Coming March 29th: Mediocrity?

Just three more sleeps remain until a large portion of the iRacing fanbase is sent into mass hysteria; after an April Fools’ joke turned into reality, dirt oval racing – a discipline long rumored to appear in the popular online racing service for several years – will finally be launched for sim racers to purchase. The new variant of racing will feature an abundance of dirt oval-oriented vehicles, some of which will be flying the World of Outlaws banner, and four locations in which to drive them – though you’ll have to pay for three. Europeans obviously won’t be too excited about these cars, but given how big this kind of racing is in both the United States and Australia, as well as the sheer number of iRacers who are also amateur dirt oval racers away from the keyboard, it’s seen as a mostly positive addition to the simulator.

Currently, your options to drive these cars in a modern simulator environment will see you busting out your most likely pirated copy of the original rFactor, or hooking up your PlayStation 2 for a rip in Ratbag’s excellent officially licensed World of Outlaws title from 2002, so it’s hard to knock iRacing for at least venturing in this direction to begin with. However, a recent preview video depicting the 410 Sprint Cars in action has raised a few red flags within the iRacing community itself – a very uncommon occurrence, as iRacing members typically brush aside any glaring oddities thanks to a severe case post-purchase rationalization.

Regardless of the sanctioning body in charge of the event, or the particular engine size class on display, sprint cars exhibit a very distinct driving style that doesn’t change when you cross state lines or international waters; there’s often varying degrees of holy shit sideways assisted by the giant wing on the roof, coupled with the appropriate dose of counter-steer depending on each individual driver’s angle of attack in the corner. Yet in iRacing’s dedicated World of Outlaws trailer, which comes in at just under two minutes in length, there are several instances where large packs of cars are all understeering simultaneously. If you’re new to sprint car racing, here’s a tip: turning left means you’re doing it wrong.

It’s probably not a good thing if there’s a drastic difference between the on-track product versus your virtual depiction, and several iRacing Subreddit members seem to echo that sentiment. Yes, sim racers are often blasted for their armchair physics criticism when they haven’t even driven the car in-game themselves, but in this situation the differences are so blatantly noticeable to the average sprint car fan, it’s hard not to speak up. This simply isn’t even close to how real sprint car racing looks, and that’s not good if you’re three days from release and asking people to spend close to $100 for all the content at launch.

So what is happening here? Why is iRacing’s Sprint Car promotional footage so far off the real thing, to the point where even iRacing fanboys are questioning the lack of realism in the trailer?

First, we’ve heard from our inside connections – including some sim racers who also race dirt cars in real life and have been lucky enough to privately try out an advanced build of the upcoming content – is that the dirt oval package is extremely well done and people should be genuinely excited for it. I can’t elaborate much more on that without giving people’s identities away, but supposedly it’s pretty good in the hands of people who happen to know what they’re doing. How much of that is “new game euphoria” and how much of that is genuine praise, we’ll find out in three days.

However, in relation to the baffling trailer, which showcases a very poor sprint car driving model, the general consensus from people in the know is that those actually tasked with testing the game, creating promotional material, and giving upcoming content a proper shakedown to sort out issues and oddities before it’s released to the public, have absolutely no idea how to drive. In one anonymous contributor’s words, “it’s a bunch of 1500 iRating fanboys” – sim racers whose message board post numbers exponentially eclipse their on-track skill level.

While this will at least give Sprint Car fans looking to shell out a lot of disposable income for the full dirt package some peace of mind after video footage showcased a very unrealistic style of racing for what iRacing is striving to be as a simulator, it points to a much bigger problem behind closed doors; some of the people tasked with testing upcoming releases for iRacing are brutal sim racers, and can’t even run the proper line or push the car in the desired fashion. Usually this could be covered up with artsy camera angles or visual effects in Sony Vegas, but Sprint Car racing is so unique and requires such a very specific attitude for the car to sit at in corners, any drastic deviation will immediately raise gigantic red flags among those with even a passing interest in Sprint Car racing.

Now that they’ve been exposed, could iRacing’s long-standing issues be the result of inept testers unable to turn competitive lap times, simply signing off on any new update to appease their overlords?

We’ll find out Wednesday.

