For all of the good points about iRacing, the one thing that always seems to bug me is how it consistently manages to fall behind. While in the US, iRacing is at the forefront of cutting edge, when it comes to the rest of the world, it only ever seems like a one and done. iRacing need to step on the gas if they are to become industry defining once again with the rise of F1 esports and the introduction of Forza to the mix. I think they have to get moving on developments and here are some tracks and cars iRacing needs to scan in the next five years. The list will feature multiple suggestions per entry, as to give a better idea to what I mean.
Bahrain International Circuit/Yas Marina/Sepang/Shanghai
I have grouped all of these tracks together because the point remains the same for all of them.
Safe to say, iRacing has not dipped its toes into some potentially dangerous waters. When iRacing has planned most of its trips, it’s been to get two or three circuits at a time. However what still remains as interesting is how after seven years is that iRacing is still struggling to pad out their F1 repertoire in terms of FIA Grade 1 tracks.
Bahrain would be the most difficult to scan, however it would be massive in terms of the multi-purpose nature plus it would be great on multiple layouts.
Shanghai has now become a staple of the racing calendar over the last five years and the 270 degree turns could bring much more challenge for drivers when it comes to race day.
Sepang has recently dropped itself from the F1 calendar but as a track, it is still second to none and arguably has created some fascinating racing, and it will do here. However as much as people don’t like Yas Marina, it has been the championship finale for a reason and picking up the track allows for an iRacing night race for IWCGPS especially combined with day/night transitions.
Circuit De Barcelona-Catalunya + Other Spanish Circuits
Spanish simracing is the strongest in the World. Teo Martin Esports, Williams JIM Junior, Positive Simracing, Odox Motorsport Samsung, FA Racing G2 (arguably only Spanish because of Alonso and Garcia jr), F4H Motorsport, GTros, Iberica Racing Team, NWS Esports and now Vodafone Giants Gaming.
If I was in charge of a simracing broadcast company, my first thing I would ask is, can I have the rights to English Commentary please? They get viewership figures that reach par with iRacing’s youtube channel on non-WCS events and it is seriously under-reported what they do, so much so that I see where Odox come from now when they said, “we can’t believe we are not on the 50 greatest simracing teams of 2017.” The Iberian peninsula has been criminally overlooked for race tracks and I think there is so much that iRacing could do to reward the Spanish community for their hard work and doing the best out of anyone to grow simracing as an esport.
Barcelona 100% has to be on iRacing in the next year. It is the perfect challenge for a F1 vehicle, so much so that it forms winter testing in the real world. Slow speed chicanes, high speed sweepers, it has everything and more for what a track should be and ultimately iRacing will never be complete without it.
Jerez is also a fantastic circuit and one that in racing terms often gets overlooked as “just a bike track.” Jerez can be a massive strain on the tyres with the number of sweeping corners which always tests the grip of your vehicle. It would be a fantastic track to see racing on and one which I think would allow the Skip Barber to come alive.
Aragon is of the same ilk as Jerez but Aragon is so pretty. I remember watching the 2014 Moto GP race and thought, this track is amazing, its picturesque, its challenging, it has huge elevation changes and it looks rewarding to get right, Aragon looks like a dream circuit for simracers. I think it will suit lower formulas better, most notably GT3 and FR2.0, but what Aragon brings as a race track is something so difficult to find and something that should be sought after more.
Circuit Mont Tremblant
iRacing may want to hedge their bets closer to home and have an easier time of scanning. This could be achieved heading to Canada where some gems are sitting hidden, waiting for a chance to be driven. The former F1 venue Circuit Mont Tremblant is a beautiful course with dramatic elevation changes almost lifted directly from a list of create your own tracks seen on games like Trial Mountain from Gran Turismo.
Calabogie Motorsports Park
Calabogie Motorsports Park heralds a lot of passing opportunity into difficult sweeping carousels, bringing a little bit of everything and making setup selection mighty difficult, seeming like a combination of Mid-Ohio and Road America built on an old quarry site.
Area 27 will stand out as a more outlandish selection with the track similar to Willow Springs in nature. While more of a club circuit, it is worth noting that Summit Point Raceway functions very similarly in that respect and the Jacques Villeneuve designed track contains a Formula E style pit road as well as some fantastic blind corners that really tests your faith in a vehicle. While I think that Area 27 is a major long shot, Calabogie and Mont Tremblant could seamlessly fit into iRacing’s current track pool at the moment.
