The racing environment is unique to other competitive sports in that a measure of cooperation must exist amongst the competitors in order to reach the end of the race and accomplish a goal.   For most the goal is getting to the end of the race with a chance to win or finish well.  But what happens when that cooperation doesn’t exist?  Sometimes accidents happen.  Sometimes it’s just a mistake. On occasion, however, accidents result from a malicious intent that adversely impacts another member’s racing experience.    In these cases, there must be an arbiter of disagreements between competitors, namely the sanctioning body through its protest and appeals system.

“The fear of other’s judgment is surely one of the surest supporting pillars of morality.” – Gustave Le Bon

Someone started a thread in the forums recently regarding successful protests.  One question asked was “How many successful protest have you had?”  This leads to the question of “What is a successful protest?”  There are certainly going to be as many answers to that question as there are people.   I consider a protest successful if it corrects a single occurrence or a pattern of inappropriate behavior.   On the other hand, to some members a successful protest is one that is accepted by the stewards and processed through the system.  So how many is that?  Tony Gardner gave you some rough numbers in the article he wrote just prior to 2012 Season #2.  “The Protest System”.

The new system has been in place for a full season and we’ll share some statics with you.  First we’ll need to define some terms that may not be self-explanatory or commonly used.  Keep in mind that these are used internally.

Coached:  Generally advice or instruction given to a first time offender.

Multi-Player (Series & Events):  Race and Qualifying Sessions.

Multi-Player (All):  Sessions where member would interact with others on track.

Service Wide: Cannot access any part of the service.

Accepted:  Protest that requires action or coaching.

Racing Incident:  After reviewing the protest it’s determined there was no malicious intent.

No Replay:  No replay attached with protest.

Protest Incomplete: Not enough information for the stewards to proceed with protest.

Case Already Opened:  There has already been a protest submitted and in process for the same incident.

Let’s take a look at the numbers.  During Season #2 (May through July, 2012) there were 437, 558 multi-player sessions.

Practice                371128

Qual                       41593

Race                      24837

There were 2,786 protests filed in that same time, 51% of them were accepted and warranted action.  You can see how it breaks down by clicking on the chart below.

Click on Image to Enlarge


This graph is based on the number of “Accepted” protest.  We can see which section of the Sporting Code the vast majority of actionable protests come from in the next graph.

Click on Image to Enlarge


What are the outcomes of the protests that are accepted? You can see that 28% of the time there is a restriction placed on a member as a result of a protest and 72% are given some coaching on what they did wrong, why, and how to prevent it in the future.    As you read on, these numbers are consistent with the number of members that are protested once, or more than once.

Click on Image to Enlarge


I mentioned appeals in the beginning as one of the responsibilities of the sanctioning body.  Everyone who’s received a penalty as the result of a protest may have an appeal heard by the Appeals Board.  The process is very similar to the protests. Section 9 of the Sporting Code outlines the process.  I thought since we’ve shown the protest numbers, we should also show how appeals breakdown.  There have been 112 appeals submitted during Season 2.   As you can see in the chart below, there was nearly a 50/50 chance to have a penalty lessened.

Click Image to Enlarge


So back to the “What is a successful protest?”   Earlier, I gave you what I consider to be successful, but I’m sure there are other opinions.  However, take a look at the last bit of data, one also based on the “Accepted” protest.  1131 different members had protests filed against them during Season #2.  (Remember we have 35,000+ members.)  Of those 1131, just 6% were protested three or more times, 15% were protested twice, and 79% of them were protested only once.  I would call that an 80% success rate.

So there you have it, some raw stats on the protest system.  We’ll continue to do a report after each season and provide the statistics via a blog or forum post.

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About Shannon Whitmore

An online sim-racer since the mid-'90s, Shannon Whitmore is the Director of Competition and has been with iRacing since its beginnings. Shannon's daily duties include overseeing's World Championship, Pro Series, general membership series, protests, and Customer Support Department. Shannon is a retired U.S. Military Senior Non-Commissioned Officer and lives in seclusion with his wife Marilyn somewhere in New Hampshire.


There is a big flaw in your protest system… it doesn’t allow reparations for gaming glitches that cause negative impacts on SR and iRating. Anytime you report a glitch, the stock response is “sorry, nothing we can do.”

August 17th, 2012 at 9:09 am

@Matthew – That could easily be exploited. Anyone could claim that their game crashed and they lost iRating or SR… I wouldn’t want to imagine the headache it would create on iRacing’s end. I think their response is appropriate in this case. It’s best to consider crashes and glitches as “Mechanical Failures” – just like real racing.

