In a surprise reveal last weekend during the 4 Hours of Charlotte special event benefitting the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, iRacing Senior Vice President and Executive Producer Greg Hill announced the addition of the Mt. Washington Auto Road to the service in time for the historic Subaru Mt. Washington Hillclimb.
The 7.6-mile Auto Road event nicknamed the “Climb to the Clouds” is a historic event that dates back to 1904. The road that travels up to the summit of Mt. Washington in New Hampshire is mostly road. There is a gravel section of the course near the top of it. There are no walls, barriers, guard rails, or anything else separating the road from the mountainside.
The area was scanned last year and will feature point-to-point racing, something that doesn’t inherently exist in iRacing at this moment. All of the tracks and venues on the iRacing service loop around a circuit one way or another. Despite some courses having a different starting and ending point, Mt. Washington will be the first true point-to-point track.
iRacing likes to tease fans, so it should come as no surprise that eagle-eyed members could see this coming since April. Back when the Formula Vee racecar was announced, it came with a fairly blank rendering of the car. There was a sticker on the rear of the car above the tire, but it was pretty tough to decipher exactly.
I watched the documentary about Travis Pastrana’s world record run up the mountain in 2017. After the run, he sticks a bumper sticker on the back of the car that reads “THIS CAR CLIMBED MT. WASHINGTON.” iRacing Digital Media Producer Cisco Scaramuzza tweeted in reference to the sticker after the track announcement, and now it all makes sense.
HOW IT CHANGES THE FUTURE
It’s cool to see another form of racing joining the ranks at iRacing, but that might not even be the biggest news to come out of the project. Hill shared some insight into the build process on Twitter. In one of the tweets, Hill talked about facing new issues never before faced on iRacing. Finding solutions to these issues created solutions for tracks they never considered.
Just by creating a giant mountain track with a ton of rocks and trees, Hill says that features like 3D fences, curbs and firewalls can all be upgraded and “rendered efficiently,” something they sacrificed in earlier versions of the sim.
The updated graphics aside, if I can put my speculative hat on for a moment, I wonder if adding this point-to-point racing could lead to the beginning of another form of racing, namely Drag Racing? The sim already has standing starts and time splits. By adding point-to-point, all they may need after that are some laser scanned drag strips and some Top Fuel, Pro Stock or Funny Cars as well.
Another possibility that exists depends on how things like rocks and trees interact with cars on the new hillclimb. One of the things I personally love about Wreckfest is the destructible environment that is raced on. Now, I’m not advocating for broken SAFER barriers or cheese grated catch fencing, but if cones are moveable already, why not tire barriers or barrels full of sand or water?
On the interim, iRacing does have a few moveable objects besides the cones. Blue colored tire bundles and bales of hay can move if hit with enough force. With the upcoming rain addition expected at some point as well, wouldn’t it be neat if you hit a water barrel and the entrance to pit road got soaked? Just me?
I’m interested to see how the rocks on the mountain react when a car gets a little wide. Will they give way to the car or will the car hit an immovable object as always? Speculation is in the air. We won’t know for sure until we can get a full mountain to race up.
This venue will be Early Access to meet the deadline for the real event taking place next week (13-15 August). They didn’t specify it as a tech track so the graphics are likely complete. Expect this track to drop in some fashion next week.