iRacing is currently the best platform for realistic competitive racing online but with over 100 cars to choose from it can be difficult to know which ones to get for the best racing experience, especially if you are new to the service. So if you are looking to expand your iRacing car list while getting the most for your money here is an overview of the most raced cars for iRacing 2020 S3 (9th of June to 7th of September 2020).
A list of GT cars to buy in iRacing
When it comes to GT racing on iRacing you are spoilt for choice, with a total of 17 cars and 13 series to choose from there is always some great racing to be found. Most of the cars feature driving aids making them easier to control and allowing more focus on the racing.
One GT3 Car
The GT3 category is one of the most raced on iRacing, they have the most variety of cars and the VRS Sprint series has one of the most regular participation records meaning there will almost always be a competitive race for you to jump into.
When choosing a car there are 2 options to get the most for your money, the Mercedes AMG GT3 or the Audi R8 LMS. The Mercedes gets into the most series (VRS Endurance + sprint, Nurburgring Endurance, ISMA and iRacing Endurance series) whereas the Audi features in 4 series only missing the iRacing Endurance series. As far as the driving goes the Mercedes is easier to handle whereas the Audi is harder to drive consistently.
The Porsche 911 GT3 Cup
This is the car used in the highest level of racing on the road side of iRacing meaning if you want to compare yourself against the best in iRacing this is the car to do it with. The 911 GT3 cup car has no driving aids making it a bit of a handful compared to the other GT cars but once you get comfortable it is a fun car to drive.
One GT4 car
The GT4 cars are recent additions to the service and they represent the easiest to drive of all the iRacing GT cars with their relatively low power along with TC and ABS. The tyre model works well on these cars making it relatively easy to catch slides which leaves more focus on the wheel to wheel racing for which this is one of the better categories on the service.
iRacing currently has 2 GT4 cars available; the Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 Clubsport MR and the BMW M4 GT4. The Porsche is available for the more serious endurance series as well as the Porsche esports Sprint challenge whereas the BMW currently has the fixed setup series which allows you to jump into a race without worrying about setup making it suited to a more casual experience.
One GTE car
The GTE cars allow you to compete for GT honours in both the iRacing IMSA Sportscar Championship as well as the iRacing Le Mans Series, both of which are very active.
These cars are harder to drive than all of the regular GT cars as they have no ABS but still maintain TC.
The BMW M8 GTE used to be the best value in this category as it also had a fixed setup series but since this is no longer the case there is no clear choice for value for money. Now the BMW and the Porsche are available for 4 series whereas the Ferrari and the Ford miss out on the iRacing Endurance series bringing their total series to 3. From a driving point of view the Ford GT is generally the hardest to control while the Ferrari 488 is seen as the easiest with the Porsche and the BMW somewhere in between.
Here is a video with a bit more in depth analysis to help you decide: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E9VlQsBjKLo
The best Single Seaters to buy in iRacing
The Skip Barber
The open wheeler yin to the Mazda MX-5’s yang, the Skippy has the most active series on the single seater side of iRacing and the most likely to find a good race no matter when you decide to jump onto iRacing. Prepare to don your skipper hat as the car handles much like a boat in single seater terms, but it is very easy (for iRacing’s standards) to control and catch slides which makes it a great place to hone your racecraft or just have a lot of fun.
The Dallara F3
If you want a step up from the Skippy with more refined machinery there are plenty of cars to choose from. However, since its release in December 2018 the Dallara F3 has been the go to car for a serious single seater experience on iRacing. With a good setup the car is easy to drive while maintaining the raw feel of an open wheeler.
The release of the road to indy cars for Season 3 has meant that the F3 now doesn’t have a fixed series, but the open setup series remains ever popular and you are always sure to find a good grid of cars to race against.
Which Oval cars to buy on iRacing?
Oval racing is huge on iRacing, the tie up with NASCAR means that on any given weekend you can race the same car track combinations as the real life series making it a huge draw for NASCAR fans who want to emulate the racing they see on TV.
One Current NASCAR Cup car
Having one of the 3 NASCAR class A cars gives you access to a total of 5 series with fixed and open setups to suit your technical prowess. The NASCAR iRacing Open and Fixed series feature fewer races at certain times, meaning the entry numbers are very big and you are more likely to find good racing for your skill level. Apart from that you have the Class A open and fixed setup series which have more regular race intervals at every 2 hours. The 3 cup cars are nearly identical so there really is no need to buy all three unless you are a bit of a completionist. The driving itself is the closest representation you can get to driving a real cup car without actually sitting in the real thing and the series are well populated, this really is a must buy for oval racers on iRacing.
One Current NASCAR Truck
Buying one of the NASCAR Trucks gives you access to the highly popular class C fixed series as well as the open series and the road to pro which is the feeder series to the eNascar Coca-Cola Series, the top level of oval racing on the platform. The truck has less power than the class A and B cars, is slightly easier to drive and has the shortest races of the three.
Honorable Mention: The NASCAR 1987 cars
The most recent update on iRacing has added the Chevrolet Monte Carlo and the Ford Thunderbird raced to 1st and 2nd respectively in the 1987 NASCAR Winston Cup by Dale Earnhardt and Bill Elliott. These cars represent a time that many NASCAR fans look back on fondly as a golden age of the sport and they are a lot of fun to drive.
Currently the official races draw a decent number of competitors but for a retro racing experience on iRacing nothing beats the Nascar Legends series.
Hopefully you will have found something to your liking in this list, there are other great cars and series in iRacing that I haven’t mentioned. If you have a car in mind that wasn’t on this list and want to know more about series participation then a good place to start would be on these websites:
Dallara Indycar IR-18
The Indycars have recently been somewhat slated by the real life indycar drivers for being much harder to control than their real life counterparts and very unforgiving at the edge of grip, in addition to this the crash physics are very unpredictable and bouncy, diluting the sense of realism.
They do however have 3 series featuring a mix of oval and road which draw reasonable participation with the bonus of the annual iRacing indy 500. This car is maybe still worth having a look at if you are a big indycar fan. Plus maybe the extra pressure from the real life drivers will lead to the car being fixed in the not too distant future.
Dirt Road cars
There is generally low participation in the dirt road series and the ones that are most popular feature cars that are included with the base subscription (VW Beetle and Lucas Oil Pro 2 lite) so there is little need to buy any additional cars before you have tried the free ones.
F1 Cars (McLaren Mp4-30 and Williams FW31)
The F1 cars are notorious for being very hard to drive and therefore have very little participation in their official series. Although it is tempting to see what the fastest cars in the world feel like in the sim, these cars will end up just sitting in your purchased list mostly unused.