iRacing.com today announced pricing for its racing simulation, which will be available on a subscription basis starting in 2008. A one-year subscription to the service will cost $13 per month and includes all of the content necessary for a subscriber's first season of oval-track and road-racing. Shorter terms of six and three months are priced at $15 and $17 per month, respectively. A one-month trial subscription is available for $20.
"We're building a community," said David Kaemmer, iRacing.com's CEO. "Our pricing reflects our desire to attract simracers who are interested in being part of that community over time, providing the lowest monthly rate to those willing to commit to a longer subscription. At the same time, we want to offer people a low-cost way to try out our service and see if it meets their needs."
Ten Pontiac Solstice Z0K Club Sport racers negotiate the famed International Horseshoe turn in the infield of Daytona International Speedway's road circuit, one of four configurations of the legendary race track that will be available.
A pack of Legends racers battle on Irwindale Speedway's inner track.
Kaemmer noted that every subscription, regardless of length, includes a selection of both oval and road-racing cars, tracks and series, as well as a certain number of free "iRacing Dollars" that can be applied to the purchase of additional content. As with the monthly subscription price, annual membership offers an advantage, bringing $60 worth of free iRacing credit.
"We expect to appeal to racers of all types, including all skill levels and budgets," said Tony Gardner, the company's president and CFO. "Through the purchase of additional content — tracks and cars — subscribers will be able to drive what they want, where they want, and when they want. Some of our members will want to have every track and every car right away. Some will only ever be interested in a very limited number of cars and tracks. Some may want to purchase everything up front, and some may want to progress more slowly, using mainly their free iRacing dollars to collect content over time. The point is to offer a pricing solution for everyone."
The list price, before credits or volume discounts, is $15 for cars and $15 to $25 per track. Licensing three or more pieces of additional content reduces the price by 10 percent, and six or more reduces it by 20 percent.
"We've spent a lot of time and committed substantial resources to create the most accurate racing simulation outside of what the top Formula One teams use," said Gardner. "With this approach we expect a typical member's average monthly cost, including content, will be on the order of $16 to $19 over a three year period — which we think is very reasonable for the quality of experience we provide."
Kaemmer, who races in both the physical and virtual worlds, emphasized the importance of the inclusion of both experienced simracers and those who race in the physical world in the development of the new sim.
"We're grateful to all of the people who have participated in the development process as testers," Kaemmer said. "The input of the experienced simracers into literally every aspect of the user experience, combined with the expertise of the real-world racers validating car and track accuracy, has resulted in a product that we think will be truly groundbreaking. We know we can't be all things to all people, but with all of the help we've had, we're hoping to get as close as possible to meeting the needs of everyone in the community."
01. I am interested. How do I do get involved? Register for updates on the iRacing.com Web site. We will email you regarding the progress of development and updates to the Web site. When we are ready to host public races, we will invite you to subscribe and participate in a racing school.
02. Is this a game?
No, iRacing.com is not a video game. It is a training tool for real-world racers and a platform for a new branch of motorsport — known as simracing — which is the sport of real-time, online racing.
03. Where do I buy it?
iRacing.com Motorsport Simulations will only be available at www.iracing.com.
04. What do I need to get started?
A relatively current home PC (see number 07 below for more info), a broadband Internet connection and a basic steering wheel and pedals (computer version, not out of a friend's car), which can be purchased from any major electronics retailer. Check back at iRacing.com in the near future for a list of recommended controls and retail outlets.
05. When can I start driving?
Development of the iRacing.com simulation is ongoing. Unlike traditional software publishing practices that involve hard-and-fast release dates and associated media blitzes, the iRacing.com roll-out will follow more of an organic growth pattern, moving from beta testing to targeted introductions to broader availability over time. We are helping to grow a new sport, which is a much more complex task than simply launching a product.
06. How expensive will this be?
Pricing has not been set, but it is our goal that no one with real interest in simracing will be excluded.
07. What kind of computer will I need?
We will announce minimum and recommended computer specifications in the near future, but we expect that the average home PC currently available in stores will be sufficient. Upgrading to a mid-range, dedicated 3D video card will probably be recommended.
