The iRacing development update for July brings lots of information about the game's future, including rain and new tracks
Image credit: iRacing.com

iRacing Dev Update: Rain and New Tracks

iRacing

After a few weeks of silence, iRacing has just released a lengthy development update providing great information on the team’s projects including rain, new tracks and physics updates.

As many sim racers will know, iRacing is a service in constant evolution, always updating and improving in many ways. New content releases periodically. The game’s underlying engine gets refreshments. New features join the title. There is always something to dive into.

That is exactly what iRacing Executive Producer, Greg Hill did last night whilst writing his latest Development update. Detailing upcoming projects, listing off new tracks coming soon to the game and providing valuable insight into progress of the much-anticipated rain conditions.

New grass updates and rain at the Nordschleife
New grass updates and rain at the Nordschleife – Image credit: iRacing.com

The blog post also provides an insight into the company’s success, having grown the size of its team significantly. In fact, the iRacing car/track dev and animation teams have reportedly doubled in size recently whilst the physics engine team has tripled. With many projects seemingly on the go, this can only be good news for fans as more content and updates will surely release more regularly. Here are just some of the tasks discussed in the development update.

New Tracks Coming to iRacing

It appears that one major advantage of a larger team is the ability to be in multiple places at once. The list of new tracks announced for iRacing is growing at an unprecedented rate and the team must keep on top of things. With that in mind, plenty of scanning is seemingly taking place.

Zandvoort's banking will come to iRacing in Season 4 of 2023
Zandvoort’s banking will come to iRacing in Season 4 of 2023 – Image credit: iRacing.com

Screenshot images reveal scan data for an updated Zandvoort featuring the NASCAR-inspired banking. Hill reveals that this circuit will join the title in September with the Season 4 update. Reportedly, the original version of the track in its pre-F1 state will remain as part of the title with this up-to-date version sitting alongside it in the same product. Those that already own Zandvoort will get the new model for free.

Elsewhere, it also appears that another European circuit in the form of Navarra is soon to be added. The team is reportedly returning from a trip there. Other circuits on the waiting list include Portimao, Misano, Mugello, Pukekohe and Lédenon. However, Hill also mentions that more British circuits are on the way – Croft and Thruxton potentially – as are a number of venues from the as yet untapped Asian continent.

On the oval side of things, we now know that the Slinger and Winchester Speedways, both short track ovals are on their way. Meanwhile, Kern County Raceway will feature in the upcoming Season 4 update. This venue will include both a dirt oval and asphalt oval within the same product at launch, a first for the title.

New dirt tracks are coming to iRacing
New dirt tracks are coming to iRacing – Image credit: iRacing.com

To pair with the many upcoming short oval tracks, iRacing is seemingly preparing the release of a new short track model. Be it in stock car or sprint car form, any short oval model is sure to attract attention.

Updates to Existing Content

Speaking of tracks, the aforementioned art and design development team growth means iRacing is set to receive many updates to older content. Greg Hill goes on to outline that projects similar to the Sebring and Road Atlanta upgrades are in the works for Brands Hatch, Oulton Park and Okayama. A number of older NASCAR ovals are also set to benefit from these embelishments.

New PBR rendering solutions make updated iRacing tracks look gorgeous
New PBR rendering solutions make updated iRacing tracks look gorgeous – Image credit: iRacing.com

However, the list is surely longer as it seems this attentiveness to older content is a deep passion and point of focus within the iRacing team. New processes and tools mean that these updates should become easier to carry out. So expect them to features heavily on future season changelogs.

Rain Coming in September?

For the past few years, all anyone has been able to talk about when thinking of iRacing is rain. Once again, this development update caters to those excited about this major project’s progress with a number of screenshots. But Hill also provides plenty of insight into how this feature will work.

Rain at the Nurburgring in iRacing
Rain at the Nurburgring in iRacing – Image credit: iRacing.com

Without saying it, the iRacing VP mentions that the game will feature a fully simulated wet line. Few games currently simulate this important part of racing in the rain with Automobilista 2 only just including it. Hill points out that iRacers will have to approach wet tracks as if they were brand new layouts thanks to this new dynamic.

The wet tyres will reportedly work well in dispersing water until they reach their limit. Go through a deep puddle or pass the bounds of its slip capabilities and they will lose all grip.

Wet weather tyres will kick up plenty of spray
Wet weather tyres will kick up plenty of spray – Image credit: iRacing.com

With lots detailed in the post, it does appear as though we are being prepared for the feature to join the sim. The many screenshots of rain dominate the post and information feels more open than ever before. Whether or not rain will join iRacing in September’s Season 4 update is still a mystery. But Hill does say he will provide more information on the system just before it launches.

New iRacing Features in Development

Whilst rain news will certainly excite many, there are significant additions and changes coming to the game’s user experience. Last season saw the dirt oval portion of the simulator get a major refresh. Well, it seems the next big update on the way concerns oval racing. Those that enjoy turning left can look forward to sizeable surface and dynamics improvements coming soon.

Furthermore, the road racing license looks like big changes are afoot as well. “Road Racing licensing system will see a significant addition in the near future as we look to improve the experience of racing in cars with dramatically different characteristics and the pitfalls that can be experienced when trying something less familiar,” said Hill. Could this imply separate licenses for different car types? Perhaps this development update is the first sign of an iRacing license split between sports cars and open wheelers.

Finally, the rise in AI inclusion in this online-focused title has long pointed at the team’s desire to diversify. Last night, Greg Hill confirmed this as he announced that work is going into a future offline career mode. The developers are reportedly working with real-world team bosses and consultants to make the best sim racing career mode. This is certainly the best time to carry out such a project. Indeed, there are very few high quality options on the market.

Are you feeling optimistic about the future of iRacing? 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!