On Friday (3rd February), iRacing President and CFO Tony Gardner made a post on the iRacing forums (which eventually was reposted publicly on the iRacing website) to give some insight on current and future developments of the simulation.
Gardner said right away that currently, iRacing has “dozens of projects and improvements in the works, ranging in size and complexity” before going into some of those projects and improvements.
Here’s a breakdown of what Gardner discussed in his development update, and things to look forward to in the coming months of 2023 and beyond.
ASPHALT AND DIRT OVAL RACING REFRESHES
We’ve seen a lot of development on the road racing side of the service lately, leaving many oval fans – both on the asphalt and dirt – feeling slightly ignored. Sure, the dirt side got a handful of new tracks, plus iRacing even released a whole dirt racing console game, but it was nothing in comparison to road.
Asphalt racers felt even more neglected last year, at least for the online racing aspect of things. Again, there were some things, but not all the things we truly wanted. Thankfully, there is hope on the horizon for both disciplines, as both will be receiving what Gardner calls a “full refresh” at some point this year.
Dirt Oval will be coming first, possibly as soon as 2023 Season 2, but more than likely it will fall to Season 3. The goal of the refresh is to make cars feel more connected to the track surface, with changes inbound for both tracks and tire models.
As for the asphalt side of things, the same notions are in place. They want the cars to be more connected in feeling, but unfortunately, us NASCAR and short track fans will need to wait a little longer. Hopefully the changes will come at some point before the end of the year.
Besides the oval overhaul, at the end of the update thread, Gardner did hint that both a California-based Dirt Oval and a California-based asphalt short track oval were coming at some point, but there were no further details at this time on the matter.
RAIN RECONFIRMED, AND SOON MAYBE
We’ve definitely seen the beginnings of iRacing rain already. From the wipers working on more road cars with them, to some graphical glitches seen around the internet, to a recent update adding a wet tire briefly before it was hot fixed out immediately, rain is definitely coming hashtag soon.
While we expected this to be in some sort of prerelease back in 2021, rain is expected to hit the pavement at some point in 2023. “It is such a big project,” Gardner said. “If it was done to our expectations, we would have already released it, so we still have some work to do.”
There will also be a dynamic weather system with the rain, and of course, one of the biggest challenges has to do with how the tires react and degrade in different types of wet conditions.
TIRE TALK… MAYBE A BIT TIRING
A very technical look at the way the tires work on iRacing was also discussed by Gardner. “Our tire model is the most sophisticated and in-depth model in the industry, but back to being self-critical, it can and will be better,” Gardner stated.
While I’m no expert on the physics of tires, thankfully the smart folks at iRacing seem to know a lot about the properties that make the “dozens of models, properties, data and recipes” work right on different surfaces, in different heating cycles, the different ways we abuse them, and so on.
The key point of all the technicalities, however, was just for Gardner to reiterate that iRacing is “working on the items that are causing some frustration to members” and they are “not yet satisfied” with the current product either.
I know, speaking from experience on the oval side, it’s definitely frustrating when you overheat your tires by racing hard for one lap, and that ends up compounding exponentially and turning a run into a huge loss because of a little tire overheating.
It shouldn’t be like that, members should be able to drive these cars and let it hang out from time to time. We see it in real-world racing that it can be done… not all the time, but at least to the point where making one move doesn’t completely kill a set of tires.
ZANDVOORT RESCAN, NEW “INTERNATIONAL” TRACKS COMING
International tracks are said in relation to being located in the United States, where iRacing is based, mind you. Many of our readers might see a track mentioned and ask why we would call it that way. In fact, that’s the words from Gardner himself plus the iRacing offices being located up in Massachusetts.
Anyway, those tracks that Gardner mentioned specifically include Algarve, Aragon, Jerez (which was teased on Thursday), Misano, Pukekohe (which we knew would eventually be coming) and Lédenon, as well as many other great tracks not found in the USA.
The Dutch venue, Circuit Park Zandvoort, has been re-scanned as well and is going into production. That’s a fantastic track, but an old one by sim standards, and fairly outdated as a result. So, it’s good to see that current venues are still getting constant love as well.
The dev blog by Gardner is definitely worth a read if you’re interested in seeing what iRacing is up to. I think if they can get these promises (and non-promises) out over the course of this year, it will be a huge step forward for the entire platform.
It is a shame that the dirt road community was slightly neglected in the posting, but it is also the smallest community on the platform and iRacing has their hands in a lot of factions as it already stands.