I have heard sim racers ask themselves and even other racers, when they should move on to iRacing. They are concerned that they are not good enough, they don’t feel confident or don’t have the experience they believe iRacing needs or even deserves.
Is iRacing for you?
The first question you need to ask your self is, if iRacing really is a sim for you. Although it arguably is the best sim racing experience available, it also requires a lot from you. It only really is good, if you truly immerse yourself into it, stick to a few cars or series, and really learn those.
If you’d rather jump from one car to an other, race any random event or track, then iRacing might be too monotone for you. Optimally, you’d stick to one or two series, in preferably one or two different cars. These series run on the same track for a week at at time, so you’ll be racing a lot of practice laps and sessions in the same car and track combination, over and over again.
There’s the price
If you settle on the fact that iRacing is different than many of the other sims around, you need to figure out if you are willing to pay the price for it. iRacing is not cheap. Also it is a long term commitment. Besides the monthly fee, you also need to buy a lot of content. Most of the cars and tracks are paid content, and although you can start with some of the free content, you’ll quickly need to invest in tracks and cars that are used in the series you’ll join.
You will need to keep paying the monthly fee, to be able to use the content that you have bought, and many users don’t like this model. That said, iRacing is currently the only platform where you can sign up to a race at any time of the day, and be put into a session that is more or less equally skilled as you, and are equally serious about racing as you.
Personally, i’d much rather pay for this, than have to keep up with a private league, and race when they have the time, on a track that they decide, in cars that they want.
Besides the sim itself, most of us also spend money or car setups, support apps and software as well as maybe an occasional livery design. These are not at all necessary, but good to have. Especially the setups can save you a lot of time. There are some free alternatives though. A lot of great software, like Crew Chief, Digital race Engineer, Racelab Apps are free too.
Your skill is not what decides if you are ready for iRacing or not. If you feel ready to commit to a more serious platform, and take a more career like approach to your sim racing, you are ready to start your iRacing adventure!
iRacing is perfect for beginners, and has a build in progress that will force you through cars and series that teach you not only the basics of driving, but also the way races work. The community is very helpful, as long as you are willing to learn.
Starting your iRacing adventure early on, might even be bettern than starting on games like Forza, GT Sport or Project Cars, as you may get some bad habits out of racing on arcade racers.
Although racelines and fast repairs are available on iRacing too, they are never really used. Damage in iRacing is real and that takes some getting used to. Repairs can some times take several hours to fix (yeah.. real life hours!) if they can be fixed at all. Even if you have damage fixed, you won’t be able to drive as fast as a car that has not had damage. You learn to be very careful on track, and tend to be more willing to offer a position, to avoid damage or even contact. You can only race in cockpit view and you can not look back like in most racing games. These things can be hard to swallow if you have been racing other games a lot before you switch to iRacing.
Do it (or don’t)
No one can really tell you if you should make the jump to iRacing besides you. If you feel serious about your virtual racing, and want to run it like a sport instead of a game, I think you should go for it! It is a different way of racing, compared to other games, but fr me, it is a lot of fun, and a way of life really!