iRacing.com member Nick Neben has put together a nice Q&A style release answering some of the many questions around the inclusion of dirt track racing in future builds. RaceDepartment.com have picked out some of the highlights for you and it makes for some very interesting reading indeed. With a rather peculiar decision to release the news on April Fools day, a date renowned for practical jokes and silly stories, iRacing have spent much time since confirming that loose surface racing is coming to the sim and work is already well advanced in bringing the new style of racing to the simulator in the near future. Already confirmed are a couple of well known tracks over in America, the Williams Grove Speedway and Eldora Speedway as well as advanced discussions with other premium locations across the states. So lets analyze some of the interesting points raised in Nick's discussions with iRacing President Tony Gardner. "The weather will impact the moisture content just as it does the asphalt track surface currently. Yes, we could start every race with a different dirt state so each race could be different; but just the weather alone — if that is different– will change things in regard to racing.. The state of the dirt could change because of multiple factors such as moisture, or we could have track conditions be “slightly-used,” “used” or “all torn-up” with ruts as sometimes happens in the real world with heat races going off one after another, for example. Frankly, that is one of several questions we are currently giving a lot of thought. The good news is we have that advantage over the real world: We don’t have to start a race in a torn-up state. We can start with the track in perfect condition for racing every time . . . or not. I’m sure in hosted or league racing for example, the league admin will have that choice. We have not discussed that in any detail for our official series. I just know that, in talking to the engineer, it will be possible. I tend to think we will start every dirt race in a clean state for official racing." This is interesting. One of the most notable and intriguing elements of racing on a loose surface track is the very fact that the road condition never remains constant, the surface below the wheels literally moves and changes with each contact with the vehicle. From the comment above it looks like iRacing appreciate this and plan to filter into the surface modelling different levels of track condition as well as allowing variables such as atmospheric conditions influence the surface. This will bring a very interesting strategy and technique element into the driving experience and should go a long way towards breathing "life" into the circuits. It is however worth noting that the comment suggests many options are under consideration and although feasible to do different things with the concept, a final decision regarding what will end up in game has yet to be decided. "now in iRacing dirt and grass, etc. kick-up from the tires. Because of this project not only will the dirt, grass kick up from the tires, it will stay on the asphalt surface. In theory, cars driving through it could cook-up some dust etc." This will make for a visually immersive experience, however the obvious key information not covered in this comment around how the grass/dirt on track will affect the grip levels of the car has not been released as yet. I believe the ability to drag onto the racing surface elements that will affect tyre grip would be a great step forward for immersion and realism in sim racing in general. This is something that I personally will be keeping a watching brief on going forward. "the plan is the cars will pick-up dirt, and for the weight to impact the physics of the cars as the race moves on." This is an impressive attention to detail and honestly something I personally have never even considered before reading this comment. Impressive. Such attention to detail is encouraging and provides sound evidence that iRacing are very serious about providing a substantial simulation experience rather than a "light touch" approach to dirt simulation. "I’m sure we will be adding more dirt cars to iRacing. We are motivated to do many things including adding more dirt cars. We understand to dirt racers they are all different forms of racing. Right now we are starting with Clint Bowyer’s Super Late Model for Oval and the Ford Fiesta on the road side." Already known information really, but always worth revisiting what content is expected on launch of a new title, or in this case a significant addition to an existing title. The Fiesta has already appeared in some preview shots and is an officially licenced product. Details on the Super Late Model have been few and far between at present. "I know the video said it’s possible we’ll roll out dirt racing this year, but we shall see. That is certainly the goal and it is possible, but I don’t like to predict release dates, especially for something like this." iRacing have been understandably reluctant to put a date on when we will see a release, however this comment does suggest it is not entirely impossible to see release in 2016. Exciting! It is encouraging to note that iRacing appear to have an appetite to expand the amount of content for dirt racing in future builds once loose surface racing is released and imbedded in the sim. "As I mentioned earlier, developing the dirt model has already helped us improve the overall surface model. I know it is helping some overall art and graphical techniques as well. In the future, it could probably help with “alternate” surfaces on our existing asphalt circuits when you go off track but, at least for the near future, that likely will not be the case. I think the other big thing is that dirt racing will attract additional customers to iRacing and the resulting revenue will help fund the overall development" A little learning can be a dangerous thing... this comment regarding how the development of dirt may effect the regular paved surface racing is very interesting. One would assume cross surface lessons can be applied however it is disappointing to see these wont immediately be making an appearance in the regular game. Flip side my comment, it does read as though iRacing are trying the sensible approach of tackling small and manageable steps to ensure the core product is strong before rolling out further enhancements elsewhere in the sim. This is understandable and probably a strong approach to take by the developers. Finally a thought about the amount of work and preparation that goes on behind the scenes to get a project like this off the ground and onto our digital gaming library: "One of the big factors necessary to creating fair, multi-player dirt racing was our new surface model. And that includes all the new net and server code to go along with the new surface model in regard to transmitting multi-player surface track state. That was 18+ months of work before we could even begin thinking seriously about dirt. But without that essential foundation, multi-player dirt racing would not be possible. Other things like some of the new graphic projects we have done or are already doing are also helping make dirt racing graphically possible. Of course, part of the consideration in doing those projects was that we knew they would open up exciting new possibilities, like adding dirt. That is why you can’t always judge one particular development item in isolation. There are usually multiple reasons for taking-on any new project, and that especially includes its potential long term impact on other areas. So in that sense, if you include those necessary ‘pre-projects’ for dirt, we have been working on dirt not for several months but for well over two or three years." Many thanks to Nick Neben for the excellent interview that can be read in full over at the iRacing blog here. Its always interesting to hear about how this exciting development is coming along. Judging by the comments and discussions I've read since the announcement on April 1st it does look like an interesting project and I for one am looking forward to how it comes along. If you enjoyed this why not have a browse of our iRacing sub forum right here on RaceDepartment? A great place for news and discussions as well as user created setups for a variety of content within the sim. It took a while to confirm, but Dirt is coming to iRacing and plans are already well advanced. Are you looking forward to the new direction of the sim? How do you think it will stack up in comparison to solid surface racing currently in game? Let us know in the comments section below!