iRacing's New Dallara iR-01 Combines Everything You Love About Modern And Retro Open-Wheel Racing

Illustration for article titled iRacing's New Dallara iR-01 Combines Everything You Love About Modern And Retro Open-Wheel Racing
Image: iRacing

iRacing has been on a kick these last few weeks when it comes to announcing completely-virtual content. Normally, the sim racing service aims to recreate real-life cars and tracks, but now, it’s pulling out all the stops. Italian chassis maker Dallara teamed up with iRacing to create the iR-01, a completely fictitious (but still incredible) open-wheel car that weaves together all the things you love about modern and retro open-wheel racing. And I cannot wait to race it.

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This partnership kicked off back in May with the intention to create what iRacing executive producer Steve Meyers describes as “the ultimate open-wheel racecar.”

Basically, Dallara and iRacing got together to ask, “What’s the coolest shit we could do with an open-wheel car if we didn’t have to worry about real-world consequences?” And then they gave us the iR-01. Let’s talk specs:

  • Chassis weight: 600kg or 1322lbs
  • Engine: naturally aspirated 3.0-liter V10
  • Horsepower: 900
  • Electronics: limited
  • Suspension: fully decoupled
  • Head protection: none

iRacing says this car will “prove easy for new drivers to pick up and fun to race, but difficult to master.”

For the sake of comparison, I’m going to run through the specs of Formula One’s most recent machine:

  • Chassis weight: max of 740 kg including driver (1,361 lbs)
  • Engine: 1.3-liter V6 single hybrid turbocharger
  • Horsepower: 875–1,000
  • Electronics: many
  • Suspension: decoupled
  • Head protection: halo

And here’s a comparison to IndyCar’s current Dallara chassis:

  • Chassis weight: 1,650-1,690 lbs, depending on the aero package
  • Engine: 2.2-liter turbocharged V6
  • Horsepower: 550–750
  • Electronics: some
  • Suspension: flexible coupling
  • Head protection: aeroscreen

Basically: the iR-01 is going to be lighter, have a beefier engine, and be a little more dangerous than either of the world’s top-series open wheel cars—all because you don’t have to worry about one manufacturer spending tons of money to overdevelop it, and it doesn’t really matter if it might be too dangerous. And, as my husband said, there won’t be any visual impediment in the form of head protection.

The thing is legit. It’s going to have its own World Championship events sometime in the near future, but it’s just going to be fun as hell to mess around with no matter what.

That said, a lot of folks are Mad Online about the fact that this isn’t a real car (like, to the point of quitting iRacing), which means that iRacing shouldn’t call itself a sim racing software because this is all just fake. Also, there’s no halo, so this is an illegitimate, aged car. Also, iRacing isn’t Gran Turismo so what are you even doing? Which: sure. You can make those arguments if you want to be a big ol’ party pooper.

The way I see it, there are a lot of different benefits here. It’s next to impossible for iRacing to get approved to add a modern F1 car to the service, so why not add a cool open-wheel car that’s less of a pain in the ass to adjust? And there’s been a massive rise in legitimate online racing championships in the past few years that has only been accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Why not have an online-only car for an online-only championship?

The iR-01 isn’t deleting old content to make room for new stuff. It’s not completely destroying its vision with one single car. This open-wheel machine is not going to completely deny the addition of all other open-wheel machines in the future. It’s just fun. It’s a way to play with the technology that has brought iRacing to this point. Not everything has to be serious all the time!

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You can expect this machine to be available with the 2021 Season 1 build coming later this month.

Weekends at Jalopnik. Managing editor at A Girl's Guide to Cars. Lead IndyCar writer and assistant editor at Frontstretch. Novelist. Motorsport fanatic.

DISCUSSION

iRacing's Steve Myers said they built this car because they had a team of people who couldn't do their work due to the pandemic, so they gave that team something to do. I'll take a that every day over laying people off.