Italy has already been very well represented with Monza and Imola both looking fantastic for the service, however with an Italian base that maybe isn’t as pronounced as it should be, there may have to be more work in place to build up the Italian community away from Assetto Corsa. Mugello is a fast paced course built firmly around bravery, saddled with mid speed chicanes and a lot gusto needed for bold moves down the hill, Mugello is the perfect course for on track battling.
Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli
Misano seems like a more suitable choice of track with Blancpain heritage. The stop/start nature of the track and the priority of patience before making a move lends nicely to the strategy racing that endurance’s have.
ACI Vallelunga Circuit
Vallelunga also holds up as a track wanted by a lot of the community, bravery mixed in with the intimate kart style feel of the final sector will always challenge a vehicle’s grip moving forward.
Hungaroring + Red Bull Ring
The Hungaroring and Red Bull Ring both can function as F1 tracks but are two tracks that suit the nature of touring car racing as well.
Hungaroring is a slow paced technical challenge similar to Imola and one that often goes over the heads of those looking at new tracks, almost like the San Antonio Spurs of race tracks.
The Red Bull Ring in Austria is a complete contrast and showcases the tremendous speeds needed blending with some tough braking zones. Not only that but those who follow Red Bull have seen how they constantly make themselves get to the forefront.
With Max Verstappen a capable simracer at Team Redline plus Red Bull’s media partnership with Burst Esport going forward, it is safe to say that the Red Bull Ring may get some added emphasis for a long time to come.
Le Mans Bugatti Layout
iRacing missed only one thing from Circuit de la Sarthe when it came to getting the circuit, and that was collecting the Bugatti circuit normally seen in Moto GP. Despite it being deemed a “car park track” in the late 60’s by F1 drivers, over fifty years has passed since then and without a doubt, the last three corners could be massively exciting on any given day.
Circuit Paul Ricard
Put the above in contrast with Circuit Paul Ricard which could massively help iRacing in terms of their surface development thanks to their abrasive stopping qualities of the blue and red tarmac. A track that suits all styles of racing mixed with over 5 layouts to scan, Paul Ricard could be a hidden gem for iRacing in the future.
A lot of people look at Mangy Cours and what it was able to do for so long. Two very different layouts plus a whole backbone of memories which could easily be exceeded may just lead to some very entertaining racing in a lot of categories.
With the brand new Dallara IR-18 and the heavy American focus with tracks like the Belle Isle street circuit being added, iRacing needs to consolidate its INDYCAR partnership especially after the lull of the past few years since the 16th Street Racing League which was a massive step in the right direction.
Long Beach is already on the iRacing service as a development track however NASCAR have opened up talks about racing on a street circuit which could be vital to finally finishing the track. iRacing have a very strong partnership with NASCAR which has seen them be the first to scan the brand new road layout at Charlotte Motor Speedway and any inclusion of a new track is bound to see iRacing jump and get on it as quickly as possible.
St.Petersburg, Portland and Toronto would complete the INDYCAR schedule and would be massive for iRacing and what they need to do to consolidate their position in the United States, especially as INDYCAR gains traction in popularity worldwide.
St.Petersburg like Belle Isle is a fantastic risk verses reward track and one that could easily fit in for most series.
Portland acts as a fusion between Lime Rock Park and Circuit Gilles Villeneuve which leads to fascinating racing and with a lot of room to make maneuvers.
Totonto is a tight circuit, filled with single track action in the middle sector but one that opens out for chances towards the start and end of the lap, which has a surprisingly low average top speed.
Germany is represented well in iRacing with the Nurburgring/Nordschleife as seen at Simracing Expo but for me, Germany can’t be complete from a simulator perspective without Hockenheim. Say what you will about the new layout and how it has destroyed the old spirit of the dangerous Hockenheim, but in reality, Hockenheim has got overtaking opportunity, the very difficult stadium section and every corner commanding respect out of your right foot to make sure you can get out of the corner with some tread on the tyre.
In some respects Hockenheim holds similarity to the Saschsenring which also prays on vulnerable tyres, however feeling like racing around a volcano crater, the Saschsenring could really test iRacing and their scanning in terms of mas elevation change which seriously tests the balance of your car. The Norisring would make a fantastic track for learners to get to grip on up to the Formula Renault 2.0 which right now does need a little bit of love as a community that has been so good at creating great racing.
Oschersleben may be a little different however despite a first corner which has seen the designer taken to a dark room and get beaten, it stands as a very technical and flowing track built on multiple chicanes which leads to a lot of opportunity at two wide.
