Archive for the IndyCar Category

IndyCar Jumps Back Into the Virtual World

Posted in IndyCar on July 28, 2021 by Oilpressure

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Some of you may be surprised to learn that about twenty years ago, I was a fairly active simmer. I never got into any of the shoot-‘em-up video games; but I owned my fair share of PC flight and race simulators.

I hate to admit it, but I was the only male in my immediate family that never got a pilot’s license. It’s one of my biggest regrets in life. I soloed at age 16, but at the time – chasing girls and drinking beer held more allure than studying on how to plot a cross-country trip on a chart, or spending my weekend days practicing crosswind landings. I had enough interest later on, however, to buy every updated version of Microsoft Flight Simulator as soon as they hit the market. I also had several others as some had different advantages over the others.

My first racing sim was CART Precision Racing. I bought it in 1998 and it was my first experience in Force Feedback. When my car hit the rumble-strips, I felt it in the wheel.

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One of my favorites was Grand Prix Legends. It featured Formula One cars and tracks from the early to mid-sixties. It was fun to take Dan Gurney’s Eagle to do just one lap at the old Nürburgring, which was over fourteen miles in length and consisted of 160 turns. The problem with it was it my have been too realistic. Without the proper setup, you really couldn’t even compete – and the throttle was extremely sensitive, no matter what you did in settings.

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Later on, I got NASCAR 3 and then NASCAR 4. Probably my favorite was NASCAR Heat, because it was easy to create your own customized liveries. I had a Marlboro stock car in a paint scheme that would have made Emerson Fittipaldi proud. The best thing about NASCAR Heat was that it had a platform that allowed outside developers to create tracks and other type cars. I eventually could download CART Heat and IRL Heat, so long as I had the original NASCAR Heat installed on my computer.

My last racing sim to buy was IndyCar Series by Codemasters. It had the best graphics of IMS and most other tracks on the IndyCar schedule, but it featured the cars from the 2002 season, before the 2003 Dallara came out. Since it was before 2005, there were no road courses on there. I logged hours of driving the perfect line at Indianapolis in practice, or driving against other drivers that the computer generated.

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What I did not enjoy was racing online against people I didn’t know. There was always the one jerk that had tweaked his setup so much that he was doing about 300 mph in the straightaways and about 275 mph in the turns. Of course, they had superb grip to where they never lost control. What fun is it to race against that?

Then there was always that other guy that was getting beaten so badly, he would turn around and go the wrong direction – purposely crashing the entire field and ruining someone’s good race.

I think that’s why I never cared for iRacing that much, well…one of the reasons. You had to do everything online – even practice. The thing I really didn’t like was the idea of paying a continual subscription fee.

Yes, I am old and even more old-fashioned. We subscribe to Netflix, Amazon, Hulu and Peacock, but I still prefer to watch a movie on a hard-copy blu-ray or DVD than streaming. When it comes to sims, I would prefer to but a disc copy and install it on my computer. That way it’s a one-time purchase. After about four months of paying a subscription fee, the disc has paid for itself.

I think I’ve gone through three PC steering wheels (with pedals) and I don’t think my most recent is even compatible with Windows 10 – that’s how long it has been since I drove a sim. I really think it was the late 2000s since I last touched it.

Why am I rambling on about my racing sims of fifteen and twenty years ago? Because IndyCar announced a couple of weeks ago that a new IndyCar racing game is being developed by Motorsports Games Inc. It is expected to be available in 2023 for Xbox, PlayStation and PC. Why am I just now writing about it? Because there has been a lot of news to digest lately, and this is the first chance I’ve had to discuss it. This is not what I would call a priority news item.

I would be lying if I said I was familiar with Motorsports Games Inc. The news release named a few other series and races they were involved with, but I can’t speak to how good a job they do.

