Happy New Year everyone. 2023 is here and there’s a lot on the horizon. But first, let’s take a look back at the big stories in simracing in 2022, one month at a time.
Image credit: iRacing.com/Monster Games
The year 2022 is now firmly behind us. But it would be wrong to move on without acknowledging everything that went on in the simracing industry last year. The space saw a lot of growth throughout the past 12 months and a lot of good took place in racing games.
Along the way, we covered controversial moments, heart warming stories and even some rather shocking events. Take a look through part one of our list of the best simracing story from each month in 2022.
Esports kicked off in January
2022 saw esport competitions getting bigger and better. This was in part thanks to public gatherings once again being allowed on a larger scale for the first time since the pandemic. The season kicked off in a big way with one of the biggest races of the year, the 24 Hours of Le Mans Virtual.
Opening a year’s worth of competition, this 24-hour event set the trend for what would be a rather dominated season. As they would go on to do for much of the year, Redline took the win overall in their Oreca LMP2 car.
In the GTE class, which included our very own René Buttler, it was once again Redline that took the honours. Aside from dominant performances, the race was an exciting watch. Battles continued throughout the event entertaining all those that tuned in to the stream. You can find our full rundown of the 24 Hours of Le Mans Virtual here.
IndyCar joined rFactor 2 in February
It’s fair to say we’re all up to speed with IndyCar’s current involvement in simracing. Last month, we went over the controversy surrounding the series’ inclusion in iRacing since signing an exclusive deal with Motorsport Games. What is often forgotten though, is that the current IndyCar model has only been in rFactor 2 for less than a year.
The Dallara IR-18 was added to the game in a February content drop. rFactor 2 is now the only game in which one can race an IndyCar officially. Even broadcasts of hosted races using Dallara’s American racer on iRacing are banned from January 1.
We didn’t know it at the time, but the release onto rFactor 2 all the way back in February last year was a pivotal moment in simracing. Although most of us had forgotten the car was even in the game until now, expect to see it becoming a popular feature on Low Fuel Motorsport’s service.
March: Highly anticipated game releases
After what felt like years of waiting, Gran Turismo 7 finally hit store shelves in March of last year. This popular return to a more traditional style of Gran Turismo title rapidly became a bestseller.
With all the features one would expect from a GT game, old fans of the franchise returned while a younger audience discovered the origins of the name. Online racing is fun, but having to change the oil in your Volkswagen 1200 Beetle to gain half a horsepower is the real racing experience.
Excitement for the game certainly didn’t last long because of countless issues. None were more note-worthy than the near-need to spend real money to progress in-game. Though with hotfixes and patches piling onto each other, the game now appears to be in a good place.
Rennsport wasn’t an April Fools
In April, we heard the name Rennsport for the first time. Thanks to a misunderstood line of marketing splurge, this upcoming title was immediately propelled to the front page. Aside from a focus on esport competition, the developers announced the idea of digital ownership of cars. This what at the height of the NFT conversation and, as such, many believed this to be a cash-grab scheme.
In actual fact, the main essence of the phrase is that cars are associated to their results, as a real racecar is. In fact, during the subsequent Rennsport Summit in May, Competition Company was anxious to explain what it meant.
The same event saw many, including us, have a first go at the game which is set to enter its Closed Beta phase this year.
F1 22 leaked footage in May
May last year saw Formula 1 visit the Miami Hard Rock Arena for the first time. In the constant hunt for content, attending a new venue can be an anxious time. Not for McLaren’s and Alpha Tauri’s Social Media teams that is, though as they accidentally leaked F1 22 footage without EA’s approval.
The posts showing onboard footage of the purpose-built street circuit were quickly removed. Though not before the videos had been shared throughout the internet giving fans a preview of both the new track and the upcoming game.
Simracing to real racing theme in June 2022
As a simracer, the dream is usually to one day drive a real-world racecar. Well that dream was seemingly the theme for simracing in June 2022. Gamers were shown that the step truly is possible thanks to a pair of announcements coming in quick succession.
We first heard about the idea of a Gran Turismo-based movie a few years ago, but the idea hit a brick wall. Though in June, the brief for a film following a simracer as they make their first steps in motorsport resurfaced. This time, the announcement sounded serious with a firm release date of August 11, 2023 and the involvement of Neill Blomkamp, a well renowned director.
Alongside the announcement of simracing moving to Hollywood, June also saw dominant simracer James Baldwin announce his participation in the 2022 24 Hours of Spa. The familiar face in Assetto Corsa Competizione circles ended up doing quite well in the race until his car suffered issues. Nevertheless, he proved to many that, if you’re good enough, the step from sim to real is possible.
With so much going on last year, and many more items to reflect on, make sure to check out the second part of our list soon. In part two of our month by month review of simracing in 2022, we’ll see tech releases, new games, major events and much more.
What was your favourite simracing story in 2022? Tell us on Twitter at @OverTake_gg or in the comments down below!