Australia often gets overlooked in esports however in simracing, Australia is one of the best at what it does. The Bend is a brand new track that opened this year, at nearly six kilometers and pushing towards some fantastic action. GT3 and WEC classes could have a fantastic showing around a circuit that could easily have three or four layouts that create great racing.
Albert Park is the big must have however, being so influential as the natural starting place for Formula One, which could then move Interlagos to its rightful home in the IWCGPS to the last race of the season. Albert Park is a fantastic track and one that should add to circuits like Gilles Villeneuve that seem almost semi-permanent with their aesthetic. Adelaide is the longer shot but a track that could be a big hit with those in the classics department. Flowing straights and a brazenly difficult opening chicane could be massive in adapting the win or bin mentality seen on opening laps at times.
Fuji Speedway/Sportsland SUGO/Autopolis
I haven’t even talked about the Asian tracks yet either. Fuji Speedway is the next big thing that has to be on the iRacing bucket list. In terms of big endurance races, Fuji is the only one in my mind missing from the World Tours, and I think that iRacing would have such a great turnout for it as well. The track which has a huge front straight matched with an off camber nightmare of a final sector could show just how mighty Fuji can be to the world and once again prove how easy Fuji looks on paper only.
Sportsland SUGO compares to a fusion of Okayama, Road Atlanta and Road America all at once. It has the same feel as Okayama in design with the narrowness of Road Atlanta but the ferocity and corner DNA of Road America. The final sector is most impressive, being a high speed dream with next to no margin for error. Autopolis has a doppelganger in the form of Apricot Hill on Gran Turismo and there are some striking similarities from the track layout to the elevation changes.
Autopolis is a fantastically built track with a long front straight like Fuji yet the second half of the lap bears resemblance partially to Brands Hatch in look. Some seriously stunning corners, Autopolis is a glorious track to look at.
New F1 Car
iRacing need to bring a new F1 car into the sim. I want to see the cycle of every four years, a new F1 car is added to the mix. It keeps the IWCGPS relevant, fresh, a meta that has time to develop but also doesn’t change too much in the grand scheme of things. The lack of a halo is now striking and it dates ourselves very badly when we still have the 2015 McLaren. We need to switch to something that can go faster than ever before, and right now, I want to see what a shake up will do to Huttu, Kronke and DeJong. iRacing needs to push on or everyone will jump ship.
Right now there have been a lot of disappointments for drivers in the IWCGPS for 2018, disappointments that need to be fixed. I think a new car will quell some of the lost faith, but also buy iRacing more time to do things right for the drivers.
Our simracing is always what we make of it, no matter what platform, country, race, religion or background you are from. We have all grown as a community, and we need to keep our community as strong as ever as we move into the money side of simracing where it is very easy to be influenced by greed. We hold the keys to our simracing, and for our simracing, we must work on keeping our voices loud for the changes we want to see.
Lamborghini Huracan GT3
Ahh the Huracan, GT3 may already be a crowded place however the iconic looks of the Lamborghini often don’t go astray from the front for too long, picking up a couple of race victories this year. I think that there is merit in bringing the Huracan into play however with the abundance of GT3 on display already, iRacing may not have an emphasis on this department for a couple of years.
Super GT/Super Formula
The one frontier simracing has struggled to break into is the Asian market which is synonymous with the esports boom coming out of South Korea. One of the ways to get into that market and to bring people across from Gran Turismo is to get the licence to either the Lexus/Toyota or the Honda. Getting either of the two opens up so much for iRacing as it brings a perfect dynamic for the GT300 division which is essentially your GT3 category.
When you stop to consider the fact that Raceroom have DTM and DTM along with Super GT are going to be running the same rules in 2020, iRacing have to get Super GT before Raceroom does or risk having a stale GT3 division outpowered by Blancpain on Assetto Corsa Competizione and then Raceroom with SuperGT and DTM. Oddly enough, SuperGT or JGTC as it used to be called brought those like Ralf Schumacher up to pace before Formula One and has seen in just this last year, Jenson Button was out in Japan racing the series.
No I don’t think SuperGT is well known and yes I do think that is why we haven’t seen it come to iRacing yet but soon there will come a point where the GT3 dice have to be thrown and even WEC have decided on the move to Forza. Its the worst time to be fighting Gran Turismo but its also the perfect time to start attracting in Japan, China and South Korea, who need to get into the simracing game if we can truly stand to be a universal platform.
In addition, I think that Super Formula could also be a massive shout to look at. Since the Formula Renault 3.5 has fallen to the wayside and nobody is seemingly looking at Super Formula or Formula Nippon as it used to be called, here you have what everyone has been clamoring for, a natural progression path from Formula Renault to Formula One as well as adding a lot of oomph to the B class unlocks as well. Japan has some SERIOUS untapped potential and I BEG iRacing to go and make deals.
