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#1 Racing Game of All Time, PC Gamer

The iRacing Stig Reviews the New Tire Model

Whether you’re coming from the oval or road course world of sim racing, the new tire model (NTM) –even in its early state — is going to be a game-changer. The most intense focus in testing thus far has been targeted towards oval racing, since the first car planned for release is the NASCAR Nationwide series COT. At the same time, we’ve all kept our finger on the handling of several road course cars in order to keep the developers up to speed on how core changes to the tire model are affecting all cars.

My first time out on the new tire model was in the Sprint Cup COT; at that point the Nationwide car had not been released for testing yet. The most obvious difference was how much more solid the force feedback (FFB) effects were. It was a much deeper feeling compared to simply increasing the force of the effects. I could tell from the FFB feel how loaded the front tires were in the corner compared to the straight. It was really noticeable at highly-banked super speedways. The very next thing I tried was tossing the car down onto the apron, as many of us know “dewedging” many of the iRacing cars on an apron, curb or otherwise sharply angled surface is viciously unsettling. A large smile crossed my face when I took the Sprint cup COT down onto the apron in the middle of turns 1 and 2 at Charlotte and didn’t immediately spinout.

As concepts were added into the tires (eg how wear affects heating) I got to feel how the cars performance changes over a run. Overdriving the tires in the Nationwide COT now has a subtle but compounding effect on handling. Pushing the car deep into the corners at a short track such as Richmond begins to build heat and pressure into the RF in addition to increasing wear .Those changes pile-up and make a much bigger impact on handling relative to the old tire model. Put yourself into a comfortable rhythm at a short track and you’ll be able to run 10 lap segments with consistent times within a tenth where falloff is manageable. Constantly overdrive the car into the turns and you’ll quickly see how that abuse tightens the car as the RF loses significant amounts of grip and lap times increase several tenths of a second. But backoff and run conservatively for a short stint and the heat and pressures will bleed off. While the handling won’t be as good as on fresh tires, you can recover from overdriving.

Whether you’re coming from the oval or road course world of sim racing, the new tire model (NTM) –even in its early state — is going to be a game-changer.

The DWC drivers have all been wondering if they’ll still be running as slipped-out and sideways as they currently do. Thus far the answer to that is “no”. It’s a concern on several testers minds and something we’ve been paying attention to, hoping that we don’t suddenly find ourselves running on as sharp an edge as possible turning right constantly. The amount of yaw the Nationwide COT currently tolerates is significantly lower than everyone is used to running, so much so that many testers are having trouble visually recognizing when the car is getting out from under them. It’s taken some tweaking but also some relearning as a driver how to deal with a loose car. The first problem with a loose car is how early you need to recognize that the rear end is getting away from you. As you increase your slip angle, heat builds faster in the rears in addition to aerodynamic side-force. These all act together to compound the situation much faster than we see in the old tire. An early reaction usually takes the form of reducing the amount of steering input, along with a slight lift as one would expect. Too late a reaction (when the car begins to exceed as little as 8-10 degrees of slip) will see you full-on countersteer combined with throttle modulation. Once you’ve made a successful save, you still have to deal with the built up heat in the rear tires. On a speedway like Charlotte you’ll definitely notice the car will be looser in the following corner after heating-up the rears. The quicker onset of a slide and effects of heat buildup have made having a comfortable setup much more important.

The group races we’ve done testing the Nationwide COT are some of the most true to reality replays I’ve seen. We recently ran at Michigan and, looking back, all the cars appear to be running with the appropriate amount of crab angle through the corners. The cars ride over bumps and slip and slide in the corners when overdriven at one end or the other much the way I see on TV every weekend. It’s a subtle but impressive difference when you have the chance to compare testing replays on the NTM with actual iRacing replays on the old tires. But more than that is the feeling you get driving the car in traffic at a place where you can take advantage of multiple lines. I’ve always been more of a tactician style driver.I’m really enjoying trying to push people into overdriving their cars and then taking advantage as they go into a corner too hot and push into the grey or have to chase the rear end up the hill. The effect of trying to run a race purely as a series of hotlaps is so detrimental that I’ve seen cases where you can kill your times by over a half second at both large and small tracks inside of 5 laps of overdriving. The way your particular setup is built will also have a big impact on how it handles over a run; in many cases the fastest setup I’ve found does not do nearly so well over a long run due to uneven tire wear.

