After much speculation regarding the unfortunately timed April 1st revelation that popular online simulator iRacing are looking to include dirt surface racing to the title, it can now be confirmed that the team over in America are indeed working on loose surface events and have even confirmed a partnership with Ford Focus MSport Rallycross team Chip Ganassi to bring the pictured Rallycross car to the sim! Historically a closed circuit tarmac simulator, the recent announcement of loose surface simulating coming to the title has caused a great deal of interest in the sim racing community. In a rather bizarre move the team over at iRacing announced details of the intention to bring dirt to the sim on April Fools Day, a date known for practical jokes and a wealth of intentional disinformation published to trick people into believing the impossible. However after the dust has settled (see what I did there...) it has now become apparent that dirt is indeed on the menu for this popular online multiplayer simulation. Although not much news aside from the Rallycross announcement is currently available, the new announcement should provide some interesting food for thought in the coming weeks and months. https://www.facebook.com/video.php?v=10154048421811085 In other news, iRacing have released a rather sizable update ready for 2016 Season 2. Full changelog details can be found below. Web Fixed an issue that was causing the “Popular Races & Practices” page to fail to load correctly for some users. Paint Kit Inside Sim Racing sponsor images have been updated. Simulation Fixed several issues with thread affinity and thread priorities that could cause performance problems and stuttering. Removed the setting “[Task] num_processors_to_use” parameter from the “core.ini” file, since altering this could adversely affect the Simulation’s performance. Netcode Prevent the Sim from dynamically probing your network connection to see how large a packet it can send. Changed the default maximum network packet size to ensure that Connection Type selections on the Account->My Account->Preferences page on the web site up to “512K or faster” require only one packet. The two higher selections (768K and 1Mbit) will require more than one packet. Sessions Fixed an issue that was causing incident points during a Qualifying session embedded within a Race event from counting towards your SR. Tires Fixed a bug where a tire could stop interacting with the ground after being in the air during a pit stop. Rendering Fixed a bug where the Sim could crash transitioning from a practice server to a race server. Added the ability for the Sim to detect certain application freezes and generate a crash log file. These files can help our developers track down the causes for such behaviors and try to get them fixed. This logging ability is optional, and is disabled by default, however you can enable it if you are experiencing application freezes by adjusting the “maxAllowedHangTimeSecondsBG” and “maxAllowedHangTimeSecondsFG” options in your “app.ini” file to a value of “=50”. This means that if your Sim freezes, a snapshot of your program will be generated after about 1 minute, and output into a .log file which you can then send to Customer Service and our developers for review. However, please note that we do not advise enabling this detection system unless necessary to help debug an issue. DirectX 9 Fixed an issue where windshield reflections appeared dimmer than in DirectX 11. DirectX 11 Fixed a crash bug that happened when exiting the simulator with certain graphics settings, such as class 1 settings with Render Dynamic Tires disabled. Fixed a crash bug that happened when exiting race sessions launched from pre-race practice sessions. Fixed an issue where track temperatures in DX11 were reported to be warmer than track temperatures in DX9. Fixed an issue where skies were often not oriented correctly. For instance, the sun was often located at some random and incorrect position. Fixed the odd bluish shadow patches that could appear on road surfaces and curbs with low sun angles such as occur during the morning and afternoon. The issue was noticed at Lime Rock Park and Virginia International Raceway. Fixed an issue where shadow volumes were not utilizing the optimized “shadow models” when available. Lit dashboard displays no longer cast unnecessary shadow volumes. Fixed an issue where black lines would sometimes appear when using “High” Shader Quality. Fixed an issue where Track Surface Decals could tile incorrectly, resulting in odd patterns of lines seen on the track at Southern National Motorsports Park, and some other areas. Fixed an issue where some tire rims were rendering white. Generally, these vehicles were not yet updated to be using the PBR Shader. Fixed an issue where chrome could render too bright on some of the older car models. Fixed a framerate issue with low res particles. Fixed lighted dash displays clipping with the wheel. Mirrors now support low detail mode; previously they always rendered in high detail mode. The filter that removes resolutions smaller than the desktop dimensions in the Autoconfig application has been removed. The simulator now attempts to keep activation, and not minimize, when losing window activation, unless an Alt+Tab function was recently processed. This may help prevent “pop-up windows” and notifications from minimizing the simulator. PopcornFX As a precaution against a known issue with application freezes that may occur when Particle Detail is set to the “Medium” or “High” value, the Sim will reset your Particle Detail setting to the “Low” value the first time it launches. Opponent vehicles will now emit dust particles correctly. An issue with black particle debris effects on tires has been fixed. Dynamic Tire Debris Accumulation Fixed an issue where tires would appear black when the Particle Detail option was set to the “Low” setting. This system will be disabled when the “Shader Quality” is set to “Medium” or lower. Pit A new setting, “[Pit Service] autoResetFastRepair=1” has been added to the “app.ini” file. This setting separates resetting the fast repair