iRacing, previously iRacing.com is a subscription-based racing simulation released by iRacing.com Motorsport Simulations in 2008. Official races, special events, league races, and practice sessions are all hosted on the service’s servers. The service simulates realistic cars, tracks, and racing events, and enforcing rules of conduct modeled on real auto racing events.
iRacing only allows the use of a realistic cockpit view in official racing, but will allow for other camera views in test sessions or other sessions if the host or organizer allows. Most users use a force feedback steering wheel with gas, brake, and clutch pedals, as well as H-pattern shifters and/or sequential shifters. A gamepad can be used, though it is discouraged and puts the user at a competitive disadvantage. The gameplay is developed to mimic auto racing in as much detail as possible.
When a user begins their iRacing “career,” they start with a Rookie-level license in Oval, Dirt Oval, Road, and Dirt Road categories. In order to advance onto the “D”-level license and beyond, the user must complete a number of races with little to no accidents, off-track incidents, or losses of control. As the user achieves the higher-level licenses, they qualify to compete in different official series.
For the standard official series managed by iRacing, each calendar year is normally divided into four 12-week seasons, with all driving sessions in a series taking place on one track for each week during the 12-week seasons. Drivers can participate in practice, qualifying, license time trials, and race sessions. The week between each season is referred to as “week thirteen”, and has its own set of series which change track each day. During Week 13 drivers cannot complete time-trials, and so cannot add to their licence level. Week 13, in general, has a more relaxed attitude, with an emphasis on fun, rather than competition. Week 13 is often plagued with server issues, as the purpose of the week is for the implementation of software updates. There are also non-standard series, examples of which are the four-week Rookie series, IndyCar, Skip Barber and Grand-Am Premier series, and Pro series. Races that are organized by members do not have to follow any official schedule. The series are divided into two main categories, oval and road, which are further divided into several license level series from Rookie to Pro, and a driver must earn each license to be eligible to participate in official race week sessions at their license level. If not qualified for the correct license for a series, drivers can still participate in practice sessions. Earning a higher license involves both participation in competitions on a driver’s current highest license level and achievement of a minimum safety record. The requirements for advancing and the licenses themselves are category-specific — in other words, a driver has a separate license for road and oval categories.