The annual iRacing Special Event should have been a celebration of online endurance racing. Instead a grass dipping exploit soured it all.
Image credit: iRacing
Every advantage that can be gained in major competitions will always be utilised, no matter how small the benefit. But sometimes there comes a point when it goes too far, and becomes detrimental to the competition itself. That’s what happened over the weekend in the Spa 24 hours on iRacing.
In all splits, drivers were deliberately running their tyres on the grass all around the track. Doing so cooled their tyres enough to get a 0.5 second advantage throughout the lap. Being a community Special Event, there wasn’t a live stewarding team and thus there were no in-race penalties handed out.
What are the Rules?
The iRacing forums’ sporting code does state in article 18.104.22.168. that “drivers can only use the racing surface and allowed areas of the track for Qualifying and Racing. Any disallowed areas of the track and any advantages gained through their use will be determined by iRacing.com. A protest may be filed through the proper channels for this offense”.
But evidently, this isn’t enough of a discouragement. Drivers have only received a one week suspension for performing this exploit, willingly taking the hit to get the best result possible. It caused quite the uproar within the community. Many believing it goes as far as cheating and against the spirit of competition.
How did the Grass Dipping Exploit Happen?
It was seemingly discovered during qualifying when MAHLE Racing Team’s Felix Quirmbach was taking to the grass many times during qualifying and ended up on pole by over 0.4 of a second. Then, early on in the race, drivers started experimenting.
Sim racing team URANO eSports withdrew from the event three hours in, claiming they didn’t want to engage in the exploit. In the end, it was VRS Coanda Esports who won the top split with their drivers Zac Campbell, Josh Rogers and Ayhancan Güven.
After the community uproar, and having only just dealt with the infamous brake drag exploit, iRacing will have their work cut out. Especially since the sim racing community prides iRacing on being the ultimate in realistic racing simulation, dipping tyres into the grass and gaining time isn’t exactly immersive.
What do you make of the iRacing grass dipping? Tell us on Twitter at @OverTake_gg or in the comments down below!