Going through my Twitter feed, I noticed an interesting tweet from Sim Racing community member Matt Orr, also known as Empty Box:
I hadn’t heard of anything along those lines lately, so I decided to check out the SimRaceway website, and I was greeted with an error page. 5 minutes later, I saw this:
I decided to also take a look at the official Facebook page, to see if there was any news of maintenance. I was greeted with a rather sobering fact: there has been no activity on the sim’s page since October of 2015. I think it is be safe to say that SimRaceway has flatlined.
I decided to dig a little deeper, and looked on the page of Jonathan Haswell, one of the founders of Ignite Game Technologies as well as the owner of the SimRaceway Performance Driving Center.
This evidence is rather telling, in my opinion. It looks like Jonathan is no longer affiliated with Ignite, so he may have distanced himself from the software side of SimRaceway as well (it’s rather confusing to tell, but it doesn’t show SimRaceway as a current occupation). I have reached out to Jonathan, and will update the post if I receive a response.
If SimRaceway truly is no more, that would mark the end of a rather confusing era of Sim Racing history. SRW had somewhat of an identity crisis over its life, and is a rather controversial topic. In the peak of rFactor’s popularity, SimRaceway popped up out of nowhere, and “invested” in rFactorCentral. That led to some questionable business practices, notably having unauthorized “Paid Championships” featuring third party content.
Upon an announcement that rFactorCentral was going to be shut down to make way for SimRaceway, the modding community boycotted the site, voicing their displeasure. That led to rFactorCentral still staying alive, albeit in a somewhat hindered state. SimRaceway returned as a free-to-play racing title, with micro-transactions, but it never caught on as well as RaceRoom Racing Experience or iRacing, largely due to a controversial pricing model.
Last year, I talked with some staff of the SimRaceway Performance Driving Center, and they mentioned that they were part of a different business than the virtual side, and they were still the “Jim Russell Driving School” at heart. So, I would say it is safe to assume that, if SimRaceway and Ignite has truly gone under, the driving school won’t be going anywhere.
Back in the day, I did give SRW a try, partly because it was the only sim that had my local go-karting circuit. While it did have a few things going for it, it didn’t really bring anything fresh to the table, and really felt like a dumbed down rFactor. I had a few enjoyable races on the sim, but now, in this day and age, it doesn’t hold up as well.
One positive thing to take out of this is the SRW-S1 Racing Wheel, produced by SteelSeries. Originally intended as an entry-level wheel tailored for SimRaceway, the wheel gained a cult following after being able to be mounted onto a Logitech G25/G27 racing wheel.
Despite the controversy throughout the years, it is sad to see SimRaceway possibly gone for good. Did you try SRW at all throughout the years? Let us know in the comments!