iRacing Season 1 2023 BMW LMDh Sebring

Here’s what to Expect from iRacing 2023 Season 1

iRacing

Early December and iRacing is readying a new season which means plenty of new content. Here’s everything joining the service this week.

Image Credit: iRacing on Twitter

The run-up to Christmas is expensive enough as it is. But when iRacing begins a new season at the start of the festive period, bank accounts are sure to empty. Season 1 of 2023 begins in a week’s time meaning the simulator will get a large update on Tuesday, 6 December.

As with every new season, the first of 2023 brings new cars, tracks and updates to add to the already existing content. In iRacing Season 1, the sim is setting itself apart with some exclusive cars. While many will be happy at the arrival of an ex-F1 circuit. Here’s everything new coming for iRacing in 2023, Season 1.

iRacing 2023 Season 1: Exclusive Cars

Mercedes-AMG W13 E Performance COTA
Image Credit: Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport

One of the most highly anticipated cars in iRacing for the past year is the Mercedes W13 AMG F1 car. When the W12 came out last year, the plan was to release the 2022 car for Season 1 of 2023.

The first Mercedes F1 model of the new regulations, iRacers will get to experience all the porpoising they like in a car Lewis Hamilton would rather forget. After the 2022 season, the British F1 ace said he doesn’t ever want to see the car again. So, predictably, he’ll be tagged in countless Twitter posts featuring screenshots of the Brazilian GP-winning car.

Akin to Formula 1, sportscar racing is entering an all-new era of mass competition. LMH and LMDh regulations are combining to form the Hypercar and GTP classes in WEC and IMSA respectively.

First of the new batch of competitors to join the iRacing service is the BMW M Hybrid V8. This LMDh car will use a Dallara chassis to compete with the likes of Porsche and Cadillac when it makes its real-world debut at the Rolex 24 at Daytona in Janaury.

Before then though, iRacers will get an early taste of the LMDh era thanks to its representation in-game. With the hybrid regulations in IMSA as yet uncertain, it’s unclear how the system will be integrated into the game. Whether the electric element of the 500kW powertrain will activate automatically or if a button will need mapping, we’ll have to find out from Tuesday.

Merry Christmas, here’s a free car

iRacing‘s most significant downside is usually regarded to be its price. However, every now and then, we get access to a brand new car at no extra charge. This is the case for the Toyota GR 86 Cup. Like the BMW LMDh, it is yet to race set to debut in 2023 alongside GT World Challenge America.

It’s a low-power, low downforce, production-based racer with a fully manual transmission. It’s these production roots that place the GR86 alongside the Mazda MX-5, VW Jetta and Ford Mustang in the Production Car Challenge. The Toyota replaces the Saturn Solstice that has been on iRacing since Day 1.

Plenty of tracks for iRacing 2023 Season 1

With Knockhill and the Rudskogen Motorsenter, many lesser known venues have joined the online racing service recently. Of course, there is only a finite number of tracks available to scan in this world. Though one country that doesn’t get the love it deserves is France. Famous ex-Grand Prix venues like Paul Ricard and Dijon are missing from iRacing. So it’s no surprise that Magny Cours caught many racers’ attention when iRacing teased it on Twitter during the Toyota GR86’s reveal.

The track hosted Formula 1 from 1991 until 2008 but has since faded away from many people’s memories. Though there’s no denying that it’s a fun layout with its mix of fast sweepers, long straights and tight hairpins.

Following on from the release of iRacing‘s side project, World of Outlaws, yet another dirt oval is joining the service. Lincoln Speedway is a high bank, 3/8-mile clay oval located in Abbosttstown, Pennsylvania.

Aside from the brand new tracks, Virginia International Raceway and Wild West Motorsports Park will become free to all users. In fact, both the so-called ‘Mini Nurburgring’ and short off-road venue will be available to everyone at no extra cost hopefully boosting popularity. If you purchased either track within the past 90 days, iRacing will fully refund the price. While if you bought them within less than a year, you’ll receive $5 in your iRacing account.

Finally, the infamous bumps at Sebring are getting a refresh. Just 48 hours before the new season started, a Twitter post unveiled a fresh surface for the Floridian circuit. Mainly made of very old concrete, Sebring’s surface is probably the most important part of the track to get right. I guess it’s time to relearn how to avoid the bumps before the 12-hour race in March.

Still one missing feature

A few weeks ago, a video appeared on the iRacing YouTube channel detailing a number of changes coming to the GT3 and LMP2 classes. The most prominent for all the Wreckfest fans is the update to the new damage model for all cars. This will notably be to the pleasure of LMP2 drivers as the Dallara’s aero damage is nothing if not confusing.

Elsewhere, the tyre models for each class are getting updates making for harsher wear throughout a stint. Even the shorter VRS GT races will presumably feature some form of tyre management. In the longer races, we won’t see as many tyres performing multiple stints.

Finally, to make way for the LMDh car’s arrival, LMP2 is gaining weight and a power restriction. The changes will slow the car down bringing it in-line with the LMP2 classes seen in IMSA and FIA WEC.

It’s fair to say there’s one feature everyone wants to see added to iRacing and that’s rain. It’s now 12 months since the first shots of wet weather in-sim emerged, yet we’re no closer to its introduction. Last year, iRacing‘s team mentioned a 2022 release so this is the last possible opportunity to see them meet that deadline.

Although I’d love to see my safety rating crash, I’d rather they take their time. If done right, the title could set a new benchmark for future simulators to be compared to.

Which pieces of content from iRacing Season 1 will you be getting? Tell us on Twitter at @OverTake_gg or in the comments down below!

A petrol head and motorsports fan since the early days, sim racing has been a passion of mine for a number of years. The perfect way to immerse myself in my true dream job; racing driver. With lots of experience jotting down words about the car industry, I am happy to share my passion for pretend race cars here on Overtake!