08. When/how often will you provide updates?
New partner announcements, updates on track and car development, as well as other news will be posted when available. Although frequency will vary, we expect to have updates at least twice each month.
09. Is this a mod of NASCAR Racing: 2003 Season?
No. We used the NR2003 code as a starting point, taking advantage of its greatest strengths, such as the net code, which allows full fields of drivers to race online in real time, and the replay system, which enables drivers to review their on-track performance. But every major section of the code has substantially improved for the iRacing.com simulation, and large portions are all new.
10. Do you sell or support the NASCAR Racing: 2003 simulation?
No. While many people still race using NR2003 and we are honored by the position it holds in the simracing community, neither we nor any other commercial entity has a legal right to distribute or derive profit from NR2003. After Vivendi's license to use the trademarks involved in NR2003 expired in 2004, any remaining copies had to be removed from shelves.
11. How do cars/tracks get chosen?
Cars and tracks are added through partnerships between iRacing.com and other entities within the motorsport industry. They are selected to enhance the breadth and depth of our offering, covering multiple ladders of advancement based on the various disciplines within the sport (e.g., road racing, oval-track racing, stockcars, formula cars, sports cars and sedans). For more information about partnerships with iRacing.com, please visit our Partners page within this site.
12. Will you sponsor my racing/driving efforts?
While we encourage everyone in their on-track endeavors, we are not offering any sponsorship at this time.
13. Will I be able to drive all of the cars and tracks offered by iRacing.com?
Yes. Just as in real-world racing, iRacing.com features talent ladders that drivers can climb, based on their experience and the skills they have acquired. But iRacing.com also offers the opportunity to drive cars and tracks to which you would never have access in the real world. Drivers will be able to test the full range of iRacing.com cars, and they'll also be able to race those cars against other competitors of similar skill levels.
14. Will iRacing.com support private leagues, allowing groups of friends to run invitation-only races with their friends, in the same way that NR2003 and other titles do?
We are investigating different ways to support requests for individual races and leagues and are committed to providing this opportunity to racers at some point in the future.
$13 a month to me really doesn't sound too bad.Yep its money to spend,but at the same time,its a totally new concept,so it will take quite awhile to get our heads around the idea.No question I'm going to try it.I might even give it a full year for a total of $156.00,and thats just with the cars included and any you might purchase with your bonus bucks.
Biggest thing will be is If we actually all give it a try.It needs a lot of people to make it worth it.I guess its up to all of us as car simmers,fanatics,whatever you want to call us.I sure would like the chance of going up against real racers and see If I have what it takes to keep up.Then again it'll be a challenge for real racers too,because there isn't any seat of the pants to go by.
Nothing like getting in on the ground floor of something,especially when you could have some say on its direction.
From what I know of iRacing there is already a big group of testers.
And iRacing is already coming in Q2 this year according to the AutoSimSport magazine interview they had about iRacing.
Can't believe people will pay $13 each month to keep a game running. I thought Micro$oft was the only one which is money-minded with their XBox Live Gold-Membership Network.
Of course I will try it also when its released; somehow I hope its not worth the monthly costs, otherwise I have less money to get beer each month
I first want to give it a proper test before judging the price. Games like WoW proved themself very good as a massive online player game.
I must say i like the new way of approaching a sim "game" (they call it a simulator) like this. Could be very interesting, but also could easely turn out to be a disaster.
iRacing.com Simulation Service Announced: FIRST to Sanction "Arrive and Drive" Internet Racing
BEDFORD, MA (14 March 2008) — iRacing.com co-founders Dave Kaemmer and John Henry today provided an outline of the next generation of racing. The two described a comprehensive yet user-friendly service that will address the wishes of many veteran simracers and attract a new group of motorsport enthusiasts and professionals to the sport of internet racing.
"Over the course of the more than 20 years that I've been involved with auto racing simulation, I've watched it evolve and grow, but until now it has remained a niche activity," said Kaemmer. "Over the last three years at iRacing.com, we have assembled the resources and technologies to make the sport bigger and better, in part by making it more approachable for the novice and more satisfying for the long-time simracer. At the same time, we have been able to create the comprehensive infrastructure that is necessary to make internet racing a worldwide sport."