BMW M8 GTE
As much as the Z4 is old, I think it offers something that the Ginetta can’t properly replace so instead, I have plumped for the M8 GTE which could be viewed like seeing The Incredible Hulk in short shorts, just brings more legitimacy to a GTE category in infancy. I think that if played properly, the BMW could add so much to the GTE department and be a solid choice at any track.
Chevrolet Corvette C7 GTE
The Chevrolet Corvette C7 GTE would be a huge addition to a GTE series that could so easily move to be as large in pool as the GT3 division they currently have. No doubts that the grunt of the Corvette would be a huge addition to the GTE field which has been a case of balance over power, and would add the same dynamic that McLaren bring with the MP-4/12C in the GT3 division.
Another area iRacing is distinctly lacking in is a current LMP2 vehicle, still running around with the HPD ARX-01c. With the addition of LMP1 and with the World Tours as their biggest source of viewership over the year, a new LMP2 such as from Oreca or Ligier could complete what has been a difficult undertaking to get to over the last two years.
The iRacing 24 Hours of Le Mans, barring what happened last year, could be the benchmark for any endurance race on any sim to beat. I think what LMP2 would add is the perfect vehicle to kick iRacing into a fully new generation.
Any car from TCR..
iRacing concedes to rFactor2 and more importantly Raceroom in one big area. Touring Cars. If iRacing wants to make a push when it comes to the esports market to solidify their position, they have to go and get a touring car soon. WTCC is Raceroom’s and the BTCC are so competitive that they don’t want to be sharing any data at all, despite the fact that their reigning champion drives a Kia Optima every Thursday on Apex Racing TV. So the next logical option is the fast growing TCR which has already taken the UK and Europe by storm.
Touring car racing offers a great progression path into endurance and would better prepare everyone at D level of safety rating whilst still compensating for those just getting out of rookie.
New V8 Supercars
What iRacing has to do is rekindle their partnership with Supercars. The V8s community are the strongest they have ever been and V8s online pulls numbers better than the Racespot TV YouTube channel. Drivers like Scott McLaughlin, Shane Van Gisbergen and Anton Di Pasquale all frequently use the service, but when they would much rather drive the Porsche RSR because it is more realistic, there you have your problems. iRacing can’t afford to let the next generation of Australians and New Zealanders go to waste in simracing and leave a rift in what is THE most entertaining league out there in iRacing right now, V8SCOPS. iRacing could make a huge statement with new cars.
Silverstone is getting rescanned. We know this from the iRacing forums and it has been long overdue as well. There is no way in the current landscape of simracing that you can call yourself the best when you have a Silverstone that is EIGHT YEARS out of date! The best bit about it will be that the old Silverstone will move to being a free track, and when you get five new tracks for free to promote rookie racing, that is a bargain in my eyes.
Lydden Hill is a must for iRacing’s Rallycross championship as the track is the most famous in the United Kingdom. I think it would bring a lot of legitimacy to a division that has struggled a lot to gain a foothold on iRacing but one that iRacing are happy to push all in on, shown by putting Scott Speed into the championship without qualifying (which I don’t agree with personally, not professionally.)
Knockhill has been asked for by the Scottish simracers again and again and again, and I would very happily grant their wish. Rory Butcher, whose family owns the Knockhill circuit is a driver on the iRacing service and Knockhill commentator David Christie has popped up from time to time on Apex Racing TV. I think the track promotes some excellent racing, and also it has the most dramatic opening corner I think short of Mont Tremblant.
Losail International Circuit/Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez/Korea International Circuit
These three tracks could be fantastic yet I didn’t really have a category I could lump all of them into. Losail will stand out as the black sheep, having featured at the highest level only Moto GP and the 8 Hours of Doha. For me, Losail is Bahrain’s less popular older brother and for me, could add a lot to the service with a lack of high speed tracks in the service.
Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez would also fill that role and would be massive for iRacing to get, the two long straights at the start of the lap mixed in with the beautiful stadium section is a sight to behold and one that should be seen more and more. A very underrated new track that I would like to see more of.
The Korea International Circuit is the same. I think that it challenges every aspect of a vehicle through undulation, gearing, braking and bravery and there are few circuits that can come out and say that. Feature that with the fantastic pit entry, I think this would be a seamless transition into iRacing and one which could grab a couple of Korean simracer’s attention.