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iRacing was started by Dave Kaemmer and John Henry. Kaemmer had a successful track record in both the racing sim business and on the race course. John Henry owns the Boston Red Sox and Roush Fenway racing. You may have seen commercials for iRacing with Dale Earnhardt Jr. I have, and when he said that he’d joined iRacing’s team, I thought he meant in the business sense, that not only was he doing commercials for them, that he was a partner with Kaemmer and Henry. Earnhardt, after all, is a multimillionaire, can afford to invest in ventures like iRacing, and normally is paid large sums of money when he does commercials. iRacing CEO Tony Gardner, though, clarified to me that Dale Jr. doesn’t get a penny for his commercials and that he’s not part of the business. He’s just a member who pays to sim race there and he liked it so much he offered to endorse it and serve as a consultant for free. Frankly I think that’s about the most powerful endorsement a company can have.
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Dale Jr. isn’t the only professional racer who races at iRacing, and pays for the privilege. Scroll down for testimonials and a list compiled in an iRacing fan forum. Gardner told me that company policy is to not pay for endorsements and that often he doesn’t know that prominent current and former racers have joined until he sees them in a race online. Besides simulation accuracy and realism, one selling point about iRacing is that if you’re good enough at it, you can find yourself racing against pros who have competed at the highest levels of auto racing. I don’t know if something like that exists in any other sport, where you can actually compete with the best, well, if you have the skill to compete with them. YouTube has a bunch of “Hey, I got to race with Dale Jr.” videos.
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As Jack Baruth has pointed out, sim racing is not real racing. You can’t get killed in a sim. More to the point Jack points out that sim racing even in 3D uses different visual skills than on a real track. iRacing’s driving school tutorials seem to agree with Baruth, encouraging sim racers to look far, far down the track, while Jack, who teaches track driving and races for real says that real racing requires a bit more peripheral vision. Besides Jack’s point about vision, without a motion simulator you have no proprioceptive cues, nor any information from your inner ear about linear, breaking and lateral acceleration.
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That being said, a lot of professional racers indeed endorse iRacing and use it to prepare for races, particularly on unfamiliar tracks. Though some fans of other sims have criticize iRacing, particularly being slow to come to market with a new tire model, nobody disputes that iRacing, which uses laser scanning, has the most accurate reproductions of real world tracks. It also, in just a few years, has established partnerships with most major racing series. That new tire model will be released next month, as part of the rollout of iRacing 2.0, what the company promises to be a major upgrade.
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Even as is, the pros don’t just use the site to practice. They also use it recreationally. Dale Jr. told NBC news that he spends half his leisure time racing on the site.
Racing is the most modern racing simulation ever created. Every inch of every track is modeled perfectly. I’ve used iRacing to learn new courses such as Virginia International Raceway, or to keep the rust off at tracks such as Infineon Raceway. For the hardcore sim racer, this is your dream simulation. For the actual real-world racer, this is your ‘at-home’ test vehicle. Acclimate yourself with a new course or learn something new on an old favorite. Even a rookie in the sim racing world can get up to speed fast within the iRacing system
Dale Earnhardt, Jr.
NASCAR Sprint Cup Driver
It’s really cool! I use it a lot before I go to every race to try and get a feel for the racetrack. It’s so realistic. It’s cool how the changes can really relate to real racecars..and it’s fun. I go and race the guys on the internet and run a normal or hosted race and just have a good time with it.
2009 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Rookie of the Year, 2007 NASCAR Busch East Series Champion
The iRacing simulator is about as real world as you can get when it comes to virtual racing. It’s a great tool to refresh your memory before going into a race weekend or to learn the new layout of a track. The graphics and the handling are by far the best I have seen out of any simulation program. And when I’m not home, I can bet my son, Sebastian, is on it racing someone from somewhere around the world.
Juan Pablo Montoya
NASCAR Sprint Cup Driver
I spent time on Road America where they had an open practice. It was really cool. There were about 60 guys and it was just like a real practice session. One of the guys sent a set-up over digitally and we put that in and talked to him a little bit and followed him around the track. It really helps, I think. … I am relying on that iRacing stuff to get me up to speed in a situation like that.
NASCAR Sprint Cup Driver, July 2011
iRacing.com allows people of all ages and experiences to race on an even playing field while learning a lot about driving techniques and car control along the way. There is no doubt that iRacing.com has helped improve my driving skills and race preparation.
NASCAR Sprint Cup Driver
All the tracks on iRacing are spot on. If you practice iRacing on a track you’ve never driven before, you will know that track when you drive it in a real car. Plus you’re racing against real people on iRacing. The other day I passed a guy at Lanier Speedway in a Legends race and he came on the voice chat and said, ‘Is that you Will? It’s me, Oriol [Servia].’ When I told him it was me, Oriol said, ‘If I’d known that, I wouldn’t have let you past so easily!
