iRacing

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No Pain, No Gain

No Pain, No gain. Sounds like the title of an article in Runner’s or Fitness magazines. But it also applies to just about any form of motorsports when there’s a significant change in the regulations or a major advance in technology.

IZOD IndyCar Series competitors are currently poised to begin testing brand new cars for the 2012 season. It goes without saying it will be a painful process for team owners, who have to purchase new equipment after running essentially the same cars for the best part of a decade. But it will also be painful for drivers, engineers and mechanics, at least in the sense they will be operating outside the comfort zone they developed working with the old Dallara.

It’s a process with which the Formula One teams are quite familiar, not just because they design and develop new cars every season, but they had to adjust to Pirelli tires in 2011 after three seasons with Bridgestone as F1’s sole tire supplier.

Initial reaction to NASCAR's Car of Tomorrow was mixed -- at best.

NASCAR? Just this season the Nationwide Series switched over to its version of the Car of Tomorrow. And speaking of the COT, who can forget the COT’s – at times – rocky introduction in the 2007? Or Kyle Busch’s immortal words after winning the COT’s debut race at Bristol: “I can’t stand to drive them. They suck.”

Others were a lot more measured in their comments.

“The cars still drive the same,” said Tony Stewart at the time. “They’re either tight or they’re loose or you’re working with grip. It’s those three things all the time. It’s just a matter of the crews figuring out what the cars like and what they don’t like. After that, it’s back to those three basics.”

iRacing is currently experiencing its own version of No Pain, No Gain with the release of the New Tire Model to seven additional cars in the Season 4 build. Not surprisingly, more than a few iRacers are focusing on the “pain” element of the equation . . . and are not shy about expressing their opinions in the iRacing forums.

“iRacing should be ashamed about this new tire model adjustment. It is bad. It takes all the fun out of it!!!!!”

“I drove the street stock and the Late Model and also the trucks. They have missed it bad on the LM.”

“The new tire model is consistently inconsistent . . . I can’t get a 10 lap run in without spinning-out no matter what I do to my setup; car is very wishy-washy and not stable. At least before if you were sideways you could recover the car and now if you are sideways it’s around you go!”

Or to be concise:

“Garbage, plain and simple.”

In the interest of equal time (or, if you prefer, fair and balanced news), it should be noted there are plenty of members posting positive comments on the iRacing forums, opining that, after some adjustments in chassis set-ups and driving style, the new virtual new rubber is a step forward.

“It’s just a matter of the crews figuring out what the cars like and what they don’t like.” — Tony Stewart

“I just have a feeling the driving styles haven’t adapted. Good to hear that you have to be on top of the wheel and really drive the car rather than fling it in and mash it out.”

“The real problem is that people don’t realize that they have to completely relearn the car. Everything changes — your steering inputs may need to slow down (or speed up), your braking points will change, you may have to be smoother getting on the gas, etc, etc.

“The people that are having problems are those that haven’t taken time to reset their driving style and learn the car as it is now. And it’s especially hard for the MX5 people since the OTM MX5 would let you get away with murder.”

It’s also worth noting that iRacing has been very “up-front” in conceding the NTM is a work in progress. The build notes for Season 4 specifically note that fact, along with ongoing issues related to lack of lateral stiffness, tire behavior at slow speed and the fact that some car values “may fluctuate in the garage.”

“The Season 4 New Tire Model is an ‘in progress’ update, so there are ‘issues,’” explains iRacing software engineer Grant Reeve. “Some people are fixating on what is not yet working as they expect (tire pressures, camber, etc) or is simply buggy (unpredictable behavior of tires in garage). We shouldn’t – and we don’t — pretend these things don’t exist. But members need to know that if they can look past these work in progress issues they can have a fantastic driving experience, and that is what we’re trying to share with them, and that the other issues will keep getting better as the tire model improves over time.”

