How a Book about Racetracks Helped Take iRacing to the Next Level

With NASCAR, IMSA and other racing series moving to virtual racing during the coronavirus threat, it’s interesting to note where this vision of video racing on such a large, and more important, realistic scale, began.

Well, a lot of it goes back to the old school and a book co-written by Autoweek’s Formula 1 contributor, Joe Saward.

“I got for Christmas, this book written by Joe Saward called, The World Atlas of Motor Racing,” said Dave Kaemmer, computer game developer and CEO iRacing.com Motorsport Simulations. “It’s basically a coffee table book that’s just got every ciruit on planet Earth, along with the history of each circuit, organized by where they are, what countries and so on. It’s just fabulous reading.”

Kaemmer said that the chapter that really got his wheels turning was one on the Nurburgring—a circuit about as far away from his early racing sim effort as one could get.

“Back then, we were still working on the conceptual Indy 500,” he said. “It was code-based. The physics for the cars was basically a 2D model, and the Nurburgring has tons of elevation change and all kinds of camber changes and banking and what have you.

“Plus, it seemed incredibly daunting. It’s one thing to build an oval or even a short road circuit, but a 14-mile track with mountains and villages and everything else to go through—it seemed like, yeah, well, maybe someday.”

Someday is here.

See how it all came together in this 2015 video produced by iRacing:

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