iRacing Development Update: May 2024

Hello iRacers,

We’re fresh off the release of one of the most significant updates in our history, and the team at iRacing has enjoyed seeing all of you engage with the features and content we’ve worked so hard to deliver. The just-released iRacing Weather System required a concerted multi-year focus from the team, who managed to balance this hard work with the significant demands of maintaining and advancing our live service sim across all categories of racing. There is no slowing down with this model of product development, and the next patch, season release, car, track, and feature are always there to dive into. I feel fortunate to work with a team that can so effectively manage this delicate balance and consistently keep pushing forward and improving. 

When you work on something as directly tangible as iRacing, it is always rewarding to get out on the track, participate in races, and enjoy what we have built. This gives us a direct connection to the product and insight into what we could be doing better. By next season, we’re on pace to give out our sixty-five-thousandth iLetYouWin award (members get these when they beat an iRacing staffer who is flagged as a dev in the DB in any official race). The number would likely be 2x if we all had the dev tag – something we’ll have to fix!  Here are a handful of notable things we’ve observed or have been focusing on these past couple of months…

  • As happy as we were with the iRacing Weather System, we did have a concern that it might adversely affect participation. After all, racing in the rain is as challenging as it is exciting and dynamic. Across all series that offer rain, season-to-date, we see that wet sessions have about 91% of the participation of non-wet sessions. This is great! iRacers are a hearty bunch.
  • We may have crossed paths in the iRacing Sebring 12-hour, where we had significant staff (and customer) participation. This event saw an increase in individual participation by 37%, team participation by 46%, and our servers transmitted over 7.8TB of data. Wow!  
  • As fun as it’s been to race in our dynamic multi-class IMSA series, we can definitely be doing better with the GTP wet tires. It can be an adventure at times, and more so than we feel is accurate. Expect to see an improvement in the Season 3 release.
  • Lockups should be a little easier to clear with Season 3.
  • Stability has taken a hit, and we are seeing an uptick in video-driver-related and particle-engine-related sim crashes. We apologize to anyone who has been experiencing these issues and we are taking this very seriously. Behind the scenes, we have been dedicating significant engineering resources to these problems, including our most senior engineers who are working daily with our business partners at Nvidia and PopcornFX as we collaborate on fixes. We have also been working to improve our ability to track, identify, and fix issues related to stability. New automated systems have been implemented so that our team has better visibility and context when there are problems, can better respond to issues, and are able to fix issues and ship fixes more expediently than in the past.
  • During the first days after the rain release, we did see a notable increase in the burden on the race servers, which was at times detrimental to the racing experience. Many thanks to the operations (Ops) team for keeping things running for long enough for our engineering team to identify architectural optimizations that greatly improved things.   We’re really excited about an ongoing project that will provide far better real-time metrics related to our servers, which will give our Ops and engineering teams better insight than ever into raceserver performance.  This will result in quicker responsiveness and greater stability.
  • The iRacing Weather System offers opportunities for events like the Indy 500 that utilize unattached qualifying. The new system allows for static weather for an even playing field for qualifying while allowing the full use of our dynamic weather system during the race. This has been a long-standing request from the community.

Somewhat off the usual conversation focus, but I do feel it’s worth addressing – the state of the video games industry sure has been dicey of late, and yes, we do overlap with this industry substantially in terms of technology, talent, goals, economics, and friends. Right now, the games industry is experiencing many layoffs, and great studios have been shuttered. As a fellow developer, I wish our affected peers the best of luck, along with the hope that this will be a temporary blip in this important creative industry. As for iRacing, some may see what’s been happening and wonder, “Will this affect iRacing, too?” We sure are fortunate, and I can confidently share that our business is more healthy than ever, thanks to the great support from iRacers. Membership continues to grow, revenue is strong, and we are doing our best to reinvest those revenues into the team and product to ensure what we build is strong and positioned for the future.

Now back to our regularly scheduled program… We have a software release that’s about to drop, so let’s start there.