“. . . the other issues will keep getting better as the tire model improves over time.” — Grant Reeve

The key phrase there is “as the tire model improves over time.” Just as the IndyCar chassis that Dallara ultimately delivers to its customers in 2012 will differ in a hundred different ways from the original prototype, just as Pirelli’s Formula One R&D program is ongoing and just as today’s Sprint Cup car is very different from the COT of 2007, so the NTM will continue to evolve. It’s not as if iRacing released the Season 4 build and simply cast the NTM and baseline chassis setups in concrete. Working in collaboration with their real world racing counterparts, iRacing engineers are continuing development on the NTM, chassis setups and a host of other issues – including, most assuredly, the superspeedway drafting model. Indeed, updates of the Late Model and the Mazda MX-5 are on the fast-track (most likely they’ll be released within the next couple of weeks), with the speedway drafting model updated well in advance of the 2012 Season 1 build.

On the other hand, just as competitors in IndyCar, F1 and NASCAR Sprint Cup have upped their games to meet the challenges posed by new cars and tires, so iRacers need to adapt to the challenges posed by the NTM . . . challenges that, in the end, are little different from those posed by the old tire model.

So while development continues apace on the NTM at iRacing.com, iRacers would do well to remember that, old school Sprint Cup car or COT, Dallara IR05 or Dallara DW001, Bridgestones or Pirellis, OTM or NTM, it all still comes down to who best figures out “what the cars like and what they don’t like.” After all, it’s an approach that seems to be working well for Tony Stewart these days.

About DavidPhillips

David Phillips is the editor of inRacingNews.com. Phillips, 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.

31 Comments

Difference is WE are paying customers and as such should not have to put up with some bad bugs.

I see some of the good bits of the NTM, but it should not have been released yet, unfortunately version marketing forced your hand somewhat leading to the current mess.

November 7th, 2011 at 4:56 pm
Paul C

Excellent article! I couldn’t agree more. Well stated! :)

November 7th, 2011 at 5:03 pm
Pruitt

Great article, and pretty much says exactly what many of us were trying to say. Stop complaining and drive. All of the bugs people are complaining about were noted in the release notes. If you don’t like them, don’t drive until the next build. Otherwise just drive

November 7th, 2011 at 5:12 pm
Ken Dancer

Well said! Keep the updates coming ;-) This build for the LMP2 and FordGT NTM are awesome. Have to admit that the first iteration was tough to tame but in the end even the first roll out was better than the OTM.

Many Thanks iRacing

November 7th, 2011 at 5:15 pm
John Cousland

I am enjoying the new tire model. After taking 4 months to re-evaluate my interest in iRacing, I am glad to have come back to such a great model. I find it more stable, predictable and better than anything else around.

November 7th, 2011 at 5:17 pm
Paul E. Cline

great read!

November 7th, 2011 at 5:45 pm
Paul Mahon

I appreciate the hard work and always look forward to the new builds and developments. The evolution of the software and the excellent competition are why I am a member.

As John mentioned above, this build of the LMP2 is absolutely amazing to drive. 6+ hours and 2 races at Sebring night yesterday is the most fun I have had on iRacing in a long time.

November 7th, 2011 at 5:54 pm
Scott Burtscher

Thanks, great read.

November 7th, 2011 at 6:39 pm
Ed DeVoe

I like iRacing, and have no real issues with the NTM. But the garage being buggy as anything is the real problem. Why you guys would release something like that to PAYING CUSTOMERS is infuriating.

November 7th, 2011 at 6:54 pm
S.A.

Tony Stewart nailed it. Loose, tight, and grip. Pretty much covers it. The best teams and drivers adapt. If you think this is tough, wait until we have dynamic track surfaces and weather. Cars will be lose, tight etc with the same setup from one race to the next and mid race too. Learn to deal with it on the track and in the garage or just race fixed setup only.

If you want a simulation you deal with it, just like Tony Stewert said. This is why I joined iRacing.

November 7th, 2011 at 7:10 pm
Lincoln

Yeah, a simulation that you can’t even make a set in because the car’s ride heights are jumping inches at a time. I guess iRacing is suffering from a permanent earthquake huh?

November 7th, 2011 at 9:26 pm
S.A.

The key difference between iRacing and real racing is that we are paying for a recreational service and a professional race car driver is engaged in an occupation – two very different pursuits. While I am a staunch supporter of iRacing and it’s a superb product, it’s important to recognize that we pay a premium to enjoy this service. When iRacing starts paying its members to participate in the service, then you can tell us to “adapt”.

