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What is iRacing? An FAQ Guide to Virtual Racing

As the INDYCAR iRacing Challenge kicks into high gear on NBCSN, here is a guide to what iRacing is, how realistic the racing is, how popular it is with the drivers and much more.


So, what is iRacing? 

iRacing is the world’s top racing simulation system. iRacing gives drivers the opportunity to turn laps, both for practice and competitively, in a realistic, virtual setting that accurately simulates the feel of race cars on some of the most famous racetracks in the world. 

Who’s taking part in the INDYCAR iRacing Challenge? 

Each week, the INDYCAR iRacing Challenge features current NTT INDYCAR SERIES drivers such as series champions Scott Dixon, Josef Newgarden, Simon Pagenaud, Will Power, Sebastien Bourdais and Tony Kanaan. The races could also feature special guests. The first two rounds of the series featured seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson. 


Can drivers adjust their cars? 

No. The INDYCAR iRacing Challenge uses all equal cars on track. Drivers do not have the ability to upload setups to iRacing. 


What do the driver setups look like? 

Some athletes use simple computer monitors, steering wheels and foot pedals to race, while other athletes use very detailed “rigs” that feature multiple screens and a seat that replicates their INDYCAR cockpit. 

Patricio O'Ward:


Felix Rosenqvist:

Staying busy at home! Super excited to get the @IndyCar @iRacing series going 🙌🏻🙌🏻🙌🏻

How long are the races?  

Each race can range from 60 to 90 minutes in length. 


Are there qualifying and practice sessions? 

Each race features a qualifying session shortly before the scheduled race time. 


What’s the schedule for the Challenge and how can I watch it? 

The INDYCAR iRacing Challenge will be held at several virtual racetracks, some which will be decided by your favorite NTT INDYCAR SERIES drivers! Races are televised on NBCSN and streamed on and the NBC Sports App. The schedule: 

Watkins Glen International (March 28)

Barber Motorsports Park (April 4)

“Driver’s Choice” track - Michigan International Speedway (April 11) 

“Random Draw” track - Twin Ring Motegi (April 18) 

Circuit of the Americas (April 25) 

Non-INDYCAR “Dream” track (May 2) 


How realistic is iRacing? How similar are the cars and tracks to real life? 

It’s very realistic. iRacing has stellar features and functionality with officially licensed replica cars engineered in cooperation with actual race teams. By doing this, iRacing can create accurate mechanical and dynamic models so that drivers can feel at home almost exactly what they feel in their real race car. The cars in the INDYCAR iRacing Challenge even feature the new Aeroscreen. 

Plus, iRacing scans each racetrack that it features so drivers can race on exact replicas of real-world racetracks. That means when drivers race on the tracks featured in the INDYCAR iRacing Challenge, they will feel the exact bumps, banking and racing surfaces as when racing in the real world. 

iRacing is so realistic that many race car drivers use it to practice during the week and prepare themselves for an upcoming race at real-life tracks. Some will even use iRacing to prepare themselves for a racetrack they have never visited. 


What’s the prize for the winning driver? 

There is no winning prize, and there will not be an overall champion crowned. However, there will be a special element where INDYCAR will donate to one of its partner charities. 


Can I try out iRacing myself and see what it’s like? 

Yes, you can! All you need is a computer equipped with one or more USB ports and a digital wheel/pedal or gamepad backed by a high-speed internet connection. You can learn more about iRacing memberships here. 


Do some drivers do iRacing in their free time? 

Yes. Drivers such as Santino Ferrucci, Sage Karam, Colton Herta, Will Power and Felix Rosenqvist are avid sim racers. They have sim-racing setups at home that they use to hone their skills at various INDYCAR tracks, and to escape from reality and race with fellow iRacing members for fun. You never know who you might race with when logging on to iRacing! 

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