FIRST is the sanctioning body that will organize and administer all iRacing.com competition. FIRST's official Sporting Code for global internet racing will include standards for driver licensing, an annual competition calendar with four 12-week seasons and multiple championships for individual racers and geographically-based clubs.
Kaemmer explained that iRacing.com will bring together three key elements in its effort to expand internet racing and establish it as a legitimate branch of motorsport: the most accurate racing simulation ever created; an integrated web solution that simplifies usage; and a professionally run, global sanctioning body to help organize and grow both the sport and the community.
"Based on the reactions of our testers — many of whom are full-time professional racers in the physical world — we're confident that we've already set a new standard for accuracy of car and track simulation," said Kaemmer. "The next step was to provide a trouble-free user experience, eliminating the technical issues that new people find intimidating and veterans find frustrating."
According to Kaemmer, the iRacing.com service will seamlessly combine all necessary infrastructure — operating its own servers, providing guaranteed bandwidth, integrating voice chat and other important features into the software, and automatically distributing the latest version of the simulation to members. "We're creating the virtual world's version of 'arrive and drive' racing," said Kaemmer.
Henry, iRacing.com's chairman, suggested that the most important aspect of the service might be the sanctioning body: "Cars, tracks and drivers are the building blocks of this new sport, but a centralized sanctioning body is critical in bringing them all together," he said. "Organizing any global sport is a very involved, complex challenge. The best sanctioning bodies minimize that complexity for their athletes, so that they can focus on the fun part — competition. We aim to do the same for our members."
The iRacing.com sanctioning body, FIRST, started the process by developing the basic structure of competition, which will include four 12-week racing seasons each calendar year and individual and club championships across multiple series and divisions. While all racers — no matter what their experience level in the sport — will start off in the service's "rookie" series, safe driving will result in quick advancement. Every driver will have the opportunity to progress up one or more career ladders with each successive rung offering greater challenges.
"One of the biggest issues in internet racing as it exists today is reckless driving," said Henry. "Because none of the natural deterrents to over-driving a racecar exist in the virtual world, we knew we needed a system that would greatly reward safe driving."
The answer, Henry explained, is the FIRST licensing program. The system automatically keeps track of a driver's safety record through every lap of every official session. At the end of a 12-week season, assuming that the driver has achieved a minimum standard for safe driving, he or she will graduate to the next higher level of license, gaining access to additional race series with higher-performing cars, a broader array of tracks and better-skilled competitors. Henry was quick to point out that for an experienced simracer, progression beyond rookie status could happen with as little as a few days of clean driving. Additionally, any member can drive any car on any track in testing, but, as in other forms of motorsport, drivers must demonstrate their ability before being given the chance to get on the track with other racers.
Another major consideration for FIRST, according to Henry, was how to facilitate close competition across a wide range of skill levels. Henry explained how the service, with members ranging from raw rookies to 10-year veterans, will address that critical factor.
"We've established a measure of racing proficiency, which we call the iRating," he said. "The system automatically calculates and continuously maintains an iRating for each driver. Using the iRatings we can both group drivers by skill level for individual races and assign them to divisions where they compete for season-long championships. This will mean that no matter how large our membership grows, every driver should have a reasonable chance to compete for race wins and seasonal championships."
Finally, the establishment of geographically-based clubs will introduce a team component to the mix. "We've structured the clubs to provide another element of competition and to help build the community aspect of the iRacing experience," said Henry. "By providing members lots of different ways to contribute to their club's success, everyone can get involved, regardless of their skill level or particular area of interest."
In addition to its immediate governance of official competition, Henry also noted that FIRST would help iRacing become a popular platform for private league racing in the future
Yeah the concept behind this is awesome! You stick around with same leveled racers until you have proven to be ready for the next level!
I am on two thoughts about the graphics. It looks beautiful for sure but i saw only the skip barber car movie on the iracing website and that looked even more impressive then what they showed in the latest SRT coverage.
So as always, first we need to try it our selfs to see how good it really is!
To be honest i´m willing to pay for that service if it is really as good as Scott said on the during the interview. I specially want to drive again the stockcars, even if they are only Late Models but stockcar is stockcar. Beeing familiar with most ovals during the last few years of online racing experience i´m looking forward to iRacing but also to take the opportunity to try everything else this platform will have to offer.