It’s also a lot of fun. There’s huge variety of different cars and tracks, from short tracks and speedways to the great road courses; Legends, Formula One, Solstice, MX5, IndyCar, Sprint Cup . . . the diversity of different styles of racing is fantastic.
eam Penske driver and winner of the inaugural Mario Andretti Trophy as the road course champion of the 2010 IZOD IndyCar Series
Accuracy is the most important thing. In the iRacing simulation, the corner spacing and radii are exactly right. Bumps, camber changes, curbing, changes in surface all have an influence on the optimal line, and iRacing has that level of detail. It’s great for learning tracks and cars, but even if you already know a track, you can refresh yourself, so you’re not spending the first session getting up to speed. You can attack straight away.
F1 and Indy Car Driver
The iRacing.com simulation is far and away the most realistic driving simulation I’ve ever seen. The graphics are stunning, the tracks look virtually identical to the real thing, and the cars move and react in a way that will train you to be a better, smoother driver. I am addicted!
2009 & 2007 GRAND-AM Rolex Series Daytona Prototype Champion
I really enjoy playing iRacing when I am at home in Lake Havasu City, Arizona. I don’t live close to any race tracks or even Go-Kart tracks that I would normally use to keep fresh between races. Now that I have signed up for racing I am so amazed how realistic it is and how accurate the cars and tracks are to real racing. It has definitely helped me keep my skills sharp and ready for upcoming races during my race season. I have found iRacing to be so effective that I decided to have my 2 boys use iRacing instead of Go-Karts especially during the hot summer months in Arizona. Me and my boys really enjoy spending time racing on iRacing every chance we get.
GRAND-AM Driver and Former Indycar Driver
I actually met David Kaemmer several years ago when he was with Papyrus. I truly believe he is the best in the business when it comes to racing simulations. I’m really impressed with the iRacing format. It helps develop self-discipline in your racing.
2000 NASCAR Sprint Cup Champion
Regardless of what you drive, for real-world racers this is a tool. It’s dead on. The bumps, the elevation changes, how you drive the track – it’s dead on.
At Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, Turn 6 is for me the toughest corner because it is so fast and so edgy. And in the sim it feels exactly the same as in real life; you kind of hold your breath and hope you come out the other end.
NASCAR Sprint Cup Driver
iRacing.com for me is simply the best of both worlds. Any serious sim racer knows that Dave Kaemmer has always been on the leading edge of sim racing and that is why anytime you log onto iRacing.com, there is a good chance you will be racing against some of the best professional race car drivers in the real world. Trust me, there is no sim site more realistic, with the quality of online racing ,and more importantly the ease of use than iRacing.
I race on iRacing.com because I know that whenever I want to race with the best real racecar drivers and the best sim racers in the world, iRacing.com is the only place to find that. You will not find any sim racing site with tracks and cars more realistic than here on iRacing and absolutely no sim site that is as easy to navigate as iRacing. Bottom line, if this is where the professionals race to stay good, don’t you think you should as well?
NAPA NHRA Funny Car Driver
Today, more than ever, it’s important to be competitive right out of the box. iRacing.com gives me that edge by being able to prepare before I arrive at the track. The cars and tracks are amazingly accurate! On the flip side, it’s simply a blast to race online against friends, fans and drivers from all over the world. There is nothing out there like iRacing.com. Period!
NASCAR Sprint Cup Driver
I am very impressed with the realism of the iRacing.com online racing simulation. Like many of the other Izod IndyCar Series Drivers, I will be using iRacing.com to get to know these tracks better, before I even get out on the actual track. Plus it’s a lot of fun at the same time!
IZOD IndyCar® Driver
iRacing.com is the best racing simulator hands down. Not only for the accuracy of the laser scanned tracks and cars, but also anyone can sign up and be racing against professional drivers from across the world who like me, use iRacing as a tool to improve driving skills. I spend as much time as possible on iRacing. Not only does it have a lot of use for race preparation and practice, it’s a lot of fun!
Recently, I’ve started working on iRacing’s V8 Supercar with their new tire model and data acquisition program to actually overlay data from the iRacing V8 compared to my real V8 at Phillip Island. Unbelievable. The new tire model has such huge potential and is already a massive step forward for iRacing. Come take us on!
Shane van Gisbergen
V8 Supercar Driver
I really enjoy driving on iRacing.com, it is great fun and a great product. I am getting my friends going on it because I know they will love it as well. The selection of cars and tracks is great and incredibly realistic.
IndyCar Driver and past Formula 1 and NASCAR Sprint Cup Driver
Between USAC and NASCAR, I’ve been fortunate enough to drive on a lot of great tracks, but iRacing is perfect at filling in the gaps on some places I’ve never been and helping me understand the nuances of the tracks in the NASCAR Nationwide Series. Having this in your house can turn any day into a test day, plus it’s always fun to compete against other sim racers from around the world.
