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  • David Phillips
    Editor And Chief
    David Phillips is a long-time contributor to print and electronic publications in the U.S. and abroad, including Racer, Autosport, AutoWeek, Motor Sport and SPEEDtv.com, oversees the daily updating of news stories and assigns, edits and contributes feature material for inRacingNews.com.
  • David Judson
    Contributor

    29 years old, Dave Judson lives in Mentor, Ohio. Dave has grown up with racing, watching his father win races and championships at the local go-kart track as a youngster and continuing his love of racing while watching NASCAR, Indycar, Formula 1 and sports cars.
    Judson has enjoyed a successful sim-racing career of his own in the IZOD Indycar iRacing Open and Fixed Setup Series. He has race wins to his credits as well as the Division 1 Championship of the Open Series in Season 1 of 2013 and the Overall Championship of the Fixed Series in Season 3 of 2013.
    Dave has a Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration from Cleveland State University and is looking to expand his horizons by writing for inRacingNews.

  • Matt A Kingsbury
    Contributor

    Kingsbury lives in Fairfield, Connecticut where he currently attends Sacred Heart University. He is a fan of any form of racing, from NASCAR to IndyCar, Formula 1, and especially endurance racing. The summer of 2013 saw Kingsbury attend IndyCar's return to Pocono Raceway as well as the ARCA race at Pocono which Corey Lajoie won and got some pictures (including the accompanying mug shot) in Victory Lane thanks to his aunt!

  • Raymond Kingsbury
    Contributor

    Ray Kingsbury is a motorsport enthusiast and full-time university student, born and raised in Connecticut. He started his own racing career in BMX, riding bicycles competitively on the state level. In eight years he claimed the state championship and was ranked nationally before moving away from the sport. This void of activities led him to rediscover sim-racing in the form of NASCAR Heat. After a championship in the game's most competitive league Kingsbury started focusing full-time on his involvement in Live for Speed. There he founded Last Lap Motorsports which today has more than 20 members worldwide.

    When a few Last Lap Motorsports members decided to give iRacing.com a chance to feed their desire for more oval racing, Ray teamed with his brother Matt, Nathan Lamothe and newcomer Jimmie Jones to enter the ETV! Live Team Series and claimed the title after a dominating performance at Watkins Glen. To this day the team continues in both Live for Speed and iRacing.com and Ray still takes much delight in his own sim-racing career. A reporter for his high school newspaper before moving to university, Kingsbury keeps-up his writing activities by contributing to iRacing News.

  • Jeff Jacobs
    Contributor

    Jeff Jacobs started autocrossing with the SCCA in 1990 while a student at the University of Florida. He has competed in the SCCA's National Tour and ProSolo series since 1995, winning a ProSolo National Championship in H-Stock in 2011 driving a 2010 MINI Cooper. Jeff completed his SCCA Club Racing drivers' school in 2012 at Roebling Road in a Spec Miata. He currently writes a column for the SCCA's Northeast Division in SportsCar Magazine and is the Region Executive of the Philadelphia Region SCCA.

    Jeff joined iRacing in October 2012. After starting with the MX-5 and SRF cars, he has been concentrating on the Ford Mustang FR500S, competing in the iRacing.com Mustang Cup series and the Continental Endurance Sports Car Series.

  • Jordan Hightower
    Contributor

    Jordan began sim-racing in 2005 with the NASCAR Racing 2003 Season sim and then joined the iRacing community in June of 2008. He hails from Fort Smith, Arkansas where he is currently enrolled at the University of Arkansas Fort Smith, after which he plans to attend the University of Arkansas to earn his MBA. Although he enjoys watching and playing basketball, most of Jordan's focus is on motorsports, particularly NASCAR: "Anything that burns gas and goes fast, I like."