For the road course cars many of the same improvements apply. Driving over curbs is a different experience in the new tire model — which for me is huge. I’ve always hated having to avoid what appear to be relatively benign curbs at the edge of the road because of how quickly it upsets the car. Overdriving the new tires builds heat and increases wear in much the same way it does for the oval cars. A loose setup is also slower at this point as the cars don’t tolerate abusing the rear tires for long: Slide a few corners heavily in a row and you’ll be babying it through the remainder of the lap in order to keep it under control.

Most of my testing has been done in the Spec Racer Ford. My opinion of the road cars on the old tire model isn’t nearly as critical as it was of the oval cars. The old tire model handles light cars much better than heavy ones, especially the lower powered cars that don’t see as wide a variety of speeds and loads. But the differences are clearly noticeable, particularly more stability over curbing. The new tire model is more sensitive to loading, so a car with a very rearward weight distribution like the Spec Racer Ford has a much higher intolerance now towards abusive trail-braking. Since we don’t feel the effects of g-forces in the sim it was very hard for me to get used to that at first. But going back and looking over my replays, many of my initial spins in the car were due to driving it hard into the corner and putting a ton of weight on the front tires and then proceeding to turn-in. With that much momentum in the rear of the car and no loading on the rear tires, it comes around quite quickly. On exit sliding the rear out under power doesn’t translate to forward acceleration the way it currently does on the old tire model. You really feel the diff working differently with these tires particularly through a cambered corner such as the keyhole at Mid-Ohio. You can quickly spin-up the inside wheel, get loose and correct the wheelspin but still be sliding too much to get proper forward traction. That, combined with the fact that you build up so much heat in the rears that by the time you get to the esses you have to brake much earlier to deal with cornering the car, really reflects on how much differently you need to approach driving it fast..

I hope this will give everyone a taste of some of the differences we’re experiencing in the new tire model from a drivers perspective. I’m sure there are a ton of questions left unanswered. But they will have to wait until the release. For certain many of us who are testing are hugely excited to see this released into the wild: It’s really going to make a big splash when that first practice session gets joined!

About Shane vanGisbergen

Shane Van Gisbergen was born to race. From pestering his Dad Robert to buy him a Suzuki ATV at the tender age of five, to signing - at just 17 years of age - a contract to race V8 Supercars for top Ford team Stone Brothers Racing, the constant in his life has been competition.

Raised on the rural fringe of New Zealand's largest city Auckland, Shane spent his formative years racing ATVs on natural terrain Motocross tracks and a Quarter Midget on speedway ovals before a brief but typically successful dalliance with karts and a year in the Formula First class courtesy New Zealand's SpeedSport magazine Scholarship programme saw his focus turn to tarmac.

Since then he has been on a fast track to major league Australasian success, winning the New Zealand Formula Ford championship in 2006 and finishing a close second to teammate Daniel Gaunt in the Toyota Racing Series in 2007. Later the same year he signed a long-term driver contract with Stone Brothers Racing, making the V8 Supercar championship debut he has always dreamed about at the Oran Park round in August.


Good read. Thanks for posting it.

June 10th, 2011 at 2:28 pm
Sandeep Banerjee

The DWC drivers have all been wondering if they’ll still be running as slipped-out and sideways as they currently do

June 10th, 2011 at 3:14 pm

Good read, but is “aerodynamic side force” really modeled in such detail that it becomes a factor when a spin is imminent?

June 10th, 2011 at 3:16 pm
Todd Bettenhausen

great post, fun read

June 10th, 2011 at 3:31 pm
jeff thomas

“iStig” LOL!

June 10th, 2011 at 3:48 pm

Great read! I cant wait to get my hands on it. Seems like there will be a learning curve too. I’m excited!

June 10th, 2011 at 3:50 pm
Jeff Bedford

Great news! We’re excited to be using the new Nationwide COT and tire model in the upcoming Trading Paints Derek Speare Designs Race King 300 on June 28th (

June 10th, 2011 at 3:51 pm
Steve Luvender

Thanks a lot for that write up, good read!

June 10th, 2011 at 3:54 pm
Alex Fournelle

I think iStig is volker hackman:)

June 10th, 2011 at 3:57 pm
iStig wannabe

what’s your nationality? :P
thanks for the read!

