|Developer(s)||iRacing.com Motorsport Simulations|
|Initial release||August 26, 2008|
|Stable release||18.104.22.168 / October 23, 2013|
iRacing.com is an online, subscription-based racing simulation service for Microsoft Windows created by iRacing.com Motorsport Simulations. In addition to accurately modeled vehicles and tracks, iRacing provides servers on which to race and practice and a sanctioning body to organize and oversee competition within the service.
From the start, iRacing has been marketed as both an entertainment service and a training tool for real life racers. They have established numerous partnerships with real-world racing organizations and series, including NASCAR, GRAND-AM, IndyCar, V8 Supercars, the SCCA, the Skip Barber Racing School, the Volkswagen Jetta TDI Cup, the Star Mazda Championship and Williams F1 among others.
The service was launched to the public on August 26, 2008. There were over 35,000 active members as of July 2012.
The iRacing company aims to cater both to real-world racers and racing simulation enthusiasts by offering a realistic simulation of motorsport with accurate track, vehicle and physics modeling, and with all of the cars and tracks officially licensed. iRacing can only be driven online on servers run by iRacing.com, and participation requires a subscription to the service. The subscription package includes a basic set of 10 tracks and six cars with which to practice and race. Additional cars and tracks are subject to additional one-time charges. Vehicles in iRacing are divided into classes which correspond to the identically named driver license classes, except for the two different Rookie car classes which can both be driven with the same Rookie driver license. iRacing creates each track using proprietary Exactrac laser mapping technology to replicate the tracks with millimeter precision.
The simulator is launched through a member website, and there is no standalone offline client. In addition to choosing the series and session to run, the member site interface can be used to browse series and driver statistics, acquire information about the cars and tracks, launch the online forums and chat, open the replay viewer, customize the virtual vehicles and helmets, purchase new content, and review and update personal account data.
Third Party sites also provide additional features, for example Trading Paints, which hosts custom paint schemes much more detailed and advanced than the customisations available on the website. LiveRaceStats is another, where users have the opportunity to have a signature bar displayed with their game statistics. Rather than objecting to these external sites, iRacing actively supports their use by the community. An API is provided for third party extensions (Such as fuel managers, shift lights, and live timing), however direct modification of core game files is forbidden
iRacing manages several different official series, but members are also free to organize their own online sessions that are hosted on servers run by iRacing. In 2012, iRacing increased the ability for users to run their own seasons through the introduction of the "Leagues" feature, where, for a fee of $10 a year, users could manage their own league, recruit/accept drivers, and have automated scoring. Individual sessions cost between 75c. and $2.25 to host, depending on the duration (Up to 6 hours). Any member-organized sessions are free from the license level restrictions. In addition to taking part in the different public sessions, a member can use a test mode to drive alone on any track with any car, assuming he has purchased the license to use the content.
For the standard official series managed by iRacing, each calendar year is divided into four 12-week seasons, and all driving sessions in a series take place only on one track each week. On a given track, the drivers can participate in practice, qualifying, time trial and race sessions. There are also non-standard series, examples of which are the four-week Rookie series, IndyCar, Skip Barber and Grand-Am Premier series, and Pro series. Races that are organized by members do not have to follow any official schedule. The series are divided into two main categories, oval and road, which are further divided into several license levels from Rookie to Pro, and a driver must earn each license to be eligible to participate in official race week sessions on that level. Earning a higher license involves both participation in competitions on a driver's current highest license level and achievement of a minimum safety record. The requirements for advancing and the licenses themselves are category-specific — in other words, a driver has a separate license for road and oval categories.
At the core of iRacing is the driving simulation. iRacing began with a new, proprietary tire model that was partly based on the company's own research in a tire testing facility. On June 22, 2011 iRacing began a limited release of a new theoretical tire model in development for 3 years. This new model uses the construction and physical properties of the tire to simulate the tire's response, rather than matching to empirical data. iRacing receive full "shop access" to every vehicle modeled in the service to calculate physical and inertia parameters of individual parts. Vehicles are either laser scanned, or design CAD data is used to recreate the visual and physical properties of each car. For aerodynamics data, they have had to rely on data collected from manufacturers and teams, though more recent additions have used computational fluid dynamics to calculate the aerodynamic properties of the cars more accurately. The simulation is criticized for missing some features often found on comparable products. For example, environment conditions such as temperature are static. Racing within the service is managed by a sanctioning body called FIRST. The detailed rules for official competition are published in a document titled the FIRST Sporting Code, which registered members of the service are expected to read.
Competition, events and championships
Competition is divided into two different categories, oval and road, which are further divided into many different series. All standard series follow a calendar of four 12-week seasons while rookie series have their own 4-week seasons. At the end of each season eligible drivers are promoted (or, in rare cases, demoted) to the next license level. At the end of each standard 12-week season FIRST crowns racing and time trial overall champions and divisional champions. In addition to individual championships FIRST sanctions club championships, which are decided between geographically-based clubs.
Starting in 2009, The World Cup of iRacing will be a year-long tournament with (in its first year) 35 clubs divided into 7 regions battling for the club championship. The World Cup concept was dropped by iRacing at the conclusion of the 2011 season, before being reborn by a committee of members shortly afterwards, taking a different approach. Under the original system, club DE-AT-CH (Germany, Austria, Switzerland) were undefeated, winning the title three years in a row.