Different people like different things in a racing sim. For me, I want great track graphics and cars that look exactly like the real thing. Realism in driving is not so important to me. If it drove like a real race car, I wouldn’t be able to drive it. I want to be able to actually drive the thing and compete. I don’t want every quarter turn of wing to make the difference in making it through the turn or getting loose and spinning out of control. I am not a race car driver, a mechanic nor an engineer. I’m just a chump sitting at a computer trying to get around a race track without hitting the wall.

The bad thing about the timing is that the new engines are scheduled to be in the cars for the 2023 season. The new chassis is scheduled for 2024 (I think). If I’m correct in my timeline, this new game is about to feature equipment that is soon to be obsolete. Will they feature updates when the new cars come out?

To be perfectly honest, I’m not sure who the target audience is for this game. Do teenagers or college kids give a hoot about racing games? They don’t seem t care anything about the real thing, so why is this different? Are they going for people like me, old goats who used to do this twenty-five years ago? I think iRacing has raised the bar, as far as graphics and realism. Are they going after the iRacing crowd?

There are a lot of questions that were not addressed in last week’s announcement, but if they offer a hard-copy disc version of the game, I will probably go back to 1999 and buy a copy. If it is an ongoing online subscription, I’ll probably pass. Change is Bad!

George Phillips

Let the Speculation Begin!

Posted in IndyCar on July 23, 2021 by Oilpressure

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It’s still July, and the silly season seems to be in full swing. A couple of weeks ago, Michael Andretti kicked things off when he remarked that a couple of cars could be in play at his team for 2022. He noted that Colton Herta and Alexander Rossi were both under contract, but that the other two cars could see some changes. It could be that he meant team personnel, but I think most took it to mean either James Hinchcliffe of Ryan Hunter-Reay could be gone at season’s end.

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NBC and IndyCar Reach an Extension

Posted in IndyCar on July 21, 2021 by Oilpressure

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Not long ago, I publicly ate crow after the double-header at Belle Isle. I had predicted a boring set of races that turned out to be very exciting. I led off the Random Thoughts post with hat in hand and publicly admitted I was dead wrong. It wasn’t fun, but at least I acknowledged it.

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SRX Racing Comes to Nashville

Posted in IndyCar on July 19, 2021 by Oilpressure

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Although the NTT IndyCar Series is on a bit of a hiatus right now, that doesn’t mean we can’t get our racing fix somewhere. What better way to get it than watching some former IndyCar stars at historic Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway.

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Saturday Night at the Races

Posted in IndyCar on July 16, 2021 by Oilpressure

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We are going to a race in Nashville. Many people have probably said that over this past summer. If you are a NASCAR fan, you could have said it back in June. The NASCAR Cup Series made its first-ever visit to Nashville Superspeedway on June 20. We were in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin that day for the IndyCar race at Road America. Had we been in town, I doubt I would have made the trek out to that track. That’s more than a fifty mile drive from our home in west Nashville just to see what I figured would be a boring race. From what I’ve heard, it was.

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Will Toronto Ever Come Back?

Posted in IndyCar on July 14, 2021 by Oilpressure

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It was twenty-five years ago today that we lost driver Jeff Krosnoff and corner-worker Gary Avrin at the Molson Indy Toronto in 1996. Please keep those two men in your prayers and thoughts today.

Last weekend, the NTT IndyCar Series was scheduled to be racing the streets of Toronto. Unfortunately, the temporary street circuit was never built. The cars never left their respective shops as the teams and drivers began what is now to be a four-weekend break, before reconvening in Nashville for the August 6-8 weekend.

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The Captain Returns to Goodwood

Posted in IndyCar on July 12, 2021 by Oilpressure

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There are some that consider Roger Penske a polarizing figure, due to the money he brought to the sport in his early days in IndyCar. Many claim he dramatically increased the cost of doing business. I am not one of those. If you’ve followed this site for very long, you know I’ve been a lifelong fan of The Captain and Team Penske. I was at the 1969 Indianapolis 500, when Team Penske made their debut with Mark Donohue driving a Lola. As a ten-year old – I didn’t pay that much attention to the teams or the team owners at that time. I was more focused on the drivers and what their cars looked like.

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