Le Mans Ultimate v iRacing: Which sim does LMDh best?

Multi class racing at Spa in Le Mans Ultimate

Multi class racing at Spa in Le Mans Ultimate

Although iRacing doesn’t enjoy the same FIA World Endurance Championship licence found in Le Mans Ultimate, both sims feature LMDh cars.

Thanks to its relationship with IMSA, iRacing has LMDh prototypes in its roster from Cadillac, Acura, BMW and Porsche, while Le Mans Ultimate (LMU) also features LMDh cars from Porsche and Cadillac (examples from Lamborghini, BMW and Alpine are set to join the WEC grid in 2024, so expect to see these in LMU at a later date).

Since LMU and iRacing share LMDhs, we decided to offer up some comparisons on how the two sims represent the exciting world of top-class prototype racing in-game, comparing and contrasting visuals, sounds, physics and other relevant information.

Please bear in mind, however, that LMU is currently in early access, so its current build does not represent the finished product. LMU also boasts LMH cars from Peugeot, Ferrari and Toyota, adding another string to its WEC bow.

Le Mans Ultimate v iRacing

iRaicng’s elderly game engine has been refined to the nth degree over the years but there’s no getting away from the fact it looks a little dated in comparison to LMU (and most of its rival platforms).

However, what it lacks in visual flair it more than makes up for in consistent performance and steady frame rates, with the on-track action staying buttery smooth even with large multi-class grids.

iRacing's Porsche 963
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LMU’s LMDh car models have better fidelity overall but its early access build does suffer from occasional glitches and stutters but expect this to be improved over time.

Where iRacing has LMU licked, however, is through its superior damage modelling, with iRacing’s New Damage Model (NDM) embarrassing LMU’s lacklustre (in comparison) attempts. It shouldn’t be a surprise given how well iRacing has this nailed among its peers, but its AI racing is also much more convincing than LMU’s (a fact especially noticeable when AI Hypercars try to negotiate slower traffic).


One highlight of LMU’s early access build is its sound design, with some incredibly immersive audio from both inside the cockpit and the external TV cameras.

The onboard sound of the Porsche 963 is ruthlessly brutal, for example, with incidental kerb strikes and gravel rash immersing you in the role of a pro LMDh driver.

iRacing’s LMDh cars sound one-dimensional in comparison and lack the rich texture of LMU’s audioscapes. Artificial distortion is added to the mix to beef up iRacing’s LMDh external sounds, especially noticeable from the BMW M Hybrid V8. It’s an effective workaround, however, and conveys the LMDh’s brutality.

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How the LMDh cars feel to drive is a very subjective matter, naturally. However, even in its early stages, driving in LMU feels much more visceral than iRacing.

Cars feel alive: you can flirt with the edge of adhesion before manhandling your LMDh’s rear-end back to the safety of the racing line. It’s also easier to modulate your braking without locking up. On the other hand, though, I experienced a lot more understeer in LMU’s Porsche 963 than I did in the iRacing version.

The Porsche 963 in Le Mans Ultimate
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The cold tyre phase in LMU is also fairly tricky to negotiate, while early laps in iRacing’s LMDhs are far more predictable. Yet, that knife-edge of grip is still present in iRacing: push over the limit and you’re a goner. The key is to predict where the limit will be through practice, which simply isn’t as fun as feeling the limit of grip and reacting to it in real time.

Again though, you may feel differently about each sim’s physics but both offer a polished LMU experience. LMU’s Early Access state provides plenty of optimism for the future of virtual prototype racing, though (and hopefully none of iRacing’s notoriously choppy netcode).


Well, there’s no comparison here. At $14.95 per track and $11.95 per car, buying the Porsche 963, Cadillac V-Series.R and all of the tracks used in 2023’s WEC (minus the Algarve International Circuit and Bahrain, as they haven't been added to the service yet)in iRacing costs a decent chunk of cash (minus discounts). And that’s before factoring in subscription costs.

With LMU in Early Access, you can spend £24.99 / €29.99 / $32.99 and receive the full roster of last year’s WEC cars and tracks, with 2024’s lineup on the way at a later date. This looks like exceptional value in comparison.

Of course, all of this hinges on whether Studio 397 and Motorsport Games can deliver on making LMU the ultimate 24 Hours of Le Mans simulator, which, given how many key features are currently missing - Full Course Yellows, Safety Cars, VR etc - isn’t guaranteed.

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