  • Scott Kelly
    Contributor

    Born and raised in the greater St. Louis, Missouri area, Scott Kelly has had a love for motorsports ever since his father did the right thing by introducing auto racing into his life. No longer able to quench his need for speed by spectating NASCAR races on TV and watching dirt track stars slide around local tracks, Kelly eventually picked-up sim racing in his teens, wheeling cars found in Ratbag Games' "Dirt Track Racing" and "World of Outlaws: Sprint Cars" while also becoming introduced into multiple Papyrus sim-racing series. Joining the iRacing ranks in late 2011, Kelly set his sights on the short track racing he was familiar with, focusing on the sprint car, while also driving the Legends and street stock in multiple iRacing.com leagues.

    Kelly brings not just his enthusiasm for racing to the highest-rated motorsports simulation, but also his B.A. degree in English; he covers the action seen in the iRacing.com Sprint Car Series, while also placing the spotlight on various leagues within the service. Enjoying his start to a career in motorsports journalism, Kelly also doesn't mind visiting victory lane from time-to-time.

  • George Wood
    Contributing Writer
    After beginning his racing career with go-karts at age seven, George then turned wrenches on street stocks until he could finally turn the wheel. Following the successes of his friends and family, George has since retired from real-world racing, where he is now a science and mathematics faculty member for several local community colleges. When George isn't grading laboratory reports or iRacing, he is performing at bluegrass festivals in the Northeast, making fishing lures, playing golf, and rooting for his beloved Baltimore Orioles.
  • Chris Hall
    iRacing.com Series Writer
    Chris Hall has been writing since the nineties and moved into motorsports reporting in 2005, covering series such as ALMS, British GT, FIA GT, Le Mans and 2CV racing for Full Throttle magazine, Motorsport.com, The-Paddock.net, GTGateway.com, L' Endurance and, of course, inRacingNews. During 2008 and 2009, he worked with the RSS Performance Porsche Carrera Cup Team (and former British GT(C) champions) as a data engineer for a variety of drivers and models of 997s.
  • Jason Lofing
    iRacing.com Series Writer
    Jason is 21 years old and was born and raised in Elk Grove. California. A big time NASCAR fan, he hasn’t missed a race on Sunday in years. Lofing is also a huge San Fransisco Giants fan and tries to take in at least a couple games a year. Other than sim racing, his biggest (and far more expensive!) hobby is photography. Although he is rather new to sim racing, Lofing has already accomplished some pretty impressive results, qualifying for the 2011 iRacing Oval Pro Series in Season 1, 2011, winning the inaugural Landon Cassill Qualifying Challenge and finishing runner-up in the second one.
  • Dylan Sharman
    Contributing Writer
    I was born in Adelaide and we moved-out for Angle Vale for a few years until I was about 7 years old, when we moved to the Barossa Valley where I live now. I'm 19 years old and currently traveling back and forth weekly as I'm studying for a Diploma of Furniture Design and Technology.

    I've always had a love for racing as my close family did some racing and we were always out at the local dirt track. I joined iRacing back in 2010 and slowly but surely got the hang of it as this is my first experience with sim racing and am loving it each time I race. I've won two SK Modified titles (almost had three in a row but finished P2 in 2011 S4), an iRacingNews Challenge championship (2012 S1 Mazda) and was also an AustralAsian Intel GT Series Finalist.
  • Katier Scott
    Contributing Writer
    I am a veteran sim racer who first started racing way back in 1993 on the SPRTSIMS section of Compuserve with a league who can trace themselves all the way to the present. Within that league I act as Chief Steward and try to bring the unique viewpoint that this experience gives me into my articles.
    I have a BA (Hons) in Journalism and Editorial design and have been writing for seven years and currently cover the Lotus 79 CTC and Radical series alongside my freelance work. Living in the UK, as well as motorsports I love Photography, Arts and Crafts and reading.
  • David Ifeguni
    Contributing Writer
    I was born in New Haven, Connecticut in 1988 and moved to Midland, Michigan when I was two years old. I stayed there until third grade when I moved to Farmington Hills, Michigan and now I currently live in Naperville, IL where I'm attending Metea Valley High School as a 9th grader. In the past, I have participated in soccer and this year I plan on joining swimming or water polo. My family includes my 15 year old sister, a 7 year old sister and my mom and dad. I have been writing since 6th grade and have participated in many writing contests in my school and have received several awards for writing.
    My fascination for motorsports began when I was nine. The first NASCAR race I watched on TV was the 2009 Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Infineon Raceway, won by Kasey Kahne. My favorite NASCAR drivers are Kyle Busch, Dale Earnhardt Jr, and Jimmie Johnson. I have watched all the races in the NASCAR Sprint Cup, Nationwide and Camping World Truck Series since 2010. I currently have three wins on iRacing, two of them in the Nationwide car at Daytona and one in the Street stocks at Charlotte. My favorite car and type of track on iRacing is the Nationwide Series (B Class) car and superspeedways.