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iRacers Call for New Stewards, Software Fixes After Las Vegas Confusion

Though Tuesday’s NASCAR iRacing PEAK Anti-Freeze Series was a roaring success for our very own Dustin Lengert and his driver Ryan Luza – capturing their virtual team’s second victory of the season in as many races with a dominant drive which saw Luza pull away by several seconds – iRacing’s most prominent eSport series was far from a celebration of sim racing for all involved. An honest mistake behind the scenes, followed by poor execution in rectifying the error by a pair of stewards already notorious for less than stellar decision making skills, saw one of the participants in the race accidentally booted from the event. This comes only a few weeks after the first round of the 2017 PEAK Anti-Freeze season was attempted a second time, due to the original running of the event falling prey to internal technical issues and forced to continue as a full length non-points exhibition event.

With the organization funded in part by the owner of the Boston Red Sox, as well as NASCAR themselves and a major automotive brand in Peak Anti-Freeze signing on as the title sponsor, you’d think the $10,000 championship would suffer from significantly less hiccups than a private rFactor league run by part-time hobbyists. Unfortunately, for all of the money being pumped into this venture, the first two events of the 2017 have both been marred by amateur mistakes and a lack of foresight, and you start to wonder when PEAK will pull the plug, or at the very least, when a new crop of individuals will be brought in to try and turn this sinking ship around.

The Vegas controversy stems from Peak Anti-Freeze Series competitor Brian Schoenburg, though the problems began with what appears to be an honest mistake instead of any sort of meaningful on-track violation. iRacing allows for live spotting and crew chief functionality, which in basic terms lets you jump in a friend’s session while they’re racing, and make on-the-fly setup adjustments for them or call out the action around them – a co-op campaign mode of sorts, one which is greatly appreciated and one of the objectively cool things about iRacing.

Schoenburg’s spotter password spontaneously reset itself – an issue that has reportedly been known by the staff and not yet received a fix meaning individuals affiliated with rival teams could enter the spotter’s box for Schoenburg at will and both steal his setup, as well as make pitstop adjustments that would fuck with his race strategy, obviously taking him out of contention for the win. iRacing stewards Shannon Whitmore, Tyler Hudson, and Nim Cross Jr. were promptly made aware of the issue, and in the scramble to rectify the situation, booted Brian Schoenburg from the event altogether instead of setting a temporary password on his virtual crew chief capabilities so his actual teammates could access iRacing’s co-op mode and continue on as normal.

Schoenburg was listed as disqualified due to the ineptitude of the head stewards clicking the wrong button, and now the Peak Anti-Freeze Series has been forced to insert a drop week in the points championship to compensate – though seventeen events are listed on the schedule, only a driver’s best sixteen will count in the standings. This will obviously be further complicated by iRacing opting to use NASCAR’s controversial post-season elimination process for the final portion of the season, so we won’t actually see how this affects the hunt for $10,000 until later this year.

Schoenburg made an announcement about the incident on his personal Facebook page, leading many iRacers to openly blast the officiating duo for years upon years of ineptitude, favoritism, and a total lack of qualifications for the position – all of which are points we’ve brought up in the past, but have been attacked for talking about by rabid iRacers convinced we have some kind of irrational vendetta against the simulator. Individuals vocalizing their frustration with iRacing are not random sim racers, but in some cases prominent sim racing personalities who once sponsored iRacing, and whose decals can be applied to your car in the default livery editing program on the website itself – indicating a lot of people are becoming fed up with the Massachusetts developer once responsible for phenomenal simulators such as Grand Prix Legends and NASCAR Racing 2003 Season.

The laughs don’t stop there, as it turns out Schoenburg’s removal wasn’t the only developing story of the night; Taylor Hurst’s car was parked in a competitor’s pit stall for over thirty minutes before he was removed from the session, with iRacer Brian Day outright stating he believes the pair of stewards have only retained their position with iRacing thanks to being acquaintances with upper management outside of the simulator.

Lastly, it turns out iRacing have been aware of this spotter access glitch dating back to 2014, and it has popped up in both iRacing Peak Anti-Freeze Series events this season, but the team are yet to rectify it – instead distracting people by pushing out multiple pieces of content rather than fixing bugs that drastically tilt the playing field and compromise the integrity of an online championship sponsored by both NASCAR and a major automotive brand.

