How to Start iRacing – A Beginner’s Guide to Getting Started in the World of iRacing

Simulation racing is rapidly becoming one of the most popular gaming genres in the market. Advancements in in-game coding and graphics combined with powerful PCs, consoles, wheels, and other sim racing peripherals offer a more realistic and immersive experience than most genres. Plus, the influx of numerous simulation racing titles covering different motoring bases offers versatility in terms of styles, gameplay, locations, and tournaments. However, in this post, we’d like to focus on one specific title – iRacing.

For years, iRacing has dominated the PC sim racing market with over 160,000 active customers (players) worldwide, according to CNET. Moreover, more aspiring sim racers and casual gamers are joining in on the action.

Therefore, in this post, we’ll share a beginner’s guide to getting started in the world of iRacing, covering every aspect of the game, from registration to system requirements, car setup, and basic racing tutorials.

So, let’s set you up for a memorable gaming experience!

What Is iRacing?

sim racing rig showing realistic sim racing

iRacing is the world’s leading sim racing title made exclusively for PC (sorry, PlayStation and Xbox users). It is the go-to option for aspiring, casual, and pro racers looking for the ultimate eSport driving experience from the comfort of their homes. The game features over 100 tracks from all over the world, along with some of the most popular NASCAR, open-wheel, off-road, and rallycross super covers.

iRacing utilizes the latest technologies to recreate the feel of driving a real-world supercar in a safe virtual environment. The overall gameplay is virtually indistinguishable from the real thing. Therefore, many professional drivers use iRacing for training, while sim racers engage in professional tournaments with live broadcasts on the iRacing eSports Network.

How to Start iRacing

To get started with iRacing, you need a powerful PC to support the game in terms of graphics and processing power requirements, a high-speed internet connection, and essential sim racing hardware – wheel, pedals, and a wheelbase.

You can also invest in other accessories to elevate your experience, including a triple-screen monitor setup for better viewing angles, a motion platform for a realistic experience of G forces, software to manage all your settings, etc.

Note: iRacing is a subscription-based sim racing game. Users have to pay a monthly fee of $13 to gain access to the online racing platform and its vast car and track selections. The game offers promos and deals via promo codes listed on the official website from time to time. With the membership, you get:

  • 16 cars
  • 22 tracks
  • 80 official competitive series
  • Unlimited race hosting
  • 400 private sim racing leagues, etc.

Users must also make in-game purchases to enable new tracks, upgrade their vehicles, or purchase new ones. New cars cost $11.95. Similarly, tracks cost $11.95 or $14.95 based on their popularity. iRacing offers several volume-based discounts.

System Requirements for iRacing

Sim racing games are generally heavy compared to other genres. Therefore, iRacing requires a PC with certain specifications that make it more powerful than regular computers. The good news is that iRacing is slightly on the lighter side, meaning you’ll need comparatively less complex hardware to reach adequate FPS numbers and graphics settings to enjoy a good experience.

So, whether you own a current-generation PC or an upgraded older one, here are the minimum and recommended configurations you should be aiming to touch:


Minimum Specs

Recommended Specs

High-End Specs

Operating System

Windows 8.1 64-bit

Windows 11 64-bit

Windows 10 64-bit

Windows 11 64-bit

Processor (CPU)

4 Cores

8 Cores

8+ cores

Memory (RAM)

16 GB

32 GB

64 GB+

Graphics (GPU)





25 GB

50 GB

Up to 500 GB


Joystick, Keyboard

Basic Steering Wheel and Pedal Set

Simulation Rig with Force Feedback Wheelbase, motion system, and peripherals

Internet Connection Speed

DSL, Cable


256K or Higher

PC Hardware for iRacing

Note: People with Intel-equipped MAC computers can run iRacing using Apple’s Boot Camp.

iRacing Setup

Once you’ve procured and assembled your PC to support iRacing and subscribed for the monthly membership, you can proceed to download the software and configuring your controls.

How to Download and Install iRacing

One of the best features of iRacing is that its website and gaming software are interconnected to streamline online tournaments. To download the software, you need to log into your iRacing and access the Quick Start Guide, which contains the setup essentials. Once you’ve read everything and watched the video, you can click the Download Button and execute the installer.

Note: You may need to update your software if you see a yellow notification suggesting your version is outdated. Once you install the update, the notification should be green, meaning you’re all set.

