Early-adopters of VR headsets turned to Live For Speed and Project CARS for their VR-enabled sim racing fix, which both have solid support for Oculus Rift and HTC Vive, but we’re finally seeing movement elsewhere. Assetto Corsa’s pre-alpha support for the Rift in the recent 1.6 update was very well received (with Vive users also finding some success using the Revive injector), and VR sim racers will soon have another title to enjoy; iRacing begins its Rift support next week.
Kevin Bobbitt, Director of Marketing at iRacing, confirmed the news to Road to VR.
“We are excited to continue our support of VR hardware. We were one of the first titles to support the Oculus Rift DK1 so it’s natural that we would continue with support for the CV1. We are in the final stages of testing and plan to add support when we release our quarterly update next week. Once we finish this project we’ll be evaluating other VR hardware as well.”
iRacing’s subscription-based online service is designed to be active 24 hours a day, with most championships operating on a 12-week schedule. The major software updates roll out four times a year, during the infamous ‘Week 13’ which next begins on June 7th. This is typically a week-long shakedown of the new build; a chance to test new content and to address any last-minute issues before a new season of racing gets underway. ‘Week 13’ can be a confusing introduction for new members, as the typical racing schedules aren’t active, and there can be more downtime than usual (note: Rift support is therefore due June 7th at the earliest, but could slip a day or two). However, it’s a good time to become acquainted with the sim; newcomers will want to spend time in private testing to ensure their hardware is configured correctly, and to familiarise themselves with some of the cars and tracks.
It will be interesting to see iRacing’s first VR implementation on consumer hardware, as their support for the Rift development kits was one of the more polished integrations at the time. The Rift’s ‘asynchronous time warp’—a rendering technique which maintains smooth visuals during slowdowns in rendering—should help to mitigate the performance issues commonly seen on the DK2, while the improvements in fidelity and comfort on the consumer Rift has made frequent racing in VR a more viable and appealing proposition.
Further VR sim racing entertainment is due this year: Gran Turismo Sport’s showcase event in London last month confirmed that the title will be PSVR-ready at its launch in November. Considering how demanding driving sims can be on a high-end PC, it will be a remarkable achievement if developer Polyphony Digital can deliver the full GT Sport experience at decent quality in VR using the PS4. Fingers crossed we’ll have news about DiRT Rally’s VR support before then too, but that still leaves a number of PC sims (most notably RaceRoom, rFactor 2, and Automobilista) yet to show their hand.