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Rapido

Introduction to iRacing and Sim Hardware

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Hi All,

 

Quickly to introduce myself, my name is Tom Ellison and I am the co-founder of HJ Motorsport, an iRacing online endurance team that made the jump into real life ChampCar racing in 2017. Doc reached out to me recently to help the ChampCar team establish the inaugural season of the ChampCar Sim Series, and all of us are thrilled to be helping out in exposing more drivers to Simracing. Most of us got our start online and we truly believed it made us better and safer drivers when we transitioned to real world endurance racing. 

 

I have created this forum thread to provide a centralised recourse for information about iRacing and the associated hardware requirements so that we can help answer any questions and encourage interested ChampCar racers to take the plunge and enjoy virtual competition.

 

iRacing

 

iRacing is a subscription-based racing simulation that is considered the most realistic racing simulation online today. All sessions, practice or race, are hosted online by iRacing servers, and it offers a large online player base and multiple series (road, oval, and dirt) in which to compete in structured championships. In addition to the "official" series, many leagues are hosted by members to provide specific racing experiences. It is one of these that Doc and I are hosting for the 2018 ChampCar Sim Series. You can view the league here

 

The iRacing service requires a monthly subscription. Included in the base level membership are 15 cars and 14 tracks. Additional cars and track licenses can be purchased and downloaded for a one time fee. Most of the tracks used in the 2018 ChampCar Sim Series are paid content, but both cars are included in the base membership. iRacing frequently runs promotional codes for new members, I will updated these below as they change so that interested new racers can always get the best deal.

 

Current New Member Deals

 

PR-GRIPTV

3 months plus Ford GT for $12 for new members

 

PR-V8SCOPS2017

3 months for $5, new members only

 

Simracing Hardware

 

Racing hardware for your home PC is a constantly evolving technology, and some of the high end rigs are truly impressive. However, there are options available for any budget and desire, and if you have any questions about your best options then please ask and we will try and help you out. Whilst iRacing can be played with a keyboard or console controller, it is highly recommended to get at least an entry level wheel-and-pedal set as a starting point. 

 

Good brands for widely available hardware are Logitech or Thrustmaster. The Logitech G29 is generally accepted as the best compromise for quality/cost for starting out in the iRacing scene. From there you can start to upgrade hardware to whatever degree your ambition desires, up to dedicated multi-screen rigs with direct drive force feedback wheels.

 

Whatever your questions, please raise them in this thread so that we can help you out and get you involved!

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Guess I have to make an account and BS in here now, eh Tom?

Devon Peters - HughJass team member online and in real life. I'll try and help out with any questions I can. Been doing iRacing for a few years now and I found it really served me well at my first ever performance driving experience at VIR for the 24hr. I did that stint in the rain from 2-4 am and held my own. 

Anyways, I'll be keeping an eye on the thread. Looking forward to seeing you all on the virtual track!

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I am Alex Albert, the other co-founder of HJ Motorsport and have been sim racing since 1994 and ChampCar at the VIR races in 2017.  I mostly lurk on here but this is something I know about and want to help however I can.  I think iRacing is great, it was worth every dollar spent to get me prepared for the track.  I was able to get up to speed with about 30 minutes of getting on track for my first ever laps during green flag racing at the VIR South 12.  I know that iRacing saved me thousands of dollars in repair expenses across 36 34.5 hours of racing in 2017.  Drivers of my car had little to no real life experience prior to this season but were able to make the split second decisions when needed, like when a car would spin ahead or when being shoved wide in the braking zone.  I almost cleaned out the armco at start finish during practice before the 24 in the pouring rain when I hit a puddle, if it were not for being in those situations a thousand times before in the virtual world, things very likely would have ended differently.  

 

I have tried all manner of hardware for iRacing, the good stuff is expensive but cheaper than real car parts.  If you are just getting started, I agree with Tom that Logitech is the best bang for the buck.  If you have been iRacing before and want stronger and more detailed force feedback (FFB), get a direct drive wheel; either a DIY kit using an industrial servo or one of the commercial units.  If you want an upgrade on brakes find something load cell, I am using Fanatec now but want to get the PT-2 from ProtoSimTech.  The load cell works with pressure instead of distance and work much more like the real thing than a potentiometer based pedal.  I like triple monitors more than VR as it is so hard to drink beer with that thing on, but it is really cool and the best solution for the guy without much space.  Once you have all that stuff, I would add a H pattern shifter much more realistic and fun than flappy paddles.