Black Box checkbox from the existing setting “[Pit Service] autoResetPitBox=1” in the “app.ini” file. Black Boxes Setup changes that are applied during a pit stop (like tire pressures) are no longer kept when the Sim advances from one session to another. Immediate in-cockpit adjustments (like brake bias or traction control setting) are still kept across a session transition. Weather Fixed an issue where one of the partly cloudy sky lighting files was configured with the incorrect cubemap. Temperatures in sessions using Dynamic Weather will now remain within the same limits that can be selected in offline Testing and Hosted sessions. EasyAntiCheat Should a Package Error 73 occur, the specific EasyAntiCheat message that caused the error will be appended to the sim_launch.txt log file in your My Documents\iRacing\logs directory, for future reference. Video Capture Video Capture will now disabled by default. Video Capture can now be enabled and disabled via a Settings option. Users are now able to select “Fullscreen” when capturing video. A new video capture library has been added to fix an issue with DX11 and XSplit. Peripherals Logitech G27 Racing Wheel shift indicators now function correctly when racing with the Aston Martin DBR9 GT1, Formula Renault 2.0, and Mercedes-AMG GT3. Xbox One controllers will not be initialized by iRacing on Windows 10 machines. Windows 10 has buggy drivers for Xbox One controllers that cause direct input to lock up or run very slowly. This default can be changed by setting the “[Force Feedback] allowXBoxOneOnWin10=1” in the “app.ini” file. Vehicles Audi R8 LMS GT3 2016 S2 GT3 BOP Change: Aero drag has been slightly reduced. Rear damping has been added to improve performance over curbs and with sudden changes in track camber or elevation. BMW Z4 GT3 2016 S2 GT3 BOP Change: Minimum weight has been increased by 5kg. The current baseline setup will no longer fail Tech. Dallara DW12 Illuminated Lumirank digits will now turn green when entering pit road. Ford GT Fixed an issue with the brake lights in DirectX 11. This vehicle is now capable of flashing its headlights. Ford GT GT3 Fixed a bug where the traction control switch was unable to turn off and the slip limits were incorrectly defined, compromising system function. Formula Renault 2.0 Setups have been updated. Fixed an issue with the animation of the suspension. Dampers have been adjusted; dampers for all setups prior to this build will be set to 0. Members who already own the car should either adjust their damper settings to feel/speed or restart setups based on these new iRacing baselines included in this build. Brake Balance can now be adjusted using the in-car Black Box. F8 now controls in-car adjustments instead of F7. The level-of-detail distance for the suspension system has been adjusted. Opponent cars should no longer bounce when they enter the world. Controls option for fuel mixture settings has been removed. Legends Ford ’34 Coupe Season setups have been added for Five Flags Speedway, South Boston Speedway, and Stafford Motor Speedway. Mazda MX-5 Cup Setups have been updated. McLaren MP4-12C GT3 2016 S2 GT3 BOP Change: Minimum weight has been increased by 10kg. McLaren MP4-30 Efficiency of P2P/OT of the Energy Recovery System (ERS) has been reduced significantly. Aero drag has been reduced when the Drag Reduction System (DRS) is engaged to improve the ability to overtake. Mercedes-AMG GT3 2016 S2 GT3 BOP Change: The straight-line performance between 45 and 150 MPH has been improved via adjustments to engine performance and aerodynamic drag. Internal windshield of the external model will no longer appear green. Fixed a bug where the traction control switch was unable to turn off. Fixed some level-of-detail textures. NASCAR Camping World Chevrolet Silverado Season setups have been updated for Richmond International Raceway. NASCAR Camping World Toyota Tundra Season setups have been updated for Richmond International Raceway. NASCAR Sprint Cup Chevrolet Impala COT circa 2013 The restrictor plate engine package has been removed. A 2.90 rear gear is now allowed at superspeedway tracks. Tire grip has been increased at superspeedway tracks. Tires now absorb heat slightly slower at superspeedway tracks. Shock and spring limits have been removed at superspeedway tracks. Season setups have been updated for Daytona International Speedway and Talladega Superspeedway. Ruf RT 12R AWD Gear shift sounds have been updated. Ruf RT 12R C-Spec Illuminated Lumirank digits have been removed while in cockpit mode. Season setups have been updated for Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps, Donington Park Racing Circuit, and Silverstone Circuit. Gear shift, transmission, and engine sounds have been updated for cockpit and onboard/chase views. Ruf RT 12R RWD Gear shift sounds have been updated. Ruf RT 12R Track Illuminated Lumirank digits have been removed while in cockpit mode. Gear shift, transmission, and engine sounds have been updated for cockpit and onboard/chase views. SCCA Spec Racer Ford Setups have been updated. Tracks Terrain art updates: Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace Autodromo Nazionale Monza Barber Motorsports Park Brands Hatch Circuit Brands Hatch Circuit Circuit of the Americas Circuit Gilles Villeneuve Donington Park Racing Circuit Lime Rock Park Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course Mount Panorama Circuit Nürburgring Okayama International Circuit Oran Park Raceway - Fixed a pitstalls and starting grid placement issue in the North B config. Oulton Park Circuit Phillip Island Circuit Phoenix International Raceway - Tweaked the shape of a backstretch wall where a Turn 2 safer barrier ends. Road Atlanta Sebring International Raceway - Pesky cones have been removed. South Boston Speedway Southern National Motorsports Park - Fixed a bug where jersey barriers were disappearing when using Medium or Low object detail settings. Don't forget to check out the RaceDepartment iRacing Forum for news and discussions about this title. Are you excited for some loose surface action in iRacing? Let us know in the comments section below!