Formula One and iRacing fans, rejoice! In a surprising turn of events, the iRacing Motorsport Simulation team has announced a partnership with the Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 team to bring “multiple” cars to the PC racing sim in future builds.
The announcement comes courtesy of the official iRacing Twitter, and has unsurprisingly caught the attention of the community. Outside of the officially licensed F1 games headed by Codemasters, F1 cars are far and few between in other racing titles, so it’s a pretty big deal — and has the potential to attract newcomers to the acclaimed sim looking for an open-wheel fix.
In a dominant spell over the last seven seasons, the Mercedes-AMG team has laid claim to seven consecutive Drivers’ and Constructors’ championship doubles. Leading the charge into iRacing will be the 2021 W12 E Performance which is currently first in the Constructors’ table.
Wearing the sleek black livery for the second year, the W12 has seen stiff competition from the Red Bull Racing team. While not the usual runaway season for the team, seven-time F1 champion Sir Lewis Hamilton and teammate Valtteri Bottas have driven the W12 to four wins, 18 podiums, four pole positions, and six fastest laps.
iRacing executive vice president Steve Myers had this to say about the announcement:
“We couldn’t be more excited to add world-class race cars like the Mercedes-AMG F1 W12 E Performance to iRacing in the near future.
“The Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team has been the dominant marque at the highest level of motorsport for quite some time, coming off of seven consecutive championships for its cars and drivers, and bringing their world-class machines to iRacing further establishes our commitment to providing our nearly 200,000 devoted iRacers the world’s most authentic sim racing experience.”
The iRacing team have been hard at work in realizing the virtual W12 since the beginning of the year, as chief strategist for the F1 team, James Vowles, highlights:
“We have been working closely with iRacing since the start of 2021 to bring the W12 life in iRacing’s virtual environment. The intent was to create as accurate a representation of W12 as possible from a performance and driving perspective.
“Throughout the process we have held a unique and close relationship with the developers, which has generated a model we hope everyone enjoys driving as much as our drivers have.”
In addition to the W12, the team’s as-yet unnamed 2022 contender will also make its way to the game. Next season will be the biggest shakeup for the sport since the introduction of the turbo-hybrid engine.
New technical regulations include simplified engines, the reintroduction of ground effects which were last seen in 1982, and 18″ wheels with low-profile tires for the first time in the sport — all in the name of more competitive racing.
With no date set in stone for the release of either car, we can’t say for sure when the cars will arrive — but we’d assume this year’s W12 will land before the current season concludes, and the 2022 car should come along sometime next year.
Of course two cars only barely meets the definition of “multiple”, so there may be something else in the works too. Stay tuned for more details as they’re available!