November 7th, 2011 at 10:02 pm
Derek Speare

Well, I’d probably say that we as iRacing customers (aka drivers & car owners) pay a minuscule fraction of the amount of hard cash a team owner will have to fork out to adapt to a new indycar… ;)
Realism should be #1 here at iRacing as some ppl say, so adapt and overcome, that’s one part of realism, just wait until there is a dynamic surfacemodel and variable weather which will turn your setup into junk over a race, not between seasons…

Anyways, I really like the progress and I appreciate the work you put into this sim!
It’s not perfect, but it shows you are working towards it :)
/Dan

November 8th, 2011 at 3:21 am
Dan S

iRacing’s New Tyre Model after the latest update is just awesome, it now feels so much more like driving a real car in comparison to other sims and even iRacing’s Old Tyre Model. It therefore does need a change in driving style, but it’s a change to be closer to real life – who can complain about that? Sure there are a few issues – mostly openly admitted in the release notes – but iRacing’s regular updates will iron them out soon I have no doubt.

November 8th, 2011 at 5:54 am
Mark

great improvement on last update finally we need to drive more real lifelike racinglines and no wrestling games with tyres (tyres was bad name for the OTM) anymore hope we get other cars soon and yes it still can be better and iam sure it will be better i have been in eurochampions gokarting with my son and there your setup can be worthless in matter of minutes when sunshine disappears or sunshine appears tracks can change in minutes because off this so in morning qualify u got sun u use tyre a pressure wich is good then u go to race and there is no more sun and that pressure aint the best anymore so in real its possible u have to adapt driving several times in a race in sim u find right setup and u can keep it forever (wait till we get dynamic weather lol the track will be fludded then with water from rain and from all whiners.
Finally what u expect: iracing makes a sim and its 1000% perfect from start if so u need to go play ps3 games or so U need to accept this sim (or anyother) will never be finished thats the challenge for iracing and us no matter we must pay for it or not accept that or just leave nobody forces u with a gun to stay in it.
btw i dont have any car in garage wich is jumping all stand firm on the ground

keep up this good job iracing

November 8th, 2011 at 8:11 am
Peter

I remember vividly the debacle at Indy with the cup cars a few years ago. The tires looked like they had been on a cheese grater and had to be changed often and you could hardly call that racing. The part that matters is that the problem was recognized and the engineers went to work developing a fix. You could have asked the same questions such as why didn’t they test more, why did they release that tire with huge problems, etc etc. The answer is simple; the show must go on! Development of something totally new or groundbreaking will have hiccups, that’s a fact. It’s also a fact that those passionate about it will A. work towards a fix B. Deal with it and wait patiently knowing it’s in good hands C. Whine about it and threaten to take their money elsewhere. No matter what your answer, you are entitled to your opinions and everyone else theirs, so see you on the track and we’ll see who has adapted to todays tire. :)

November 8th, 2011 at 8:57 am
MPR

Derek wrote;
” When iRacing starts paying its members to participate in the service, then you can tell us to “adapt”.”

They do. Just complete a full season and you’ll receive iRacing credits.

Keep up the good work iRacing!

November 8th, 2011 at 9:20 am
Steve

As I recall the Indy race there were several “professional” drivers who did alot of complaining. These are men who get paid to race and risk their necks in doing so.
How can you compare iRacing to the costs and risks associated with real world racing? Granted, we need to adapt and overcome but what I see as a common thread in all the complaints is the poor timing on iRacing’s part. These (we) are paying customers and what is the golden rule in sales? You got it…the customer is always right. (although there are SOME customers who never get it right) So. Why now? Why release it when you knew these bugs existed? I didn’t see hoards of iRacers jumping up and down begging for the next build. What’s the big rush? Why wouldn’t iRacing 1)choose a date, 2)let all racers know up front that their setups held so near and dear would be obsolete, 3)and then release? Is it arrogance? Just an oversight? At least then iRacing wouldn’t be feeling the heat. Assuming iRacing cares about what it’s customers feel of course.
By the way …I do happen to be a big fan of iRacing.

November 8th, 2011 at 1:33 pm
John Schilling

I really can’t understand people here sometimes… We should be grateful that as a service, iRacing is constantly striving to improve the software and its models. People shouldn’t get all crazy because a specific car fails in a specific set of circumstances.

