There’s a lot of excitement as iRacing confirm rain conditions could arrive in 2021 for the sim racing service. The reveal was made by Senior Vice President and Executive Producer Greg Hill, in an interview during live coverage of the 4 Hours of Charlotte Motor Speedway Benefiting National Multiple Sclerosis Society.
Hill was asked by the community if he could give an ETA on rain, and admitted it’s at the point that the entire team is working on it, including the dynamic track engineer. They’re working very hard to have something operational by the end of the year, but aren’t ready to say whether it’s likely to become available to end users by then.
The iRacing team have been working on bringing new weather conditions for around a year, and they’ve also officially released one of the images shown in the stream.
As as example of the quest for accuracy, the weather system will model clouds which may only be covering one part of a circuit. So you may have rain on the main straight, and sunshine on the back part of a track. Luckily they’re also starting to work on crew and UI weather warnings, so you’ll have some idea of what to expect around the next corner.
Hill went on to later reveal an early iteration of the weather system which iRacing will be using. And it will be based on authenticity, by pulling local circuit weather data to create a statistical model for every track throughout the year, with effects based on the physics and scientific principles that should result. And there will also be an option to create your own weather scenarios for custom hosted events, or use the more random statistical elements.
Combined with the laser scanned surfaces, the rain water should all collect in the realistic locations where you would see puddles forming. And that extends to installing drains on the iRacing circuits in the same positions as they exist in real life, and calculating the amount of absorption they provide for each type of drainage system.
In demonstrating the new UV map applied to cars for rain drops to display on vehicles, another feature was also revealed with tone mapping for more realistic light effects.
Obviously it’s already looking impressive, but probably most of the excitement and anticipation is around how the cars will handle on wet tracks, and where that will impact on your driving as well as race strategy. Treaded tyres are being created for all cars which need them, with a physics model to channel the water through the treads, providing an accurate contact patch, and temperature effects if you cool your tyres by passing through puddles.
Some racing sims do provide changing weather, based on user preferences or even live weather data. But it’s been long anticipated for iRacing, especially due to the large userbase and regular longer endurance events.
You can sign up to iRacing, here (and credit your referral to ORD, which we’d appreciate!). And see all vehicles included in your basic subscription, or what you can access by paying more, in our full official iRacing car list, here.