NASCAR Nationwide Series Driver
You develop reference points around the track on iRacing and when you get to the real track they are the same. For sure it will accelerate my learning process this year at the tracks I’ve never been to – Lime Rock, Mosport and Road Atlanta – so I’m definitely going to be using iRacing for that.
Plus I’ve always enjoyed gaming, so I’m having a lot of fun with that. I’m driving for Jaguar this year with Bruno Junqueira and Oriol Servia and we are organizing something so we can have some iRacing competition between us.
Cristiano da Matta
2002 CART champion, Toyota F1 2003-2004, RSR Jaguar 2011 ALMS
Having been involved in the development of the Williams F1 simulator from its early days I know how important it is in a simulator to drive around accurately recreated laser scanned tracks, not only from a driver learning and familiarization perspective, but also as an engineering tool.
After helping iRacing develop their Williams-Toyota FW31 car model I know how much detail that went into recreating the virtual car, from set up options, car handling feel to a detailed dash display. With proper support for a three screen set-up, using ATLAS Express to analyse data from laps, accurate track and car models this all makes iRacing the only sim that I can play at home that comes close to the level of detail we have in the Williams F1 simulator.
Simulator Engineer, Williams F1
Virtual Racing is the obliged future of real racing, it is the only way to handle and master the huge pressure from cost containment, limited track time, number of design options.
Above these all, it stands the human factor. Drivers have to drive the car at best in all conditions and have to be prepared for that: the interaction with the racing car is the most efficient area where to gain lap time performance.
There are so many incredible opportunities for Dallara, being a world wide racing car and high performance road car manufacturer, to improve its own products, designs and engineering activities through a strong cooperation with iRacing. I am very excited about that.
But this is not enough to describe it: I am very excited about the partnership with I-racing people who I personally know and trust as I am convinced that people are the ultimate competitive advantage for every company.
Head of R&D and US Racing Business Leader, Dallara Automobili
The iRacing sim has been beneficial for me in my transition to full-time Stock Car racing. After competing on dirt tracks, I now am seeing big pavement tracks for the first time, but because of iRacing, I’m familiar with my surroundings before I ever turn a real-life lap. It doesn’t hurt that iRacing is fun and addictive either. When I’m not at the track or in the shop, this is one of the best ways to bring a little fun into my day.
NASCAR Nationwide Driver
iRacing is good training. It’s good to be able to race against other good drivers online. It brings you the kind of pressure you can have on a race weekend when you race against real people. It’s the same as the real world where you only get chance: if you crash, you’re done! Just like real.
Also the car models are very close to reality, and the tracks are very, very close to reality as well. So it’s a good training device for us drivers. I use the Formula One car mostly because its downforce level is very close to the prototype cars, but I love the IndyCar also because it’s the kind of racing that I love. And I also race NASCAR a few times because it’s good fun.
2010 American Le Mans Series LMP co-champion
Being a rookie in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck series last year, I used iRacing to help me learn the new racetracks. It was amazing how accurate the iRacing sim was – not only the layout of the track but also the track surface and the signage, which is so critical for landmarks in the real world and makes a huge difference in how helpful the sim can be. Even the feel and handling of the truck was right. iRacing has done an amazing job at modeling these things down to the smallest detail. Not to mention racing on the sim is just plain fun!
2008 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Rookie of the Year
Formula One teams have made increasing use of simulation technology over the past several years. Now, iRacing.com is bringing the same benefits to everyone else in motorsport. It’s real seat time without the cost of taking the racecar to the track. In the next few years, everyone will be using simulation to prepare for their races; the teams that adopt the technology first will have a huge advantage.
2003 American Le Mans Series LMP675 Champion
iRacing.com is the number one racing simulation out there. Every track on here has been perfectly modeled, from every bump to every surface change; it challenges the driver to adjust their driving style to suit each individual situation, as you would have to in real world racing. It is also great for learning new tracks or to serve as a refresher, and these days, getting up to speed right out of the box in the first session is huge, and iRacing helps you do that.
GRAND-AM GT Road Racer
iRacing.com is a perfect illustration of the convergence in the fun of gaming with the exactness of simulation. With an unwavering dedication to simulation accuracy, iRacing has created the easiest to obtain training tool for any level driver with qualities comparable to simulations from the highest levels of motorsport. These same attributes of hi-fidelity, realism, and authenticity, however, also consistently maximize the fun factor that anyone can get from competing in the iRacing.com virtual world.
Sean Patrick MacDonald
Co-Founder / Chief Technology Officer, SimCraft
The iRacing sim is equally beneficial to a driver who’s brand new to the sport or someone with 20 years experience. A new driver can learn all the right skills and avoid picking up bad habits. For somebody with experience, you can reconfirm your feel for a particular track and hone your skills. Either way, you can get prepared without all the cost of going to the track and running the real cars.