FW31 Envy

by Tony Rickard on September 17th, 2010

If you ever envy motoring journalists who get to drive exotic machinery before it becomes available to the wealthy businessman and footballers (let alone the fact that most of us won’t ever get to drive them), then at least we can console ourselves with the knowledge that a virtual Grand Prix car costs the same as a virtual VW Jetta!

Of course if you are an inRacingNews journalist then you just might get to drive the upcoming Williams FW31 before it is made available to the membership. Feeling envious? You should!

online racingMind you, the car isn’t quite finished. The engineers are completing tweaks to various components including wiring up those little dials on the steering wheel to actually work. The wheel-modders are going to have a field day when this thing is launched and I can’t wait to see what they come up with.

driving games

You can change the FW31’s differential settings with the flick of a switch.

I was always a fan of modern GP sims, right up until Grand Prix Legends was launched (which I thought was an odd choice of era until I drove it). Since then modern GP sims have never really excited me. I have always felt more involved with the low grip, non-aero cars in simulations as the driver involvement can be simulated but the sensations of sheer speed and high grip are harder to convey. Even the good simulators have felt a bit “arcadey,” as if things have simply been speeded up.

So one question when I fired up the Williams for the first time was whether it would just feel like it was in time-acceleration mode. I didn’t get to answer that question at first because what you initially notice is the sound. It’s the best yet in iRacing. Internally it sounds great; externally it manages to almost convey that first time you hear a Grand Prix car in the flesh. I say ‘almost’ because nothing quite prepares you for the sheer brutality of a GP car on full chat, but this is much -  make that much – closer than TV.

screenhunter_10-sep-17-1032Select first, give it some throttle and that brutality extends to driving this car for the first time. It isn’t necessarily the speed at leaving pit lane, nor the wheel spin that impresses as much as how it conveys getting all the power through the drive train to the rear tyres. I found myself gingerly pressing the throttle as I tried to identify just how much the back-end could take.  But it feels controllable and you can instantly relate to those on-board shots where the drivers are feeling for the traction on corner exit and the revs rise and fall. You certainly need to be quick to deal with it but there isn’t the instant spin switch – the driver remains involved.

Of course cornering speeds are higher than anything else in iRacing and yes, you need to be precise, but it feels very involving.  The car may twitch as it loses grip at one end, but with quick correction it’s brought back in line – very much what we see in real Grands Prix. These little errors lose fractions of time and the driver is being made to work, but it never feels impossible.

This is what I love about this car. I am not the fastest driver, especially when it comes to the top-flight, high downforce machines. Yet I feel like I have worked hard driving the Williams on the edge of my ability. With every other modern GP sim since Grand Prix Legends I have felt like I have just been memorizing points on the track to brake, turn in, accelerate, track out; which of course we do in every sim and every car. But the iRacing Williams FW31 adds a new level of fidelity to driving a Grand Prix car in a simulation and manages to convey the sensations of raw power above and beyond simply driving very fast.screenhunter_11-sep-17-1032

Like a kid in a sweet shop I have driven at Silverstone, Virgina International Raceway and Road Atlanta. I even tried Summit Point to compare with a certain Ferrari test track, dipping into the 54s and it was an awesome experience. The feedback when a wheel locks under braking or loses traction under acceleration feels instantaneous and there is a true feeling of man and machine in harmony – even if my harmony is two seconds slower than the next man!

