Dirt Racing Is Just About To Get Real.

As most of you are aware, Im a huge fan of Sim racing.  I first cut my teeth with a range of dirt products some 25 years ago.  More recently my focus has been on the rFactor platform with V8 Supercars, GT3, Le Mans Prototype just to name a few.  This platform has served the Sim community well for many years. 

Development of the rFactor2 was at best a shamble and the platform has been slowly dying a slow painful death ever since.

Today however, iRacing announced the addition of a Dirt Tracking mod to there ever increasing array of options.

I for one have not embraced the iRacing concept because of one main point….. COST. 

I do understand that these Sims cost money to develop.  I do understand that ongoing development and constant track additions cost money and I do not have problem paying for a well-designed product.  I did download iRacing starter pack a few years ago and quickly found out how slow it took to licence up to the faster categories.  Then the cost of the new tracks was pretty steep also.

I am very excited with the new Dirt Mod thou and might just have to crack out the black visa card and purchase the latest offering from iRacing.

Below is some information on the mechanics of the new mod plus an in depth video of how much attention to detail is being put into it.

I have spent a LOT of time in the car and on planes lately traveling to meetings and events for some very exciting developments are on there was states iRacing President and CEO Steve Myers.

It’s pretty amazing to me that not only has iRacing now been around for 12 years but we are now over 50 employees strong! We actually have a larger development staff than we did at Papyrus over the last five years of that company’s existence. I loved Papyrus and my time there but I honestly feel that iRacing has far surpassed what we accomplished at Papyrus and we have really done far more than we could ever have dreamed about doing if we still worked there.

When we started iRacing we took a very different path in our product development than really anyone else had at that time. Digital distribution and a centralized infrastructure enabled us to focus on product development rather than finding shelf space and dealing with packaging and a physical product. We really did get in on the ground floor of what is now called eSports. You probably would not be surprised at the number of eSports conversations we have had over the last few years and it’s quite funny to me that we really have already been doing this now since 2008 and developing it since 2004!

As most of you know, social and digital media has really exploded over the last few years.  It really has become a terrific tool for us to communicate not only to our existing members but also in our efforts to try and recruit new customers.

I will give you a tangible bit of information on the effectiveness of social media.  When we did our last survey a staggering number of respondents stated they learned about iRacing from YouTube.  This is the exact reason why we developed the feature enabling iRacers to easily record your races and export them into a video format that can be shared without using the iRacing software.  This is also why we have put significant effort into upping the quality and content on our YouTube channel.

If you have not already done so I would recommend subscribing to our YouTube channel because we have some exciting things coming soon!

I really feel that virtual reality is a similar if not more impressive development, not only for gaming but entertainment in general.  We are hearing terrific things about our implementation of the Oculus Rift, even going so far as getting a shout-out from Palmer Luckey as well!  Fans of the HTC Vive should know we finally got one to the developers and they are working on getting that implemented as well…… as long as they can stop drawing dragons….

Don’t tell my wife that I am on my second Red Bull but it’s got me feeling motivated to keep typing so I will run through some updates on projects we are working on.

Dirt is in fact confirmed and we are making great progress.  I hope you have checked out our latest video update on Williams Grove.  If not you can see it here.

I often see comments on Facebook, Twitter, and our forums asking why we are doing dirt instead of focusing on pavement.  If you can believe it, the development of dirt surfaces has actually HELPED on the pavement side of our tire physics model! Not only that, but we have yet another breakthrough on the dynamic track surface that we learned from the dirt project and that will be in the September build!

It’s still too early to know for sure when the first version of the dirt project will hit the member site but we continue to learn so much about how it will all work.  From the dynamic surface side of things we are actually getting pretty close to have a working prototype which, needless to say, is exciting.  There is still more work that needs to be done on the tire model but that is making great progress as well.  It looks like we will be creating a V7 version of the tire model when this work is complete so prepare yourself for another round of “my car next” fight in the forums!

I do think the part of this project that will require the most time is the actual graphics of the surface.  This is pretty much uncharted territory for us so although I believe we have figured out the direction we are going with it, we do still need to code it and work on making it actually look not just good but up to our standards.

From a content perspective the dirt late model is almost complete.  We will plan to include three versions of the car when it goes up for sale: a Super Late Model, Limited Late Model, and a Late Model Stock.  Really the only difference in these cars is the engine, so everyone should be able to find a car to fit their skill.  We will also include in our base package a version of our Street Stock that will be prepared for dirt sim racing.

Another topic I hear quite often is “when are we going to build a winged dirt sprint car?”  Well you will be happy to know that we are sending poor Kevin Iannarelli on the road again next week to go scan one.  Kevin is spending so much time on dirt tracks he is now expensing new clothes purchases.  Not a horrible thing really because he was in desperate need of a makeover….says the guy with an iRacing t-shirt on most of the week…

Eldora and Williams Grove are obviously the first two purpose-built dirt tracks that we will release and it is our hope that they will be done when the technology is complete as well.  We actually have completed the driving splines for both tracks already and are working on the surrounding artwork.  With the work that we have done collecting data before and after the tracks have been raced on, Williams Grove in particular will be important in the research and development stage of this new feature.

Also: We are likely going to create a dirt surface version of one of our base content ovals, most likely USA Speedway, so that there will there be a dirt track in our base package.  I know this breaks our norm when it comes to “authentic” content but, at the end of the day, the track doesn’t exist anymore in real life. So just imagine we dumped 500 tons of dirt on it to make this real!!!!