Rain finally arrives in iRacing

Rain is finally available in iRacing, six months after the first teaser from the popular racing simulation service, and it is part of a major update for 2024 Season 2.

iRacing users are familiar with turning virtual laps on a dry track with a dynamic weather system connected to real weather data, which changes track and air temperature and cloud cover depending on the time of day.

Other racing simulation games such as Assetto Corsa Competizione, Gran Turismo 7, and the F1 game franchise feature rain as a weather possibility. This is not a new development in the sim racing world, but due to the competitive nature of the platform, iRacing took extra time to make its rain effect as realistic as possible.


“The Tempest system delivers an experience unlike anything else in simulation racing, and it may take some time for iRacers to properly acclimate to the feature,” wrote iRacing Senior Vice President and Executive Producer Greg Hill in a recent development update.

“This is rain done the iRacing way; a true-to-life dynamic simulation of the multitude of physical and environmental factors experienced in racing in the rain, and how water interacts with both the racetrack and the tires of your race car.”

The Tempest system adds a new layer to the possibilities within iRacing, furthering the dynamic weather changes that already exist in the game. The track can go from wet to dry, or vice versa, and there will be a weather forecast that is only as accurate as forecasts are in real life. This means that drivers and teams will know about approximate weather changes during a session, but they will still have to assess the grip as they drive through each corner.

iRacers have been waiting for this update since before it was teased back in August of last year. While the initial response has been positive, the fact that wet races will be more challenging than dry ones could lead to more incidents on track. The rain is so realistic that visibility is almost zero when following in the spray of another car, large puddles cause hydroplaning, and the conventional racing line can be more slippery.

Sports car racer and iRacing enthusiast Daniel Morad tested out the new update, as did several other content creators who got early access last week.

“I think they’ve nailed it in terms of realism,” he said in his recent YouTube video while driving a few virtual laps around Sebring International Raceway, a track that he has raced before in the wet.

“Now, let’s talk about the visuals. The puddling, the reflections, it is just a step up. It looks so good.”

“In my opinion, I think it’s going to be cool for me to be able to train, and for amateur drivers or even professional drivers to use this as a tool to get comfortable and more confident in the rain. I know that with my teammate this year in the Michelin Pilot Challenge, Bryce Ward, he is a less experienced driver getting so much quicker using iRacing as a platform… Having the rain is going to help so much because we are going to be able to simulate all different sorts of weather conditions.”

Morad points out that the wet conditions are so realistic that some players will struggle initially and become frustrated with the lack of visibility when following other cars, but he said, “genuinely, that’s how it is in the real car.”

Another iRacing regular who is excited about the update is Suellio Almeida, a sim racer turned racing driver who coaches thousands of students online. In a video published two weeks ago, Almeida opens up about how he feels when he is at the track, and it starts raining.

“This is the perfect timing for me because I’m transitioning to real life right now and I’m doing a full season. Every time it starts to rain, I panic because my experience is 100% in iRacing, and I have absolutely no experience in the rain at all in real life. So, my confidence goes down and my competitiveness goes down as well.”

The Radical Cup driver is looking forward to practicing new lines through corners that he knows well in the dry to try and understand racing in wet conditions. He hopes to build confidence and skill in the simulator that he can use to be competitive at the track.

Beyond the Tempest system, iRacing is packing a lot more into this update, including new cars, tracks, a new user interface, and a change to how the Road License works. iRacing separates licenses into four categories, road, oval, dirt road, and dirt oval. Moving forward, the Road License will split into two categories, Open Wheel and Sports Car, so that users can progress separately in those disciplines.

Misano and Algarve are joining the list of road courses, and Millbridge Speedway in North Carolina is coming to the dirt oval category. Also new to iRacing are the Dallara 324, Dirt Micro Sprint, and SRX.

Story originally appeared on Racer