How to Configure iRacing Controls

With the previous step, iRacing should be up and running. You can proceed to test sessions and start practicing with any car. Opting for a Test Session will load up the sim for the first time and allow iRacing to automatically configure your controls and graphics for the best performance according to your system.

However, you can adapt these settings according to your requirement. Key settings include:

  • Wheel range
  • Map range
  • Force Factor (Brakes)
  • Enable/Disable Force Feedback
  • Enable/Disable Linear Mode
  • Enable/Disable Force When Parked
  • Feedback Strength Level
  • Wheel Force (NM) Level
  • Damping (%)
  • Field of View
  • Roll/Pitch Chassis
  • Driving Aids
  • Gear Box (H-Style/Sequential), etc.
Are Traction Loss Simulators worth it?

You can also use this time to configure and calibrate your sim racing hardware – wheelbase, steering wheel, and pedals.

Note: Every car in the game handles differently, just like in the real world. Therefore, learning to configure different settings and calibrate hardware will go a long way in improving your performance.


Every new iRacing player kick-starts their racing career as a rookie with everything you need to race included in their membership. However, the game works on a skill ranking system. Drivers are assigned different licenses – D, C, B, A, and Pro. Each license allows them to participate in up to 40 race series. However, they have to start with a Rookie License and work their way up.

As of 2022, there are thousands of active racers in the iRacing community competing in different championships to win prizes up to $500,000 every year. Players can also organize their series and set up private training sessions or individual races.

If you’re intrigued by the prospects of racing and winning, go through the key aspects of gameplay to cover every major point.

Basic iRacing Rules

iRacing officials have crafted a set of rules and sporting codes to ensure drivers understand the eligibility criteria, restrictions, and violation consequences when registering for a race. Here are some of the key rules every sim racer should know about:


The minimum age requirement for entering a tournament is 13. Of course, drivers need to have the proper license to participate in a specific competition. iRacing is banned in many countries, including North Korea, Syria, Iran, and Cuba. Moreover, sim racers from states, including (but not limited to) Maine, Utah, Tennessee, Utah, Arizona, Arkansas, and Florida, are ineligible to win cash rewards.

Voice and Text Chat

iRacing provides an online platform where racers can communicate with others before, during, and after races via text or voice. Any form of inappropriate expressions or verbal abuse is prohibited and may lead to suspension or cancellation, especially if the issue persists and escalates to threats.


iRacing also offers a world-renowned social space on its website where sim racers and members from around the world come to form a community and interact with each other, exchange news, tips, insights, or valuable information, and engage in social conversations.

While disagreements are quite normal, hostile or disrespectful language is not allowed. Such behavior could lead to heavy penalties. In extreme cases, their membership could also be revoked.

Improper Conduct

iRacing frowns upon any illegal action that can change a race’s simulation, cars, track conditions and behavior, and other aspects of the software. It also prohibits and penalizes fraudulent conduct during races, such as cutting the course, blocking, and using damaged vehicles. All these activities create an unsafe driving environment and could lead to protests and unnecessary conflict.


To advance to the next License Class, sim racers need to achieve and maintain a minimum rating of 2.50 in every racing category. Similarly, accidents, blocking, and other incidents that endanger other drivers could conversely cause their safety rating to fall.

List of Cars and Tracks in iRacing

iRacing offers an extensive list of cars and tracks to offer a versatile gaming experience for sim racers of every level. Here is a list of some of the most popular NASCAR, Open-Wheel, GT, and Dirt Oval supercars you can race:

Car Type

Car List

Oval Racing – NASCAR

  1. ARCA Menards Chevrolet Impala
  2. NASCAR Camping World Chevrolet Silverado
  3. NASCAR Xfinity Ford Mustang
  4. NASCAR Xfinity Toyota Supra
  5. 1987 NASCAR Chevrolet Monte Carlo

Oval Racing – Others

  1. Chevrolet Monte Carlo SS
  2. Legends Ford ’34 / Rookie Coupe (2 cars)
  3. Dallara IR18 IndyCar
  4. Indy Pro 2000 PM-18

Road Racing – Open Wheel

  1. Mercedes-AMG W12 E
  2. Williams FW31
  3. iRacing Formula iR-04
  4. McLaren MP4-30
  5. Formula Renault 3.5

Road Racing – GT Cars

  1. Aston Martin DBR9 GT1
  2. Lamborghini Huracan GT3 EVO
  3. Porsche 911 GT3 R
  4. BMW M4 GT3
  5. Ferrari 488 GT3 Evo 2020