 

I am a big fan of the iRacing service and a big fan of ChumpCar and want to help you guys however we can.

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6 hours ago, Hugh Jass said:

I am a big fan of the iRacing service and a big fan of ChumpCar ChampCar and want to help you guys however we can.

FTFY. Thanks for the support; I (and the rest of the ChampCar) staff really appreciate the support. You all have been amazing!!!

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The hardware is the easy part.

how about the Internet connection?
some of us are very rural and are limited to cellular connections. 
 

My work connection with the University of Virginia is fairly quick, with a low ping rate. Unfortunately I am retiring from my position in the next few weeks to go work full time with ChampCar.
4ms ping, 900+ up and 900+ down.
 

What are the absolute minimum dial up speeds that can be used to race? 

 

 

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7 hours ago, Hugh Jass said:

If you have been iRacing before and want stronger and more detailed force feedback (FFB), get a direct drive wheel; either a DIY kit using an industrial servo or one of the commercial units.

 

Um, whats this you say about DIY direct drive wheels?  I've been using a G27 but was looking at eventually upgrading to a Fanatec.  I'd love to know more about building one.  For those starting out with the Logitech, make sure you take the time to set up the wheels/pedals.  You can find guides online that will help with the correct settings and its a night/day difference.  With the logitech pedals, an upgraded spring in the brake pedal will transform them into something usable.  Some guys buy springs from places like GTeye, but I just purchased a cheap spring online and fit it to the brake pedal (not sure how similar the newer G29/920 sets are).  I also suggest building or buying some sort of rig to secure the wheel/pedals, nothing more frustrating than the hardware moving around when you're trying to catch that tank slapper.

 

I've been iRacing for about 5 years now (real racing about 7), and also found its helped me a ton with not only track configurations, but how/where to find speed, how to deal with traffic/set up passes as well as better ways to try and recover the car w/o hitting things when you overcook it or go off.

 

Looking forward to the Champ league.

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Found this...

 

Quote

Speed matters fairly little for online gaming of any type, as they rarely transmit much data. Over the course of a 2 hour practice session earlier today with about 20 other cars on track iRacing sent 8MB and received 12MB. What is important is your latency (ping) and the quality (how many packets are lost). Both will be determined by the type of connection you have, as well as your ISP, and all the intermediate networks your data crosses before it reaches iRacing's server. DSL, cable, and fiber generally have fairly good latency and quality, so any will generally work well.

I have Verizon FiOS and typically have around 50ms to the US server, 100ms to the Euro server, and 250-400ms to the Australian server. Generally anything under 150-200ms is acceptable 200-300 is not ideal but you can deal with it, at least on road, and 350-400+ can be quite difficult. Dialup can have hit and miss latency, sometimes it is very good, others it is poor. Satellite is specifically unsupported because it will always have very long latency, as much as a second or two in some cases, though often 500-750ms. Cellular services, such as 3G and 4G are usually not a good choice, though 4G connections can often have decent latency.

The quality of service is also important because if too much information is lost, the server and you cannot reliably communicate, and when cars are only a few feet apart, missing throttle, braking, or steering inputs can have disastrous consequences. Again, DSL, cable, and fiber connections typically do fairly well at getting all their packets to the destination intact, so any will generally be acceptable. Fiber, specifically Fiber to the home (FTTH) typically have the best quality as they are the most resistant to interference, though DSL and cable are usually sufficient as well. Dialup can sometimes have serious issues with quality, as the system was designed for analog voice communications, which is fairly tolerant of interference and other noise on the line, while the modems used by computers are decidedly less so. Satellite can also have issues with quality, particularly in poor weather or other conditions which degrade satellite communications. 3G and 4G can also have problems with quality, due to interference and the large number of devices sharing the same band.

Also, your racing computer will ideally be wired to your router, as wireless routers usually introduce slightly more latency as well as increasing the risk of dropping packets, particularly if you are in an area with a lot of wireless networks, such as an apartment building, multi-family housing, townhomes, condos, or even closely spaced suburban homes. 2.4GHz wireless networks are also vulnerable to interference from older cordless telephones and microwave ovens, with 5GHz networks much less so.

