Has iRacing instigated it's own demise?

iRacing has made some pretty drastic changes to the scheduled some of the most popular series in the game. It seems they taken the desires of the majority, and in doing so are weaking the strength of the field in the game itself and therefore reducing it's value and going against it's own original mission statement.
January 15 2013

The schedules for season 1 2013 are out on the iRacing forums and it is accurate to say members are going ballistic on both the forums and twitter, in a bad way.  I’ve heard from some twitter regulars that Trucks, a C class Oval series, has also had similar treatment to that of the C class Road Star Mazda I race. 

The main complaint is the switch from a 40 minute race to a 20 minute race.  The C class Star Mazda now has shorter races than the D class Skip Barber, the exact step below it on the ladder up the open wheelers.  It’s a move that flies completely in the face of iRacing being a simulator, and a service that as closely as possible matches the real series’.  

Here’s the proposed race schedule for season 1:

  1. Spa-Francorchamps – 10 laps
  2. Okayama Short Course – 26 laps
  3. Watkins Glen Classic Boot – 14 laps
  4. Zolder Grand Prix – 15 laps
  5. Motegi – 13 laps
  6. Phoenix International Oval – 48 laps
  7. Interlagos Grand Prix – 25 laps
  8. Mid-Ohio Sports Car – 16 laps 
  9. New Hampshire South Oval – 23 laps
  10. Zandvoort Chicane – 14 laps
  11. Lime Rock Park – 26 laps
  12. Suzuka Grand Prix – 12 laps.

That’s somewhat less laps per race than previous seasons.  Another big complaint is the inclusion of two rookie tracks.  Both Okayama short and Lime Rock are used in the rookie series.  Even the Skip Barber and Mustangs (D class) race on the full Okayama circuit. 

Common consensus is iRacing is trying to push drivers out of the hugely popular Star Mazda series and into the Lotus 79, the next step up the ladder.  A lot of top Star Mazda drivers are talking of walking away from iRacing, disgusted and angry with the way iRacing are treating its loyal customers. While I’m not ready to quit over this (heck I just spent 4 days entering races and not racing them, dropping my iRating from 2600 to 1300 intentionally and I’m still going down..) I feel this is a dick move by the guys at iRacing and it contrasts all the points they are trying to sell iRacing with.  Or at least they were trying to sell iRacing as THE serious sim.  I have to question that now, with the introduction of various aides and touch capabilities of recent months.

It really does seem, based on comments on twitter and the iRacing forums, that the main reason people choose iRacing is because of the longer races and the realism.  iRacing seems to be pushing this aside in what appears to be attempts to lure the “console” players into iRacing.  Again, double taking on their original mission statement.

Watch this space. There’s A LOT of anger in the community over this.

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