iRacing is one of the most popular racing sims out there at the moment. However, unlike usual games, it requires a monthly or annual subscription to play.
Apart from the subscription, there are several other costs involved as well before you jump into a virtual cockpit. In this article, we’re breaking down the cost of getting into iRacing and looking at whether or not it’s a viable proposition.
Also read: Top 7 steering wheels for iRacing
How much does iRacing cost?
As mentioned above, iRacing requires a subscription to play. You can get these subscriptions from either the iRacing website or via Steam. The prices between the two do differ at times, meaning you can save money depending upon when you get your subscription.
At the time of writing, the iRacing website has a 40% discount on new memberships. The prices look something like this:
- One month: $7.80 ($13 without discount)
- Three months: $19.80 ($33 without discount)
- One year: $66.00 ($110 without discount)
- Two years: $119.40 ($199 without discount)
If you’re looking to get a subscription through Steam, the price slabs are as follows:
- One month: $9.99 ($12.99 after that)
- Three months: $39.99 ($67.99 after that)
- One year: $74.99 ($112.99 after that)
Compared to other games with annual releases like FIFA, F1 and so on, the upfront cost of playing isn’t that high. It’s pretty much the same thing, except instead of getting an entirely new game, you’re just paying the subscription to the existing one, considering you get the annual subscription.
If you’re looking to stick with iRacing for a longer time and play consistently, it’s best to get the annual or two-year subscriptions as they’ll save you the most money in subscription costs.
When buying an iRacing subscription, you get 16 cars and 22 tracks (available in 70 unique configurations). However, iRacing’s library is far bigger with over 100 cars and tracks each. You’re going to have to pay extra for this content.
- Cars: $11.95 each ($2.95 for legacy cars)
- Tracks: $11.95 or $14.95 ($4.95 for legacy tracks)
Note that legacy cars and tracks used to be included in iRacing subscriptions prior to June 2020. If you had a subscription purchased before that, your content remains unaffected.
There’s also a bulk discount that gets you 10% off when you buy three or more cars or tracks and 15% off when you buy six or more cars or tracks. If you purchase 40 or more cars or tracks, you get a 40% discount on all purchases, and if you own everything, you’ll be able to get a 30% discount on all new releases.
Also read: Top 7 Racing Wheel stands
Additional hardware costs
While the iRacing subscription is a must, some additional requirements like a PC with the required specs to run the game, additional costs like steering wheels, and optional hardware such as a better monitor and audio system.
Apart from getting an iRacing subscription, getting any additional content you might need and having a PC powerful enough to run the game properly, we also recommend investing in a good steering wheel. Apart from that, there are several other bits of hardware you’d want to get.
You require at least a quad-core chipset, 16GB RAM, 2GB dedicated GPU and 50GB of free space to run iRacing on your PC. While these are the minimum system requirements for iRacing, you can check out the recommended system requirements for playing the game here.
You can run iRacing on Mac using Apple’s Boot Camp utility.
One of the best entry-level wheels you can pick up is the Logitech G29, G920, which are available starting at $300 or the Thrustmaster T150 or the T300, which would also be available around $350-400. These wheels, however, more often than not sell for a lot cheaper than the retail price, thanks to frequent discounts.
You can get wheels for much cheaper, but we don’t recommend going below the G29. If you’re looking for a bit of a mid-range option, you can also get the T300 Pro from Thrustmaster that comes in around $450-500 and comes with a better pedal set.
Getting a wider display with a high refresh rate will also go a long way in enhancing your sim racing experience. A wider display allows you to see more of the track, be aware of any cars around you and, more importantly, your braking points.
Another thing that’s rather important for sim racing is the FPS. A higher refresh rate monitor can do wonders here, provided you can get above 60 FPS and hit the monitor’s limit. Don’t pay too much attention to the graphics. If lowering the graphics settings (or resolution) can get you a higher FPS, you should do it, especially with a higher refresh rate (120Hz, 144Hz or 240Hz) monitor.
In any case, if you’re using a regular monitor or your laptop’s display, getting an external monitor is a pretty good upgrade for your sim racing rig.
We recommend playing with headphones on, especially in iRacing. The sim comes with an in-built racing chief that’ll keep giving you lap time updates and telling you about cars around you. If you’re playing on speakers, there’s a good chance you’ll miss out on essential details like tyre sounds, which are a good indication of when you’re overstepping the limits of the car.
Additionally, if you’re using a third-party program like Crew Chief, using a good pair of headphones becomes all the more important. Besides, having a mic on your headset will also allow you to communicate with other drivers on the track effectively.
Is iRacing a viable proposition?
Yes, if you’re serious about sim racing and want the best multiplayer experience possible.
iRacing has really dialled down on its multiplayer infrastructure and provides competitive races according to a player’s iRating and Safety Rating, making sure that players with similar skill levels get matched together. This makes the racing a lot cleaner. The sim also heavily penalises mistakes, which means drivers are pretty serious about their races more often than not.
The subscription model also puts a barrier of entry to the sim, which deters a lot of trolls who would otherwise be causing carnage in F1 and Assetto Corsa public lobbies. And while you can play the sim with a controller or keyboard, the fact that you’ve already invested so much to reach a virtual racetrack means players are incentivised to invest in a good enough wheel as well, making the racing experience better for everyone.
You could argue that you can get a good enough multiplayer racing experience on games like Assetto Corsa Competizione or F1 using sites like SimGrid. However, the sheer convenience iRacing offers is still unmatched.
Also read: iRacing vs Assetto Corsa vs DiRT Rally 2.0
Someone who writes/edits/shoots/hosts all things tech and when he’s not, streams himself racing virtual cars. You can reach out to Yadullah at [email protected], or follow him on Instagram or Twitter.