How long will this continue?

Peak Anti-Freeze recently became the title sponsor of NASCAR’s Mexico seriesyou know, real life stock cars – so it’s hard to believe the brand would be willing to tolerate funding this level of ineptitude in a virtual environment much longer with comments such as “we have one official who thinks right is left and another who can’t spell his own name” popping up across social media.

Now will iRacing fix the glitch itself, or at least find a new crop of stewards to call the action? “Probably not” is a reasonable answer to either of those questions – they’ve known about the problem since 2014, and we’re now three months into 2017, with an entire new discipline of race cars set to be released next week. What’s that? Bug fixes? Incompetent stewards? Sorry, can’t hear you, dirt ovals are coming.

 

Has iRacing Missed their Marketing Target?

By now, I’m sure everyone has seen the sudden influx of iRacing shill pieces lately, published on a multitude of outlets from AutoWeek to NESN, often implying that drivers are getting picked up by major racing teams for simply using the service and being good at sim racing. While it’s nice to see iRacing actually trying to market themselves in a broad fashion compared to the past where they relied primarily on word of mouth, there’s still one major problem with their approach: iRacing do very little to cater to the road racing side of the experience – all of the advertising is directed primarily towards oval drivers and oval cars in oval series.

No wonder the costs of subscription and content suddenly went up as well.

iRacing recently announced a partnership with Kasey Kahne to be all over his Sprint Car, as it competes on the Craftsman World of Outlaws Series tour, they’re continuing with Ty Majeski into the NASCAR Xfinity Series, they’re on Clint Bowyer’s dirt late model, yet there is absolutely nothing to represent the other 50% of the service. The biggest market in auto racing, with mass world-wide appeal, is something iRacing has worked very hard to make lots of content for, and yet they seem to have no interest in actually going out and attracting that audience, at least from the public viewpoint – instead focusing everything on a very segregated series from the rest of the world, with both declining numbers in track attendance and TV ratings.

Oops.

At this point, they are just doubling down on a market that has the most local appeal to them, but yet almost any oval racing fan or driver I’ve talked to already knows about iRacing, they don’t seem to be gaining anything from advertising to local short tracks, and then of those who are reached by the marketing campaigns, how many local racers look at it once, complain about the paywall that most people don’t bother to look past, and never take a second, more in-depth look?

Yes, you can get a three month trial for free with certain promotions, or free cars on top of the base subscription package, but you are advertising to people who most likely don’t have a wheel, and they’ll be forced to spend upwards of $200 or borrow one from a friend – who most likely already has an iRacing account himself to go along with said wheel – and in that case has already done the free advertising for you himself, again making your investment pointless. It just seems like money being thrown into a market they have already tapped, and the gains are now at a point where they’re just not going to match the investment.

Any oval racing fan already knows about iRacing, and on top of that, most of them have already made the choice to sign up for it or not. It’s all a bit silly at this point; double down on the oval advertising when there’s an entirely separate discipline of auto racing they’re ignoring, despite building an abundance of content for. I appreciate the fact that they are giving back to local racing… sort of… but they’re at a point where they’re trying to grow the service by preaching to the choir.

The other major flaw with iRacing’s marketing department that I’d like to discuss in this entry, is how they push their software as the “original eSport racing game,” or sometimes just as “the original eSport,” though I think that tagline was quickly rectified. Here is a place where I feel iRacing seem to have no idea what the eSport audience actually is, and their claims show just how little they know about the eSport landscape itself. First of all, the very beginnings of what we now know as eSports can be traced back to either the Nintendo World Championships in the late 1980’s, or the mass appeal of online Quake or Counter-Strike matches from the late 1990’s – and even then some of the older folks among us will override our claims with Pac-Man challenges in the early 1980’s that local taverns or arcades held, all of which were well before iRacing started handing out $10,000 prizes for their championship wins starting in 2010. In terms of being the first eSport racing game, that tagline is also incorrect; Forza Motorsport and Gran Turismo both beat it to the punch by a significant margin, with Forza’s Showdown and GT’s Academy.

