When NASCAR mentioned late last year that iRacing helped develop the quarter-mile short track at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, I knew that it was only a matter of time until the stadium speedway would be available for users on the popular racing simulation. Last week, the venue for this weekend’s Busch Light Clash at The Coliseum became available for purchase.
It’s difficult not to be impressed by the finished product while sitting in your virtual car on the racing surface. The recreation of the coliseum is accurate and imposing, from the modern press box built in 2018 to the original peristyle overlooking turns 1 and 2. And as expected, the track is fully dressed with SAFER barriers, catch fencing and covered-off trackside seating sections.
Wrestling the 670-horsepower NASCAR Next Gen stock cars around the quarter-mile track is as challenging as it is rewarding. The Next Gen car is incredibly stable mid-corner and accelerates well out of corners. Though, mistakes are brutally punished. The tires don’t hesitate to spin if you’re too eager on the throttle on corner exit. It gets more complicated when you add in a full field of cars.
The racing at the Coliseum is less than beautiful. To be blunt, it is bumper-to-bumper close-quarters combat. The virtual Clash that iRacing has set up for its users consists of 13-lap heat races with ten cars each, a 25-lap last chance qualifier and a 75-lap main event with 22 cars. I drove from 17th to 5th place in a feature race through risky passes and avoiding multi-car crashes. I wasn’t able to make the finish after I spun my wheels leaving turn 4. The driver behind had nowhere to go but into me. My car got sent head-on into the outside wall at the start-finish line and my race was over. There were 9 cautions in that race with 45 laps of the 75-lap feature run behind the pace car.
The Cup Series drivers should fair better than a bunch of random sim racers. In an event hosted by Team I5G, I got the opportunity to race an IndyCar around the Coliseum. Team I5G is a sim racing team that has gained notoriety for their weekly YouTube series, “ARCA Brake Weekly.” The series documents the expletive-filled exploits of iRacing’s lowest-ranked oval drivers set to classical music. The team’s IndyCar exhibition was even more chaotic, with total track blockages and multiple airborne incidents.
The Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum could become a popular iRacing official series stop if the service schedules lower-powered cars to the short track.