 

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Interested in what anyone would say about the bare bones computer required to practice the couple tracks we run each year?  The wheel and subscription/add-ons are fairly straight forward but trying to figure out how much I need to invest on the computer side of things.  Yes this is a christmas gift idea so having exact specs to hand to significant other/family members is important.  Unless of course my bottom end laptop will run it in which case time for a wheel/pedal upgrade!

 

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It is so hard for me to get behind iRacing's subscription based service along with paid content.

 

I can see a subscription based service where all content is available

I can see a free-to-play service where all content is paid

I miss the purchase once and get a complete game days

 

Seems like they are double dipping, and what do you get for your subscription anyways...  Have they updated the game or added any free content lately?

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Just now, Huggy said:

I miss the purchase once and get a complete game days

 

Me too. 

 

Forza Motorsports was how I got started in road racing. That game was fantastic. 

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@Huggy - the last new car released was the Ferrari 488 GT3, a couple of months ago. Upcoming releases/updates include: Global Rallycross (which will be a free car/track), a new LMP1 car (anticipated Spring 2018), and day/night transitions for endurance racing (expected mid-2018).

 

I guess the subscription business model works for them as it guarantees a certain fixed cash flow to fund the development of new products. It's expensive in absolute simulation terms, but compared to actual track time then it's a bargain.

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10 minutes ago, BollingerChump said:

Interested in what anyone would say about the bare bones computer required to practice the couple tracks we run each year?  The wheel and subscription/add-ons are fairly straight forward but trying to figure out how much I need to invest on the computer side of things.  Yes this is a christmas gift idea so having exact specs to hand to significant other/family members is important.  Unless of course my bottom end laptop will run it in which case time for a wheel/pedal upgrade!

 

 

I'm interested in this as well.  I can see the hardware requirements on the website, but to build to that is in the $500-700 range (last time I checked).  Are there cheaper options that don't sacrifice performance?

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Personal anecdote here:

 

I'm running iRacing on a prebuilt Dell Inspiron 3650 with a GTX 1050 ti graphics card that I installed around 6 months ago.  It runs everything in sim on the equivalent of "High" graphics quite well and can handle streaming at the same time.  I use a Logitech G27 wheel that is as it was when it came out of the box.  There are some mods I'd like to get, brake springs specifically, but once you adapt to the pedals, you figure out how to drive with it.  All in, I probably have about $700 invested in hardware.

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1 hour ago, Rapido said:

@Huggy - the last new car released was the Ferrari 488 GT3, a couple of months ago.

 

I think you missed the point, as that wasnt a free car (unless my googlefu is off, most gaming websites are blocked at work)

 

$200 in "tracks" to complete a game that costs $100 a year.. 

 

The "iracing" simulation model was derived from papyrus way back when, so its not as "groundbreaking" as everyone says.  They have hogwashed the sim community to paying these exorbitant prices when you can buy complete games with equal or better physics for $50

 

 

Edit:

 

I get it - Im grumpy.  Dont get me started on MY laps Transponders, Starbucks Coffee, or anything else.  Also, get off my lawn.  

 

Sorry, Carry on with your fun.

Edited by Huggy
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13 minutes ago, Huggy said:

 

I think you missed the point, as that wasnt a free car (unless my googlefu is off, most gaming websites are blocked at work)

 

$200 in "tracks" to complete a game that costs $100 a year.. 

 

The "iracing" simulation model was derived from papyrus way back when, so its not as "groundbreaking" as everyone says.  They have hogwashed the sim community to paying these exorbitant prices when you can buy complete games with equal or better physics for $50

I think you are missing the point of iRacing. Maybe you can get a similar experience of driving a car on a track in a $50 game, but are you getting legitimate competition out of it? I would say it's the equivalent of an HPDE vs a race.

 

Also, how many $50 games have you bought since this papyrus model came out? At least with the subscription model you don't have to buy more titles year after year. 

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Yes they do get you “hooked” with the subscription based biz model, BUT hopefully that incentivizes them to keep upping their game (no pun intended).

 

How much does it cost to purchase Nurburgring? I can only imagine the upfront investment in mapping and creating that entire course, that is pretty insane.

 

All in all, given the fact that it’s a viable training tool and provides some entertainment to boot, I think it’s a good value.

