Red Bull GRC Drivers Rave About Future iRacing Expansion
Monday’s partnership announcement between Red Bull Global Rallycross and iRacing ensured that the world’s most advanced rallycross cars would make their debut in the world of e-sports later this year. Partnering with iRacing, which boasts over 80 different race cars and more than 80 tracks in its service, brings Red Bull GRC into the fold with such iconic racing brands as McLaren F1, NASCAR, and IndyCar.
Red Bull GRC action in iRacing has undergone extensive testing and development in preparation for the launch, which will see all iRacers receive both the Volkswagen Beetle GRC and Daytona International Speedway rallycross course for free. Three-time Supercar champion Scott Speed, whose 11 podiums in the Beetle in 2017 led all drivers, loans his Oberto/Circle K livery to the launch, and raves about the realism.
“The car handles incredibly realistically, how it does in real life,” Speed explained. “That’s what sets it apart. You’re adjusting how the car feels on the gravel, you’re adjusting how it jumps, you’re adjusting how the four-wheel drive works because it’s different from a regular car, so it’s all-encompassing.”
Speed, a longtime iRacer dating back to his stock car racing days, is far from the only driver in the Red Bull GRC paddock to be familiar with the service. 2014 GRC Lites champion Mitchell deJong competes in the iRacing.com World Championship Grand Prix Series, while Red Bull GRC on NBC commentator and past Supercar competitor Townsend Bell has competed in the annual Pro Race of Champions. But the Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross driver was a key part of the development team, and will help teach newcomers how to handle the 600-horsepower Supercars.
“The tracks I’ve run on haven’t been exactly the same—although Indianapolis is a really close replica, and looks incredibly similar,” he admitted. “But it’ll be one of those things where, as we get further along and you can run on all of the different tracks, people can get experience on a lot of the tracks that we race on currently.”
With a number of tracks coming soon, including the Lucas Oil Raceway layout that the series ran earlier this year, iRacing has also committed to the inclusion of multiple vehicles. Loenbro Motorsports’ Supercar was scanned for the project last year, and driver Steve Arpin looks forward to the opportunity to give the sim a spin.
“I used to have a simulator in my house—now that iRacing is coming over to GRC, I wish I wouldn’t have sold it!” he joked. “I’m really looking forward to it. It’s going to be really cool to play with it, and it’s going to be really cool to see it. Hopefully we’ll be able to use it to learn a little bit.”
For those of you gearing up for Red Bull GRC’s debut in iRacing later this year, don’t be surprised if you see some of your favorite stars racing alongside you. Could we see Speed hanging out in some public lobbies on launch day?
“No question,” he said. “My engineer, Graham (Quinn), is good at it as well, so we always battle each other on there. But I will definitely be on there.”
Images via iRacing