There was a lot to unpack from iRacing Senior Vice President and Executive Producer Greg Hill’s Development Update from yesterday (26th July).
New content and rain are certainly two huge talking points, hence why we’ve reported on both of them separately, but perhaps the biggest update for the Asphalt Oval community could be coming as soon as September.
Oval Refresh taking shape; tire updates in the works
A topic near and dear to my own heart is the eventual refresh for the Asphalt Oval side of the iRacing community. For the last few years, we’ve been stuck with a product that has felt like we just can’t push too hard with the surface and tires, and the dynamic surfaces haven’t been activating as much as they should.
It should be about the give and take of pushing the car to the limit and over. Instead, it usually seems to be a tire conservation battle where you better not dare push too hard, or your entire run will be ruined. “Oval racing is going through a similar process to what we just released with Dirt racing,” said Hill in the update posting.
“Oval Refresh has a full team of testers, vehicle dynamics engineers, tire developers, and dynamic track developers collaborating with one another to evaluate the model, find opportunities for improvement, and ultimately create a more realistic and enjoyable experience.”
Hopefully, with these changes, along with the other updates and changes coming service wide, oval racing, specifically the NASCAR side of things, can get back to a point where both the dynamic track is working as intended and the racing is enjoyable throughout an entire event.
Tire Models and Physics service wide are also set to be getting some TLC in future updates. “Our tire/physics engine team has tripled and are working with a determined focus on the future of our great tire model and the evolution needed to keep delivering the most authentic experience possible,” said Hill.
“Tire deformation models, tire carcass torsional deflection, contact patch, finite element model, physics rate, heat buildup and gradient, tread profile, the team is energized and these terms (and tests) are flying about daily.”
More existing tracks to receive art updates
While there were a number of new tracks announced and reconfirmed for eventual release, some of the existing tracks on the service are set to receive some updated graphics over time, similar to how Sebring and Road Atlanta have recently gotten spruced up, but the plan is to be able to do it more efficiently.
Tracks that were named for such an undertaking included Brands Hatch, Okayama, Oulton Park and “older NASCAR and oval tracks” in general. One example shown was of Darlington Raceway on the oval side.
3D curbs / kerbs are also back on the menu and may completely change how the tracks, where kerbs are implemented, may drive.
Other upcoming changes to iRacing
Audio updates, sim architecture modernization, an Asphalt Road license change, in-sim UI redesign and added features to the iRacing UI desktop program are all some of the things that iRacing members will see in future updates.
On top of that, iRacing is working on expanding the number of unique cars from its current limit of nine to a larger number as soon as this upcoming season. In 2023 iRacing Season 3, the unique car limit was increased from eight to nine.
Overall, between what’s new, what’s being refreshed, and all of the other additional things that iRacing has in the pipeline, there’s a lot to look forward to over the next few updates. While we only know of a few things that are definitely in store for the next build in September, some of these other updates might also fall then. Otherwise, we’ll likely be looking forward to them at some point in 2024 and beyond.
Images / Source: iRacing