This kind of reminds me of Grand Prix Legends for the opposite reasons. I had little interest in ‘60s Grand Prix racing and yearned for a modern GP title instead. Of course I was hooked when I drove GPL. Since then, modern Grand Prix has done little for me in racing simulations, so the thought of an iRacing GP car wasn’t a great deal for me personally. However, I may be hooked again!

The one plea I would make to iRacing is that ten years ago most Grand Prix Legends races ran at Class D or C race distances and the setup garage was relatively simple compared to that of a modern day Grand Prix car. Making Grand Prix available for the masses is something we can do in sim racing, so a short, fixed setup series to complement the top flight GP series would be fantastic.games driving

GP is back!

27 Comments or Trackbacks

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  1. Name Email

  1. M. Voigt
    September 17th, 2010 at 7:13 pm

    wow, awesome article!

    I cannot wait to mod my own wheel. I’m already drooling. Such great news that the dials/switches on the wheels will function. Oh yes!

  2. Nicolas Bihan
    September 17th, 2010 at 7:24 pm

    Now, you have a new nick name : Lucky Tony :)

    Great news for the steering wheel. Time to invest again ?? :)
    And the sound is good news. Did you test a build with the new sound engine Tony ?

  3. Russell Hodgson
    September 17th, 2010 at 7:29 pm

    That car looks great! Interesting article too. Too bad I only have 2 buttons on my wheel. :(

    [Don't agree with having a fixed setup series though. This is F1! You need to be able to tune the car to your own driving style. (Plus you can bet there will be tons of setups available on the forums.)]

  4. Mertol
    September 17th, 2010 at 7:55 pm

    if they make it fixed setup Im done with iracing

  5. Andrew Stanzl
    September 17th, 2010 at 7:56 pm

    Ahh Lucky Tony, thanks for the write up. Cant wait see…and hear it!

  6. Fabs
    September 17th, 2010 at 8:17 pm

    Awesome article Tony, as always!

    I am not sure if I hate you for having had this experience before me, or if I pat your back and buy you a pint for sharing it!

    Ggrrrr thanks mate

    Fabs

  7. Bill Wright
    September 17th, 2010 at 8:38 pm

    I think the OPTION of a fixed setup race series for this car is a very smart idea.

    There are several cars in iRacing I have not purchased simply because I know I’ll never beat the drivers/teams who spend the time to tweak the setup for each track until I spend some serious time learning how.

    This car gives me the motivation I need to spend the time to learn. BUT…………..until I do learn I would like to have the OPTION to be competitive in a race. Fixed setup does that.

    Now I’ve got to learn how to mod a wheel, too! {;^)

  8. Maracan
    September 17th, 2010 at 8:40 pm

    DEAR GOD please not fixed setup series

  9. M. Voigt
    September 17th, 2010 at 8:43 pm

    I think the few of you are a bit confused…

    They are considering having a series of both:
    Fixed
    and
    Open

    Just like how the Vette series is…. That series seems to be hurt AND improved… Hard to say. You can bet there will be enough people interested in open setup series and there will be plenty of setups available on the forum.

  10. George Kuyumji
    September 17th, 2010 at 8:45 pm

    Cool stuff Tony great Article.

    It was very relieving to read what you think about the steering, I was afraid the steering might be as broken as with the Lotus 79 where 1cm of wheel movement is enough to get you through any corner, the steering in the Lotus is like digital, an ON-OFF Switch. A great disappointment.

    With the upcoming FW31 it seems like the car will actually be steer-able.

