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Just started iRacing... Impressions, advice, discuss

Discussion in 'iRacing' started by Jimi Hughes, Apr 5, 2012.

  1. Jimi Hughes

    Jimi Hughes
    RDMCC S6 Champion

    So this week I activated my 3-Month free membership of iRacing, and I am currently not quite sure what to make of it all... I am relitavely new to PC racing, got into rFactor and Race 07 series about 18 months ago, and have been very pleased with both titles since. I was initially suprised at how many cars and tracks were available from 'stock' with iRacing considering all the bad things I had heard about lack of free content. I was then shocked to see although some great tracks are included you are then expected to pay $11 - $15 per extra track!!??

    I do alot of racing and testing at Oulton Park in Real Life, so i figured i would splash out and treat myself (belated birthday gift to myself) and bought Oulton Park (I know, I'm weak) as this would be the best place for me to compare iRacing to Real Life. Driving the MX-5 round Oulton to me felt just like driving a RWD version of my Xr3i race car (similar power) and I was plesantly suprised by the 'feel' of the car and tyres, pretty realistic albeit braking seems very sudden. Im a sod for enjoying realism, so for me the ability to lock the H pattern and need to clutch for better upshift and downshift is absolutely brilliant.

    I was again shocked when I looked into funding the membership once the 3-month free period runs out, I initially thought it was $30 per year, but turns out its $30 every 3 months!!!!!!??? I also struggled to find any online races I could join with the content (or lack of) that I own. Now, I really enjoy the driving on iRacing, but I cannot see what is so good about it that I should have to pay this offensive amount of money every few months (or annually etc.) I have probably payed about £30 in TOTAL on the Race series, and online rooms are still very active, and I am currently competing in the RDTCC which is 75 drivers strong. I cannot for the life of me see what is so good about iRacing that these high costs reflect? Ultimately I will probably end up paying for it providing I have enough money left over once the Real racing and bills etc have been payed for, but I am shocked at the sheer costs involved with this platform.

    I dont really feel that the cars feel any more or less realistic that Race 07/rFactor, just different. Each have their advantages and disadvantages. How does everyone else feel about this? Where does iRacing sit for you compared with other titles? How do you justify the costs of iRacing?

    It isnt too much of an issue at the moment as Im using the 3-month free membership (thanks to a promo at the Autosport show this year) but in 3 months time ill be head scratching as to whether or not to commit and burn a huuuge hole in my wallet (and hide my bank statements from the Mrs, lol) or whether to just stick to other, more cost effective sims. I am aware that annual memberships will become more comman, I have also purchased the Beta of rFactor 2 which will be annual membership, but I believe with a less offensive price tag.

    Thoughts, Advice, Opinions and General comments appriciated :)
  2. I've been a member of Iracing for over 2 years but I hardly race there anymore and kind of regret the amount of money I pumped in to it. I own (or rather licensed) pretty much all the road racing cars and tracks.
    For me the advantage of iRacing over other sims is the laser scanned tracks - I've done track days at Brands Hatch & Silevrstone and being able to run a few hundred laps on a very accurate sim before going there was a massive advantage.
    But I just don't get on with the handling of the cars anymore. They seem so far removed from what I've experienced on the track. There is very little sense of speed or excitement...the cars feel disconnected from the surface and the gears make no sense at all.
    I also feel that iRacing is a bit like a cult....and not only because they will separate you from all the money in your wallet ;) If you listen to the fanboys they will tell you it is the most accurate thing ever...until the next update when they concede that any previous version was broken but the new version is the most accurate thing ever...and so on...
    The final nail in the coffin for me was trying GSC...for about £20 you get (IMO) 3 of the best sim race cars ever made and a selection of great tracks. The force feedback is the best I've tried yet. Unfortuantely unless you join a league or the RD racing club you're unlikely to find much online action...but the AI is decent if single player is your thing.
    RF2 could turn out to be good but isn't really doing it for me yet.
    pCars is very immersive and has great eye candy but the FFB is very hit & miss so far.
    Assetto Corsa I think will be the one when it arrives :)

    It is worth keeping an eye out for IRacing promos...I paid $49 for a years subscription at the end of last year. But I still feel a bit annoyed that I need to carry on paying a subscription just to use content I've already paid for!
    • Like Like x 1
  3. Jimi Hughes

    Jimi Hughes
    RDMCC S6 Champion

    Thanks for your thoughts and advice Anthony, I will most probably just milk the 3 month membership while it lasts and then move elsewhere/wait for Assetto Corsa or GTR3, hopefully in the mean time more content and updates will arrive for RF2.