1994 NASCAR Busch Grand National Champion
… online track time is very valuable, and I’m saving a ton on tires
Grand Am GT Class Team Owner & Driver, Banner Racing
iRacing has no competition, its the closest you can get to the real thing, its just such an accurate representation! I wouldn’t waste my time on anything else out there, its won’t even be in the same league as iRacing, the tracks are inch perfect to the real thing, and the cars behave so realistically, and you race against real people which is so much fun! I use iRacing a lot to learn a new circuit, or even if I’m returning to a track I haven’t driven in a year, it always helps me start the first session of the weekend off strong.
Firestone Indy Lights Driver, 2007 McLaren Autosport young driver Award Winner.
For real drivers, iRacing.com is a tool, not a toy. They’ve done such an amazing job of digitally re-creating the Star Mazda race car and the tracks we race on that you can save several laps of expensive track time by re-familiarizing yourself through the iRacing service; you can pick up right where you left off last time you actually raced on that track.
Star Mazda Championship Driver
iRacing is always fun for me! There is a sense of realism while driving any car on iracing that is really enjoyable. The accuracy of the tracks is also really helpful when getting ready for a race. Racing online with a bunch of people is always exciting and it never gets old!
2010 Star Mazda Series Champion
I feel like there were so many things I’ve learned from competitive sim racing that put me ahead of a lot of other drivers out there. iRacing certainly isn’t only useful for learning tracks, but even for just knowing how to race smart, thinking ahead, blocking everything out of your mind and doing what needs to be done to win the race. … I think people will start to learn that training on the simulators is really worth a lot more than they initially thought.
2009 iRacing VW Jetta TDi champion; 2010 SCCA Pro Racing VW Jetta TDi Series Rookie of the Year
I believe that iRacing is the best motorsports simulation out. The tracks are spot on, right down to the bumps, and the cars react just like the real thing. I used it during the Grand-Am weekend at Daytona after one of the Koni Challenge practices, and I learned some things I missed in the session. The price of iRacing is cheap for the amount of seat time you get — and for the amount of fun you will have. Best of all, you get to race against some of the best racecar drivers in the world on iRacing. There’s nothing better than being able to run with and learn from the best.
2008 Ford Racing Mustang Challenge Champion
“As a professional race driver and amateur sim racer I can honestly say that iRacing is unmatched as a sim. It has literally become my home test track! For people looking to experience the thrill of competitive auto racing without the expense of the real thing, iRacing is the place to be.
Pro Driver in the GRAND-AM Rolex Series and Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge
I first joined the iRacing community two years ago. Since then I am on iRacing on a near daily basis when I am home. There are several advantages that I apply to my real life racing from iRacing. One of my favorites is how identical the laser scanned race tracks look and feel. I make multiple laps on the tracks I have never been to before and when I actually show up and race them in real life, it feels like I have been there a hundred times. It also helps to keep the rust off by simulating real life race situations by racing with such a wide variety of great drivers. And on top of all that…it’s plain out fun!
United Auto Racing Association-Rookie of the Year, NASCAR Nationwide Series Driver, NASCAR K&N East Series Driver
As the best racing drivers can attest, motorsports simulations are a very real training tool, and iRacing.com has developed an outstanding system not only for highly-paid professionals, but for the people who race every weekend across the country in SCCA events. In addition to being an outstanding training tool, iRacing provides close, organized racing that any current or potential driver can be a part of regardless of the time of day, the weather conditions outside or if you even have a race car in your garage. Whether you want to work on a particular track or just get in some additional racing, iRacing is something every racer should have.
Driving the perfect lap is all about executing a plan for that lap. The iRacing simulation is so accurate, you can develop and master that plan at a fraction of the cost of trying to do it in a real car. When you do arrive at the track after practicing on iRacing, you have all your references and you are already up to speed.
Professional Driving/Racing Coach / former Skip Barber Racing School Chief Instructor
With the championship on the line, I used the iRacing.com simulation to prepare for the KONI Challenge finale at VIR, where I hadn’t raced for a couple of years. The vehicle dynamics are spot on. You have to be precise because the car behaves like a real racecar. Even without physically experiencing the g-forces, I could actually sense the rotation and load transfer as if I were in the real car.
2007 Grand-Am Koni Challenge Street Tuner Class Champion
List as of May 2010
Dale Earnhardt, Jr.
Martin Truex, Jr.
NASCAR Nationwide Series
NASCAR Camping World Truck Series
NASCAR Camping World East
Jack Roush Jr
SCCA MX-5 Cup
NASCAR Canadian Tire Series
Castrol Canadian Touring Cars
USAR Pro Cup
British Formula Ford
Dutch Supercar Challenge
Andre de Vries
John Paul Jones