The final weekend in July proved to be an informative one for iRacing and their upcoming endeavors. During the 4 Hours of Charlotte special event benefitting the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, updates on adding rain to the service were dropped by Senior Vice President and Executive Producer Greg Hill during the live broadcast on Saturday.
Rain racing is a staple feature in many racing games and simulators already. Assetto Corsa Competizione has a fairly intricate weather system that changes the grip level of the track based on the amount it has rained. Automobilista 2 has a highly advanced Real Weather system, plus dynamic LiveTrack presets for real historic weather over the last few decades.
rFactor 2 has a decent rain racing model and the Formula 1 games have had rain included for years, complete with different tire compounds to switch to. Even something like Grand Theft Auto V has a simple rain system that will affect the handling of the car when the surface is wet.
Adding in a rain system continues to add to the immersive racing product that iRacing has been building for more than a decade. With the dynamic track surface already in place where the track takes rubber where the cars run, running up the track temperature through the race, a rain system will likely take a similar approach in it’s eventual production.
“We are working very hard to have something operational by the end of the year,” Hill said on the livestream. “Whether or not that translates into it shipping by the end of the year, I don’t think we’re ready to say that. We want to make sure we do it right. Internally, at least, we’ll certainly be driving around in rain, both graphically and physically, by the end of the year.”
MORE THAN JUST #RAINCONFIRMED
Rain wasn’t the only big thing dropped during the show. Leading up to the weekend, iRacing Executive Vice President Steve Myers posed a charitable prospect on Twitter. Donate to the cause, provide receipt of said donation, and a question may be answered during the main broadcast that he was specifically competing in.
Myers, along with Vice President of Competition at Hendrick Motorsports, Chad Knaus and the 2020 eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series Champion Nick Ottinger, competed on a team together in the special event to raise funding for multiple sclerosis research. The “Three Of A Kind” team ran in the top split in the Cadillac CTS-VR class, completing every lap but four in the four hour event.
One of the community questions asked about the possibility of adding a LMDh car to the fold at iRacing. Myers answered that one, saying they “definitely have plans to build an LMDh,” and that they’ve been “speaking to some of their partners already” about the prospect.
The LMDh classifies under the new Hypercar category, a joint classification from governing bodies ACO, FIA and IMSA. Spelled out fully as a Le Mans Daytona h, this new prototype car is something brand new for 2022. Car manufacturers such as Acura, Audi, BMW and Porsche are all linked to having a car in this class when it officially starts.
Keeping with the sports car theme, a question was asked about Super GT cars possibly coming to iRacing. Myers said that it wasn’t likely, stating that “the inability for (iRacing) to get good data for the cars was the real obstacle for us in pursuing that.”
OTHER NOTEWORTHY DETAILS
All in all, Myers tweeted that more than $51,000 was raised for the MSS charity. In the plethora of questions asked, there were some other great tidbits to take. Indianapolis Motor Speedway was the venue recently scanned from top to bottom and the hope is to have that released by sometime next year.
A Watkins Glen rescan was teased during the NASCARcade documentary on FOX Sports 1, but there is no official word on any release for that track or a Phoenix Raceway update either. Monaco was mentioned as something that they would be open to doing now that they have more people employed, as well as other street courses. Drag Racing is something that’s been talked about, but they don’t see it likely just yet.
Not answered during the broadcast, but later tweeted by Hill, was the announcement of iRacing’s first point-to-point track that’s on the way. The Subaru Mt. Washington Hillclimb in the real world will take place in the middle of August, and Hill says that an Early Access version of the scanned property will be ready in time for that event. The scan of the mountain will also lead to improved 3D textures all around the service as well.
Another track announcement on Twitter came from Dale Earnhardt Jr who simply stated “September” in a tweet with two pictures of a nearly finished Hickory Motor Speedway. In the replies of said tweet, someone asked about Slinger Speedway and Earnhardt Jr replied with “working on it.”
For Formula 1 fans, in response to the lap 1 incident at Hungaroring, iRacing tweeted out a partial image of the venue being worked on for a future release.
2021 Season 4 is only a few weeks away, and while most of what was announced over the weekend is still in production, there is a lot to look forward to come September and beyond on the iRacing platform.