iRacing Announces FIA Formula 4 Partnership - More to Come?

Image credit: iRacing

Formula 4 officially comes to iRacing: A new partnership with the FIA sees the Formula iR-04 being rebranded as part of the 2023 Season 3 update on June 6th - but there is more to the cooperation than just a name change. Meanwhile, the simulation's looks are in for an improvement in the upcoming update.

According to the press release posted on the official iRacing Twitter acccount, the name change for the iR-04 might just be the stepping stone, according to iRacing President Tony Gardner: "In addition to iRacing’s new FIA F4 Challenge, iRacing and the FIA are discussing additional eSport plans for the future.”

Gardner also underscores that several national ASNs are already running events through iRacing, adding that he expects the partnership to "expand opportunities for the future stars of motorsport to get their start through sim racing".

Nikolas Tombazis, FIA Single Seater Director, shares a similar vision: "The next generation of racing drivers is already highly engaged in this arena, which removes many of the historical barriers to entry by being low-cost and easily accessible, opening up possibilities to increase diversity and engagement in new and emerging markets."

Similar to Gran Turismo Esports​

Interestingly, this concept isn't new: It is virtually Kazunori Yamauchi's exact vision from years back, when Gran Turismo launched its esports series in 2018, at the time in partnership with the FIA. Initially, digital racing licenses recognized by ASNs were heavily advertised, but nothing really came from it, and the FIA pulled out of the partnership.

Although Kaz seemed confident this was just a hiatus due to the state of GT7 at launch, seeing the FIA going to iRacing with almost the exact same idea in mind is sending a different message. Now the question is to see if iRacing will be able to succeed where Gran Turismo failed.

Graphical Enhancements​

The addition of Willow Springs had already been teased, and the California-based circuit is now confirmed. iRacing's Senior VP and Executive Producer Greg Hill also took to Twitter, sharing interesting insight into refined graphics for trackside terrain and surroundings. Accompanied by several screenshots, Hill gave a quick explanation of multi-material shaders, the foliage system and a five-layer terrain process.

The systems result in very detailed environments, which looks impressive in the case of Willow Springs already. Virginia International Raceway is also used as an example, showing off the new foliage system - with the many trees surrounding the circuit, it profits from the overhaul graphics-wise. How much of an impact on performance the new additions have remains to be seen.

Your Thoughts​

What do you think about the iRacing-FIA partnership and the upcoming graphics improvements? Are you looking forward to Season 3 already? Let us know in the comments below!
About author
Global motorsports enjoyer, long time simracer, Gran Turismo veteran, I've been driving alongside top drivers since the dawn of online pro leagues on Gran Turismo, and qualified for the only cancelled FIA GTC World Tour. I've left aside competitive driving in 2020 to dedicate myself to IGTL, a simracing organisation hosting high quality events for pro racers and customers, to create with friends the kind of events we wished we could have had. We strive to provide the best events for drivers and the best content for viewers, and want to help the simracing scene grow and shine further in the global esports scene.


I'd be interested to know how many developers the IRacing team has and whether the team is still partly the same as the original one.
What interests me is wether these graphical improvements are in any way dynamic or will they need to redo all the tracks. Willow Springs certainly looks good. Shame the driving experience is still a bit flat compared to other sims.
iRacing needs beauty graphics, rain, and better FFB, and less CPU usage with AI, the performance are worst than Raceroom with DX9
I'd be interested to know how many developers the IRacing team has and whether the team is still partly the same as the original one.
I don't know the numbers, but during COVID the bought 2 studios, hired the physics developer of rfactor along with several SMS developers.

iRacing needs beauty graphics, rain, and better FFB, and less CPU usage with AI, the performance are worst than Raceroom with DX9

It may not be the latest and prettiest but it runs better than any other title I own on my aging budget build i5 9600 & GTX 1660 ti, hell I can even run VR which I couldn't do in Raceroom comfortably or without issues.

Overall, I am looking forward to the big June update!
I got my eye on a few things, the new Nords series and dirt physics overall haul are at the top of my list.

They didn't show in this article but the new trees/ grass/foliage and lighting they previewed on there Twitter account, look a lot better.
It will be nice when all the tracks are updated to those standards.
same as the original one.
In a update back in February, Tony Gardner (President of iRacing) mentioned in the iRacing forums that they hired a lot of people at the end of last year/beginning of this year saying quote "one high level engineer joined us with years of experience working on both the consumer and pro version of a different sim..." assuming rFactor and rFactor Pro. In the same post also mention was that they hired people from now disbanded Slightly Mad Studios when EA gave them the axe and it seem that those hires have been helping heavily with the graphics side of things. Especially with Willow Springs as you see above.

Plus, that's not including if there is any involvement from the 2 console games studios that they brought within the last couple years.
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