How To Set Up Crew Chief For iRacing
Crew Chief is a must have add-on for iRacing. It improves your spotter and adds a realistic race engineer in game. This guide will run through how to set up Crew Chief to work with iRacing.
What is Crew Chief?
Crew Chief is a free piece of software that adds a realistic race engineer and spotter into most sim racing games. Crew Chief is incredibly customisable, allowing you to configure your engineer to tell you specific pieces of information. You can even configure it to use voice recognition allowing you to ask your engineer for information.
If you’ve not heard of it, Crew Chief is a fantastic free third party app that adds an in-depth spotter and race engineer to all sim racing games. For sim racers looking for an immersive racing experience, it is a must-have piece of software.
Crew Chief is widely compatible with most sim racing games including F1 22, Assetto Corsa Competizione and more. In this guide, I’m going to run through how to configure Crew Chief to work with iRacing.
I’ll run through the set-up process allowing Crew Chief to replace the in-game spotter. Then I’ll show you some of the best options to enable in Crew Chief. As well as showing you how to map Crew Chief to specific buttons on your wheel and enable voice recognition.
Why download Crew Chief
Your default iRacing spotter is handy during sessions as they will tell you if cars are pulling alongside you. This information is crucial to let you know where to position your car on the track. Although, beyond spotting other cars, the iRacing spotter isn’t overly insightful.
The Crew Chief app adds a lot more information to your in-game spotter and race engineer. In fact, rather than adding dialogue to the in-game spotter, Crew Chief replaces the iRacing spotter.
Some of the information that the Crew Chief engineer offers includes;
- Personalised dialogue including addressing you by name
- Feedback on lap times
- Gaps to other drivers
- Fuel information
- Praise and complaints based on finishing positions
- Swearing in certain situations (this can be disabled)
As you can see, a lot of this information isn’t included with the default iRacing spotter. These additional pieces of information about how your race is going can be incredibly helpful. Not only does the Crew Chief engineer provide insightful information, it also adds a lot of character and immersion to your sim racing experience.
Setting up Crew Chief
Before I jump into showing you the best options to enable in crew Chief, I’ll first look at how to install it and get it working with iRacing.
Step 1 – Download
The first step is to head over to the Crew Chief website and download the latest version.
Step 2 – Install
Once you have downloaded the latest version, simply install it by clicking on the installer. Follow the installation process and complete installation.
Step 3 – Download the sound packs
Once Crew Chief is installed, open the app. The first thing you should do is download the sound packs and driver names. Without these sound files installed, Crew Chief won’t say anything in-game.
You will see buttons in the app that say “Download driver names” and “Download sound pack”. Click these buttons and wait for the app to install the audio files. If you have the audio files installed, the buttons will say “Driver names are up to date”.
Step 4 – Configure Crew Chief
Once the sound packs have been downloaded, you can configure the app to your specific requirements. I’ll talk about the best configuration options later in this guide. But the most important things to set up are your name, and to pick your spotter’s voice.
You can choose your name using the drop-down menu on the right-hand side. You can also choose between a variety of spotter voices using the spotter voice dropdown. Each different voice will bring a different personality to the app, along with different phrases.
Step 5 – Start Your Game
All that is left to do is select the game you wish to play and start using Crew Chief. Do this by choosing your game from the list on the right-hand side, in this case, you’ll choose iRacing. Then click “Start Application”.
Once Crew Chief is running, you can then jump over to iRacing and start a race session. As soon as you load into iRacing you will start to hear the Crew Chief engineer and spotter.
If you are still hearing the default iRacing spotter, ensure the iRacing spotter is disabled in the sound options.
Best Crew Chief options for iRacing
Crew Chief is an incredibly detailed app that provides a huge amount of customisation options. You can filter through all of these options and configure your engineer to tell you the exact information you’re after. Do this by clicking on the “Properties” button underneath your spotter voice on the right-hand side of the UI.
Due to the sheer scale of Crew Chief, there may be some options that are missed when you’re configuring it. I thought it’d be helpful to list some of the best options in Crew Chief. I use the below options throughout almost every race. To save you some time, you can simply copy these options below.
- Disable cut track warnings – You know when you’ve come off track in iRacing, so having Jim (your spotter) tell you every time can be frustrating. This is one to definitely disable
- Reduce Max complaints per session to 5 – This is set to 60 by default, allowing your spotter to complain about your lap times and race position during a race. For me, 60 complaints per session are too much and can get annoying. You can disable this entirely by selecting 0, but I leave it to 5 to allow my spotter to complain occasionally.
- Enable sweary messages – This option enables the spotter’s ability to swear during some radio calls. This can add to the realism and give your spotter extra personality. This is disabled by default, and you can of course keep this disabled if swearing isn’t for you.
- Enable iRacing auto refuelling – Enabling this option will allow you to auto refuel your car when you enter the pitlane based on the in-app fuel calculations. This adds extra immersion by allowing your car to be automatically refuelled with the exact amount of fuel required.
