As a person who likes cars and often does not like spending money, racing simulators are the relatively affordable gift that keeps on giving. You can wreck cars without paying to fix them, don’t have to go further than your computer to race, and, soon enough, will be able to jump a virtual rallycross car.
Red Bull Global Rallycross and iRacing are a good fit. They’re both relatively young in racing terms, since the American series for short, closed-course rally started in 2009 and the virtual racing simulator came around the year before. iRacing has teased the introduction of GRC for months, with drivers like Scott Speed, who won his third-straight championship the other day, testing the simulator’s accuracy. (We shouldn’t have anything to worry about on accuracy.)
But it’s finally here, with no release date other than “2017,” and it looks cooler and more realistic than most of us could have ever imagined:
As a simulator, iRacing hits most of the major forms of racing—stock cars, open wheel, sports cars, prototypes and dirt ovals. But rally and rallycross (the two are different in that the former races miles-long paths over days and the latter uses small, enclosed courses) are completely different animals, and having the ability to race them without buying additional simulators is such a convenience.
There are a few things that make GRC so weird and different from other series on iRacing already: tracks are a mix of dirt and asphalt, they have jumps, the series uses heat races rather than timed qualifying determine the starting order for the main event, and there’s a “joker lap” that has to be taken once per race. The joker is part of the circuit that cuts from the regular race course, which can give a driver an advantage if taken at the right time.
When GRC launches, there will be five courses at four different tracks. Daytona International Speedway will have two GRC layouts, and the other tracks with them will be Iowa Speedway, Gateway Motorsports Park and Lucas Oil Raceway. For anyone who has the game, iRacing announced in June that the Volkswagen Beetle race car would come free with the addition of GRC.
Friends, we live in a world where you can jump virtual rallycross cars in your own home. When you’re feeling down, just take a second and remember that.