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

Sectors
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.

Servers
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!

Oval datapacks & Slip Angle Motorsports partnership

VRS_SAMTHWith the growth of VRS and the positive feedback that we’ve received on our driver improvement software from road competitors on iRacing, we’ve been frequently asked when ovals would be covered by the VRS platform. One requirement for us was always to work with the best coaches, to allow our users to compare their data against the best drivers on iRacing. If that wouldn’t be possible, why bother?

We’ve managed to do just that, and hence we’re thrilled to announce that we’re starting a partnership with Slip Angle Motorsports to help optimize the VRS platform for oval racing.

Two of their NASCAR PEAK Antifreeze Series drivers, Ray Alfalla and Bryan Blackford, will be supplying datapacks for the most popular oval series. Additionally, Ray and Bryan will be available for one-on-one coaching sessions, and, as part of the partnership, their team’s cars will prominently feature the VRS logo.

VRS_SAM1

Ray Alfalla, three-time iRacing World Champion:
“I’m happy to kick off the 2017 NPAS season with VRS on the car! This is a great opportunity, and I can’t wait to hit the track at Daytona as a VRS driver and coach.”

Bryan Blackford:
“I’m proud to be affiliated with VRS, and look forward to utilizing their service this coming NPAS season! I’m also excited to begin training others through their coaching platform.”

Lisa Pineda of SAM:
“VRS is the perfect match for SAM. Mixing sim racing and education has been a winning formula for us for the past four years. We look forward to working together in 2017 in NPAS as well as in the virtual classroom.”

Peter Dimov of VRS:
“Being able work with the best, like we’re already doing on the road side, is amazing. Ray and Bryan are super fast and some of the nicest guys you’ll find in the community. We really look forward to working with them to make VRS the go-to tool for all oval iRacers.”

Stay tuned for updates on when the first oval datapacks will become available, as well as detail on a fan contest we are putting together.

CORE’s Alexander Voß on endurance sim racing and the use of VRS

alex1Meet Alexander Voß: one of the top drivers in endurance sim racing, and driver of CORE Motorsports, a sim racing team that uses VRS, and a team that is making inroads in iRacing’s competitions, coming second in last year’s Blancpain Endurance Series, and winning the iRacing VLN championship, as well as the ADAC Sim Racing Trophy.

Can say you something about yourself?
My last name Voß often leads to confusion, thanks to the traditional German ‘ß’ capital. Basically this is a ‘sharp s’ and means no more than double s, not a b. I’m a 27-year-old IT specialist, and I live in Paderborn, Germany. In my spare time I’m usually watching Borussia Dortmund, doing weight training, and obviously sim racing.

How did you get started in sim racing?
I started sim racing in my early childhood, with titles like Geoff Crammond’s Grand Prix Series. From there I moved to GTR, GTR2, rFactor, Race 07, and I almost raced every single sim out there, except Live for Speed.

I was always fascinated by comparing myself against other players, as I’m searching for competition. Even when online sim racing was in its early stages (at the end of the 90’s), offline leaderboard competitions gave that opportunity. I wanted more and more, and that’s how it’s like today at iRacing!

When did you start to use telemetry?
I started to use telemetry in rFactor and GTR2. Even then it was to get some kind of advantage over the competition. As a team we helped each other and tried to find ways to compare racing lines, and to improve the setup, especially on tyre degradation.

How did CORE Motorsports form, and where you part of it? Or how did you join?
I joined CORE Motorsports in 2013, when the team had huge success in the German competitions of rFactor. Since then the team had a lot of breaks, changes and new management, but since last year we’re an associated non-profit organisation, and have built a very strong relationship over the last years, which makes us very proud!

alex2

How does CORE use VRS?
VRS evolved to a very important tool for our team. For already a year now there hasn’t been a single race where we didn’t use it. After talking to some VRS coaches, it was clear to me that VRS takes care of the data which the telemetry logger is capturing. That gives us security in terms of setup data and related stuff not everybody should maybe get their fingers on.

Since we’re using VRS it’s a lot easier for us to be aware of other drivers problems within the team, to find weaknesses and to see where you can improve yourself. For now VRS is indispensable in our daily use, as it’s a lot easier to handle than telemetry Tools like MoTec and Atlas. Due to real life commitments we usually start with preparation a few days before a race, which leads to the point that telemetry usage is a huge factor for us to be time effective. Gone are the days when ‘hotlapping’ was the only method to improve your laptime.

Are there different driving styles within the team?
For sure the driving styles in our team varies from driver to driver. For example, a huge factor in endurance races is fuel usage. I’m known as someone who’s always burning lots of fuel, but by using telemetry it was easy for me to copy Nils’ (my teammate) driving style and let the car roll more, brake less, and therefor reduce fuel consumption and tyre wear when necessary.

Core Motorsport finished 1-2-3 at the 2016 ADAC Sim Racing Trophy. From left to right: Alexander, Angelo, Kay.

What are your hopes on the 2017 season?
Sim racing is always about competition and success. But as a team we don’t want to lose the focus to the most important thing, which is clearly the fun we have to race against other competitors and top-tier teams. We don’t do sim racing to earn prize money, although it’s certainly a nice propulsion to invest more effort than we’d normally do. But in general, our focus is to strengthen the team spirit, continuously improve our racecraft and compete in the WCS Series and other highly competitive endurance races.

We’re looking forward to the next years, and we surely hope that sim racing itself will also continue to grow as an eSport!