Season 3, 2024

Season 3, 2024 is just a few weeks from now, and our teams are entering that final polish phase with Quality Assurance (QA). Although it’s a tall order to follow up on our incredible Season 2 build, Season 3 will still see several notable new improvements and, as always, awesome content additions.

Our Street Stock series is the 4th most popular series on iRacing. It is an approachable rookie and C-class car that’s a blast to drive. That said, we’ve all been racing the same car since 2010, and have long heard from folks that they’d love to have more variety in the series. We’ve heard you and are releasing not one but two all-new Street Stock bodies. These two new cars are inspired by real-world counterparts that you will all recognize. The art team has raised the bar with these models, and you will see that they are not pristine and straight from the shop; these cars have seen some real battles over their racing campaigns. Of course, an important question is how will these cars be positioned on the service, with the current Street Stock being included content?  It was important to us to deliver great value with this offering, and we have packaged the two cars together into one single package at our standard new car price. And again, this is optional; if you are happy with the current Street Stock there is no requirement or advantage to purchase the new ones, and we’ll all get to enjoy the added variety together.

Our GT3 racing category remains a key part of iRacing, and as I shared in recent blogs, we’re pushing to expand GT3 and our IMSA/endurance series to new heights. Season 3 will see the addition of TWO new American-based GT3 racecars to the fleet. These cars look and sound amazing. These additions required a corresponding increase in our max unique car count, from 12 to 13, which was made possible by the continuous efforts of our performance and optimization-focused engineering team.  

Our track portfolio continues to expand with a global focus and across multiple forms of racing.  Season 3 will see the addition of three new tracks, which include…

Circuito de Navarra: Located at the base of the Iberian mountain range in Spain, with the Pyrenees looming to the northeast, Circuito de Navarra offers a beautiful landscape with compelling racing and exciting changes of elevation. A host to many types of racing (British superbike, F4 Spanish Championship, 24H series), Navarra has it all. Additionally, as a continuation of our ongoing effort to offer iRacers exceptional value, Circuito de Navarra will be FREE to all iRacers as part of our expansive package of included content.

Sachsenring: Featuring racing going all the way back to 1927, this nearly 100-year-old racing track in Germany obviously has a lot of history behind it. For most of its life, the circuit was incorporated into a nearby village and surrounding country roads. A modern circuit was purpose-built for racing and re-opened in the 1990s, and then reconfigured a few years later into its current form. A home for racing ranging from F1 to motorcycles, DTM, and even Sidecar racing, Sachsenring will be a great addition to the racing lineup in iRacing. It was fun for our team to return to the circuit after a brief visit back in 2016 when we recorded this fun piece with the great Hans-Joachim Stuck:

Oswego Speedway: A stone’s throw from Lake Ontario, “The Steel Palace” has been a staple of many dirt and pavement series for decades, featuring weekly racing since opening its gates in 1951. A long-time-coming request of iRacers and staff who visit the track, we are happy to be offering Oswego in both its pavement and dirt configurations, which both are experienced on the same track through the addition and removal of truckloads of dirt each year. Fortunately, in iRacing, these truckloads are a bit easier to move for our artists than they are for the crew in real life, but in full transparency, there’s a chance we may only finish the pavement oval by the time Oswego debuts in S3. Rest assured that if the dirt surface misses June, it will be made available in a patch soon thereafter.

While our Vehicle Dynamics department has certainly been busy with the new cars listed above, they are continuously working on ongoing improvements to the existing fleet of racecars. Such improvements for Season 3 include…

