iRacing is an Online Racing Simulation (ORS) that offers competitive racing in a wide variety of categories (cars!) and high quality tracks from all over the world. This popular online service is often regarded as one of the best ways to race competitively online.
iRacing? Is this... an Apple product? Don't let the iconic lowercase i throw you off, as iRacing has nothing to do with the tech behemoth.
The biggest unique selling point that iRacing has is the licensing system that requires you to start in the rookie class when kicking off your iRacing career. As you participate in races, and don't crash too often, you will progress your license which opens up more and more racing categories. Speaking of which...
iRacing offers a total of four categories. The two biggest one by far are the Road & Oval categories which are quite self explanatory. As of writing this (November 2020), the Dirt Oval category was added which provides for muddy fun on smaller oval circuits. The latest addition is the in the form of Rally Cross which even includes a fun jump more often than not.
4 main categories offer over a total of 70+ events to participate in.
These different categories offer events in each of the License classes. For example the Road category provides you with the MX5 cup for road cars and the Skip Barber for your single seater race needs. Both these events will help you progress to the later series.There are 13 rookie events to participate in. Some do require you to purchase additional content though.
It's recommended to master the series by following a logical path. For example if you wish to race in GT3, starting in the famous roadster (MX5 cup) is recommended. Although both series offer a unique look into refining your race craft.
One important distinction to make is that iRacing is a paid subscription service that comes with a number of cars and tracks included. Then on top of that additional content needs to be purchased (or licensed). This also means that iRacing can make changes when it comes to what content is actively available in terms of their scheduling or wether they mark content as legacy.
The base membership comes with a list of tracks and cars that are ready to be explored right out of the gate. There's a complete list of what's included for reference.
iRacing is a Subscription service and offers a variety of options for keeping an active subscription. From a single month ($13), three months ($33), one year ($110) to a two year $199 plan. Some quick napkin math shows that the longer commitment comes with a lower price per month.
|Plan||Price||Price per Month||Sales Price (Black Friday 2017)||Sales Price per Month|
Although iRacing used to offer $50 one year plans, those days seem to be over. We now only see 25% discount offers on both their 1 year and 2 year subscriptions a few times a year. One of these times is during the Black Friday Deal Sale you can get access to the service for less than half the full monthly price ($6.21 vs $13) by committing to the two year subscription.
Protip - for best value use the $100 iRacing credit for only $75 deal to purchase a 2 year renewal during a Black Friday Sale. You only pay $4.66 per month with a 2 year renewal.
From the more beginner friendly agile & light cars, to the more advanced class racing which are usually both very loud & very fast. iRacing offers a selection of the world's finest racing cars.
Out of the box your iRacing garage is filled with 17 different cars. This ranges from a MX5 Cup car, to a Radical SR8 (V8), but also a Street Stock or Spec Racer Ford. Now, it probably wont be long before you long to expand that garage with one of the 89 purchasable racecars this sim has to offer. These cars are all listed for a price between $2.95 and $11.95.
For a full list of available cars, check out the iRacing Fandom Wiki cars page.
iRacing offers a selection of both known and unknown tracks around the world. Want Suzuka, Silverstone or even the full Nordschleife? You got it. That doesn't mean that there's also a ton of lesser known tracks that provide for excellent racing and that can really add up. With a price tag of $10 to $15 USD a piece, this can add up rather quickly.
Out of the box, your iRacing subscription comes with 25 circuits. Then there's another 85 tracks that can be purchased for a price ranging from $4.95 to $14.95. For this reason, planning out your seasons might be required depending on your sim racing budget as it can add up quickly when competing in multiple new seasons.
You can find a full overview of all the available tracks on iRacing (both free and paid) on the iRacing Fandom Wiki. More details, such as a track guide and screenshots, can be found on iRacing's track overview.
The iRacing License system combined with the Safety Rating is how iRacing judges how capable you are behind the wheel in terms of safety. And only that. Safety.
"Your license class acts as sort of a skill ranking system – it determines which series you are qualified to participate in. Everyone starts off with a rookie license. From there, you can work your way to class D, C, B and A."iRacing.com - Getting Started License Classes
And when you read everyone we do indeed mean everyone. Maybe you are a two time Formula 1 world champion and think you can immediately grab a pro license? Hah, no - even (successful) real world drivers on iRacing need to start out as rookies. Mind you, it won't take them long to climb through the ranks, but everyone starts on equal footing. In Rookies!
Protip - Try to stay out of trouble and drive defensively to get your Safety Rating up.
iRacing provides each of its drivers with a score to keep track of their racing performance. This is unique in the online racing world as most of the online racing is organized through communities & forums if you want anything better than public server racing. iRating is a great addition to the iRacing service.
iRating is a numeric value that iRacing's algorithm calculated based on your performance and is then used in matchmaking to achieve close matched racing. Simply put how fast iRacing thinks you are.
Whenever you finish in the top half of the field you should be gaining iRating. The higher you finish, the more points you should receive. Now this isn't always the case as it's a complex system that takes a lot more factors into consideration before handing out these precious iRating points.
Although having the track all to yourself can be a real gift sometimes, often it is more fun with others. Besides going wheel to wheel on the tarmac, there are plenty of communities online where you can discuss iRacing and its features in depth.
The official iRacing forum is a great place to stay in touch with the iRacing community. It's a friendly and welcoming environment that can provide a ton of insight into the specifics of cars, tracks and series.
Please note: the official iRacing forums can only be accessed by logging in with your iRacing account.
The iRacing Subreddit has over seventy thousand members and it offers a lot of content to keep you going while not in the vicinity of your racing rig.
There's an active modding community within the iRacing community.
Protip - Looking to go faster and gain some insight into your race craft? Consider checking out iSpeed which is a great iRacing HUD Mod and also has a telemtry feature to help you analyze your lap times.
By using Trading Paints you can use your very own custom livery and see everyone else's creations!
Protip - iRacing's out of the box racing engineer left some to be desired. CrewChief plugs right into iRacing and gives great radio updates. From your laptimes, to letting you know that the leader went off in turn 3. It's actively being developed and updated. Highly recommended!
iRacing hosts a ton of official events that are often streamed on the official iRacing Youtube channel.
Want to watch some live racing action? Try checking out the iRacing Twitch page to find some live track action.