iRacing‘s Special Event calendar kicked off this weekend with the Daytona 24 Hours. Much like previous Special Events, the iRacing Daytona 24 Hours didn’t miss out on its fair share of controversy.
Image Credit: iRacing.com
One week after the Le Mans Virtual disaster, iRacing was looking to raise simracing spirits this weekend with its Daytona 24 Hour race. It seems the community was looking forward to this one.
Over the past few weeks, teams have been carefully choosing their car, practicing and planning their schedules for one of the most prestigious events in simracing. In fact, according to a tweet sent out by iRacing, the event amassed a total of 16,651 drivers making up 4,191 teams.
Despite the massive attendance and plenty of happy stories emerging from the race, Twitter is, as ever, full of controversy surrounding the event.
Track limits Controversy in iRacing Daytona 24 Hours
Akin to last year’s Spa 24 Hours, this event seemed to have inspired rage on Social Media. Throughout the race, screenshots and videos began outing various teams on the matter of track limits. In fact, it seems the rules surrounding Daytona’s high banks are open to interpretation.
Right from the get-go, the top split live stream showed an LMP2 entry gaining several places by illegally using the apron at the start. This is a move that infuriated many early on in the race. Though much more iRacing Daytona 24 Hours controversy was on its way.
By the end of the race, real-world drivers from around the world were furious at footage of Alexander Spetz’ pole position lap. Instead of running above the yellow line on the high banks, the Williams Esports driver dropped to the apron. Using this supposedly illegal piece of tarmac throughout the oval section, Spetz shortened the track distance by a considerable amount.
Though many European drivers from the real world saw this as a smart play on the rulebook, those more accustomed to oval racing were furious. World renowned racer Tony Kanaan is well-placed to shine a light on this form of rule-bending. Indycar, NASCAR tests and even the Daytona 24; he has raced in pretty much every form of motorsport involving ovals.
So why does iRacing allow drivers to run bellow the yellow line? The truth is, it doesn’t. The game’s Sporting Code outlaws this sort of driving. According to article 22.214.171.124, the apron is not defined as racing surface. It is therefore not to be used during qualifying or the race. Though, a forum post explains that the game doesn’t give penalty points for dropping bellow the yellow line to allow damaged cars to return to pitlane safely.
Should Simracing be Held to Real Motorsport Standards?
Following the controversy surrounding the iRacing Daytona 24 Hours, an interesting debate is emerging. In a long rant on Twitter, Tony Kanaan finally pondered the question as to whether simracing should follow the same rules as real-world motorsport.
Alex Brundle, best known in simracing as a Le Mans Virtual commentator, also joined the discussion. He seems to believe that simracing is its own sport and needs more imagination. As a result, we shouldn’t be bound by the same regulations as the real thing. In fact, the majority of rules, and the reasons behind, them don’t apply to virtual racing at all.
Bans on driving bellow the yellow line in oval racing and bump drafting exist in an effort to improve safety. Though when behind the wheel of a virtual car, the most considerable health risk is surely eye strain. Unless you run a high-torque direct drive wheel, that is.
For many, though, simracing is a way to simulate being a racing driver. Those that race online are desperate for a glimpse into the life of a driver during a race weekend. So, plenty of us surely want to follow every rule to the book. The immersion of jumping into a racecar during an endurance event wouldn’t have the same punch if we could wall ride, crash into opponents and use nitrous, a la Need For Speed.
It seems high-profile esports will always find ways of shining a light on a simulator’s flaws. Major events in rFactor 2 see cars drifting sideways through corners, F1 22 features machine gun-esque downshifting and iRacing has track limit issues. But if we can separate esports from common simracing, surely we can all enjoy our hobby as we wish.
Should races like the iRacing Daytona 24 Hours be subject to real-world standards? Tell us on Twitter at @OverTake_gg or in the comments down below!