August 17th, 2012 at 9:32 am

What are you talking about? That has absolutely nothing to do with the protest system.

Great article Shannon.

Landon Chapman
August 17th, 2012 at 9:42 am

Two examples for you… one race last week, a caution flag waved but the pace car never came on the track. The last 15 laps were ran that way, with half the field pacing and the other half racing around full speed. I submitted the replay and was denied any assistance. Example two: yesterday, also while under caution, both i and the driver next to me were black flagged on green flag for passing each other. This resulted in a poor finish and, in both cases, deductions in sr and iRating. These incidents never happen in racing and should not penalize drivers in Sim racing.

August 17th, 2012 at 10:23 am

It is my understanding that protests are meant to resolve racing issues. Unfortunately they have failed to do so for me.

August 17th, 2012 at 10:56 am

You should probably discriminate more about what you protest. You can’t be offended by every little thing and think it’s purposeful and malicious.
Mistakes can be protested, but coaching is the only necessary result.

August 17th, 2012 at 11:16 am

I do not buy this for one second. These seem to be made up numbers to appease the masses who are sick of protesting and getting no results. I see repeat offenders to the worse degree racing everyday having NEVER been so much as talked to about their terrible antics.

August 17th, 2012 at 11:27 am

@Matthew Kelly2

Those problems (no pace car, invalid black flag) do NOT cause “deductions in SR”. The (second) race you’re talking about, your only SR deductions came from a 2x wall contact prior to the black flag.

As to iRating:

1: There’s no way to tell what your iRating would have been if that incident hadn’t happened
2: It’s a zero-sum game. If they change your irating, they’d have to change every other person in the race as well. This is complicated by….
3: These incidents happened in, literally, the middle of races. How can you even begin to guess what the finishing order would have been (necessary to calculate everyone’s iRating)?

TJ Kopp
August 17th, 2012 at 11:32 am

I quit protesting people a very long time ago…nothing ever happens, and there’s nothing iRacing can say that will change my mind on that aspect. Having said that, there are some folks that clearly need to be protested especially when they purposely wreck someone as retaliation. Yet, I see them time and time again right back on track like if nothing ever happened…which brings me right back to my first sentence…I quit protesting a very long time ago…why? Because nothing ever happens with some I or exceptions here or there where the racer gets his “privileges” of chatting away from them…but even in the case of purposeful retaliation, clearly explained and protested correctly in accordance with the code and with the replay, results in nothing b/c I see the same racer right back on track without missing any time…the protest “system” simply I put, is a farce that’s in place to make us racers think there’s a process in place…when in fact, nothing ever ally happens…and I agree with an entry above…I think those numbers are either made up, or skewed in some way to make it look like something actually takes place…and it doesn’t. And what really sticks in my “craw” is te fact that you ask a question and get totally ignored…not even the common courtesy to respond…in this day an age of technology, the folks from iRacing are the same folks that brought us NASCAR 2003…the Lucky Dog existed there, why can’t you have it here? I’ve heard that class A is “trying” it outbut they have to have someone from iRacing monitoring the race to grant the LD…you didn’t have that problem with NASCAR 2003, why is it so difficult that you can’t do it here? I don’t buy their illogical reasoning that it has to be monitored…it wasn’t in NASCAR 2003 and yet we had it there, and this is from te same people that brough us that game…yes, I said GAME…hold on to your pants…no Matt how you slice it, it’s a SIMULATION GAME meant for entertainment purposes…I’m glad Kaemmer and that bunch have made themselves rich with this, that’s America…but if you are that smart to create four or five different versions of New Tire Models to make it more realistic, I’m sure te LD should be a walk in the park for you smart guys that deal with 1s and 0’s…simply put – a PATCH…don’t tell me that you have to have someone monitoring it, I don’t buy that and we’ll have to agree to disagree on that…other than that, y’all have the market cornered and do have the closest thing tote “real” thing…so good for you and capitalism…

Shem Rivera
August 17th, 2012 at 12:16 pm

You also gain/lose points based on where you finish. Once black flagged (incorrectly i might add), my ability to finish higher was diminished. While i agree it is difficult to adjust during a race with an unpredicitable outcome, there should be an option to void out the points gained or lost in situations such as these. I want to support iRacing, and have invested quite a bit financially. Your protest system needs work.

August 17th, 2012 at 12:19 pm

@Bill – why would the staff waste their own time to come up with fake numbers about the protest system? Don’t you think they have something better they could do with their time? If you see repeat offenders, maybe you should protest them so that iRacing can take action.

August 17th, 2012 at 12:23 pm

I see that you and your crew are now removing negative comments posted from users.

