Simracing Highlighted as Foundation for Newest Branch of Motorsport
Several recent race winners in the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series have attributed their success, in part, to time spent driving the NASCAR Racing: 2003 Season racing simulation. According to Dave Kaemmer, creator of NR2003, those professional drivers, and racers of all types, will soon have access to a much better training tool - and to a whole new branch of competition.
"The fact that professionals are still using what we created a number of years ago to prepare for races is really gratifying," said Kaemmer, who partnered with John Henry, principal owner of the Boston Red Sox, two years ago to found iRacing.com Motorsport Simulations. "We're pleased that it's withstood the test of time, but what we're working on now is even more sophisticated. It'll be far more accurate and as relevant and valid as on-track testing when real-world racers prepare for competition."
Kaemmer's comments coincided with the launch of iRacing.com's new Web site. The new site details an online racing service with unparalleled accuracy and realism not only in the driving experience but also in its organization. iRacing.com will feature ladders for advancement through the different disciplines of motorsport based on the type of track (e.g., oval vs. road course) and the type of car (e.g., stockcars, sports cars, open-wheel formula cars).
iRacing.com subscribers will start with an interactive and instructive racing school, earning a novice racing license. They may then test to further acclimate to cars and tracks and, when they are ready, enter and compete in complete racing series. Just as in real-world racing, members will earn higher-level competition licenses as their experience grows, progressing up the talent ladders as far as their desire and skill can take them. Meanwhile, without the cost and safety issues associated with real-world racing, iRacing.com will offer the chance to test or to compete with other similarly skilled racers, driving cars and tracks that would otherwise be out-of-reach for all but the most accomplished professionals.
"The simulation is a foundation on which we hope to grow the newest branch of motorsport," said Henry, chairman and founder of John W. Henry & Co., Inc., and a leading investment manager in the futures industry. "Simracing, or real-time online racing, is an emerging sport consisting of a relatively small community of die-hard simracers. I count myself as one, as do a number of real-world professional racers. We compete using various software packages, including NASCAR 2003. iRacing.com's goal is to combine the best possible simulation experience with a logical and fair organizational structure, so that we can advance the sport by attracting more real-world racers and racing enthusiasts."
Kaemmer, Henry and their small team of experienced racers and engineers based outside of Boston envision simracing becoming a mainstream form of motorsport, attracting participants of all skill levels, as well as spectators and sponsors.
"We also foresee a time in the not-too-distant future when simracing will include professional competition," said Brett Roubinek, iRacing.com vice president of marketing and a 20-year veteran of road racing and NASCAR regional racing. "Technology has progressed to a point where the lines between television-based entertainment and Internet-based content are blurring. Video gaming is already a spectator activity with tournaments, televised awards shows and live webcasts. We expect simracing will follow the same trend."