 

Next time I buy a set of tires, I’ll buy Maxxis brand and save the 100 bucks off of Star Specs :D

 

I'd also like to know who the head of tech is for the iRacing league to keep all of these SIM TCV's in spec :lol:

 

Edited by pintodave
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@Huggy apologies if I missed your initial point. To answer that question, the last piece of free content was the Lanier dirt track configuration, released a couple of months ago. Prior to that it was the Dirt rollout as a whole, two free cars and two free tracks, which seemed to be positively received by the community.

 

Further to the point of @ABR-Glen, the subscription pricing model as it is enables iRacing to offer constant support for the hosted and official championships, as well as constantly develop the underlying simulation features, which are then rolled out with no additional cost (physics updates, graphical improvements etc.). The cost of new cars and tracks is due to the licensing demands of the manufacturers and owners, in the same way that Forza DLC has additional cost when they offer new content. It is still expensive but compared to buying new versions of comparable games each year, and their associated additional contents, then the comparative costs are closer than it may initially seem.

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Its a good time of year to build since the newer hardware gets released and you can find deals on the stuff that's not "latest and greatest".  I usually shop at newegg.com and sometimes tigerdirect.com.  They also have daily deals you can sometimes take advantage of.

 

Maybe some other guys would like to comment on actual product here.

 

You will need (what I bought/use):

Case (https://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811553019)

Motherboard (https://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813128869)

Processor/chip (https://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819117563)

RAM (https://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820231884)

Video Card (I'm using a mid-level one I picked up used from a friend, figure $150 for a good entry/mid-level video card)

Power Supply (500w+)

Hard drive(s) (SSD for operating system, disc for bulk storage is how set mine up)

Operating system (win10)

Monitor: (Dell 24")

Wheel: Logitech G27 (bought used)

Pedals: Logitech G27 (used, brake spring modded)

 

Also, I built a rig out of an old desk to bolt the wheel/pedals to and mounted a seat slider and used Sparco race seat to it.  After 4 years I got tired of sitting in a swivel desk chair and having my pedals propped against a wall.

 

*edit, this is in no way meant to be *minimum* spec.  This was after using an off the shelf desktop with included video card for a few years.  When I built this box, I wanted to upgrade the card/power supply and that wasn't possible with the desktop I was using.

Edited by Bremsen

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Also to this point on the subscription model, it allows us to create this series league hosting for a very reasonable cost.

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1 hour ago, smithk1 said:

Personal anecdote here:

 

I'm running iRacing on a prebuilt Dell Inspiron 3650 with a GTX 1050 ti graphics card that I installed around 6 months ago.  It runs everything in sim on the equivalent of "High" graphics quite well and can handle streaming at the same time.  I use a Logitech G27 wheel that is as it was when it came out of the box.  There are some mods I'd like to get, brake springs specifically, but once you adapt to the pedals, you figure out how to drive with it.  All in, I probably have about $700 invested in hardware.


Any "minimum" you can get away with?  I know the iracing website lists the specs but as mentioned above just to build that yourself its $400+.  If I can I'd like to use some of the computing equipment I have on hand.  I like graphics and all but not going to invest in that much computer just to play this game.  Interested in iRacing for having the opportunity for myself and other team members test out tracks we are going to go race so we aren't totally clueless when we hit the track as much as anything else.  I know, not what most are here for.

 

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2 minutes ago, BollingerChump said:


Any "minimum" you can get away with?  I know the iracing website lists the specs but as mentioned above just to build that yourself its $400+.  If I can I'd like to use some of the computing equipment I have on hand.  I like graphics and all but not going to invest in that much computer just to play this game.  Interested in iRacing for having the opportunity for myself and other team members test out tracks we are going to go race so we aren't totally clueless when we hit the track as much as anything else.  I know, not what most are here for.

 

 

I ran iRacing on a $400 laptop with Intel integrated graphics prior to buying this desktop.  I ran minimal graphical details (no stands, no pit equipment), but it was still pretty good.  I'll see if I can track down the make and model to get you specifics, but this laptop wasn't anything special.

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12 minutes ago, Bremsen said:

After 4 years I got tired of sitting in a swivel desk chair and having my pedals propped against a wall.

 

 

I'm sorry you feel this way about the truly superior sim setup.  Only the best use swivel desk chairs. :lol:

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