August 17th, 2012 at 12:29 pm

Guys– Do the math before you assume anyone at iRacing is “getting rich.” at 35000 active subscribers paying an average of 100/year for subscriptions, even if you assume another 100/year in content, that’s only 7M/year in revenue. That may sound like a lot, and obviously there are some other sources of income, but 7M/year in revenue–even at the profit margins they likely run–is hardly “get rich” money–especially when you consider the money they put BACK into the sim. Think about those laser scanning teams–they gotta get paid, they gotta get to the track, etc. Licensing fees for the cars and tracks we use take up some of that, etc etc.

By the time you add up the labor costs needed to develop, run, administer, moderate, and manage the service, frankly I wonder how they get it done at all.

I’m not trying to be an iRacing apologist, and I’m sure some folks are making good money off of their involvement, but take a step back and realize that the majority of the people at iRacing are enthusiasts just like us, trying to deliver the best possible product working under small budgets. Think about protests–probably a full time job if not 2. That’s 50-100k in labor costs right there. There’s only room for so many people before that annual revenue gets spent.

M Owens
August 17th, 2012 at 12:44 pm

ITS a game, Quit crying. Thy need to chang the carberator cup to the cry baby cup!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

James Wilkins
August 17th, 2012 at 12:59 pm

Kurt Busch gets suspended for only 1 week for mouthing a reporter but if you get angry in a race in iracing, they punish you for 6 months. Nowhere in the world has iRacing logic. If someone is doing something wrong, sit them down and actually talk to them in chat. If they do it again, let them sit out for a couple of days or a week. The only way I can see someone deserving punishment for months is if they are very malicious or acts like the noobs on GT5. To be honest with yall, Suspending someone for months at a time only gets them upset and encourages them to leave the service. iRacing needs to open their eyes and realize that we are not A.I. cars and we have feeling. Were not going to be perfect every race.

Lance Gomez Jr.
August 17th, 2012 at 1:29 pm

If they suspend you for months at a time, they are probably ok with you leaving the service, or are actually trying to encourage you to leave the service. Extreme lack of self control makes you unwelcome, don’t you think?

D Patton
August 17th, 2012 at 1:59 pm

Kurt Busch lost hundreds of thousands of dollars with his suspension. Here we just lose the chance to have fun. For multi time suspenders it has to be a few weeks to affect championship points in a similar manner to NASCAR

August 17th, 2012 at 2:01 pm

Same ownership as the Boston Red Sox….. Sorry for the dig, but, Nuff Said!!!!!!

August 17th, 2012 at 2:44 pm

If Iracing takes you off for a month or more you likely are a negative impact to other’s enjoying the racing. Don’t race in races over your head and drive above your head its really not that hard just don’t rush your progression and know your limits. I am in support of the IR and SR and protest system how ever some will protest anything and some will protest nothing. The only issue I have far as all this goes is Iracing makes it to easy for drivers to progress and to quickly thus more drivers race at levels where they are not ready. Iracing while always room for improvement your system works for supplying better racing most of the time how ever there are some who should be removed and I think you remove a few less than you should. I hope you track who is protesting as well as some races it seems like the same guys cry but if they are involved in same type of crash its a racing issue…. look at the drivers (Inc. Per Race) that many times can help you in knowing if that driver is having issue all the time.

August 17th, 2012 at 2:59 pm

@Shem – NASCAR 2003 didn’t have the Lucky Dog. NASCAR didn’t make it a rule until the end of the 2003 season.

August 17th, 2012 at 7:42 pm

This is a poor measure to determine the current quality of the racing. Here’s the data I’d be interested in viewing. Put up the average amount of cautions per race, percentage of laps under caution, and number of total incidents per race for each series that has cautions enabled. There are exceptions to the excessive caution filled races, and I suppose that as you reach the higher realm of irating the races do get cleaner, but it seems by far the majority of races that I sign up for are filled with cautions.

August 17th, 2012 at 10:04 pm

1420 accepted protests and 0% permanent bans. There’s the problem; iRacing are toothless tigers and the wreckers are beginning to realise that they won’t be banned for long.

August 17th, 2012 at 10:58 pm

There is much madman loose in racing.A lot.

August 18th, 2012 at 3:46 am

good stuff, thanks for the read

jeff thomas
August 18th, 2012 at 6:21 am

TL;DR; (Most of the comments anyway)
To Matthew:
Your understanding of protests is flawed. Game glitches are not intentional and not a part of the Sporting Code aka rule book aka the IR Law. That is what you have the Customer Support system for. While I can understand your frustration no software of flawless but IR is rather good overall. To clarify protests, they are only for violations of the Sporting Code caused by your fellow drivers towards you or others.

