if it’s announced by Spicer (Myers).

      iRacing treats people like mushrooms by keeping them in the dark and feeding them bullshit, but the iRacing masses are quite happy being mushrooms. It’s quite odd.

      Like

  10. This particular story seems to be a bit of a stretch (at least personally I’m having trouble mustering up a lot of outrage over what I’ve read), but I do think there is a valid wider theme that iRacing does seem to have a bit of a “fat cat” attitude at times. Given how little competition (i.e. virtually none) they’ve had since inception, this isn’t unpredictable.

    Hopefully, if Sector3 can follow through on their promises, this dynamic will change in the not-too-distant future. It would be good for everyone if iRacing came under a little price/feature pressure.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. It’s impressive how much work iRacing throws away.
    I really think there are key positions in iRacing staff that screams incompetent all the way.

    Like

  12. “like telling users a server outage is due to DDoS attacks, when it’s actually just the result of iRacers constantly mashing F5”.

    Do you have proof of this? I’m gonna start calling this site fake news just like my president Donald J. Trump would say.

    Like

  13. I like ISRTV but billy is the only one i want to hear sim opinions from. Darin and John as much i respect them for the channel/work into it – they only seem to know/care about iracing – theres plenty of better sims!

    Billy seems to play them all and gives honest opinions, not just bias with racing because the big dick of racing is coming on the show! Although his Real life experience on DIRT can’t really be translated onto proper circuit racing experience!

    Like

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