June 10th, 2011 at 4:01 pm

Awesome stuff. Glad us drivers who prefer turning left instead of right on ovals will benefit from this, I’m so tired to seeing everyone drifting around Dover and Darlington. This NTM and Nationwide Car is going to be so incredible! 12 more days!!!

June 10th, 2011 at 7:37 pm
Joe Miele

Does iStig puke when he is driving a real car on a hot day, like someone else we all know!!!! :) No offence he did really good at what was it road America or Atlanta, oh well. Please iStig give us the thumbs up I am ready to try this model on the Spec Ford !!!!!!!!!!!

June 10th, 2011 at 9:04 pm
Joshua Maddox

iStig is Greggar Huttu :p

great read

June 10th, 2011 at 9:20 pm
Peter Lai

Great read and I am very excited to see the Ford GT on the track.

Man this is almost worth taking off the 22nd from work :(

June 10th, 2011 at 10:58 pm
Bruce Morse

Can’t wait for this!!! Peter be careful you might disappear now. ;)

June 11th, 2011 at 1:47 am
Who Cares

Sorry fellas, but i am not Mr Huttu

June 11th, 2011 at 3:28 am

Great reading, thanks!

I really don’t know how you testers are able to use the actual service, after you tried all those changes to the TM: it would be quite of a shock, for me, to come back every time!

June 11th, 2011 at 5:11 am
Fabrizio Cuttin

iStig, do I know you from the past? :-)

June 11th, 2011 at 7:06 am
Steve Claeys

Sorry fellas, but i am not Mr Huttu

Well that narrows it down. ;-) Great read. Thanks for this.

June 11th, 2011 at 10:18 am
AJ Medvitz

He must be ugly as hell LOL

June 11th, 2011 at 5:12 pm

Must… Have… GT40…
Probably will be the first car I have any desire to custom paint. Can’t wait !

June 12th, 2011 at 12:13 am
SP Murphy

With the new tire model will we be able to choose different tire compounds for the F1.. i.e. hard, medium, soft compounds?? Thanks for the info on the next build…. can’t wait!!

June 12th, 2011 at 10:12 am
Doyle Lowrance

Doyle, i think you will be most impressed with the “wet” compound ;)

June 12th, 2011 at 2:05 pm

Well, hopefully the iStig is SW, he is alien and can sure give it a good go.

June 12th, 2011 at 8:56 pm
Bruce Morse

Am really interested in iracing, well, the top racing sim, whether it is iracing or not. My impression was that the strengths of iracing are the realism in the physics models and in the track stewards, or “FIRST”, that worked to illiminate idiocy on the track. Yet, watching the media videos of some of the championship races, I am getting a disappointing impression re driving ettiquette. I see cars blatantly ramming other cars. If this is the case for the so-called champion level drivers, one wonders what the “less safer”, lower licensed races consist of. This is really making me pause in investing on the upgrading I would have to do to get race-ready and become an iracing member. Races I am referring to are the 2010 World Champion at Phoenix, which looked completely like arcade racing, physics aside and the TDI Cup Finale, where I driver was simply pushed into the grass on a straightaway. If this is done for champion races then FIRST cannot be effective in weeding out the type of buffoonery that eliminates the joy of competitive sim racing. Just some observations from someone really keen to experience worthwhile sim racing. I was locked in to get the equipment but these videos are giving me serious pause.

June 12th, 2011 at 10:10 pm

The 2011 Daytona video is interesting. The Gorlinsky that obviously cheated with a false start at the end of 2010 world championship was back in full force. Severe sanctions?? Anywho, moving on with the race, sure enough, the end game was pure arcade driving. What happens to the license of the drivers causing accidents? The same ones that caused accidents in 2010 are back in 2011.

The code of conduct doc is not much help neither. It alludes to severe penalties and sanctions but does not lay out what one would have to do to earn these – other than be “bad”. What I have seen in these “showcase” videos has not been encouraging.

June 12th, 2011 at 11:07 pm

Why not try it Scott. It really is much better than many of these videos will show. I am proud to be part of IRacing. There are times it can be frustratiing, but those times are heavily outweighed by the pure enjoyment I get out of the service. Anyone can take snapshots of real world racing and give many examples of boneheaded moves going unpenalized. I, however, would never let that get in the way of me enjoying the sim as much as I do….

