The iRacing 2019 Season 3 release notes are out so let’s dig right into the highlights for dirt and short oval racing.
The iRacing Beta User Interface
Pardon me if I become cynical. Most iRacers take a dim view of the beta user interface. Why? Because it’s slower than the website, it has numerous bugs, and iRacing is forcing members to use it against their will in order to access some aspects of the racing simulation.
The interface will use a new application framework.
- The new framework streamline future development and the connectivity between the interface and the simulation.
- The framework should allegedly enhance the speed and usability of the interface as a whole, reducing load times, increasing click responsiveness [much needed] and providing usability feedback. [Time will tell, and the users will be the judge of all of that.]
- allow the interface to live in its own application window, even while the simulator is running. [Let’s see, that would be something like what? Maybe… oh yeah, the website! Amazing! It’s a long way around to get back to where you started. I’m still waiting for iRacing to show me the advantage of their pretty new broken interface and so far the website is still faster and better in every way. Actually, this might be a good thing. Again, time will tell.]
- The interface will not be viewable through virtual reality headsets, but you can use third party apps to run the interface in VR.
- There will be a new path to the new interface. You will be asked if you want to create a desktop shortcut to it, even if you disabled this and already have a desktop shortcut. The new shortcut points to iRacingUI.exe.
There will be a new “Create a Race Wizard.”
Members can use the new wizard to create hosted sessions. The members will decide if it’s a total piece of crap like the rest of the beta useless interface.
According to iRacing, they have made some major enhancements and fixes to the league management area in the user interface. In summary, iRacing has enabled some of the options that are already available in the superior website interface.
With all these updates, it remains to be seen if the beta user interface will somehow magically become usable. I still don’t see anything about bookmarks or favorites, a valuable option that is available by default in the website interface but will probably never be available in the beta interface. This will be a significant loss of usability.
The ability to ensure a Green-White-Checkered finish to Race Sessions that run with full-course cautions has been added. This is only available for hosted and league sessions. All the more reason to abandon official racing and join a couple of good leagues.
A significant portion of the base spotter audio has been re-recorded for improved consistency and variety.
Significant Car Updates
Dirt Late Model – The maximum allowable left rear bite has been reduced from 325 pounds to 225 pounds. Time to build new iRacing setups. The default setups for the Super Late Model have been updated.
Lucas Oil Off Road Pro Trucks
iRacing will introduce the new Off Road Trucks. You get both the Pro 2 and Pro 4 truck in a single purchase. Here’s the pitch:
iRacing gives you the chance to drive the premier trucks in short course off-road racing! Pro 4 trucks are the biggest and baddest vehicles in the Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series. These full-size, four-wheel drive race trucks can boast up to 900 horsepower and up to 20 inches of wheel travel. They’re designed to race in some of the most rugged conditions in motorsports, flying upwards of 100 feet in the air on massive jumps, carving through the dirt in high-speed corners, and taking heavy contact from other vehicles. One thing is for certain: they’re unlike any other vehicles in iRacing, except for maybe their Pro 2 counterparts!
The Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series is now available in iRacing, and the immensely popular Pro 2 truck class is along for the ride! Like their Pro 4 counterparts, Pro 2 trucks are absolute beasts under the hood, producing up to 900 horsepower. They’ve also got the same suspension travel as their slightly bigger brother. But with only two driven wheels and a slightly smaller wheelbase, they’re not just a perfect training ground for drivers who are looking to move up to Pro 4 someday, they’re a long-term home for some of the biggest names in the sport. All that adds up to some intense competition on race weekends, competition that you’ll get to experience firsthand with iRacing!
New SK Modified and Tour Modified Cars
These cars have been completely rebuilt for 2019 Season 3. Here’s the pitch:
We’ve completely rebuilt these cars from the ground up! Any user that already owned these vehicles receives these new versions free of charge. This update includes entirely new vehicle models, new textures, and a full re-evaluation of the vehicles’ physics and parameters.
The Modified – SK and the Tour Modified are available as a unit; two cars for the price of one!
Modified – SK: SK Modified racing is one of the most popular forms of oval track racing in certain parts of America, and iRacing’s updated SK Modified for 2019 brings these cars up to their latest and greatest spec. Many short track racers are happy to spend their entire careers racing these nimble, quick cars. But for drivers looking to further advance their careers, racing in large fields of high-powered, open wheeled cars provides an excellent learning experience.
Tour Modified: iRacing’s Tour Modified is all new for 2019, sporting an updated body style that reflects the sport’s highest spec. Sporting a roof but no fenders, a Modified Stock Car – “Modified” for short – is a unique oval-track race car. And while today’s Modified is built from the ground up as a tube-frame chassis race car and has significantly different configurations for paved or dirt tracks, the breed traces its lineage back to the very beginning of stock car racing. Light in weight and fitted with wider tires, a current Modified Stock Car is pure racer and much faster around a short oval paved track than one of NASCAR’s Sprint Cup cars.
Wild Horse Motorsports Park
This is a new Dirt Road track scanned and built for the Off Road Trucks. Here’s the pitch:
One of the most diverse racing venues in North America, Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park hosts everything from dragsters to motorboats, and has for years been a staple of short course off-road racing with two annual stops on the Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series calendar. The stadium-style course was built in 2008, and made its LOORRS debut two years later. The five-turn layout features a mix of sweeping corners, high-flying jumps, and full-throttle straightaways. Wild Horse Pass is also the only track on the LOORRS calendar to feature Pro 4 and Pro 2 trucks on the track at the same time, as the season-ending Lucas Oil Challenge Cup offers a five-figure grand prize to the fastest racer in short course.
Wild West Motorsports Park
This is another new Dirt Road track scanned and built for the Off Road Trucks. Here’s the pitch:
Sparks always fly in Sparks, Nevada when the Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series makes its annual stop at Wild West Motorsports Park. With a stunning mountain backdrop, it’s one of the most visually unique tracks in short course, with a track layout to match. Wild West features four turns, two of which are proper hairpins, with four tabletop jumps, a massive drop-off jump after Turn 1, and a rhythm section before Turn 2 all designed to get the trucks into the air. Located just 10 minutes outside of Reno, it’s a great place to watch a race, and an even more exciting track to drive with iRacing’s new Pro 4 and Pro 2 builds!
Altogether a pretty boring update with the one possible silver lining, the Off Road Trucks. They look like they could be pretty fun and I look forward to trying them.
I think it’s significant that there is very little mention of the New Tire Model version 7 in this build. I see some updates to the tire on the Skip Barber cars, but I would have expected iRacing to add the tire to one or two more cars this season. I can imagine that all those NASCAR guys are going to be pretty upset. As a dirt guy, I’m not happy about it either.
It’s a known fact that the Dirt Late Models have major issues. The WoO Super Late Model series is dead and the W0O 410 Sprint series is not healthy. Now we see at least one more season’s delay in getting a new tire on the dirt cars. The dirt series, specifically the Pro and Super Late Model series will continue to suffer, as will all of the higher end of simulated dirt oval racing on iRacing. More people will go to other series and maybe even other simulations as they wait for a significant fix to these cars after more than two years of broken junk. Dirt Street Stocks and 305 Sprint Cars are where many are going. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a surge in Dirt Legends participation, at least in league and hosted racing. The bottom line is, people do this to have fun, and the higher end dirt cars are no fun because they are broken.