These guys are Engineers – just report the issues, and I’m sure it will be looked at and corrected in due time. In the meantime, adapt to the car, set it up however it needs to be, and just drive! Ask a Cup crew chief if the same setup from a previous race at the same track works exactly the same? Chances are it doesn’t. This is aside from the fact that iRacing always strives to make the virtual car as realistic as possible, so if it requires a major change that screws up your existing setups, so be it. If you spent some time actually learning how changes affected the car, then you should be able to adapt and change the set up accordingly in no time.

The day iRacing says, “Here’s the FINAL build – take it or leave it”, then I’ll worry.

November 8th, 2011 at 2:28 pm
Julio C. Chacon

I agree with some of the sentiments expressed above, it’s not like this is a free demo or software that we can revert to the old stable build, iRacing is asking paying customers to deal with software bugs that should have delayed the release of the NTM. I don’t hate the NTM but the jumping around in the garage is one constant annoying reminder that I’m paying for unfinished software.

November 8th, 2011 at 4:07 pm
Dan

And if they would have delayed it longer people would be complaining how they advertised 2.0 for the NTM and haven’t showed us any evidence of improvements and its never coming…

November 9th, 2011 at 10:25 am
Jonathan

great work guys couldnt love it better!!!!!!!

November 11th, 2011 at 12:42 am
chris

The new draft at ss tracks is spot on, there is more 3 wide action and makes for some white knuckle racing.
A huge thank you for all the time and effort you do to make this a great sim.

November 11th, 2011 at 2:36 pm
Rob

I recall Chad Knaus saying once that he had never once brought the same setup to a track, because the setup, while the basics of it may have been simular, where constantly evolving. I Guess the whole Iracing communtiy must now evolve to suit the changes to the NTM.

November 13th, 2011 at 2:15 am
David A Vogel Jr

if you dont like it dont pay next month, if you do pay, push the power button, sit down, shut up, and drive. This sim is cutting edge, the NTM will make us all better.

November 17th, 2011 at 6:24 pm
Kevin Vann

In the MX5 I won my first race the very night it came out without even practicing or a proper warmup
… its not perfect, finished or even equal on all of the cars… give it time.

November 18th, 2011 at 2:41 am
Kurt

I think the squabbling just adds another level of realism !

November 24th, 2011 at 7:43 pm
Wiliam Pete

All you people complaining about buying buggy software should take a look around you. The biggest software companies in the world do not produce what you’re asking for. Microsoft, Apple, Adobe, IBM, Blizzard, Oracle, etc. This is a human world. You’ll never be able to buy a perfect thing. How many construction companies do you know that actually build houses correctly?

At least iRacing knows their issues, and will correct them based on priority. Other companies simply ignore user input and never consider it in their design or fixes. Luckily for us iRacing is small enough to be able to fix bugs.

December 3rd, 2011 at 12:55 pm
Dave Kadlčák

Nice to see they chose Sterling Marlin out of all the milliions of COT pictures they could have used in this write up. :) I sure do miss Ol Sterling. :)

February 29th, 2012 at 10:48 pm
Shawn

I was off iracing for a year, and got back on after the NTM was installed. I had forgotten the old tire model, so I had an easy transition. I drove the 09 NASCAR, and it was impossible on OTM, with NTM on it, its perfect. It comes down to a matter of preference.

April 30th, 2012 at 5:23 pm
Matt Pawelski

“the previous tire model MX-5 would allow you to get away with murder”

Well a miata is well known for being able to get away with many things. also, stabbing the throttle in 3rd gear SHOULD NOT initiate a spin in a car with less than 200 horsepower. The old tire model gave me the ability to trail brake almost the whole way through the turn until I had to get to power. If you drop a wheel in the grass, you can no longer quickly get back on track. you have to do it slowly and when you do, you end up moving over half the track width just to keep it settled. Once you start sliding, theres no coming back. Even if you do THINK you have it back the car seems to still want to come around with the slightest twich of the muscles.

I will keep trying to adapt, but there are things that I see that do not make sense and in no way match the handling of a miata.

November 28th, 2012 at 11:13 am
Justin Hille
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