iRacing: A Beginner’s Guide – What it is, how to drive, tips & tricks, and more!

iRacing is a subscription-based racing sim available online.

With close-knit racing a given, iRacing is the go-to game for many sim racers out there.

But what if you want to get started and don’t know about the game? Let’s dive into this guide and how you can start on your way to iRacing pro!

What is iRacing?

As mentioned, iRacing is a sim developed in 2008 by Motorsport Simulations.

iRacing in game
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IN-GAME: Players will be met with this screen when they first load in to the game

A stable release of the game dropped in late 2019, bringing the world of competitive sim-racing to your desktop.

The game is subscription based, meaning users pay a monthly fee to access the game, which provides you with races, open practice sessions as well as paying for the customer support and other features of the game.

Whilst we have been referring to it as a game, remember this is still a sim, so you'll need some of the right equipment as well!

What features does the game have?

As a subscription-based game, iRacing provides users with 16 laser scanned cars for free, as well as 22 laser scanned tracks.

iRacing Cars
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DIGITAL PRECISION: The cars in-game are identical to their real-life counterparts

Users can then pay for more if they wish, both tracks and cars, which enables them to compete in a wider variety of classes.

The main selling point of the game, bar the realism and car setup, is the full licensing and rating system.


Starting as a Rookie, drivers can practice and compete against other drivers of a similar level, earning a safety rating (which determines how you drive on the track) as your driving improves.

iRacing Oval 1
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OVAL STYLE: iRacing has a big NASCAR community!

Similarly, you will also have an iRating, which is a ranking system for their drivers. Users with a certain iRating level will be matched with other drivers with a similar iRating.

It is important to note as well that your rating can go down. As such, your licenses can be revoked if you race too erratically or cause excessive incidents!

The Racing

As mentioned, drivers are initially placed in the Rookie level, with several racing series’ available to start on to learn the game.

iRacing Cockpit
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INTENSITY: This game is not for the faint of heart!

Initially, races may seem ‘easy’ or ‘hard’, but time is needed for your iRating to adjust in order to reflect your current racing level and pitch you against other racers of a similar level.

As you begin to advance through the ranks, your car’s setup will become more and more important.

There are a number of third-party applications that will provide setups for you, but if you prefer your own, this can also be done in-game similar to most driving games.

How you should drive

Initially, the most important element is to drive safely, and learn the game’s nuances. The last thing you want to do is ruin your Safety Rating before you even get to race properly!

The key is to avoid racing incidents. Not only will this help improve your safety rating, it will also help you improve your race craft.

iRacing Grids
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BIG RACES: Drive safely, some grids cane be HUGE!

Wherever you can, be sure to take advantage of the opportunity to practice. Not only can you learn the tracks of iRacing, it also allows you to learn how the car feels (for Rookies into Road Racing, an MX5)

It is important to not rush anything!

Make sure you enjoy playing the game, bringing the car home and keeping it clean, you don't gain anything from acquiring a license early other than a rather humbling race.

What car should you use?

As mentioned at the start, the game features 16 laser scanned cars for free.

iRacing mx5
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COOL BEGINNINGS: Start your journey in an MX5

Whilst as a Rookie you will start in an MX5 on the road, it is once again important to master the car, and thereby the game, before advancing.

Rushing into high performance cars will likely damage your iRating, ruin the race for those around you, and leave you with a sour taste!

The key to iRacing is patience, and the same goes for car selection.

Where can I get it?

The game has a Steam client and is also available from the website itself,

Once you have an account created, and you have paid, the game is ready for you to download.

Refer back to this guide as and when you need help, and happy racing!

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