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iRacing » iRacing Seasons, Builds & Series Explained
iRacing can be confusing to newcomers with a lot of terminology to learn. Knowing how iRacing seasons work and how to enter different series is key to your progression.
The iRacing schedule consists of four individual seasons. These seasons run for 12 weeks, and allow you to compete for championships and promotion throughout this 12 week period. At the end of every season, a new build is deployed which is a new version of iRacing. During each season you compete in different race series using different car and track combinations. In this guide, I’ll look at each of these individual elements of iRacing in detail.
When you first start your iRacing journey there can be a lot of things to learn. There are a lot of terminologies thrown around from safety rating to iRating, seasons to racing disciplines. This can be a lot to learn.
When it comes to the core of iRacing, you will be participating in racing series across multiple seasons per year. Learning the difference between series and seasons, and how both features work is important when you start choosing what races to participate in.
iRacing divides its calendar year into four seasons. Each of these lasts 12 weeks, with the occasional 13 week season to make up any missing days. Each season gives you a chance to earn a promotion to the next license level. And at the start of each new season, a new iRacing build is deployed.
Every season marks a fresh start in iRacing as you can once again try to be promoted. However, at the end of a season, you can also be demoted to the previous license class if you don’t meet the safety rating requirements to stay in your current class.
You will typically find yourself trying to advance your iRacing career and get promoted during each individual season. Every new season gives you another chance to earn a promotion through iRacing’s licenses if you failed to be promoted in the season that just ended.
There are six standard licenses in iRacing for you to work through. These start at Rookie when you first start iRacing. Then you will progress through D, C, B and A licenses.
Read our complete guide on how iRacing licenses work and how to get promoted.
Every new season that arrives in iRacing brings new content and updated content to the game. Some seasons will introduce a wide range of new cars to race in along with some new tracks. While others will include only a couple of new cars and tracks, with more of a focus on updating existing content.
Whichever way the developers decide to go, each season is guaranteed to bring you new or updated cars to race in iRacing. These new cars and tracks are available to race in the immediate season that follows. This allows you to jump straight into these new cars and try them out.
For example, the first two seasons in 2022 have included a host of new cars including the Mercedes-AMG W12 Formula 1 car. There have also been new tracks as well as new tyre effects and a new and improved damage model.
To coincide with each new season, iRacing deploys a new build. These builds form a range of new content and updates to the entire game. Sometimes builds can be large, while other times, fewer elements are tweaked.
Builds always include new cars and tracks or track configurations. This presents racers with new content every three months to try out. This cycle keeps iRacing fresh for continued players. Typically new builds are deployed every March, June, September and December to coincide with the end of each season.
While new builds can include new features and adjustments to the game, they are separate from hotfixes and patches. Patches and hotfixes can be deployed throughout a season and aren’t restricted to new build deployments.
Smaller patches are deployed periodically throughout the year to address any issues that may arise and require fixing before the next build arrives.
Every time a new build is deployed, it takes a little time which results in some downtime. This downtime means that you temporarily can’t access the iRacing servers or compete in any races. You can still race offline in iRacing’s single-player mode and use the test drive function.
There are always four individual seasons every calendar year in iRacing. These are typically divided into 12-week blocks. Every now and then, there is a 13-week season to account for the calendar.
As mentioned above, there are always four iRacing seasons per year, consisting of 12 or 13 weeks each. Every season has a 12-week window where you can compete for promotion to the next license class.
When there is a 13th week, this is isolated from the normal 12 week season. Instead, week 13 provides racers with isolated championships, commonly known as “fun” week.
At the end of week 12 or 13, a new build is deployed, which normally happens on a Tuesday. This marks the start of the next season, which also starts on the same Tuesday at midnight GMT.
During each season, the track that you can compete on changes, giving you a new track to race on each week. This means there are normally 12 tracks to compete on across each season. Every Tuesday at midnight GMT, the track changes and the new track is active for the following week.
Drivers can compete across these tracks to earn championship points to try and win a championship. Winning races and championships will increase your iRating. Learn more about iRating and what it is in our complete iRacing iRating guide.
Week 13 exists in iRacing to accommodate for a full 52-week calendar. It also gives the developers the chance to fully implement a new build at the end of each season.
As during week 13, the new build is being deployed and tested, the online service can be interrupted regularly. This isn’t great if you are looking to race often to improve your iRating and safety rating.
Due to the potential disruption during this week, iRacing separates it out from the regular season. Instead, this is looked at as a “fun” week. There are isolated championships which consist of new tracks on rotation every day.
This allows you to still race for championships and race wins across a wide variety of tracks. However, these races and championships don’t affect your iRating or safety rating.
As well as new daily tracks, iRacing often provides unique combinations of cars and tracks to create some fun scenarios. This could be a combination of cars that don’t normally race on specific tracks. These events combine to give you a “fun” lighthearted series to race in at the end of each season.
Once a new build is deployed at midnight on Tuesday, the “fun” week ends and the new season begins.
iRacing series are different series that you can compete in each season across a range of different disciplines. There are four racing disciplines in iRacing, Road Racing, Oval, Dirt Road and Dirt Oval. Each of these has a variety of race series that are available at each license class.
A single race series consists of 12 different tracks, with the track changing every week. You can race multiple times on each track to earn championship points and improve your iRating and safety rating.
At the end of the 12 week season, every race series ends, and championship wins are given to the fastest drivers. At the start of the following season, every race series starts again from the first track. New race series can be added every season, and tracks and cars can change across each series.
There is nothing stopping you from participating in multiple racing series every season. You can enter and race in as many series as you like, as long as you meet the entry requirements.
However, racing in multiple series can be a big time commitment. To race in a single series across a season, you will typically require a minimum of a few hours to practice the weekly track. Then 20 minutes upwards to participate in at least one race each week. This means every week you will on average require at least 2-4 hours per series.
There is nothing stopping you from entering multiple racing series across different racing disciplines. You don’t need to practice for every track each week. You can jump right into qualifying sessions and races to limit your time commitment in each series. This is useful if you feel confident in certain car and track combinations.
In total there are around 100 different racing series to participate in. These are divided between each racing discipline, and then further divided into each individual license class. This means that in the road racing discipline, there are 2 – 14 racing series available for each license level.
Read our complete guide to iRacing series here
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.
Read our iRacing promo code guide for a full list of working 2022 iRacing codes.
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