Q: Do the series and cars we have play a big role in what tracks iRacing pursues? Will the partnerships that iRacing has with different series eventually help get more tracks that these series run?
Everything is a consideration, and series and cars is part of that. However, usually we try to build cars and tracks and get a decent inventory before we consider some type of partnership with a real-world official series like we have done with NASCAR, IndyCar, Super V8 and Grand Am. You could say we almost have the virtual series before the real world official series gets involved. If not, it is just talk and a fancy press release because it takes years to finish the tracks and cars. Once we've reached a decent point with the cars and tracks, if possible, I do think adding a real world official series to the party can add a lot for everybody, most importantly our members. I think we are getting close in that regard for a European and Asian Series.
At the end of the day what tracks we build is market driven, plus factors such as the cost of building the tracks and what licenses we can obtain since we officially license everything and consider each track a partner. It is very important to the tracks that we properly represent them as well. It is a balancing act. We try and do the best we can to please the most amount of people we can. From short tracks, upper level NASCAR tracks, to road tracks and F1 tracks. The F1 tracks have proved to be probably the most difficult tracks to get and also it can be very difficult when the tracks are owned by a municipality or public entity. Montreal and Bathurst are good examples of that. Obviously language barriers and standard legal language country by country often can slow down the licensing process as I mentioned.
Q: Has iRacing had an easy time getting contracts with tracks now that it is more known within the racing world, has this helped getting any tracks that you could not when the service was just starting up?
It is much easier now than when we first started. We have smaller regional tracks calling us every week to do their tracks. Before we would have to beg and plead for any track. I wish we could do them all.
Q: Where does rescanning tracks fall on the priority list? Daytona we know is coming, but what about Silverstone, Lime Rock Park, Phoenix, and other tracks that will have changes through the years?
Pretty high but each track is an independent decision. Rescanning a track in many ways is almost like doing a track from scratch, but we usually can use some of the existing assets. If we are redoing a track that means less time and resources to spend on doing a new track, so it is a balance. Let's say on average it is in between 50-75% of the work of an original track to do an existing track over. We obviously have to scan the whole thing again for starters.
Not every track update requires a total rescan, but maintaining visually accuracy calls for a lot of effort by iRacing's talented artists and modelers.
Daytona is coming, before the 500. We will do the Daytona 500 next year on the new track but plan on keeping the old track so members can still drive it if they want. Not sure we will always do that, will be a case by case decision. Lime Rock will be scanned this Fall or next Spring and we will scan Phoenix next year and, more than likely, start work on it because it has changed pretty significantly. Will also probably scan Pocono next year again and get back to Silverstone some day. Because of our NASCAR relationship and frankly because of our members, we like to keep the Sprint Cup tracks pretty up to date.
Frankly, we would love to not scan a track again – ever. But we do have a loose five year rule to try and not go back and do all over, just from a business model perspective. However, if we feel it is a significant track for our members, we might consider scanning again in three years or less like we did for Daytona. In general, that is why we often wait, talk to as many people as we can, and even listen for rumors to make sure tracks are not changing before scanning them. For example there are rumors and real plans about Kansas and Auto Club Speedway so we have not scanned those yet. We also update tracks all the time that don't involve a scan. Little things that you might not notice or big things like we did at Charlotte. For example at Charlotte, along with changing the name of the track and all the signage, we added the huge video screen, changed the walls (yellow) and all that, which was a lot of work even though it was not a rescan.