Road Racing – Others

  1. Audi R18
  2. Porsche 919
  3. Audi RS 3 LMS
  4. Nissan GTP ZX-T
  5. Cadillac CTS-V Racecar

Dirt Oval Racing

  1. Dirt Legends Ford ’34 Coupe

Dirt Road Racing

  1. Ford Fiesta RS WRC
  2. Volkswagen Beetle / Lite
  3. Subaru WRX STI
Vehicle overview in simracing

Similarly, here is a list of the most popular tracks in iRacing:




  1. Charlotte Motor Speedway (free)
  2. Michigan International Speedway – 2009 (free)
  3. Pocono Raceway – 2009 (free)
  4. USA International Speedway (free)
  5. Atlanta Motor Speedway
  6. Canadian Tire Motorsports Park
  7. Circuit of the Americas
  8. Kansas, Knoxville, Kentucky, Las Vegas Speedway


  1. Oulton Park Circuit (free)
  2. Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino Ferrari – Imola
  3. Hockenheim Ring
  4. Circuit des 24 Heures du Mans
  5. Rockingham Speedway 
  6. Red Bull Ring

Asia and Other Regions

  1. Suzuka International Racing Course
  2. Phillip Island Circuit
  3. Suzuka International Racing Course
tracks in iRacing

Essential Car Setup

The most important part of learning how to start iRacing is understanding the basics of setting up a car. Every car in the game has been modeled to simulate its real-life counterpart, meaning it will have different suspensions, engines, tires, and other essential components.

Therefore, you’d have to understand how their behavior varies and affects your driving on different tracks, formats, and weather conditions. For instance, tracks like Circuit des 24 Heures du Mans require top-speed. Hence, drivers must adjust settings, such as wind angles, ride height, tire pressures, etc., to achieve the required speeds.

Here is a list of adjustments you can make to set up your car according to the conditions:


Tires are often the last thing most drivers adjust. However, they’re among the most important settings that could instantly change the outcome of races. The good news is that tire adjustments are quite straightforward.

You have to change the tire pressure and compound. For instance, tracks with high-speed turns require relatively lower pressure to maximize contact with the road. Similarly, the grip type is set according to the surface – rally, open road, track, etc.


This setting determines your wheel’s input on the track and how it reacts to external conditions. A turn-heavy track would require a more flexible car that’s not too sensitive to minor turns.


This setting determins your level of oversteer or understeer. By making the necessary adjustments, you can control the overall stability.

Traction Control

This is one of the most important in-car dial settings that control how much slip your vehicle’s ECU will allow before generating power. This is handy when exiting corners to minimize the effects of applying the throttle too early.

Engine Map

The engine map is the brain of your vehicle. It controls the overall performance in terms of power delivery and fuel usage. Using the virtual ECY, you can adjust your air-fuel ratio according to your acceleration and mileage requirements.

Other important settings include:

  • Rear Wing
  • Ride Height
  • Front Splitter
  • ABS
  • Throttle Shape
  • Gear Pattern
  • Spring Perch Offset
  • Compression Damping, etc.

While most beginners are likely to skip these settings, those willing to learn and improve their sim racing capabilities must make the necessary adjustments to adapt to different cars and racing conditions and optimize their performances.

Frequently Asked Questions

The following are some of the most frequently asked questions related to iRacing:

How to Join a Race?

There are many ways to join a race in iRacing. All you have to do is choose the available series as per your license from the dropdown menu. You can also choose the type of session you want – Oval, Dirt Oval, Road, Dirt Road, etc.

How to Race with Others?

iRacing supports team racing in both user-created and official racing sessions. You can create and manage teams with members from around the world, whether they’re strangers or your close buddies.

How to Take a Corner in iRacing?

The best way to take a corner in iRacing is to brake early and avoid entering the corner. The next step is accelerating out of the turn once you pull to the apex. Make sure to straighten your wheel to avoid oversteering during the acceleration.

How Can I Improve My Performance in iRacing?

There are many ways to improve your racing performance in iRacing. The most obvious one is to keep practicing and improving your time. Other ways include limiting driving assists, focusing on one car and track at a time, and learning to read the telemetry and set up your car.

Where Do I Get a Car in iRacing?

Additional cars are available for purchase as soon as you log into your iRacing platform. All new cars cost $11.95, whereas legacy ones cost around $2.95.