Beginning with the release of the 2015 Season 4 build, all of iRacing’s tracks will utilize the dynamic race track feature. We’ve heard about it for quite a while now, and it’s right around the corner in the new build which will be released Tuesday, September 8, according to iRacing.
Beginning in Season 4, track surfaces will constantly evolve as the race goes on. These changes will be based on the amount of rubber laid down as well as changing weather conditions.
According to Steve Myers, iRacing’s Executive Producer(?) and Executive Vice President, you will actually see the racing groove on the track as the cars lay down the rubber. As more rubber is laid down on the track, the grip level will change accordingly. According to Myers, the tracks will evolve exactly like real world race tracks. We will see.
Myers goes into more detail about track surface models in iRacing, and all the way back to the Papyrus days and the NASCAR Racing titles. Since the very beginning with Papyrus, the tracks were static racing surfaces. The entire track had the exact same grip, according to Myers.
This seems odd to me, since the patches at Thompson certainly don’t have the same grip as the racing groove which is to the right of those patches. On the other hand, I’m optimistic that this will help the racing at tracks like Oxford Plains Speedway, where racing is two-wide in real life, while on iRacing it’s one racing groove, and barely that. If you go to the outside you will be watching a line of cars passing you like a freight train on your left.
Beginning around 2:00 is a good demonstration of the “rubberization” of the track.
Myers goes on with more details about how these dynamic surfaces will work. When you set up a race session, you can start with a green track or a track that is fully rubbered in, or anything in between. Rubber will be laid down by cars running on the track, but it will also be rolled up and marbled, just like the real world. All of this will by dynamically generated by the actions of the racers. If you try to change to a different racing line, you will have to take the time to work the marbles off the track, and your car might feel pretty loose.
Another component to the dynamic surface model is the heat that will be generated by the cars which will change the track’s surface temperature. Hot rubber can get pretty slippery, so a driver may be able to run a slightly different line and find more grip, and more speed.
Gone are the days of spending hours tweaking a setup to get that extra hundredth of a second.
There is one positive thing about dynamic racing surfaces, and even dynamic weather. Gone are the days of spending hours tweaking a setup to get that extra hundredth of a second. The weather is going to change and the track is going to change, so it’s a waste of time to tweak a setup to the nth degree at 78° and partly cloudy. Even private test sessions won’t help because one car won’t cause the track to change like a full field will.
Myers also mentioned some more goodies that are in the iRacing pipeline.
- A new particle effect system that includes new backfires, smoke, sparks, and sounds. This is coming in 2016 Season 1 (December 2015).
- Incorporation of a new video codec that will allow members to directly export video files from the iRacing simulator. This will make Youtube posts easier. It will also make protests easier.
That’s all Myers had to say about things on the horizon, but he promised a lot of new things just around the corner, saying that iRacing currently has a bigger development staff than ever in its history.
When I first thought about dynamic surface models and dynamic weather, I really thought it was just going to make this game harder in terms of setup building. Now I’m reconsidering. All you can do now is get your setup “in the box” so to speak. You can get the car good for the mid-range weather conditions, what we always called the default weather. When you enter a race, you can make a quick adjustment based on actual weather, then it’s all on the driver in you. You will have to adjust your driving style as the race goes on, based on the changing weather and changing surface.