  • Rain tires have been added to the Porsche 992 Cup, Mazda MX-5, our entire GT4 class, and the Ligier JS P320.
  • Our vehicle dynamics department includes professional aerodynamics engineers from the racing industry. Recently this team collaborated with NASCAR and their technology team to re-engineer the aerodynamics of the NASCAR Craftsman Trucks. This involved highly detailed Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) simulations, bringing the truck models up to date with the latest body designs and real-life racing strategies. The newer and more comprehensive data we’ve gathered will enhance realism, leading to more accurate cornering and end-of-straight speeds. Building a highly detailed CFD model coupled with our kinematics model, allows us to carry out the same style of high-level aerodynamic simulations that major real-life racing programs are relying on today.
  • Standing starts can be tricky.  In the real world, many racing series have competitors drive around the circuit for what’s known as a “formation lap” before settling on the grid. This provides an opportunity to put heat into the tires and brakes and condition them for the race start. While it might be enjoyable for many to engage in such pre-race procedures, we choose not to do this in iRacing. The upside is you can get right in and race.  The downside is this creates compromises with the car at the start of the race.  We have a team working on a project that will provide your car with a set of pre-conditioned tires and brakes to launch off the grid. While I have this in the Season 3 part of this update, there’s a chance this slips to a future update.
  • Clutch variability: In the real world, no two clutches are alike, regardless of whether they are manufactured by exactly the same machines and installed by the same engineers.  There is physical variability, wear, and untold other variables in the mix. We are working on our clutch system to better simulate reality rather than the mechanical perfection available currently.

The iRacing User Interface(UI) is continuously improving and expanding, with releases shipping frequently and not always tied to Season releases.  However, a healthy list of improvements will debut with the build, including:

  • The AI Single Player area of the UI is being reorganized to enhance usability. This is just an initial step in what will be a significant overhaul of our AI offering, and I’ll touch on some of that in the future section of this update.
  • The long-awaited Driver Stats feature will debut, and it’s awesome. The developers really nailed the implementation, and functionality and performance have advanced significantly vs the legacy website version.
  • Lap Charts and Lap Graphs are being added to Results. The team used some really cool tech to make this happen, and we’re really happy with the finished product.

We are taking significant steps to advance the “sunsetting” of our legacy website. Along with the Season 3 build, the legacy site will be pared down to focus on functionality specific to account management. iRacing offers an unparalleled and deep experience, and it took considerable effort and time for our team to transfer the decade-plus of functionality and systems from it to the UI, but we’ve finally reached this great milestone. Three cheers to; it served us well, and we built the business with that sometimes quirky but always cool website. That said, we are so excited about the UI, the significant advantages its modern technologies offer, and all of the incredible work planned for this interface in the future. 

If you have yet to use the web version of the UI, make sure to check it out! It’s great to have the ability to keep an eye on iRacing from wherever you might be when you can’t be at your dedicated racing machine. Check it out and bookmark it here:
Note that this is just for viewing the UI and you can’t launch races from it or use the Paint Kit. For that you need to install iRacing.

With this sunsetting, note the following:
  • Scrapers: You have until next season to switch to the data API and then the LM services will turn off
  • Your bookmarks will take you to iRacing Web
  • The World Records page has not been ported to the UI. With continuous changes to physics modeling, car modeling, weather modeling, and the fact that every season is a new competition altogether, this page had somewhat lost its meaning. We chose to focus on improving other areas of the UI and stats interfaces.
  • Purchasing content must now be done in iRacing or iRacing WEB only (Paypal is available in iRacing Web)

That covers many of our Season 3 highlights, but as always, we ship hundreds of changes, fixes, and additions along with every build, so stay tuned for the full Release Notes, which will come out shortly before the deployment.

Rendering and Graphics

As I have mentioned previously, we have been focused on modernizing our core technologies and systems to prepare iRacing for the future. Advancing graphics and rendering is a priority, and over the past couple of years, we have welcomed multiple industry-leading rendering architects to join our team. Recently, this team has been tasked with a critical project: creating the technology plan and roadmap for the future of graphics and rendering at iRacing, including what “graphics engine” we’ll be moving forward with.

When creating this plan, it was critical to understand the requirements of our sim and its users.  iRacing is built on a foundation of authenticity and realism. Regardless of whether you’re here for the sport, to train, or as a hobby, it is paramount that the sim provides a performant experience that is physics-first, fast, and works brilliantly across a vast assortment of hardware configurations (single display, triple display, curved display, VR, motion platforms, etc) and hardware generations. 

It’s important to understand that iRacing is a product built for sustainability. We’ll be racing together today, tomorrow, next year, and before you know it, into the 2030s. It is critical that our graphics engine is built for this journey, that we have the control we need to maintain and upgrade it, and that it integrates and operates seamlessly with the rest of our systems.  