Another major part of the story iRacing marketing has seemingly omitted is the fact that every large eSport which they’re aspiring to be, has a massive userbase in the millions, mostly due to being free-to-play games or one time $60 purchases, all of which are designed with mass customer appeal in mind. iRacing can barely maintain 3,000 people online at once without servers crashing and the staff blaming it on a DDoS attack (when it’s really just iRacers mashing F5), yet they somehow think they are equal to League of Legends, reeling in 200,000 viewers for a TSM regular season match. Oh please, I don’t know if it’s just pure arrogance from the small team in Bedford, maybe being sent a blank cheque from John Henry gives them that kind of ego, but the fact is iRacing seem to have completely missed the mark, not only on WHO they are targeting, but what that target even represents.

One element all “simulator” games seem to have missed, is that if you are going to build an eSport, you first need the userbase to support said eSport, and massive paywalls are not going to get you the audience needed to support the marketing world that surrounds the current state of eSports. The only racing game with the potential to attain a decent eSport following has been Gran Turismo, offering a full private racing school followed by a legitimate Nissan contract, just for buying a $60 game. Forcing people to pay upwards of $400 in the cost of in-game content alone, for a chance at making $10,000 – a portion of which is taxed by the US government – seems laughable in comparison.

Games like League of Legends make almost nothing from the average player, but they compensate for this via optional in-game microtransactions that are mostly cosmetic changes to existing gameplay elements. This allows them to actually make way more money and massively increase their audience than they would ever make from a simple $60 purchase or a monthly subscription fee without being pay to win, or pay to play. How many people would play League of Legends if merely competing in lower tier competitive ladders generated a three figure credit card bill? Not many, and iRacing doesn’t appear to understand this. If iRacing were to drastically reduce the costs of the service, they would actually increase the size of the userbase and generate more revenue from loads of smaller purchases, as has been proven over almost a decade with numerous free-to-play titles.

As usual, sim racing tends to be stuck in the past, refuses to adapt, and we always have another one waiting to take the #1 spot. Sim developers all greedily fight for this small portion of the market, while console users hand over their wallets to companies like Electronic Arts or Slightly Mad Studios, all while complaining that the games aren’t realistic enough, yet scoff at the idea of paying anything over $100 for a sim. Not to mention the massive PC investment or the periphreals needed. Stuff like JJacoby88’s estimated $20,000 USD credit card-maxing sim rig, shouldn’t be praised; it only drives away people on the fence who go “yep, I’m never paying that much money no matter how good it looks”, and crawl back to their consoles.

Sim developers desperately need to realize who their target audience is, stop throwing money at targets they already have acquired, and stop the ridiculous paywalls that drive away any sort of casual audience they need to keep their games alive. Gran Turismo has already proven it’s possible to have both a quality sim with massive appeal that can attract the audience needed to support a full TV series, as well as get a major manufacturer involved in finding talented drivers, and that’s all while paying a much bigger team to work on their game off a simple $60 purchase.

The math speaks for itself, a $60 game multiplied by one million sales nets a greater profit than $600 in subscription and content fees, multiplied by only a thousand hardcore sim racers, and if you create a cosmetic item department, then the whales show up and you get the best of both worlds, all while leaving the casual, low income user unaffected and able to enjoy the full game experience – and thus generation more interest in watching the product they actively use.

That’s how to grow sim racing as an eSport. This stuff has to make sense financially for people on the fence, and right now, iRacing – the company with the best shot currently at establishing themselves as a legitimate eSport – doesn’t.

Reader Submission #138 – From One Extreme to the Next

After the surprisingly competent Porsche Cup release earlier this year, which saw a new iteration of iRacing’s long-standing tire model project impress even the harshest critics who had been slowly scaling back their activity within the simulator, iRacing’s latest update has now brought these specific tire model revisions to a slew of other vehicles as well. Dubbed NTM 6.5, the latest iRacing rubber redux has coated the forums in a film of optimism that is long overdue for the aging service, though today’s Reader Submission indicates not everybody is completely sold on the new changes as of yet. While certain cars are indeed much better to drive than they were previously, users are pointing out that tires have in some cases been hastily copy/pasted from one car to the next, in some instances leading to amateur rFactor mod troubleshooting scenarios which place slicks with inaccurate properties on the wrong car.

Wishing to remain anonymous, partially in fear of a backlash from the community for daring to talk to PRC, today’s Reader Submission has more.