    I have read lots about the iRacing 'Fanatics' but from my experiance (so far) I would not say iRacing feels anymore realistic that Race 07/rFactor, just different. The laser scanned tracks are very nice, and I must say Oulton Park was very very close to real life, but if this is the only real bonus then I guess the $30 for 3 months may be better spent as £26ish towards a real race entry fee or track/test day!
  4. To be fair you do get the 'Fanatics' everywhere but I think the money you have to pay in iRacing makes people a bit more defensive...after all you don't want to be told that the sim you've spent hundreds of quid on isn't really much better than one that costs £30.
    Also if you want to race in the Skip or MX5 I think you're pretty much guaranteed to find a race every few hours but you will have to buy a few tracks.
    Interesting what you're saying about Oulton...I still haven't bought it, but I really want to get up there for a trackday this year so I might take the plunge. Brands is also very accurate. I did a Renaultsport day there and did some laps with an instructor in my 182 and he couldn't believe that I'd never been round the track before in real life.
    I'm currently running laps at Silverstone national, getting ready for a trackday next month, and I've got so many versions of Silverstone in all the various sims but the only one which I trust to really learn the track is in iRacing...

    p.s. I wouldn't hold your breath for Assetto Corsa...but I'm sure it will be worth the wait ;)
  5. Jimi Hughes

    Jimi Hughes
    RDMCC S6 Champion

    Having done loads of driving at Oulton I'd say it is well worth buying before you go there for a track day. Obviously in real life all of the hills and crests seem much steeper (and more scary!) but it is a very close and braking points are similar between the MX-5 on iRacing and my similarly powered and tuned race car.

    I may buy a few tracks for it to give me more online options, obviously want Brands and Silverstone being a Brit, but which circuit are most regularly used in online sessions for 'Rookies' and 'D-class'? Ive notice Spa and Watkins Glen mentioned in various places, but I havnt spent enough time to find out.
  6. Each series has it's own homepage where there is a schedule which has a list of all the tracks you'll need.

    Also you might want to check out this plug-in...personally I like it, it kind of replicates the feeling of the car moving around under you:

    • Like Like x 1
  7. Jimi Hughes

    Jimi Hughes
    RDMCC S6 Champion

    I will check that out next week when I'm back at my PC. Thanks Anthony!
  8. Christopher Vrettos

    Christopher Vrettos
    Premium Member

    I also decided to try out the 3 month trial, just to see what iRacing was like. I enjoyed it, but I think if it was a little cheaper, they would get far more members. Also, I found that the quality of driving in the lower divisions was not very high (Just staying on the track on a full server can help you pick a podium or even a win!)

    I don't mean to bash iRacing, but I don't really get the laser scanned tracks. I don't believe they are $12 better than some of the community made tracks for rFactor and the like...

    The FFB is amazing. No doubting that.

    However, I feel the quality of the physics vary from car to car (MX5 is superb, whilst Spec Racer Ford is average)

    I deactivated my account, but once I actually have a job and am earning money I may return to it :)

    • Like Like x 1
  9. What does it for me, are the constant improvements of the game and that you can race anytime of the day against other people (although this does depend of the series you run)

    I really like the game. Is it perfect? No, but I think it is the best there is for the moment. Only real competition I see coming is Asseta Corsa. GSC is a great game, but you can see (visuals) that it is build on older technology.

    And expensive... that is a difficult one, you can keep it relatively cheap if you know what you want to race and use all the promotions they give out.

    I am afraid that there pricing system is gonna be the future...
    • Like Like x 1
  10. Welcome to iRacing Jimi. I have been a member for a few years but only just started my service back up around last November. Here are some tips to try and save money.

    1. Buy cars/tracks in bulk the more you buy the more you save (up to 25% off each one)
    2. This isn't a guarantee but on black Friday they have a one year membership for $50.
    3. For referring someone you get iRacing credits which can be used for service supcriptions or used for tracks/cars
    4. Race one or more official seasons and you could earn up to $10 (D-C series are $4 and B-A series are $7) a season of iRacing credits (4 seasons in a year)
    5. Keep one year of continual service and get $5 credit.
    So here is what I did and my strategy to save some money. I race mostly road courses so I picked a few cars I wanted to run the full season with and bought them as well as all the dedicated road courses and whatever that where on the schedule. I bought the black Friday deal and I am currently running the Corvette and Indy car seasons so I can get the maximum $10 credit this season. It is a big chunk of money to get started ($250 alone on cars/tracks for my 2 seasons that I am racing) but after that I can race road race that comes up that week and with the credits ther service will almost pay for itself.
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  11. I personally like iracing. Having come from racing in Race 07 and rfactor I feel the physics are good, but the quality of the tracks is the biggest bonus. Also, I quite like the idea that I can race at any time pretty much, as theres usually a race every half hour or so. Its expensive, but I dont think its such as bad thing, hopefully they continue to produce content to justify my subscription.

    The biggest difference for me over Race 07 is the quality of the racing online. Race 07 public servers were shocking, I would be punted off probably 2/3 races in the first corner, as there were no repercussions for poor driving. iracing seems to stop this somewhat with the SR system, and while not perfect its definetly much better, particularly in the road racing.

