A proper dirt racing game will never come to Playstation, XBox or any phone – Here’s what you need to drive in iRacing…
IRacing dirt has been released. The most common question is, “Is this available on iPhone?” Which is embarrassing. No, it never will be. In this article, I’ll clear some things up for you and give you a list of everything you need, with options. I’ve been on the service since 2009 and I’m here to give you all the information needed to get started.
The consoles and phones aren’t powerful enough to handle iRacing. The online racing game is taxing. The size of this game is unreal, they packed in all the details. Dynamic track data, as cars continue to run in a single groove, that groove dry’s out and slickens over. If cars run toward the top, a cushion forms.
On other dirt games, this doesn’t happen. They trick you into thinking it does. The other games had track changes, sure. But it was pre-determined lines that formed. In iRacing, it’s dynamic based on where the cars are running. If cars run at the top, the top will change. If cars are running the bottom, the bottom will change. Like a real dirt track. That’s just one example, the chassis dynamics are also incredible.
Enough about that. You’re ready to race on iRacing. Here’s what you need…
iRacing Gaming PC
You need a gaming PC. I actually run the Alienware Alpha, a cheap gaming console. It’s worked for many years. However, as iRacing continues to pack more into this game, my PC has reached it limits. I’m at a point where I’m running all the graphics on the lowest setting possible. A new gaming PC will be needed in the very near future, like right now.
I’ll soon be building my own custom gaming PC. As of now, these are the specs I plan to use for my custom build. This custom build will offer a lot more for around $1,200, than a PC off the shelves can. If you know how to build a computer, this is the route you should go as well.
- CPU – Intel Core i5-7600K
- Motherboard – ASUS PRIME Z270-A
- Memory – 16GB Kingston HyperX FURY Black 2133MHz DDR4
- Video Card – MSI Radeon RX480 Gaming X
- Boot Drive – Samsung 850 EVO 250GB SSD
- Optical Drive – OEM DVD Drive or OEM Blu Ray Drive
- PSU – EVGA SuperNOVA 650 G2
- Case – Corsair 400C
- CPU Cooler – Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO
- Operating System – Windows 10 Home 64-Bit
If you have a bigger budget than I do, you can upgrade. I’d suggest an Intel i7-7700K CPU. As well as 32 GB of memory. Lately, the video card could also use an upgrade to the ASUS GeForce GTX 1070.
You can say something different. Of course, not everyone will agree with the specs above. This is what I’d suggest to get you going. You can easily add $1,000-$2,000 or more to the budget. The custom PC specs above keep the costs down while giving you what you need to run iRacing.
If you don’t want to build a custom gaming PC, you have alternatives. The rigs off the shelf, are generally overpriced. Stay away from those. CyberPowerPC.com or iBuyPower.com is where you need to go. You should look at a gaming PC priced around $1,000. The higher priced units will also last longer. As iRacing continues to add more details, your gaming PC will reach it’s limits. The more you spend, the longer you’ll go without the need for an upgrade.
You can always buy a higher priced unit, that will just allow you to run iRacing with a higher graphics setting. With the $1,000 you should be able to run the game at about 50-70% of graphics. With my custom build, I expect to run iRacing at 70-90%.
With my current Alienware Alpha, I’m forced to run iRacing at about 15%. The dirt is very blurry, the cars are blurry and outside the racing track on the other side of the fence, looks like a first generation Nintendo. My PC doesn’t have enough memory for iRacing, the disc is also pegged at 100% during gameplay. The CPU is also stressed. That’s all bad. Sometimes, it damn near explodes.
This is racing. It’s a racing sim, not a racing game. These drivers aren’t playing. You can’t drive a racecar from an iPhone. You need pedals and a steering wheel. An iPhone has two options, full throttle or no throttle. And that doesn’t even discuss the fact the phones are no where near powerful enough.
Windows 10. Unfortunately, you need windows. Gaming has built itself around this operating system, there really are no alternatives. The Fanatec wheel for example, only works on a Windows based PC. I used to run iRacing from a MacBook Pro. It’s possible with wheel combinations. However, your game will freeze from time to time, running from about any laptop. iRacing on a Mac will have more issues in general. When you run into issues, it will be harder to find the answers, as 90% of iRacers use a PC.
Wheels come in many forms.
Logitech G27: $350 – The most popular is the G27. It’s fine. I was ranked in the top 500 of 40,000 oval drivers on iRacing using this basic G27 wheel. When I upgraded wheels, I climbed into the top 150. So, the wheel makes a difference, it’s just not as important as you might think. I’ve recently slipped a bit down the ranking charts to 300, mostly because I ran out of time to properly prepare setups. Instead of overly prepping for each race, now I just join races and go.
