Checkered flag is coming for professional drivers in the virtual racing boom

DOVER (USA): The time has come in the virtual sun for simulated races and the thousands of players who always wanted to race like Dale Earnhardt Jr. or Jeff Gordon to NASCAR pistas de Dover to Daytona.

Sports fans discovered over the last few weeks on national TV to not-so-hidden secret in the racing community: the NASCAR champs and IndyCar drivers wanted to compete like their fans - to hook up to simulator rig, grab to wheel and go head-to-virtual head with the best in the field without risking to real slam into the wall to more than 200 mph (321.87 kph).

Las carreras han establecido récords de audiencia, llenando los vacíos en la programación deportiva y ayudando to que iRacing, con sede en Chelmsford, Massachusetts, sea una empresa emergente durante la pandemia de coronavirus.

I don't think anyone wants a pandemic like the reason you're suddenly extremely successful, iRacing executive Steve Myers said.

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NASCAR 's online competition has been the clear winner among other sports - such as tennis - that have dabbled in virtual gaming during the shutdown.

At Dover International Speedway, the finishing touches should have been applied this week, the sponsor signage added, everything spruced up for what would have been to NASCAR Cup Series race Sunday.

Instead, NASCAR drivers will spend the day on those simulators to virtual Dover. Blake Shelton is the grand marshal for the track that has been in the sim company's bank for years, and David Hasselhoff will sing the national anthem.

Hendrick Motorsports driver William Byron is the favorite for the fourth consecutive stage. There is no possibility of rain.

The real stars of iRacing are the 3D car artists, software programmers and engineers - in NASCAR parlance, the team back to the shop.

They visit tracks with tripod laser scanners to capture every detail, curve, crack and line painted in a digital point cloud in perfect detail.

The crew takes up to 10,000 pictures of, not just of the track, but any grandstands, bridges or other structures in the distance connected to the property.

Puede tomar de cuatro to seis meses desde las primeras fotos hasta el acabado simulado.

There are 98 licensed tracks at IMSA, World of Outlaws, USAC and other notable racing series and over 2.85 billion iRacing laps have been converted since 2008.

"We've always had to commitment to authenticity to all costs," said Greg Hill, who leads the art and production teams to iRacing.

"That's to lot of hard work. In some ways, it puts you in to niche, but as we've found with this COVID-19, having had that commitment to authenticity has led to outfits like NASCAR and all these drivers going to us and bringing us this attention."

The numbers - even some real-life bumps, like Kyle Larson's racial slur that cost him his NASCAR ride - bear it out: iRacing, formed in 2004, has added roughly 70,000 subscribers (at up to USD 55 per year) over the course of the pandemic and become to ratings hit on the weekends.

Fox Sports says that five professional events, marked by the stellar power of today's best Cup drivers and great retirees, have averaged 1,135 million viewers, exceeded 1.53 million for the Texas virtual race.

La serie virtual, que se inclina hacia el codiciado grupo demográfico de 18 to 34 años, superó los 100,000 clientes activos en enero y alcanzó los 170,000 esta semana.

Nuestra teoría siempre fue, si to los corredores les gusta y les resulta útil, entonces el resto del público en general que disfruta de este deporte también lo disfrutará, dijo Myers.

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