Road datapack updates (Winter 2017)

We recently launched Premium Datapacks for oval and the V8SC to positive reception, so we are expanding this concept to our popular road datapacks as well.

Premium Datapacks for Road

Premium road datapacks will come with a weekly driving tutorial. The tutorial, as well as datapack files (.sto/.rpy/.blap/.olap) will only be available to paying subscribers. The additional revenue from the premium content will enable us to create even more premium content. For example, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all when it comes to setups, so for certain Premium datapacks we will experiment with offering two VRS setups – the “recommended” setup and a far more forgiving “safe” setup. Give us feedback on the setups! We’ll also experiment with different types of tutorials, e.g. car tutorials, driving technique tutorials, setup evolution tutorials, etc.

We do not have a strict timeline on when each individual datapack will be converted to Premium, but this is the rough order of car/series in which we’ll go about it:

  • Porsche 911 GT3 Cup – Porsche iRacing Cup

  • Mercedes AMG GT3 – Blancpain Sprint Series

  • Ferrari 488 GTE – IMSA SportsCar Championship

  • Formula Renault 2.0 – iRacing Formula Renault 2.0 Championship

  • All GTE cars – IMSA SportsCar Championship

  • All GT3 cars – Blancpain Sprint Series & IMSA SportsCar Championship

We hope to have completed the transition by the end of 2018 Season 1. Please give us feedback on the changes and the new premium content here.

Oval datapack updates (Fall 2017)

Back in February 2017 we signed up VRS coaches Ray Alfalla and Bryan Blackford and launched our first NASCAR datapacks. Ever since, we’ve had high demand for open setup NASCAR datapacks and finally we’re doing it!

Open Datapacks Available

We continue to believe that the Fixed series datapacks are a great tool for perfecting one’s driving style. With the open setup datapacks the focus will be setup building. The weekly open setup tutorials will cover what setup changes (and why) our coaches made for the datapack. They’ll start from the fixed series baseline setup and you can watch them iterate on and improve the datapack setup week over week. Here is the full list of NASCAR datapacks we’ll be offering:

  • Street Stock – Rookie – by Ray Alfalla

  • National Series – by Bobby Zalenski (starting Week 7)

  • Class C Fixed – by Bryan Blackford (starting Week 7)

  • Class C Open – by Bryan Blackford (starting Week7)

  • Class B Fixed – by Bobby Zalenski (starting Week7)

  • Class B Open – By Ray Alfalla (starting Week7)

  • NiS Fixed / Class A Fixed – Bobby Zalenski (starting after NiS ends)

  • NiS Open / Class A Open – Ray Alfalla (starting after NiS ends)

Relatedly, we heard feedback from both paying and free members that we are giving away too much for free. Free members don’t have an incentive to upgrade and paying members think it’s unfair to themselves that so much valuable content is available for free. So, we decided to lock down all oval/NASCAR datapacks, with the exception of the Street Stock Rookie datapack. This means that rookies on a free subscription will continue to have access to the street stock .blap/.olap/.rpy and video tutorials. All other NASCAR datapacks would require a paid subscription in order to access datapack files (.sto/.blap/.olap/.rpy) and video tutorials. Driving analysis is currently subject to the same restrictions as before (no changes there).

2017 Summer update

It’s now around one and a half years since our BETA launch, and we’ve got a lot of improvements to report in this summer update.

Launched paid subscriptions
Back in February we announced that our datapacks are coming out of beta, then a month later our paid subscription tiers came in effect. We’re pleased to so see minimal churn at the transition and steady users and subscriptions growth since. Special thanks to all of you who are are supporting us with a paid subscription: you are enabling us to continue to improve and grow the VRS platform!

New VRS coaches
The ranks of the VRS Coaches grew with the addition of top simracers from France and Australia:

  • Madison Down: WCS Driver for TTLR in the Blancpain GT Series, and driver for Trans Tasman Racing in the V8SCOPS. Nine-time V8 Supercar champion on iRacing.
  • Jake Burton: WCS Driver for TTLR in the Blancpain GT Series, and driver for Trans Tasman Racing in the V8SCOPS.
  • Jarrad Filsell: WCS Driver for TTLR in the Blancpain GT Series, and driver for Trans Tasman Racing in the V8SCOPS.
  • Jeremy Bouteloup: WCS driver for Coanda Simsport in Blancpain GT Series.

New datapacks
We now offer a total of 31 datapacks. We have quite a few new additions for Season 3:

  • Advanced Mazda MX-5 Cup by Jarrad Filsell
  • Chevrolet C7 Daytona Prototype (IMSA) by Jake Burton
  • Dallara DW12 (Indy Fixed Oval) by Christian Steele
  • Ferrari 488 GTE (IMSA) by Rens Broekman
  • Ford GTE (IMSA) by Jeremy Bouteloup
  • German GT3s / IMSA by Rens Broekman & David Williams
  • Spec Racer Ford by Jake Burton
  • V8 Supercars (both iRacing V8S & V8SCOPS) by Madison Down

We frequently get requests for datapacks for special events. We cannot make a datapack for each and every special event (if you really want help, you can always request personal coaching), but we will prepare datapacks for the most popular events and cars.

New driver development classes / group classes
During 2017’s season 2 we kicked off the Positive SimRacing Driver Development Programme. Interest was so strong that we decided to open a pilot group coaching program for drivers who didn’t make the initial selection. We’ve learned from this pilot and received positive feedback and in 2017’s season 3, we started several driver development classes using the group coaching format. We currently have Driving Style classes for the MX-5, FR2.0, Porsche, GTE’s and V8’s. We are also preparing curriculum for Racecraft and Car Setup classes. Last but not least, we’ll be adding weekday evening classes for folks in various timezones. For the latest class schedule, take a look here.

Software improvements

We introduced new track sector definitions. Our old algorithm works quite well most of the time, but not always. It also had the downside that the numbering of the sectors didn’t match the official track corner numbering. We can now define the track sectors definition for each track layout. The new sectors follow the official corner numbering and combine series of turns, when these turns need to be analyzed together. For example, you may see a sector S0 (for the start straight), followed by T1-2 (for turns 1 & 2), followed by T3-5 (for turns 3 through 5), followed by S5 (straight after turn 5), etc. Over time we’ll add sector definitions for all track layouts. If you notice that the new definition is missing for a track, or if you notice bugs, or if you think that the grouping of turns is not appropriate, drop us a line and we’ll fix it!

Driving stats
We now keep track of your driving stats per iRacing season, so you can see how much you drove any given car and track this season. This makes it easier to keep track of your recent practice time.

Browser history now ‘works’ and you can navigate back and forth within the VRS web app. If you want to share your selection in the analyzer, just copy and paste the link in your browser URL.

We’ve improved our server efficiency and performance, and optimized our backend, which reduced latency as much as 10x, resulting in a much snappier page loads for most users. (A side effect of this is that we’ve reduced our server cost by 60%, which helps towards building a sustainable business.)

And a lot more small improvements and bug fixes. Stay tuned for a revamped (and hopefully smarter) members home page and more!

1.5: Software

telUntitled-2There are a number of third party software tools that integrate with iRacing to improve your simracing experience or to aid you in your driving practice or racing. If you are part of a team, there are some nifty tools for team communication and sharing files such as setup or replays. And if you want to record your races and/or stream them on e.g. YouTube, there is software to help you with that as well. Let’s dive in.

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