June 13th, 2011 at 3:21 pm

Thanks Drew. I have been doing a bunch of research, including going over the Code of Conduct and Sporting Conduct. IRacing does really emphasize the physics and I think they ought to do a better job at communicating what and how FIRST works, in practical detailed descriptions and examples, similar to the degree they put into lauding the physics programming.

Anyway, have gone ahead and will be becoming a member. If the racing is as good as the physics engine sounds, then it should be a lot of fun.


June 13th, 2011 at 5:26 pm

What’s unfortunate is that fixing the tire model is just one problem. Having a variable state of track conditions should still be in the priority list. Even if the data isn’t 100% correct. This sim still has a long way to catch up to actual professional racing sims. But I will give credit to where it’s due. Good job at taking the next step to bettering it.

June 13th, 2011 at 7:45 pm

Scott how could you know what is in the sporting code if you aren’t a member. Its only online in one place (inside the member section of the site).

Methinks you’re a regular member who is trolling. Its pretty cowardly to pay people out and hide behind a fake name. Just a heads up though, they log the IPs of the people who post here and can easily match them up with member IPs. ;)

June 14th, 2011 at 4:53 am
David Beattie

Yes, I been able to get more into the archived race videos and the races there, at least the road races, are very well done, with professional driving ethics. Maybe I just don’t “get” NASCAR.

June 14th, 2011 at 10:50 am

Hey David!

You might want to cut back on the caffeine there bud….

(so iracing also has a ip-tracking, “coward”-hunting, “troll”-exposing, inhouse gastapo?? kewl! lol is it Angela in customer service? coz she’s been so nice and helpful :) )

See you on the track bud.

June 14th, 2011 at 11:04 am

NTM + Ford GT + HDP = AWESOMENESS! C’ant wait!
Thanks for the writeup, really looking forward to the changes :D !

June 14th, 2011 at 3:59 pm

Can’t Wait!!! :D

June 15th, 2011 at 7:54 am
César Froener

LOL @ Scott. From that last comment I am sure you will fit in well. I really wished that people would not take the approach David was taking. Everyone is not a troll, and am getting kind of tired of hearing everyone say this. You are one yourself for knocking the guy for obtaining a copy of the sporting code and caring about what it says. If more people read it as literally as David the service would be much improved.

June 15th, 2011 at 3:25 pm

Good stuff, thanks for taking the time.

June 17th, 2011 at 8:34 am
Jim Gibson

Bye-Bye Drifters!

June 17th, 2011 at 9:02 am

That has got to be my biggest pet peeve when it comes to racing games/sims. Drifters. For quite some time my mates and i quite enjoyed PGR4 on Xbox, quite a fun little game, but for purist racers, you know, the ones that like to imagine that $500,000 ferrari theyre driving is actually real and DONT want to do the ol handbrake-and-pinball-off-the-armco-at-light-speed manouver, it sucked because those fast times you got driving properly, some knobhead has demolished by bouncing off everything they can!
+1 for some real racing action.

June 18th, 2011 at 4:01 am

What does “drifting” have to do with poor/aggressive driving?

June 20th, 2011 at 11:40 pm

what does DWC stand for???

June 25th, 2011 at 4:23 am

iSTig is Batman

July 8th, 2011 at 6:39 pm

Sounds fun too race with the new tire

July 16th, 2011 at 9:51 pm

Be nice to have more european tracks and cars as so far ive seen that its mostly USA.
Considering theres some of the best tracks in the world in England ? just look at the race formula’s
we have GT1,2 TOURING, DTM, FFORD, CLASSIC’S that way you will get more people intrested??

July 18th, 2011 at 5:10 am

I love iRacing of nascar 2011 1 mouth to go iRacing.
USA here I come to get ready.

August 7th, 2011 at 9:29 pm
Joshua Law

Oh That is cool

August 9th, 2011 at 11:39 pm

iRacing is awesome

August 9th, 2011 at 11:42 pm
Sonic The Hedgehog

IRacing ford is cool

August 28th, 2011 at 4:43 pm

It be nice if we have ford vs holden in iracing.

August 28th, 2011 at 4:57 pm

I don’t have much oval experience to make a comparison, but as far as road goes the new tire model is tons better. I hated flying off on an agricultural excursion after barely touching a gator. Once you lost grip after a certain point, it was like sliding on an oil slick and off you went. Now you can actually steer with the gas pedal. Great job!

January 30th, 2012 at 11:41 pm
Ken S.
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