Other series are officially sponsored by the real-world sanctioning body of the race series being simulated, including NASCAR which sanctions the NASCAR iRacing.com Series, GRAND-AM which is backing the GRAND-AM iRacing.com Online Sports Car Series, and IndyCar sponsoring the iRacing.com IZOD IndyCar Premier Series. In 2012, the iRacing IndyCar Premier Series failed to return, however, the Skip Barber Racing School Premier Series was added, where the winner was awarded a three-day racing school experience.
On March 3, 2009, iRacing announced its premier series, the iRacing Pro Series and iRacing Drivers World Championships to start in 2009 and 2010, respectively. Both top series have separate contests for oval and road course racing, and the world champion wins prize money of at least $10,000. The two Pro Series are open to the top 61 drivers in the A-level series for each category and serve as feeder series to the Drivers World Championships, which will be limited to the top 50 drivers. Unlike the standard individual championships, which have four 12-week seasons per year, the Pro Series (NASCAR iRacing Pro Series for ovals and iRacing Pro Series - Road for road) and iDWC (NASCAR iRacing.com World Championship Series for ovals and iRacing.com Drivers World Championship Road Racing for road) will follow an 18-race schedule run fortnightly. The inaugural Pro season was an exception with a 25-week schedule. .
Other series include the iRacing World Tour, which consists of a number of special events that mimic real life races like the Daytona 500 or the Indianapolis 500. The virtual counterparts are usually held the day before the actual race. Members can organize their own online sessions that are free from the official series schedules and license level restrictions. These sessions are hosted by iRacing and they are subject to a nominal fee paid only by the member organizing the session. Other unofficial events include the so-called "24 Heures du Fun" races that feature different tracks and vehicles every Saturday 00:00-24:00 UTC as well as week-long unofficial series during the one-week breaks between 12-week standard seasons.
The company behind iRacing.com was established in Bedford, Massachusetts in September 2004 by David Kaemmer and John W. Henry after the demise of Papyrus Design Group, which Kaemmer had also co-founded. The iRacing service has been in development since then, using code from Papyrus' NASCAR Racing 2003 Season as a starting point. According to Kaemmer, iRacing retains the multi-body physics system of NASCAR Racing 2003 Season, as well as some of the track presentation and multi-user packet code, but everything else has been changed, or is completely new like the tire model and graphics engine. The service receives regular updates between 12-week competition seasons.
Every iRacing subscription comes standard with the 600 Racing Legends Ford '34 Coupe, Street Stock, Mazda MX-5 (available in left and right hand drive), Pontiac Solstice, Spec Racer Ford, and Cadillac CTS-V R. Additional cars which can be purchased for a one-time fee include a Chevrolet Monte Carlo SS Late Model, SK Modified (Modified racing), Tour Modified (Whelen Modified Tour), Chevrolet Silverado (Camping World Truck Series), C&R Racing Silver Crown, USAC Sprint Car, Chevrolet Impala SS (Nationwide Series and K&N Pro Series East), Chevrolet Impala SS (Sprint Cup), Chevrolet SS (Sprint Cup), Ford Fusion (Sprint Cup), Ford Mustang FR500S, Kia Optima GTS, Skip Barber Formula 2000, Volkswagen Jetta TDI Cup, Ford Falcon FG01 V8 Supercar, Riley Technologies Daytona Prototype, Star Mazda, Radical SR8 V8, McLaren MP4-12C GT3, Doran Ford GT-R, Chevrolet Corvette C6.R GT1, Acura ARX-01c, Lotus 49, Lotus 79, Dallara IndyCar, and the Williams FW31. Announced upcoming vehicles include the Dallara chassis raced in the Firestone Indy Lights series, the RUF Rt 12R, the Honda HSV-010 GT, NGTC Honda Civic raced in the British Touring Car Championship.
- A light blue background denotes that a track is included in the basic subscription. A yellow background denotes that a track is not yet available.
- This track has a night configuration in addition to the default daytime configuration.
- Versions of Daytona circa 2007 and 2011 are both available. Only the 2011 track layout has night lighting.
iRacing.com was launched to the public on August 26, 2008. By July 2009 more than 16,000 individuals had subscribed to the service. iRacing.com has received favorable reviews from automobile, racing and gaming magazines as well as websites dedicated to racing simulators. The service has also been criticized for not yet including features often found on other racing simulators, such as dynamic environments and more advanced visual damage modeling. As of April 2010 more than half of the current Indycar series drivers use iRacing for fun and training. Vitor Meira and Will Power have also said they used iRacing in their recovery from broken backs sustained in the 2009 season.
Many real life racers, including Justin Wilson, Alex Gurney, Dale Earnhardt, Jr., Marcos Ambrose, Martin Truex Jr., AJ Allmendinger, Scott Speed, Shane Van Gisbergen, Divina Galica and Jacques Villeneuve have subscribed to the service and given positive comments especially about the accuracy of the track modeling which makes the simulator useful as a tool for learning tracks.
On July 23, 2013, preliminary support for the Oculus Rift VR Headset Development Kit has been added.
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