The rumors of regional karting championships eventually appearing in the popular online-only racing simulator have now been confirmed. A YouTube account under the name of Red Dodger has uploaded two short videos appearing to show off iRacing’s private alpha build, sloppily using his cell phone to record otherwise authentic footage of the game’s upcoming content. At what appears to be a totally reconfigured centripetal test circuit – now boasting an exterior oval track similar to the test facility in Street Legal Racing: Redline – the user awkwardly spins and slides for about a minute to display that, yes, karting is in development for the iRacing platform.
With only 135 views at the time of this article going live, Red’s account is sure to be compromised and his status as an alpha tester revoked, but for the moment we’ve now received unprecedented access into what iRacing’s marketing department will happily advertise over the next few months until its inevitable release. Though there isn’t a substantial online kart racing community to begin with that justifies this venture – the disappearance of Kartkraft followed by relatively little disappointment as evidence – iRacing will now attempt to expand into that demographic
Red has also uploaded footage of the Ford Fiesta WRC in action, as iRacing will soon implement their own variant of Red Bull Global Rallycross into the simulator in an effort to expand on the array of dirt-based content currently available. Despite iRacing’s dirt side receiving almost unanimously positive reviews across the greater sim racing community, car counts have been steadily dropping since launch as users quickly ran out of things to do, meaning that the time spent on developing loose surface physics was seen mostly as a novelty by those not well-versed in American oval racing. The rallycross content should at least breathe new life into loose service racing on the competitive multiplayer outlet, as the sport of rallycross has rapidly increased in popularity thanks to energy drink brands Monster and Red Bull offering significant financial backing.
iRacing have shown promise in recent months; the handling characteristics of their 2017 Porsche Cup establishing itself as a clear contender for the title of “iRacing’s best car” with flying colors, but with this new influx of content on the horizon it remains to be seen whether iRacing will revisit the rest of their vehicles – or tires – to polish them in the appropriate ways. Long-time iRacing members are becoming increasingly dissatisfied with the stagnation of the game’s tire model, noting that after several years, cold tires still produce more traction than warm tires, and FR cars struggle to exhibit the amount of wheelspin on par with their real-world counterparts.
On one hand, it’s nice to see iRacing expanding into “alternative” motorsport categories as of late to try and establish themselves as the true home of virtual motorsports. Yet with posts like these floating around on the official forum, it’s easy to theorize that the surge of new content is to partially distract users from nagging issues still to be rectified after many years, and to keep the lights on in the face of declining interest.