Get Behind The Wheel With IRacing

JOHN ZACHARY- How many of you have sat in the stands at your favorite Race track and have said “ boy I would love to do that”. I know as a kid I dreamed about becoming a World Of Outlaw sprint car driver. Well that never happened, but I did get to race, just not in a big car. Until now.

I was 50 years old when I finally got live out my childhood fantasy. Yes I have won a sprint car race at Eldora, and Williams Grove. I know you are saying “yeah ok John.” Ha Ha well its true, kinda . Let me tell you how you can strap into a 410 sprint car, or a USAC midget, or even a dirt street stock, and go racing. Its Called IRacing.

IRacing is a racing simulator (sim), that was founded in 2004, by Dave Kaemmer and John Henry. Henry is the main owner of the Boston Red Sox, co-owner of the Roush Fenway NASCAR team, and Liverpool Football Club. IRacing started out as a pavement sim. Drivers can race NASCAR, F-1, SCCA IMSA, and plenty more on world famous track all over the world.

Last year IRacing introduced DIRT, yes I said DIRT. If you are like me Dirt racing is in your blood. Like I said before we have all pictured our self driving a Dirt car at some point in our life. The time is here, you can drive a 410 Sprint car deep into turn one at Williams Grove, or finally visit the Crown Jewel of sprint car racing Knoxville.

For $13 a month you have access to a ton of fun with fellow racers from all over the world. All you need to become a race car driver is a decent computer, and an A force feedback steering wheel. This is definitely a lot less expensive then building a real race team. When you crash (and you will lol) you can hit reset and go back to turning laps.

Real race car drivers compete on IRacing during their off season to help stay sharp, or to just turn a few laps with friends at their favorite race tracks. With your subscription you get a good amount of tracks and cars to help you get started in sim racing. Additional cars and tracks are available for purchase if you want to add to the ones you already have. $15 for a track and $11 for cars. IRacing offers Packages for some cars like the sprint cars and late-Models for the price of one.

HBR Super Dirtcar Series driver Max McLaughlin says “My favorites are the wingless 410s and the midgets. It’s unreal how realistic it is. It’s definitely a tool that you can use to get better in real life.”

I hear some people saying that its too expensive, and they don’t like buying content all the time. If you want to go racing this is great way to get into the sport. With a new computer, steering wheel, and a subscription one could have less then a $1000 total investment. Sure you can buy a expensive computer, three monitors, and a simulator to drive from, but its not necessary.  I have a $500 computer, $150 wheel, a office chair from staples, and a small desk. In racing terms I guess I have a pickup truck and a open trailer. I still have a blast, and get to victory lane once and a while.

Iracing is more then a game its a simulator.  Racespot @ broadcasts live racing every Friday night,  with announcers and instant replays just like watching the real thing on TV. Sim racing is growing like crazy, and becoming a real form of racing. Chili bowl winner Christopher Bell, Tony Stewart, Kyle Larson, and Dale Earnhardt Jr, compete on IRacing. Its cool, and fun. Local dirt drivers are online turning laps during their off season.

According to ESS Sprint car driver Dave Axton  “IRacing is as real as it gets in the virtual world.  It’s a great tool to keep drivers as sharp as possible year round.  While drivers don’t get the “seat of the pants” feel that we rely on in  a  real race car, It can certainly help with decision making and to exercise eye coordination.”

With IRacing or you can get into a point series and try to run for a championship. Join a hosted race or host a race yourself. Hosted races are a great way for you and your friends to compete against each for bragging rights. Races can be either a fixed set up or open set up. Fixed means all of the competitors in the room have the same default car set up, making it all about the person behind the wheel. For the guys that like to tweak their setups the open races are for you. Tire pressure, stagger, caster/ camber, bars, etc. Setups are available to down load from fellow racers in the forums, making it a bit easier for the average racer.

Ok, now for the super cool part of IRacing that makes it not just a game, but a sim, The Track All of the tracks on the sim are made from a laser scan of the real tracks, making them as close to the real thing as possible. Bumps, holes, elevations are just like being there. You can feel all of this through your force feedback wheel .

That’s cool right? Wait there’s more. Dynamic weather and track conditions too. This means a heavy track at night or a super slick track under full sun during the day. When racing on the dirt the track will change throughout the event, just like you see at your local tracks. When you go out for practice the track is tacky and tons of bite, but when you line up for time trails the track has changed a bit more. The same happens for the heat races, and consi. If you do make the main event, you will find that the track is worn out from all the previous racing. This is where the setups come into play. Throughout your 40 lap feature the track will change more as the laps click off. The cushion moves up closer to the wall, and the bottom is just a sliver of bite for the left rear tire to grab hold of. Its cool for sure.

Let me take you for a lap at Volusia Speedway in my 410 Spintcar. Alright I’m sitting in the pits lined up for my main event. I am starting outside row two. The pace truck leads us onto the track, and the bleachers are packed with race fans. We make our way around getting lined up for the start of this 40 lap A Main. I can hear my engine roaring in my headphones. The feel of the track is coming through the wheel to my sweaty hands. My heart is beating a bit faster. The pace truck pulls of the track, and the pole sitter fires first. We are off. I mash the throttle, and head down into turn one with a full field of cars behind me.

I cant see very well from the seat in my Sprint Car to begin with, but now I have chunks of mud on my shield and dust filling the air in front of me. Wow this is intense.😜 I reach up a rip a tear off as I come out of turn two. I am  in to 4th place, trying to get into the zone. As I enter turn three I can hear a car on the inside of me. The car in 3rd drifts high near the wall. There I am stuck in the slick part of the track. I ease on the loud pedal, trying to keep my tires from spinning. The car on the bottom gets into me a bit as we charge down the front stretch for lap one.

Holy cow I’m worn out already and I have 39 laps left. Ha Ha I love it, what a rush, I am smiling underneath the serious look on my face. I didn’t win, but  I had one heck of a good time. At the end of the A Main my hands are shaking, and my arms are tired from sawing at the wheel for 40 laps.

Modified and Sprint car driver Bobby Hackel told us “When it comes to the sprint cars on IRacing it’s unbelievable how right they got it ! The way the car reacts to the wing and transfers weight is amazing . Not only did they get the cars right but the changing of the track surfaces and having to search for moisture as the race progresses is my favorite aspect .

My advice for anyone getting started is make sure you get a decent computer and steering wheel set up when you start so you can really enjoy the experience.”

If you are a pavement fan or a dirt fan you can become a sim race car driver, without leaving your house. I love it! It will help you with that nagging racing itch. Go to you tube and look for  some IRacing videos, you will find your self enjoying some good racing from your couch. Then for a reasonable investment you can go racing just like you have always dreamed about doing.

Dig Race Products owner Brandon Planck enjoys racing on the sim “We’ve been having a blast on there. In terms of racing in your living room I don’t think you can get much closer to the real thing. It seems to take a lot of consistency and throttle control to run in the slick no matter what track you’re on.

The game allows you to change almost everything with the car’s set up, shocks and springs so my Dad and I are always working on trying different things. Even though the cars are quite a bit different geometry wise from northeast mods we’re used to we still apply the same principals on handling in the game as we do in real life. You can really feel the set up changes when you get on the track so it gets pretty addicting. Overall it’s just a lot of fun”.

Stop by the Dirt Tack Digest booth at Motorsports expo 2018 and turn a few laps in the IRacing simulator to see for your self how fun it is.

I hope to see you at the track and see you behind me during a race on IRacing.

Take care,