iRacing.com enters Beta test phase
iRacing.com Motorsport Simulations co-principals John Henry and David Kaemmer today announced the transition from alpha to beta testing of the company's new motorsport simulation and integrated internet racing service. The announcement marks the culmination of nearly four years of development work.
"For people who have been with us from the start, including the development team, testers and the racing enthusiasts anticipating our launch, it has been a long road," said Henry. "But the start of beta testing is an enormous milestone for us. Most importantly, for all those who have been so patient, it's a sign that we're nearly there. While we still have a lot of work to complete, we anticipate that beta will be measured in weeks rather than months."
Henry said that formal alpha testing of the service — which integrates new simulation software, web-based infrastructure and a professionally run sanctioning body — began a little more than a year ago, but testing of the concept began even before the company was formally incorporated in fall of 2004. "A core group of us had already started working on various aspects of the service, and in August of 2004 we recruited about 30 veteran simracers to help us test out our ideas and preliminary work. Given the complexity of this undertaking, it's a testament to the quality of the people involved that we've made it to beta in less than four years."
Kaemmer, the company's CEO, has spearheaded the development of the new iRacing simulation software, which features unprecedented accuracy and authenticity. "We've had an excellent balance in our alpha test group of racers who drive in the physical world and those who drive in the virtual world," he noted. "Their feedback has been a very important element in the engineering process — a critical one, really — and we, along with everyone who drives this new simulation in the future, owe them a debt of gratitude."
The iRacing alpha testers have contributed in another fashion as well; as a group they've helped recruit close to 1,000 incoming beta testers, who in turn will assist in the recruitment of the first wave of new iRacing members at the conclusion of beta testing.
"As eager as we are to make the iRacing experience available to everyone, the quality of our members' experience is the most important factor," said Tony Gardner, iRacing's president and CFO. "So we've always planned to have a rolling launch. The service is designed to be fully scalable, so in time we'll be able to accommodate literally hundreds of thousands of members. But we'll take that one step at a time. And it shouldn't be long until we're ready to open our doors to anyone with an interest in internet racing."
Gardner pointed out that while the nature of iRacing's web-based subscription service necessitates a measured pace at launch, it brings with it a host of member benefits, including continual improvements to the simulation software and service. "During beta we'll still be tweaking the software, but it doesn't end there. Our business model and our infrastructure give us the ability to continuously develop and refine both the simulation and the service, and our automatic updating system will make sure that every member benefits from those improvements."