Yeah, no introduction here, I just wanted to shoot you guys a short message about iRacing’s new tires. Very soft and spongy, if I have to cut things down for length.

It appears iRacing basically took the tires from the new Porsche GT3 Cup and slapped them on the HPD. While they solved the problem of skating on ice and being able to save death slides, they are obviously just a fudge of the tires in an attempt to try and make them act more normal-ish. It seems one of the main things they did was just make the sidewalls two inches taller. This added height makes the car wobble more, and feel very spongy in the first fifteen degrees of rotation in either direction of the steering wheel. It feels like running on tires with 12 PSI, where the shoulders are just rolling over. When loading an HPD setup from last season, the only thing wrong is the ride heights all the way around – they’re too high, and it doesn’t pass the built-in tech inspection.

As you may know, anyone decent in the Acura HPD runs their front spring rages from 160 to 210 n/mm, and then whatever their fronts are, the rears are a click or two softer. What’s funny, is that the spring range for the HPD is 130 through 550 n/mm, so effectively, the only viable spring rates you can use for the car are in the first 25% of their available range. And here is what happens now if you run within that range – the tire protrudes through the fender.

So suffice to say, I believe iRacing fucked up and put GT tires on a prototype, and it feels awful and completely unrealistic with huge sidewalls that make the car feel like you’re running on a sport utility vehicle suspension. I wasn’t even hitting the track with the front splitter all the way down;, obviously at Sebring that would be detrimental, but it would be even worse if you did. I was about four clicks up on each side from the lowest ride height. Back to the drawing board, I guess.

I’m certainly not trying to turn this place into an iRacers Anonymous meeting by any means, but what you’re experiencing is why people like myself, Dustin, and some of the commenters which frequent PRC often talk about the tendency for the staff to totally wing it, only for the low-level punters to sit there and sip on the Kool-Aid as if this is a perfectly normal part of software development with this much money and research behind the project. I could certainly sit here and throw out a bunch of insults directed at that specific neck of the woods, but instead I want to bring up a very specific example:

A few days ago, Billy Strange of Inside Sim Racing uploaded a lengthy preview video of the new build, and in it he discussed the new GT1 tires. Now, I like Billy, I like the concept of the video above – introduction skit included – so this isn’t a knock on him per se, but just an example of how the community operates and sort of looks the other way when it comes to genuine issues. About halfway through the clip, Strange begins evaluating the Corvette C6R GT1, and states that the car now feels “underneath you”, and previous builds had this weird off-throttle oversteer, or something to that effect. The portion of the video you’re looking for begins at 6:20.

My question is, why is this only being discussed now? When the last build was released, why wasn’t Strange coming out and saying “yeah guys, it’s not very good, the car doesn’t feel planted, it does some funny things, I’d be on the fence about buying new content.” Those are findings a lot of people would like to be made aware of. Instead, the fallacy of iRacers praising the new update and shit-canning the last build, when three months ago they praised that update and spoke negatively of the second-to-last build, continues, regardless of how contradictory they may be.

The point I’m getting at, is you are simply ahead of the curve here. You are correct that iRacing have a tendency to wing certain updates, and confirmation will come in about three to four months, when iRacers both on the forums and in YouTube videos will begin bashing this current build of the game. This is unfortunately part of iRacing’s development process; the in-house testers simply aren’t very good at what they do, and it’s impossible for iRacing to recruit aliens to test the software because it’ll then compromise the playing field (seriously, who would report exploits only they’ve found with $10,000 on the line), so the reality is that iRacing members are for the most part paying beta testers.

And to get these people to notice changes in the first place, you’ve got to make adjustments that go from one extreme, all the way to the other. Not everyone is the sim racing equivalent of Niki Lauda, blessed with sensitive ass cheeks and championship-winning driving skills. To get proper feedback on the new tires, they’ve got to make the change from one rendition to the next so drastic, even the punters (I like that term, thanks) with 1327 iRating feel obligated to hit up the forums and say “yes, I feel there has been an improvement. in these specific areas.”

Shitty? Yes, but that’s part of the deal when you sign up for iRacing. Some builds you’re racing, other builds you’re an elaborate beta tester. Now you see why some of us have taken the money and left for greener pastures.

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?