Yay, Steam's most realistic racing sim's finally getting actual rain, and utter online chaos may well follow

2 months ago 63

Ah yes, the depressing reality of being punted off by unhinged Clio cup driver in the drizzle at Snetterton.

Some prototypes racing in the rain in iRacing. Image credit: VG247/iRacing

While it’s so good at simulating driving cars very fast that it actually stood in for the real thing during the Covid-19 pandemic, subscription-based racing game iRacing has long lacked a key thing that regularly affects real races - rain. Thankfully that’s not going to be a thing for much longer, and players are both excited and mildly anxious.

Yes, a racing sim so realistic that it’s used for competitive Esports, and is regularly played by real drivers including actual current F1 world champion Max Verstappen, has not had any rain in it since it came out. Soon, though, that’s going to change via a big build update that’ll make a lot of players wet and also deliver some precipitation.

“The Tempest weather system is ready for release and you will be racing in the rain in March,” reads iRacing’s latest development update post, which is very, very chunky and full of things. To be fair, a decent amount of it is spent bigging up the rain, with iRacing Senior Vice President and Executive Producer Greg Hill writing: “This is rain done the iRacing way; a true-to-life dynamic simulation of the multitude of physical and environmental factors experienced in racing in the rain, and how water interacts with both the racetrack and the tires of your race car.”

“Racing in the rain can be counterintuitive at first, and successfully navigating a wet race will involve unlearning habits you might have in the dry,” he continued, adding: “With the release of rain, we recommend iRacers first dip their toe in with a Test session or with our AI before diving into an online race.” It’s also worth noting that the feature looks to be set to be deployed pretty carefully, so there shouldn’t be any wet mayhem during, say, an oval race at Daytona.

How do hardcore racing simmers feel about this? Well, both excited about the arrival of a long-anticipated feature and scared by the possibility of idiots like me deciding to jump straight into wet online races without getting in any practice first.

In one Reddit thread on that exact subject, there are a few people who actively don’t seem to be looking forward to the rain’s arrival because of the chaos it might cause. On the other hand, some are adopting a glass half-full viewpoint, with one declaring: “Meh, rain won't be as bad as people say. Those who will suck at it, will be [at the] tail end of the pack by [the] end of lap one or two so as long as you can keep it on track in the first lap, your chances will be way better.”

Personally, I quite like the idea of a few sessions full of people with expensive racing wheels and rigs ending up a bit like the Wreckfest sessions I’ve been in where the player that crosses the line first only has two working wheels left.

Slightly - ok, a lot - less hardcore racing sim Forza Motorsport also got a big dev update last month, but that one was mainly about annoying issues with the game, rather than exciting additions.

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