    For someone who often only has a limited time available for sim racing, iracing suits me perfectly. Often, ill come home from work, feel like a good race and I can just jump on and drive in a race. The racing quality is not as good as a dedicated league, but it goes much closer to that than Race 07 public servers (or any other games public server) and thats what matters to me.
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  12. I recently returned to iRacing because I'm unable to run in Club races anymore thanks to working nights. Otherwise I wouldn't bother as it's not really any better than GSC or GTR2 from a driving point of view, but it does look very natural and realistic and the tracks seem very accurate:).
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  13. I agree with what Josh said about racing anytime. As I said I'm limited time wise to race and since my shift went to a 9pm start I'm unable to really run in any Club races anywhere. With iRacing I can get home at 7am and jump online and find some racing:).
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  14. Its the same for me, especially since I live in Australia the times I want to race are often very early morning for European timezones. Luckily there are australian servers, and the Amercians tend to still be around once I knock off work (even though its very late there) and usually makes for decent racing. I also find at these times the quality of the racing is better, because the little kids who are terrible drivers from Amercia are usually in bed by now, the European ones havent woken up or are in school by now, and the Aussies seem to be more hardcore racers so they dont worry me. I only find the quality goes down once I race very late night on a weekend, in the European nighttime slot, or mornings, when its evening in the US. Otherwise, its just perfect for a race any where any time.
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  15. Jimi Hughes

    Jimi Hughes
    RDMCC S6 Champion

    I have been struggling to find many rooms to join. I too am in a situation where I am very limited as to when I can get online, due to currently being in the last 2 months of a BCc honours degree. (i know, probably not the smartest time to activate my free membership!!). Seems to be much easier to find rooms after midnight than it is earlier in the evening, presumably down to the US servers making up the majority of rooms I have found so far. Its probably also not helped by my lack of content, but hopefully my next student load will help rectify that!

    I think for now I will download a limited number of tracks and just enjoy the cars I have. I love the MX-5; my preference in sim racing is always slower cars as these alway race better. It is close racing that I enjoy, not so much fast cars, hence my love of the RDTCC as well as MIni and Formula Ford events here at RD on Race 07. One thing which I cant wait to try is an oval race with lots of competitors. I joined a practice server in the standard stock cars or w/e they are called and I must say it was sooo much fun having 10 of us going round constantly swapping positions. Being a Brit through and through I swing much more towards road than oval, but it does look like a good crack!

    Anyways, thanks for all your advice and thoughts, as ever I can rely on quality opinions and advice from the RD community :)
  16. With a good field the ovals can be awesome. Though some of the races higher up the food chain can sometimes end up going from one caution to the next, they can be riveting. I did a B class Impala race not long ago, with a massive field of nearly 30. I wasnt fast, but the constant overtaking, pit stop stratedgy and the odd caution meant I finished much higher than I should of. I think I even led a few laps, because my pit stop strat got meant I had fresh tyres going into a caution, and I didnt have to pit like everyone else. Not that I held it mind you.

    The road cars can be fun. The indy is a ton of fun on both oval and road, they can get big fields in oval. The V8's in the aussie evening timezones get big fields, and are really fun to drive, not too fast. (That should correspond to your usual racing time i reckon). Only buy what you need to and will drive, and you can have lots of fun :)
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  17. Xosé Estrada

    Xosé Estrada
    Premium Member

    You should get habituated to the subscriptions as its a growing model.

    iRacing charges you monthly because they continuously update the sim, and that makes it the best option so far.

    All depends in how much you use it and enjoy it: I enjoy a month of iracing more than I enjoy 2 coke in a cafe per month, and for more time.
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  18. iRacing does update often, and even though their service costs roughly 8 dollars a month, just cut out going our for lunch or dinner one time a month and you've paid it off right there. Personally I think their tracks are worth the money, Spa is amazing, but to be honest I wouldn't miss the cars if I went back to rFactor. Sure they're more realistic in iRacing, but when am I ever going to drive a F1 car flat out to really notice the difference from what they're actually like to what something thinks they could be like. I'm really torn whether or not to continue with iRacing or switch to rFactor 2. I'm a big fan of the iRacing graphics, and the online racing is a lot better because of the SR system, no one wants to intentionally wreck you, so it's a lot better racing. I'm also going to University next year so money is getting tight and iRacing might have to wait 4 years until I graduate and can afford it again. I also think other companies are going to start taking an interest in what iRacing has done and start copying them and have more competitive pricing, should be interesting to see the change in sim racing over the next couple of years.
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  19. True. But I think iRacing needs this kind of competition. Sure, they provide an amazing service and I don't think there's anything better out there, but I believe if someone kicked their asses a bit, they would be more careful, more precise and more effective while developing new content. Nowadays, they are able to disappoint players in many ways, and this would have to end.
  20. I roughly calculated my spending in the service since I joined in April 2009.

    As I'm subbed through until Jan 2015, if I didn't purchase any further content/subscription until that time, my average annual spend would be about £85 which equates to about £7 p/month (£1.75 p/week), the same price as 3 pints of ale per month. My mobile phone costs more per month too, lol.

    So in the grand scheme of things, for me iRacing doesn't come out too expensive, but I welcome the competition from other sims like Jan has mentioned.
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