CHARLOTTE, N.C. (FOX 46 CHARLOTTE) - Imagine driving a racecar around Charlotte Motor Speedway without leaving the comfort of your home. Well it's a reality, and the program is being used by professional NASCAR drivers.
Long before 21-year-old William Byron became a monster energy cup series driver for Hendrick Motorsports, he was looking for a competitive edge racing on the internet through iRacing, a subscription based racing game.
"Yeah I started iRacing when I was 13 years old. I remember being around the Charlotte races and I had been to the races since I was a kid, probably six-years-old and then started running on the computer that year when I was 13 and it took a year and a half until I started racing professionally,” Byron said.
What you see on the track and in the game isn't much different. iRacing uses three-dimensional laser scanners, so each track, is nearly identical to what drivers race in real life, even down to the bumps on the racing surface.
"I feel like it kind of varies from track to track. I do it more for fun obviously, but then maybe some racing knowledge and generic stuff."
iRacing setups people have at home cost hundreds, sometimes thousands of dollars, but here at the NASCAR Hall of Game they have their own iRacing setup, which FOX 46’s Brett Baldeck took for a test drive.
His race at the Charlotte Motor Speedway got off the solid start. He was in the lead by turn three, but just a few laps later, he crashed the car exiting turn four.
His race was with FOX 46’s NASCAR producer, but online, you can race with more than 40 others drivers at the same time, putting professional drivers like Byron on track with the casual fan.
"There are a lot of people who watch the races obviously and they ask me questions about what I thought of the previous weekend, or the race coming up, so I feel like there is a good connection there."
For NASCAR, the hope fans who race online buy a ticket for Sunday’s Coca-Cola 600, which you can watch on FOX 46.