I think that many people in the computer-based racing community have stopped playing alone and quit the single-player experience that most games, fortunately, still provide. I am not one of those people. With time, I have shifted my preferences from online/multiplayer to offline/single-player.
I was an early adopter of iRacing, joining the service short after it started. I paid my subscription for 2+ years. Then, I returned to self-set single-player challenges, now mostly racing alone in rFactor2, which does have a strong online/multiplayer mode.
I feel that the online multiplayer races are extremely bipolar: one goes either through a very enjoyable experience, or through a tremendously frustrating and irritating event. Odds are that, on any given day, you will meet a too aggressive player, or someone who uses unpleasant language, or something else that you just did NOT need. Most services provide tools and actively fight these situations, but it is only human nature.
I can get an enough dosage of human nature in all the other moments of the day, so when I find time to play, I usually opt for single-player events against A.I. adversaries.
Today I had a tremendous good time with rFactor2, racing on “Circuit of Americas” (the U.S.A. circuit that is part of the official Formula 1 calendar). I decided to deviate from the standard formula and went to challenge Formula 1 cars with an Aston Martin GT3.
I chose to race against other GT3 cars, some GT2 and GT1 machines too, but – and this was the most fun thing I did – I also configured the race session to allow drivers from the 1988 and 1996 F1 championships.
I got to race Michael Schumacher and Alain Prost, in the same event! In the first practice session, I achieved P4, with a time of 02:10:xxx (two minutes, 10 seconds, something more), and was the fastest of the non-F1 cars! Quite reasonable, for someone who has been neglecting his race craft for too long.
Schumacher was the fastest, with a 01:52:7xx, but Prost, with an 8-years older car, was only 2 seconds away. Pedro Lamy also did amazingly well, close to Prost, although driving a Minardi. I very much doubt the Minardi could get that close, and that a 1988 F1 would only be 2 seconds slower than a 1996 machine, but such is irrelevant. What is relevant is that every lap was big fun. It was hilarious to be pedal-to-the-metal with one of the most modern, powerful, and expensive GT3 cars in the world, only to feel stuck in first gear, against 30+ years-old F1 monsters.
I video-recorded my 02:10:xxx lap. The video’s first half is from an inside-car camera; then from a “TV” camera. Unfortunately, it was a rather clean lap, with no F1s on view, still with other cars causing some trouble.