As part of our due diligence, we investigated some of the amazing third-party engines that are available. These engines can offer developers a head start where artwork can be piped into the engine and, on a surface level, appear to have a beautiful-looking ready-to-go result. These engines also offer impressive tooling and pipelines.  However, given the requirements that I’ve shared, we did not feel that these engines were a fit for iRacing, 

With that in mind, we are happy to share that we have selected a path that will ensure that the technology meets our specific requirements and goals: we will build the future graphics engine ourselves. To be clear, this won’t be a conversion of the current engine and its features into modern API calls. Rather, we are doing this right and will take advantage of modern principles and capture the incredible capabilities and direction of modern GPU technology.  

As for our new tech, progress is already underway. In fact, the team reached an exciting milestone just a few short weeks ago – successfully loading iRacing track content in a rudimentary version of the renderer! However it is important that expectations are set appropriately – this is a process that will require patience. As we progress, we will continue supporting and improving the current renderer. In fact, there are systems that we will strategically build in the current renderer first to get improvements to you all as soon as possible.  

We’ll share more #soon.   

Design and Web Initiatives

iRacing has incredible AI and a whole department built around supporting and improving it continuously. However, aspects of the AI functionality can be tricky to access in the UI, and we need to do better. To begin, we are working on our AI Season technology. This first requires really getting into the guts of how seasons are created to provide a way for it all to be managed and maintained more cleanly. From there, we’ll deliver easy-to-access pre-built packages that will provide different experiences to iRacers. For example, a “Special Event” AI package to help folks prepare for an upcoming event, or just to enjoy a similar experience at their own pace.  

The same goes for racing seasons, where it sure would be handy to have the full calendar of a racing season available with a click. Additionally, the tech has been opened up to allow us to incorporate custom artwork with each package, rather than what we have now with the automated image of a car. I was floored by how compelling and polished this looks when our graphics team presented their designs (which are shared along with this update). We are also exploring content that will be more experience or scenario-based, and hope to share more there soon.  

Efforts to overhaul the way we present the structure of iRacing through the UI continue. For example, we have teams working in numerous areas, such as:

  • The way we find and interact with our racing Series. We can do a lot better in both respects, and are working through better ways to get you to your races quickly and efficiently, but also ways for you to interact with these series in a more tangible way.
  • We have built many systems related to updating the sim and sim content. Whether one might be installing the sim for the first time, updating with a patch, updating a car before a race, or buying a track, these interactions take many forms and require a lot of tech to make it technically possible, and interface design that makes it accessible. We know there is room for improvement in all of these areas, and have teams working the problem from all angles with both short-term and long-term plans for improvement. For example, wouldn’t it be great if the updater were built into the UI, so we didn’t have to manage that awkward Windows-like updater that can get hidden behind other windows. We’re working on that as a long-term plan. As we work towards that longer-term plan, we’ll be bridging that gap with shorter-term improvements, such as a refresh to the Update Content interface that lets you more easily select what you intend on updating, and the elimination of unnecessary restarts to the UI. I am getting ahead of things here more than the tech team might be comfortable with, and plans change, but in summary note that significant improvement to updating is an important area of improvement for us.

Career Mode

It’s a bit early to get in-depth here, but I can share that our efforts on Career Mode are extensive, and we are making exciting progress each week. Career Mode in iRacing will capitalize on a lot of what we’ve already built, however, new systems are required to provide the experience we have designed, and many existing systems require advancements and new capabilities. One exciting advancement that I can share from sim engineering: we now have a functional framework for what will provide a save-game-like capability. This tech started with Active Reset as the foundational piece, and we are expanding it as we go. We will share more when we’re ready.


Did you all get a chance to listen to the awesome Audio Developer Blog that Aussie Greg and Blaine put together? If you haven’t, make sure to give it a listen; those guys impress me on a continuous basis… what a talented crew! Here’s the link:

In terms of ongoing work, the team remains focused on re-architecting the core audio tech we use. This re-architecture will provide a framework for modern features and will ultimately transform our audio capabilities. This progress was slowed briefly to support rain, but that was merely a pit stop, and the team is full-steam ahead towards the future. More to come in that regard.