To Shem:
I have protested and been protested quite a few times as such is it nature of motor sports. I can confirm that in the beginning they didn’t have enough of an effect but nowadays they work just fine. Whether it is because I have grown as a driver and person or Nim Cross has gotten tougher or both I don’t know.

Thanks for the info Shannon 🙂

Michael Madsen
August 18th, 2012 at 12:44 pm

There needs to be some sort of feedback to the entire iRacing community on those that have been successfully protested. If I knew a driver has been “suspended” or “penalized”, I would not work with them. Peer pressure is a very effective way to enforce the code. Give them a special probation stripe on their bumper for all to see. You dont need to know why they got it, just that they have it. Penalties handed out in real racing are publicized for all to see.

August 18th, 2012 at 5:07 pm

Good article. Glad to see you guys are tracking stats like this. I see Nim is going to remain gainfully employed for the foreseeable future. Does iRacing have some automated analyzer or support staff who helps Nim with this? That’s a lot of work to do manually and keep sane and consistent.

August 19th, 2012 at 12:44 pm

No matter where you go or what you do for work or fun, there are always people who try to mess it up. The more I focus on them the more it aggravates me. So I try not to let them get to me, and try harder not to be one of them. #JS 🙂

Thank You iRacing for giving me the opportunity to make something I love, something I can do!!


Michael A. Seney
August 20th, 2012 at 8:51 pm

Iracing definitely need to improve the protest system, because of it it will turn away members if they don’t change it. They need to implement an SR re-balance system post-protest, victims of an incident should always get their SR back, point final.

August 25th, 2012 at 8:01 pm

A few months ago I was protested. I received an email notifying me of the protest and the staff said it was under review. I had let my emotions get the best of me and had (on purpose) rammed another driver. I was informed a few days later that after review the protester was right. I was informed that another incident like this would result in a temporary loss of playing rights. I thought the process was handled well. I now try to treat iracing like I would in the real world (I race real cars), that to me means I have to PAY to fix my car if I’m stupid. Bottom line, racing will always include rubbing but deliberate crashing is unacceptable and seems to be handled well by Iracing.

August 27th, 2012 at 9:20 am

I barly have enough time to practic and race.. I don’t have time to protest,, I just finish the race and move on. I just pay closer attention to those who offended me. part of racing is learning those who we are racing against and race accordingly.. have a good race while I am waiting for my new power supply..thanks Rock Harris

Rock Harris
August 30th, 2012 at 12:47 am

I certainly think there is more contact than you would find in a real racing series but I don’t think it’s intentional for the most part. Certainly there are the wreckers and hot heads out there but on the flip side I’ve had guys race me hard and never touch me.

The only suggestion I would make would be for better feedback. I got a warning but to this day don’t know why. I felt I raced as hard as the next guy and don’t recall any hard contacts. Perhaps if I’d been given a replay I’d have an idea.

scott brooks
August 30th, 2012 at 7:47 am

Yes hey everyone. I’m Peter. I have just started looking into IRacing. It look’s pretty awesome! But Paying for it…. Is it well worth it? And do you have to pay real money to fix your car’s, and buy parts for them? Or does everyone have the same engines and everything? What desktop’s do you all have, and what is a good one to have? And is it worth buying a steering wheel with pedals and shifter? Sorry for all the questions, just want to know everything I can know before I invest! Well please get back to me soon. Thanks, Peter.

Peter Sabino
September 3rd, 2012 at 9:41 am

I race on NASCAR The Game 2011. My PSN is: Juggalochief420

I’m an amazing driver on there me and a whole bunch of other older fellas join together and do long races to avoid those careless drivers. I’m pretty good with just using a controller. But the only thing is when it comes to tuning car. It’s like rocket science to me. So if someone could make me a guide for things in that topic of tuning a car it would be greatly appreciated. Well once again thanks, Peter

Peter Sabino
September 3rd, 2012 at 9:44 am

Peter you dont have to pay to fix your car you just have to be a genius with cars to cause you gotta make your own setup win a race and they ban you for a year for calling someone a loser.

Pete Zehler
September 11th, 2012 at 8:26 pm

The problem with the protest system is the people protesting are the people who cause a lot of the wrecks. It might not be the right thing to do but a lot of the protest are people driving over their head and causing wrecks throughout the race until someone gets missed at them retaliates and then the person who caused 5 wrecks protests against the guy who retaliates. So you end up with the same non driving moron racing and the guy who lost his cool for a minute but drove clean most of the race gets penalized.