Fanatec – CSL Elite Wheel Starter Pack: $450 – If you want a Fanatec but you want to save a bit because you’re not insane, this is your option. I wouldn’t suggest it. I would however suggest it over the G27.
Fanatec – Clubsport: $1,200 – When you find yourself chasing 100th’s of a second you might want an upgrade. By far, the best wheel available is the Fanatec Clubsport wheel. It’s what I use. I justify the cost because this is my racing. I can’t afford to go racing in real-life, this is it.
If you lose grip on corner entry, the wheel gets light. It becomes easier to turn as the front wheels lose grip and slide. If the front end has a ton of grip, it’s harder to turn as the chassis is digging into the dirt or pavement. That’s the biggest advantage to Fanatec. It helps you figure out your wheel input and exactly what the car is doing.
It’s harder to tell on the corner exit. It’s also less effective on dirt tracks. You’re sliding all the time, so the Fanatec is less important for iRacing Dirt. Really, the Fanatec is most useful in chassis tuning. It makes it easier to feel what the car is doing and inform me of what I need to change on the chassis setup.
The Fanatec Clubsport is a package you put together on your own. To piece it together, you need the ClubSport Wheel Base V2.5, ClubSport Pedals V3 and then you pick your own steering wheel. I use the Carbon F1 wheel. I picked that wheel for the buttons and to save turning weight.
If you’re going to be on iRacing for extended periods of time, comfort will make you faster. If you’re sitting in an uncomfortable chair, you can be just as fast. However, every time you squirm from un-comfort, you lose a tenth.
I do 500 lap races at Bristol Motor Speedway. It takes 3-4 hours to run those races, with no breaks. So, my rig needs to keep me comfortable for extended periods of time.
Playseat: $300 – This is a bare bones seat. It’s basically a racing seat with a wheel and pedals stand. It’s what most people use. However, these units have no room for a mouse or keyboard. Using your keyboard during the race is much harder. Using a mouse means you need to either lean out of the rig, or setup a side table every time you sit down to race in iRacing.
Aside from that, this rig has no options for button boxes. Most iRacers use a button box or two. Button boxes along you to have a quick button to custom controls. Like a dial for brake bias. Or muting chat when you’re trying to race but people are too chatty. For road racing cars like the F1 or GT3 car, a button box is really important. For dirt cars, you really only need a brake bias button and RF brake shutoff button. The G27 has 6 buttons available. That’s plenty for most.
RSeat – RS1: $900 – I’ve chosen the RS1 seat from R-Seat. It’s expensive. Cheaper solutions are available, without placement for your mouse and keyboard.
However, I build my own setups. A lot of testing means I use my mouse frequently, it needs to be close and easy to use, the RS1 allows me to do that.
I’m also a modern minimalist. Architecture and design are very important to me. If I’m going to put a sim racing rig in the middle of my living room, it sure as shit better look good.
Plus, I’ve installed wheels on mine. So, I can roll it out of the way when I want it in a different room.
I’m a pain in the ass. Those kind of things my not be a concern for you. And let’s say your smoking hot wife isn’t bothered with a gaming rig in front of her TV? Maybe you’re a free man, divorced? If that’s you, the tackier cheap rigs are just fine.
Simxperience.com: $3,500+ – Higher priced gaming chassis are also available. It can get crazy! They make racing seats with shocks mounted to them. That allows you to feel the the front suspension compress on corner entry, decompress on exit. This is something I plan to look into in the future. Pricing for that can range between $3,500-$30,000.
If you watch the Facebook Live video below you’ll see it takes a lot of consistency to drive these cars. Look at the brake and throttle pedals (red and green bars). It’s nearly the exact same, every lap. You can’t do that on a phone or any console controllers. You need a wheel and pedal setup.
If you’re just going to race dirt, just buy the dirt stuff. The game will be very cheap for you. iRacing is subscription based. Though, for what you get, it’s not as pricey as you might think.
The rates are about $99/year for a subscription. However, you get iRacing credits for racing frequently. If you race often, you can cut that in half. If you own a lot of content, you can also get discounts upwards of 30% off.
All subscriptions include 13 cars and 14 tracks. If you wish to buy additional cars, they cost a one-time fee of $11.95. If you want to buy additional tracks, they cost a one-time fee of either $11.95 or $14.95 depending on the track. If you just buy the dirt tracks and cars, it’s close to just $50. If you buy every asphalt, road or dirt car and every track it’s only $1,000. The discounts for owning all content, go a long way.
iRacing dirt is awesome. It’s literally the best. I’ve driven dirt cars in real life. It’s the closest thing you’ll ever get to real racing. Come join us, it’s where the racers are. Throw that Xbox in the trash, ditch the racing games built for kids and come do some sim racing with the grown-ups.
Author: Shane Walters