Ongoing Development Misc

There are a hundred other things I could go into with development but I can’t go on forever, and we’ll be back at it with another update in a few months. For now, just a reminder of a few cool things that are also in the works…

  • Our engineering team has numerous physics engine and tire model projects underway, including:  
    • Improved FFB. Along with a significantly higher tick rate and associated tire improvements, we are advancing our FFB systems to provide an experience that much more accurately produces the torques that the driver should feel, and that is also smoother, quicker, stiffer, and more stable.
    • A significant evolution in the tire model is in the works, which will result in a huge leap forward with tire modeling in iRacing. We are restructuring the tire interface code to make it more efficient. We are overhauling how we model the contact patch, as well as the shape of the tire. This will result in more accurate dynamics and wear across the shape, as well as better moments.  
    • This will all be tied together with a more precise and lower latency core physics engine that is being re-engineered to better leverage modern PC hardware.
  • The in-sim UI replacement with NoesisGUI continues to advance, and the team has been supported with the addition of a group of contractors who have built full NoesisGUI implementations in other games. The NoesisGUI company itself also just delivered a huge advancement to their tooling, which will transform the process and empower our designers to contribute more directly than before.
  • Oval Refresh continues to advance towards a Phase 2 release. In full transparency, this is a complex project that touches so many aspects of our track, car, and dynamics-based systems, and this involves exploration. Know that it is an important initiative, and we’ll ship advancements when we feel they are ready.

Upcoming Content

Here is a quick update on a few content projects that are in the works…

  • Check out the included images of Spa. it’s-happening-dot-gif, folks. Production work is underway!
  • Zolder is being fully remastered and will be released in September.  
  • We’re working on a Mini Stock for September.
  • We re-scanned Sonoma several weeks back, and the next day the pavement came up in testing. Typical iRacing luck; we’ll be back. This is part of our initiative to refresh all of our NASCAR tracks.
  • As Dale Jr. shared on Twitter and social, but some may have missed, we’ll be releasing a proper Gen 4 car based on the 2003 season. We’ll include both the intermediate body and the speedway/SS body. That year holds a special place in many of our hearts…
  • We’re working to revitalize Dirt Road racing with a better car(s) to enter the discipline with and a handful of fun new dirt configs. Some patience will be required here, and we sure know that a lot of patience has been involved already. More info #soon.
  • More often than not, if you see us photographing a car or track out in the world, it’s coming #soon. And man, we’ve been caught red-handed a lot lately. Time to start wearing disguises 🥸  
  • Lots of cool things percolating in Australia. More info #soon.
  • Last time I mentioned our plan to return to England for track scanning. Our team has been busy these past several weeks and have captured drone, photo, and scan reference at three different circuits.
  • Regarding the “shocking” vehicle that I teased last time. Many thought that my use of the word shocking was an intentional pun and hint. I am not that creative, and it was a coincidence! Actually, now that I think about it, we have multiple vehicle-related projects that will propel iRacing to areas not yet explored! Wait, was that a pun?!

Discount Programs

There are a number of ways to save on iRacing and iRacing content, and we occasionally hear that people aren’t aware of the discount programs we have in place. If this is news to you or you’d like a refresher, here’s a quick summary of what we offer:

Additionally, we will soon implement a new one-time discount that will benefit all new customers, as well as existing customers who have yet to make a purchase: your first purchase of up to two pieces of content will be discounted by 10%. If you qualify for a greater discount, that is what you will receive, and discounts do not stack. 

Final Thoughts

Thanks for still being here, as I certainly didn’t intend to still be going this long. Gotta leave more for next time, after all!  In short, we’re just working on so many cool projects. It’s going to be so fun to see the product transform these next few years as we balance a significant modernization of our codebase and features, along with our need to deliver continuous and compelling improvements each and every season. I’m confident that we have the team in place to do it.

Cheers, and see you on the track