Car racing enthusiasts in Australia without the budget to indulge their passion have a new option. American company iRacing is starting a push into the Aussie market with the signing of Marcus Ambrose to help promote their successful sim.
Australia has a solid footing in the hardcore sim racing scene with a long history of local development. Most Australian circuits, as well as series such as our V8 Supercars, have already had custom content developed for PC-based sims. This cottage community started with the groundbreaking Grand Prix Legends and has continued through to the current leader - rFactor. But until now, the less technically inclined have had to make do with console games posing as simulators. On Playstation this has been dominated by Gran Turismo and Grid, on the Xbox it has been Project Gotham.
iRacing offers a more accessible solution to a wider audience, as all requirements except a wheel and pedals are handled though a subscription model on-line. There is no computer configuration of add-ons required and this is a huge bonus for the average enthusiast. But that’s not to say this simulation is targeting just the average enthusiast. It is very much focused on providing an end-to-end solution that a newbie or rookie can learn and grow with while also being the leading sim for many professional racers to use for practice.
The on-line racing simulation market is already large, but the potential is there for it to explode. With millions of enthusiasts around the world and a monthly subscription model you can see why Boston Red Sox owner John Henry has invested 25 million dollars in the development over the past five years.
Henry partnered with Dave Kaemmer, who is regarded as the founding father of motor racing sims. Kaemmer was the principal developer of the highly regarded Grand Prix Legends which was introduced in 1998. GPL was an accurate representation of the 1967 Grand Prix season and since its introduction it has received literally thousands of upgrades and enhancements through a loyal on-line community. The quality of the graphics and the accuracy of the vehicle physics model was groundbreaking for its day and is still good enough for the community to continue developing for it..A release of a full length model of the Targa Florio is one of the current projects in development.
iRacing is offering a introductory discount for new Australian subscribers. Australian tracks are promised in the future as well the chance to compete against V8 Supercar drivers.
You can find details on their website here; iRacing
While just a basic set-up of a wheel and pedals is required, the set-up doesn’t have to stop there. Check out our gallery to see some of the higher-end toys you can grow into with sim racing. And let us know below, which Australian track you think should be the first to be offered by iRacing?