- Pit box countdown – This is an option that the iRacing spotter has available, however since we’re replacing the iRacing spotter with Crew Chief, we need to re-enable this. I use the time countdown to give me a good indication of how far my pit box is.
Best hotkey shortcuts
As I mentioned above, you can configure the Crew Chief spotter to respond to specific inputs and questions. You can map specific buttons on your controller to ask your spotter a question. Or you can configure voice recognition to allow you to actually ask the question.
Some of the most helpful things to ask your spotter or to map to a specific button are;
- How much fuel is remaining – Asking what your fuel level is or what your fuel usage is can be very handy when working out what lap to pit on.
- What’s the pitstop plan – This option will tell you your plans for the next pitstop including how much fuel will be added and which tyres your going to put on.
- Where will I be after a stop – This option tells you your position after your pitstop. Very helpful to know where you will exit back into the race.
- How long’s left – Asking how much time remains in a race or a session can add to the immersion. You can then hide the time remaining HUD elements from your screen.
- What’s my position – This will tell you your position in a session, allowing you to hide your position from your HUD.
- Gap ahead and behind – Asking about the gap to the car ahead or behind will allow you to check how fast/slow you’re gaining/losing time to the cars around you.
- Don’t talk in the corners – This command will stop the spotter from telling you non-crucial information during corners. They will still spot other cars around you like normal.
- Keep me informed/Keep quiet – This option will turn messages on or off.
Enabling hotkey shortcuts
You can enable hotkey shortcuts very easily in the Crew Chief app. All of the inputs above plus a lot of others can be mapped to individual buttons on your racing wheel.
Step 1 – Scan for controllers
To do this, in the main Crew Chief UI, click “Scan for controllers” in the bottom left of the app. Once scanned, the app will show all controllers and racing wheels that are currently connected to your PC.
Step 2 – Select all actions you’d like to perform
Simply select your racing wheel from the left-most list, and then click “Add/remove actions” in the box immediately to the right. This will open a popout module that allows you to add a variety of actions that can be mapped to your controller.
Once you’ve chosen the actions you’d like to map, click “save profile setting and restart”. This will save the actions that you’ve added and restart the Crew Chief app.
Step 3 – Map your inputs
Once it’s restarted, you can highlight the controller and the action you’d like to map, and click the “Assign” button.
The app will then listen for your next input. Simply click the button on your racing wheel that you’d like to map the action to. Now in iRacing, clicking that button will perform the mapped action, and your spotter or engineer will respond.
Setting up voice recognition
Voice recognition in Crew Chief can add a lot of immersion. Instead of pushing pre-defined buttons on your racing wheel to get responses from your engineer. Voice recognition allows you to ask any question to get a response.
This will allow you much more freedom to ask a variety of things while racing in iRacing. You will no longer be limited to a range of pre-defined hotkeys.
Setting up voice recognition in Crew Chief is extremely simple. However, dialling in the settings and sensitivity to ensure your commands are heard can be a trickier process.
How to enable Crew Chief voice recognition for iRacing
To enable voice recognition, simply select your voice recognition mode in the bottom right of the Crew Chief UI. You can choose for it to be assigned to a button, always on or enabled from a trigger word.
If you’re selecting push to talk, you will need to ensure you assign the “Talk to Crew Chief” action is assigned to a button on your racing wheel.
Testing voice recognition is working
You can test that voice recognition is working by starting the app. Then pushing the push to talk button that you’ve assigned in the Crew Chief app and ask “Can you hear me?” If voice recognition is working, you will hear a response acknowledging your question.
Configuring the confidence levels
If you are having trouble with the Crew Chief spotter hearing you, this may be down to the confidence levels. This is where a lot of the tinkering can happen to ensure your spotter is hearing you consistently.
Essentially, the confidence levels are rated from 0 to 1 and are an indication of how confident your spotter is of what you said. If the confidence threshold is higher than the confidence that the app heard you correctly, your voice input will be rejected.
For example, if the confidence level is set to 0.75 in the app settings. Then when you speak to your spotter, they are only 0.55 confident that it understood your voice input, it will reject the call and won’t respond.
This is designed to ensure your spotter is answering only the questions that you asked and isn’t hearing background noise.
You can lower the confidence level thresholds if you’re having trouble with your voice commands not being heard. Although, lowering these too far can introduce your spotter to answering the wrong question if they misunderstood you.
Adjusting these settings is entirely personal, and is heavily dependent on your microphone setup. Tinker with these in the app before testing out voice recognition on track in iRacing.
For more information on how to set up voice recognition visit the Crew Chief website.
Are there any iRacing promo codes for new members?
iRacing often runs promotional codes giving reduced price memberships. These normally apply to new members only, but sometimes you can pick up a renewal code, so it’s always worth checking.
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