The biggest reservation that many prospective sim racers have toward iRacing is the costs. Admittedly, the costs of iRacing are higher than most other sims, especially the initial costs. In this post I will outline some of the cost within iRacing. I am going to assume that you own a compatible computer and a console system and there are no promo codes active. If you are joining late and have no idea what I am talking about read this.
*at the time of this screenshot iRacing is offering 50% off new memberships.
The Bare Minimum
This is the essential minimum startup cost
- Base subscription (min 1 month) - $12.
And that’s it. Hook up your controller to your computer and enjoy. Those who are equipped with a wheel will have a slight advantage, but you can still enjoy iRacing. Many other racers begin with a controller.
The Basic Package
If possible this would be the ideal base starting package
- Logitech DFGT - $120
- iRacing Base 1 month subscription - $12
- Total: $132
A steering wheel is essential to get the most out of iRacing. I suggest a 900 degree wheel with FFB, but any wheel will benefit you more than the most advanced controller.
As I discussed in my last post, there are many promo codes available for iRacing. 98% of these codes are only applicable to new accounts; therefore, you need to have an idea of where you are going (discussed in another post). Here are some examples (*not guaranteed to be valid):
- 3-months for $5 (reg. $30): PR-IMSA2015
- 3-months membership and NASCAR Late Model for $12 (reg. $41.95): PR-2015PSRTV
- 3-months membership and Ford GT for $12 (reg. $41.95): PR-GRIPTV
iRacing’s Modular Content System
With iRacing you need to purchase the licenses to use individual tracks. Each track outside of the base package costs a one-time fee of $11.95 or $14.95 depending on the track size and the time which it was scanned. Tracks initially cost $14.95 and are demoted to $11.95 after a long period of time. Cars cost $11.95. Why? You don’t need to pay for Le Mans in GT6, why should I pay $12 for Langley? iRacing laser scans each track. This generates a super accurate heightmap of the course. Every bump and dip is map to millimeter precision. This costs money. In order to scan the Nurburgring, iRacing sent a crew to spend some days in Germany to scan the track. It costs money to map the tracks to such detail.
Most of the people that claim iRacing is too expensive say that it costs ~$1000 to own all of the content. However, these people fail to realize that you do not need to own all of the content. You only need to own what is relevant to you. I am sure there are tracks and cars in Project Cars or Forza that you rarely use. If you don’t want or like to drive Formula 1, save 11.95 and don’t get the Formula 1 car. For me, I enjoy NASCAR racing, so I try to acquire all of the NASCAR content.
If you know how to play the license system, you can get to Sprint Cup level cars very quickly and relatively inexpensively. In short, I went from Rookie Street Stocks -> NASCAR Trucks -> Sprint Cup. I also own all of the NASCAR content.
Total Spent = 2 cars (2*$11.95) + 22 tracks (1 free + 5*$11.95 + 17*$14.95) = $337.80. That seems like a lot of money, which it is; however, that is not the true dollar amount.
1) I did not purchase $300+ of content at once. Neither should you. Usually, I bought my tracks in batches usually no more that ~$70 a purchase spread out over months. Sure, you may not be able to participate in a full season, but it is better than crying about spending $300 and not getting the most out of it.
2) Bundle promos are nice. Bundle, Bundle, Bundle; that is the key to purchasing iRacing content. There are a number of bundling deals within iRacing. The ones that are most relevant to you are the iRacing credits deal and the automatic bundle discounts.
- iRacing credit bonus - credits are simply in-game dollars to be used for content and hosting $1 = 1 credit, sorry you can’t go the other way.
* $20 for 25 credits
*$75 for 100 credits
as you can see the $75 promo nets you 25 more credits to be used for purchases, that’s equal to a track or 2 cars. iRacing also has bundle discounts. The more you buy the better the discount
* 3-5 pieces = 10%
* 6+ pieces = 20%
Though when you add prices up it equals over $300, that is nowhere near what I paid. I do not recall the exact number, but if I had to guess it would be somewhere near $250, and that is over 3 years.
So what does it all cost?
If you wanted to purchase every piece of content on iRacing it would be roughly $1,189.30, with no promo codes. Of course there are a number of things that could change this price. However, that is not the number you should be looking at. Always check the tracks where your desired series runs and plan accordingly.
iRacing is a substantial investment for the sim racing enthusiest. However, if done properly, you will not break the bank.