  11. Matthew Mitchell
    September 17th, 2010 at 8:58 pm

    Great article Tony! You *almost* made me drool. That is quite an accomplishment.. :)

  12. alessandro fior
    September 17th, 2010 at 9:46 pm

    i hope for a fixed setup series! U know how much things you have to tweak on a f1?!!? I don’t want to hire an engineer for a setup on iracing.. :P

  13. Paul D Smith
    September 17th, 2010 at 10:41 pm

    If we get a fixed (not interested) series I hope the races are short sprints.

  14. Tony Rickard
    September 17th, 2010 at 11:26 pm

    Just to clarify, the short, fixed setup idea is a secondary series to the primary A class, A distance and open setup series. It would be unthinkable that the top flight series would be anything less.

    The suggestion of adding two series will be anathema to some and a headache for iRacing management to slot in but I am convinced the car will be hugely popular in both formats.

    The setup engineers amongst will absoutely love the garage, the fixed setup concept is very much an additional and separate series.

  15. Neebs
    September 18th, 2010 at 12:25 am

    pit speed limiter?

  16. Tony Rickard
    September 18th, 2010 at 8:26 am

    > pit speed limiter?

    Forgot to mention that but yes :)

  17. Christiaan LeGrand
    September 19th, 2010 at 1:43 am

    A full on class A GP along with, say a class B fixed series with half distances would be awesome.

    Great article!

  18. Dave M
    September 19th, 2010 at 6:18 am

    Full distance GP’s, full setup ability. accept nothing less! :D

    cannot wait!

  19. Klaus Kivekäs
    September 19th, 2010 at 4:58 pm

    No fixed setup series, please. There will be plenty of setups available on the forums.

  20. Ales Papler
    September 20th, 2010 at 1:56 pm

    M.Voigt:

    Having both options will kill the OPEN option, as it happend with C6R

  21. Ales Papler
    September 20th, 2010 at 2:00 pm

    Oh and if there is a FIxed setup series (which i hope it wont be):

    FIXED: 2 days (maybe Wednesday and Friday)
    OPEN: 7 days

  22. Ryan Terpstra
    September 22nd, 2010 at 9:50 pm

    Ales you assume that the FW31 will suffer from the same popularity problems the Corvette did.

    If you take something that isn’t popular and give people an alternative they prefer the unpopular item will become even more unpopular and perhaps obsolete.

    If you take something that is popular and give people an alternative that they may find more appealing then that popular item will suffer some sure, but not die. See the poll in the FW31 forum. There are lots of interested people that will be driving the A-class open version of the car.

  23. Rhygin
    September 23rd, 2010 at 7:40 am

    Mr. Rickard, the last sentence of your article was the most profound. Your idea of a fixed setup series is brilliant. I say this, as I have always felt that sim racing is not a level playing field because of what I call the engineer and geek/nerd setup artist. As a good driver with limited technical ability it becomes boring to be beaten by those who have a definite talent for setup and less for driving. I hope I Racing takes note of your suggestion. I just quit LFS for that very reason, it is unfair racing for the technically challenged person, and I think that represents a significant number of people. This is not a put down of technically talented persons, they are appreciated, it’s just that others would like to be in the hunt for a good finish too.

  24. Tony Rickard
    September 23rd, 2010 at 6:03 pm

    My thoughts on fixed setup and shorter race distances as an additional series for this car are more for accessibility rather than to level the field. Performance is a variable mix of practice, talent and setup. People may feel more inclined to join who are limited on time, desire or ability to work on setups but it isn’t necessarily about finding the best driver, rather making it easier to join in.

  25. Dave Kadlcak
    October 2nd, 2010 at 2:58 pm

    > There are several cars in iRacing I have not purchased simply
    > because I know I’ll never beat the drivers/teams who spend
    > the time to tweak the setup for each track until I spend some
    > serious time learning how.

    That is a pretty sad attitude towards a hobby.

  26. Peter Burke
    October 4th, 2010 at 7:39 pm

    fixed setup series? count me out

  27. Jonathan Stewart
    October 4th, 2010 at 9:35 pm

    > fixed setup series? count me out

    Count you in on the class A series then?