September 22nd, 2012 at 11:34 am

First of why do you have to convolute the meaning of a “successful protest”? It’s very simple, a “successful protest” should be a protest that gets accepted and action is taken on it, meaning the person that was protested was penalized or coached. The fact that you are trying to turn this into a “definition misunderstanding” says it all, those numbers mean nothing when you can just claim that you use a different definition of a “successful protest”.

Let’s take a closer look at what does it mean when you say: ” I consider a protest successful if it corrects a single occurrence or a pattern of inappropriate behavior”. That can very easily mean: that you let the protested party know that they are being protested and based on only that their behavior has improved. By that definition if someone steals a million dollars from a company and that company sues them, as long as the person that stole the money promises that he will not steal anymore he is off the hook, here is the twist he doesn’t even have to return the money.
In other words never mind that the rule was broken and that the person who was crashed has lost iR, SR, and the chance to finish the race and claim their deserved points, as long as the person that caused the crash doesn’t crash anyone for a while (which can mean a week two weeks maybe, while they are being watched), then that person can resume their reckless driving again.

You call that “successful”, the drivers that are miserable from being crashed race after race don’t!

A. Kovalski
September 24th, 2012 at 2:34 pm

Correction: *accident NOT of my own causing

October 2nd, 2012 at 10:24 pm

Correction: NOT of my own causing

October 2nd, 2012 at 10:24 pm

I’ve found the best way to handle all this is just find a league and run with people you know can handle a car and not worry about ir and sr at the moment till they can fix a bunch of the bug’s that make this sim not much fun,Then you can handle thing’s within the league a lot better……..

October 18th, 2012 at 3:49 pm

For those (nonconstructive) critics: please let me know when you find a comparable sim with less problems.

I’m a software engineer with 20+ years experience and I assure you that this sim is a monumental achievement. Well done

October 18th, 2012 at 9:38 pm

i’ve been playing iRacing for just over a year now and i have to say i personally am very impressed with the way the game play’s these ‘bugs’ and ‘exploits’ i personally havent come across yet myself but i will say this… dont like crash racers? drive better, drive faster push yourself into the next split so you wont race with the crash racers. thats what i have done, albiet you will still find one or two ppl wanting to crash race but they dont remain in the season very long cause the cars i choose to drive are hard enough to handle as it is let alone after taking some damage. the most rage i’ve seen comes from the 13th week where i racers have the opportunity to test out other racing classes they wouldn’t generally use. one thing i would like to point out tho is the sheer number of ppl hitting a track for a race with 0.00 practice time on the circuit or with the car this could probably be rectified by saying for eg: “you cannot participate in a Race session until you have completed 1 successful time trial” that means they have to have done 4-10 laps cleanly to get into the Race, certainly one way too weed out the ppl that aren’t there for the sport but rather for trolling purposes. maybe a better way to implement the Iracing protest system is in order, for eg. each player is given 5 points at the end of the race, these 5 points are for protesting race incidents and/or drivers. once the points handed out in a race pass a certain threshold, those races, and the drivers in them, should come under scrutiny it would mean players that have a tendancy to crash race would have a glaringly large points count which the iRacing devs could use to identify those players and monitor their behavior without the big fanfare cause face it if you know your being watched your not going to act the fool.

Chris Iracing Subbie
November 1st, 2012 at 8:42 pm

I am looking to join this service. Reading these posts I have one conclusion….YOU ALL SOUND LIKE REAL RACERS!!!! LOL!!! Ever hang out at the track after a race and listen to the, “If/but, if/but, if/but??? Everyone has an opinion and everyone is right! That is what makes it fun! I can’t wait to join!

BTW, If/but = “If” he did or didn’t do this or that. “BUT” he shouldn’t have or should have done this or that

Jason Clark
December 29th, 2012 at 11:31 am

I’ve been looking into iRacing and i want to eventually have all the NASCAR content on the game and i was wondering if you have to pay each time you use a car or track.

March 2nd, 2013 at 9:55 pm

For the most part Iracing rocks! But for the life of me i cant figure out how guys are going a full 1.5 seconds faster in a fixed setup car. I have watched what there doing car position wise im doing pretty much the exact same thing and they leave me. I don’t entirely agree with the whole safety rating idea guys racing is racing there is going to be wrecks rubbing and so on. Also don’t agree with racing down each license class needs there own series in other words rookies race rookies and so on! And trust me on this all the rush to get out of the rookie class is garbage i ran my license to A and tried racing from that class down and in fact have found now that the higher the license the worse they race.

March 24th, 2014 at 6:51 am

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