iRacing Staff Member Profile: Vehicle Production Associate Christian Challiner

For this week of the iRacing Staff Member highlight series, let’s get to know one of the staff members behind many of the setups in the iRacing setup folder.

A former eNASCAR competitor, Christian Challiner stepped out of the esports scene a few years ago to turn his racing hobby into something more. Working remote from the United Kingdom, Christian is a key part of the team that gets the vehicles to drive the way they do on the platform. Here’s more about Christian’s background and how he got to where he is today.

 

  • Who are you, and what is your job title at iRacing?

I’m Christian Challiner, and I’m a Vehicle Production Associate here at iRacing.

  • How long have you been working at iRacing?

I’ve been working at iRacing for around three-and-a-half years now. I started in November 2020, right after the eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series season wrapped up.

Before there were official teams in the eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series, Christian ran the #78 in the top level during the mid-2010’s.

  • What got you interested in working for iRacing?

I started racing on iRacing back in the summer of 2014, based on the recommendation of a friend, and found that I really enjoyed the FR500 Mustang. I raced that a lot while I was on summer break from University. This was right around the time when Team Racing became a part of the service, which led to running the first iRacing Daytona 24h with the same friend who got me started on the service. Unfortunately, it didn’t go too well, and I crashed the car at the infield kink around halfway into the race.

That race was pretty much the catalyst to wanting to do more Team Racing though, and I became involved in a variety of different leagues with the Black Adder Motorsport group. This was really a perfect group to be involved with, because we ran so many different types of cars which meant I learnt a lot about preparing different cars, working out race strategy, etc. During that phase I ran some NASCAR iRacing Series races, found I was doing quite well in them, and in 2016, I qualified for the eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series.

In 2019 and 2020, Christian signed on to drive for JTG Daugherty Racing, in the #37, in the eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series.

 

Fast forward four years, and by the end of 2020, I was at a bit of a crossroads. I still enjoyed driving on the sim, but I’d had an unlucky year in the eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series, which meant a lot of hard work hadn’t translated into results. Fortunately, an opportunity came up to work here which I really had to take. It’s not often you get the opportunity to turn something that was essentially a hobby into a job.

  • What does your job entail, from daily tasks to larger projects?

My role here is quite varied, but it predominantly centers around working with the Vehicle Dynamics group to maintain existing content and assist in the production of new content.

A good example of this would be the GT3 class. Every GT3 car released or updated since 2020, I’ve had involvement with from start to finish on the physics side. This entails verifying that the car is reacting in line with the Vehicle Engineer’s expectations, my own expectations, that it’s BoP’d (Balance of Performance) reasonably to both the real world and other cars within our iRacing class, and so on.

A typical daily project would be the updating of existing setups, or the addition of setups for specific series to the iRacing setups folder. This work is done in conjunction with the other Vehicle Production Associates. If you’re driving a setup from the iRacing folder, with some exceptions aside, you’re driving something that one of us put together.

  • Are there any projects you’ve worked on that stand out above any others? Something you are proud of?

iRacing released the new iRacing Weather System in March 2024, during the 2024 Season 2 build.

Without question, rain is both a standout project and the one I am most proud of playing a part in.

I think, even now nearly three months after release, nobody on the service has run more laps in wet conditions than I have. It was a very tough project, but with the passion and effort from everyone involved, we put together something that steps the whole genre forwards in terms of expectations for wet weather driving. There’s not too many things you get to work on that have that kind of impact, so that was very cool.

  • Are there any future projects that you can’t wait to jump on?

Many! However, none that I can talk about publicly right now, sorry!

  • What are some of your favorite car and track combinations on iRacing to participate in?

This is a good question, and to be honest, it will change depending on what I’m working on at the time.

I can always be found in a GT3 or GT4 car if they’re an option, as well as the occasional Porsche Cup.

One of the GT cars you might find Christian racing around the service.

If I had to pick an all-time favorite, though, it would be the Lotus 49 at the Nurburgring. That’s probably the rawest car and track combination you’ll find in sim racing. I also like Road Atlanta and Jerez, I practically live at those tracks when I’m working on something.

  • Are there any other video games, racing or not, that you enjoy playing currently?

I play a lot of Call of Duty with friends, at nights and weekends at the moment. We typically have five or six of us each night playing Hardcore Search and Destroy.

Outside of that, I’ve been known to play other racing games. I like to see what everyone else is up to.

  • Outside of iRacing, what other hobbies do you enjoy?

Christian’s R32 GT-R.

To be honest, this is an area I’ve been slacking on recently. I have both an MX5 and R32 GT-R that need some attention this year, but I’ve just been wrapped up in too much to get to them just yet.

The MX5 is a constant project. It’s my first car, and I’ve had it over twelve years now. I don’t think I’ll ever sell it, but it will also never be ‘finished’ like so many other project cars out there.

A peek under the hood.

Otherwise I’ve been known to dabble with R/C cars. They’re great for learning a bit about vehicle setup considerations, by the way. I also enjoy going to the occasional real-world racing event.

  • What are some of your goals you hope to achieve, either at work or outside of it?

At work, I always try to make sure that the current project I’m working on is better than the last. We are always learning here, and I think it’s important to always try and better your prior work.

Of course, that means you inevitably want to rework something you did only a few months prior, but I think that aspect of self-improvement is necessary for the sim, and I hope our members can see that we’re passionate about always trying to better ourselves.

Outside of work, I’d like my own place someday, and I keep looking at Porsche Cayman GT4’s…

  • Anything else we should know about you?

My best qualifying laps are set with Taylor Swift playing in the background. True story!