OpenRacer is an open-source initiative to build a high-quality racing simulation running in-browser.

My name is Chris Barnard, I've been a programmer for as long as I can remember and I've always wanted to make a great racing game. When I was at school in the 90's I would make 2D top-down racing games and install them on all the computers in the IT department while the teacher's back was turned, and I've been writing games in my spare time ever since - but I rarely release anything on the web. I started building OpenRacer as an experiment into finding out how far I could push WebGL technology. I now believe it is possible to create a realistic, high-quality racing simulation in a browser environment. I've decided to open source my code as I believe there is a real chance that a community-led racing game could be built from my initial work.

I have a really well-defined idea of where this can go. I want to build a racing game that can be added to by the community - it should be possible for any 3D designer to build cars and tracks for OpenRacer, and potentially contributors could even sell them via a marketplace.

The simulation is designed to offer a level of detail never seen before in a racing game. For example, I am currently accurately simulating coil- and leaf-spring suspension by using real-world data such as material of spring, thickness of wire, number of coils, etc. Weight distribution is accurately calculated and gravity affects all four wheels independently, with the chassis of the car then holding the wheels together. Forces can be applied from the engine to each wheel individually, even accounting for drivetrain losses, allowing accurate simulation of handling characteristics from FWD, RWD and 4WD systems to the accurate inclusion of more complex drivetrain options such as limited-slip diffs, traction control and vehicle stability control systems. The idea is that you should be able to enter real-world data for a component on the car, and OpenRacer will accurately simulate it - no fudging of numbers or hacking around with the physics to make it 'sort of work'.

Imagine having your own online garage containing cars you have purchased or won, each with their own unique customisations designed to give you the edge on the track.

The ultimate aim is that you could potentially design not only cars and tracks, but also individual components for the cars - not the usual racing game 'upgrades' which offer only a vague and fixed upgrade path. Instead, you'll be able to get into the real nitty-gritty, looking at as many individual components on the car as possible, designing your own parts, testing and sharing them online.

Basically I want this to be the most in-depth racing simulation ever, and I want it to be built in such a way that the people who contribute to it are part of a community who can share in OpenRacer's (hopeful) success.

First and foremost, I think this is a project for real petrol heads. I'm doing this because I'm passionate about cars, racing and programming... so it's about time I put all that together and made something seriously cool.

If you are a programmer, please check out the GitHub. There is enough code there to get the simulation running.
If you are a 3D modeller/designer, an artist or graphics designer and you'd like to contribute cars, tracks or graphical content, please contact me at
I'll have a demo online very soon, in the meantime, here are a few screenshots: