Sim racing has been in existence since the beginning of time, well probably not that long, but it’s been around for years now. However, it was not celebrated as it is today, not until a couple of years ago. Now, we can hopefully answer the question people have been asking. Why has sim racing suddenly become a good sort out the game?
Well, below are some key points to consider:
Ever since the wheel was invented, there has been this desire to compete for the fastest racer to move around the circuit. A good example is Chariot racing during the Roman era. However, in price in modern times to partake in or to create a motorsport team is very high, and motorsport enthusiasts tend to patronize the online world due to its moderate price.
Sim racing is by far a more affordable and safer way of letting out your inner speed desire. If your car was damaged in a sim, for instance, all that is required of you is to restart the session, and you’ll have a fully fixed car with no sign that the crash happened unless you’re in a multiplayer session.
But this isn’t the case in the real world. There is no luxury of a reset button, only expensive repair bills and time to kill while your car is being fixed. In some worst-case scenarios, you may not walk out of the crash alive. In general, sim racing is budget-friendly and safer compared to real racing.
Recently, simulators of which to race on weren’t cheap. Our only choices were RFactor or Gran Turismo up until 2014 and onwards. In the past years, they’ve been titles such as Project Cars, Assetto Corsa, and RFactor2 enter the arena. All these sims are very cheap, and you don’t even need to update the setup to enjoy the most out of them either. You are allowed to race on a controller and still be able to compete in various races. So the availability of options to choose from is most definitely the key factor in the sim racing trend. Especially since everybody has different choices on what platform best suits them.
The advancements of technology on both PC and consoles entails that the new sims available in the market are more advanced than their predecessors. This involves good tire, and weight simulation can be introduced into a sim, coupled with virtual reality and motion rigs, both very expensive pieces of kit. Making the experience much more intense.
If you’re privileged to partake in real-world racing, chances are you can’t race in every discipline out there. Your calendar would be choked up with races pretty much daily. That and some racing disciplines aren’t used anymore. Sim racing presents a real-life GT3 driver the opportunity to give banger racing a go, or a Formula1 driver to give car racing a go if they so desire.
Most of the sim racers haven’t had the opportunity to racing in the real world. So, sim racing presents the opportunity to drive that new LMP1 car without going through years of training and experience, which is one requirement to drive it competitively in the real world. The virtual world also gives us the opportunity of race car classes that are not present in the real world anymore as a full-on race series or to race on circuits that don’t exist anymore.
So, sim racing presents the opportunity to do anything we want, without limitations or reaper cautions. If you want to race a lawnmower at the Nürburgring, you can go ahead. In some cases, sim racing supersedes the real thing!
One of the main reason sim racing can top the chart over the past few years is because of the community. On every sim platform available now across some sort of league racing series, whether that category is based in the rallying world, Nascar, or even Le Mans. There’s a series out there that will push you to the absolute limit.
How to Get Started Sim Racing at Home
Anyone ready to jump into the stimulation wagon in 2021 needs more than a game console and a wheel. Certain games like Forza and Gran Turismo are considered great starting points, while more sim focused on titles like Assetto Corsa, and Project Cars are available for both the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.
Although if your mind is locked on partaking in simulation racing. The PC is the option for you. This comes with diverse software options, customization, and most importantly, access to a wide range of hardware, which can be beneficial for gamers planning on using racing sims as a practice tool. Same with any technology, it can all seem a bit intimidating to start with, but there’s lots of vital information available on different forums.
To commence, compete against the best on games like Rfactor2, Assetto Corsa, F12020, Forza Motorsport, GT sport, and lots more using the leader boards and time trial events and see how you do against the best and take things from there. Some games fancy some people better than others, so maybe finding the best game for yourself can also help.
Below is a list of things needed to start Sim Racing at Home
Firstly, you will need some form of hardware that can run the simulator software. Advanced simulators require a PC that is capable of running them. Note: Even though most modern computers are capable of running software, it is required that you make provision for a powerful PC to get the best performance as simulators can be very demanding.
Since PC components are constantly changing, you’d want to be able to operate the software at 60fps. This means that the visual performance of the simulator will be smooth without any hindrance. This is vital, as any activity will affect how your control of the car will detract from your overall experience. Therefore, stuttering is caused by your PC’s inability to accommodate the required software.
What then is the best software needed? Professionally, we’ll suggest you get a computer with a good mid-range quad-core processor, 16 GB of RAM, and a good mid-range graphics card. It is also vital to have a solid-state hard drive to help in the processing of information and loading faster.
You should also bear in mind that most simulators possess options to regulate the level of graphical information. This permits you to adjust different settings to boost you to a higher frame rate. To have every option on its full capability needs a gaming PC with high specification, but you can at least make it work well on most PCs.
- The monitor
Once you’ve had your PC sorted out, you will need a monitor to run it. The spec of the monitor to use is wholly dependent on you. But it is important to consider some key points when making your pick.
- The most vital feature to be on the lookout for is the response rate of the monitor. This has to do with knowing the time it takes for an image to be displayed on the monitor. The slower the response time, the lesser the visual quality will be.
- The minimum required visual is at1080p resolution. That’s depending on your budget, of course. You can still upgrade your resolution to4k ultra HD.
- Single monitor
The basic option is to run a single monitor, similar to that of your standard PC at home. This happens to be the cheapest available, but it does no entails it will be at a disadvantage to anyone.A single monitor can be a PC monitor or a flat-screen TV, keeping the recommended specification in mind.
- Triple monitor
If it tickles your fancy, you can broaden your vision even more by moving to a triple monitor setup. This entails that you can connect three monitors to your PC at the same time, providing you a wide angle of vision. That way, you can have main window views and side window views.
Beware, running triple monitors demands a lot from your system. The important one is to have sufficient connections on your graphics card for your monitors to plug into.
- Virtual reality
This is not a monitor at all. You may have realized that Virtual Reality is becoming a hot topic in technology discussions. What was once the talk of science fiction can now be gotten for a mid-range TV.
Virtual reality functions by using a different headset that covers your eyes. Inside the headset, the screen image is modified using two images, in a familiar way to how your eyes work naturally. Although, the bonus is by using a tracking receiver mounted at the head in front of you, when you move your head, your head moves in-game.
- The simulator hardware
The hardware simulator consists of a steering wheel and pedals as its basic requirements.
- The steering wheel
There are different types of wheel available in the market. However, some important features are on the lookout for, such as the force feedback feature. It gives a user a representation of the feedback one would expect to feel through the wheel, which entails that the wheel will automatically rotate in the opposite direction if you oversteer.
While the entry-level wheels feature gear-driven feedback systems, some mid-range systems feature a belt-driven motor.
Brake pedals give outstanding performance through the use of load cell sensors. Each pedal acts in a way that you would expect. The brake pedal can also be set to require a braking force of up to 136kg.
III. Shifters and handbrakes
Apart from the wheel and pedals, you will most definitely need a way of changing gears. That’s where paddle shifters come into play. It is worthy of note that some steering wheel system comes with paddle shifter behind the wheel’s rim.
- The rig
Once you have all the controller hardware sorted out, you will need a place where it can be mounted. The humble office desk would be enough at the entry-level system, as many steering wheel systems offer a table clamp mounting option. If you intend to use a desk, make sure that it doesn’t have a chambered edge as you won’t be mounted properly on the wheelbase.
The Cheapest and the Most Expensive Option For wheels
Racing wheels consist of three main kinds. In this article, we’ll recommend two of them. Unfortunately, most of us can only afford only one of these.
Starting from the most expensive Sim racing wheel, the Fanatec racing wheel tops our list.
FanatecClubSport v2.5 is also known as the belt-driven racing wheels king, lots of people might argue about this in favour of their favorites but it is definitely one of the best belt drive racing wheels in existence,
- Has an Intricate and powerful force feedback
- Fab build quality
- Runs calm and quiet
- It’s very expensive when you add top-quality pedals
- Not PS4 compatible
- Has no bundled table clamp
Although it is not a direct drive racing wheel, The FanatecClubSport v2.5 is one of the bestwheels you can purchase for under $1000.
We say under $1000, but more money is required if you intend to upgrade to the ClubSport v3 pedals and a separate shifter. It’s relatively expensive, but it’s worth every dime.
The force feedback of the FanatecClubSport v2.5 is exceptional; with depth and reliability, no alternative costs less. Its design presents the best of Fanatec, too, with a number of metals on show and a transparent panel up top that lets you see its inner workings. This creation feels like it’ll hang around for a long time and who knows, it might even outlast your next console. Heck, it might outlast you.
It’s quiet and runs stable too, due to its well designed dual-fan cooling system.
If you have enough funds to go around, this is one racing wheel you must have. Although, its design comes without a table clamp. The FanatecClubSport v2.5 is created for a permanent setup. It is not designed to spend months locked away in a cupboard, although Fanatec sells excellent clamp separately.
Although this is not eligible for the PS4 and PS5 crowd either, it’s only for Xbox and PC users.
Regardless of it being the cheapest on our list, it still has a spot as one of the next-gen consoles.
- Has a smarter accurate force feedback
- Comes with a leather wheel covering
- Improved progressive brake pedal
- Supports next-generation systems
- It’s Xbox One or PS4, not cross-platform
- Old school helical gearing is still used
The Logitech G923 has an almost identical look to the G920, but many other essential features are added underneath. Like an intelligent kind of force feedback that requires optimizing for every game known as Trueforce.
True force is a hepatics-based system that transmits the sense of the road through your fingers. The feedback is no longer mostly about struggling against the wheel as you take a quick turn, but you’ll feel the tarmac tickling your digits.
Formula 1 Games
F1 games are generally a point of entry for the casual motorsport racer into the world of racing video games. Most people experience racing only on Sundays, with David Croft yelling at them across the sitting room. These categories of people (Racing Fans) are likely to be enticed to Project Cars or Assetto Corsa, but be sure they’d go for the game that has the face of Lewis Hamilton’s staring back at them from the cover.
Below is a list of three of the best official F1 games:
You can play it on PC, play station, Xbox, and Gamecube. The F1 2000 was released in the early 2000s, a fantastic period for F1 gaming fans. After the deal between EA Sports and Sony ended in 2002, EA Sport decided to a video game, similar to the season they previously licensed. The game came with some cool upgrades. The race was made to give a reliable time progression feel, not to mention introducing an authentic taste career mode format, giving F1 racers their first experience. And later on, other games began to follow suit.
- F1 2013 – PC, Xbox 360, PS3
One of the best F1 games produced by Code masters, The F1 2013, was F1 2012. And as for F1 2013, there wasn’t much wrong with the F1 2012 version. Code masters went a step further on this one by giving F1 fans the thrill of driving cars on tracks from the ‘80s, especially for fans who are bored from hearing the sound of V8 engines. They went a step further to introduce new filters and custom graphics to promote the classic car experience, a nice gesture appreciated by many fans.
- F1 2020 – PC, Xbox One, PS4
The most recent creation of code masters is the F1 2020, built with top-class tech. With unique features making it one of the best F1 game ever produced. The newly introduced F2 cars, giving it an edge over F1 cars. Not to mention the My Team feature, which allows you to create a 12th team to participate in the F1 entry list.You are allowed to choose where to buy your engines from and as we all know, the more expensive the engine, the better.
F1 racing is also frequently viewed on twitch. Due to the outbreak of the corona virus, most people have moved to watching official races online, F1 was no different. The game raked in thousands of views with people watching live races in famous locations that was as close to the real thing that they could get. Popular formula 1 drivers like Lando Norris was able to get over seventy thousand viewers to stream his game. Many other big names in the racing world also participate in F1 e-sport official races. Although it is not the real deal, it does not stop fans from loving it.
Why F1 Racers Play Sim Racing Games
These league series races contribute to keeping the sim racing world going, and many gamers join this community so they can participate in the 50-car endurance race at Spa and compete for the championship title.
Should you get bored of the content in a particular sim? You can simply download one from the number of mods available.
Note: Not all sims permit this, so indulge yourself in some research to know the one that supports mods before you purchase.
Mods are created by community members to be utilized by community members and make provision for many who wish to add many hours of game time to a sim. These mods come in different forms like a new track, a new car, or in the case of RFactor2, an entire race series you can partake in. Although it is required you pay for some mods. But for the most part, these mods are freely available. An additional bonus is that these mods can be multiplayer, but it requires a dedicated server to achieve that.
E-Sports is not left out in the world of sim racing and is fast gaining popularity, with manufacturers like McLaren utilizing it through the form of one-make championships to find those with the talent to race.
The majority of the top-level motorsport teams will either have their simulator or have an avenue for their racers. This is not just to pass the time in between race weekends. There are intentional moves to having their drivers spend time on a sim.
Even the very best of drivers in the world still have a lot to learn when it comes to racing, and sim provides an avenue where one can improve in their driving technique, enhance vision, find reference points for braking or turn in, or even improve their mental abilities like focus, endurance and confidence. All these can be achieved within a controlled environment where results are easier to come by.
With the accuracy of their physics as well as car and truck models included, in-depth data logging is found in most modern simulators. And can be reviewed using MoTeC or similar real-world systems, granting you access to see a graphical illustration of data such as brake and throttle position, speed, and many more. Helping you take advantage of lap gaining and driving analyzing technique.
Apart from learning how to improve your driving, the simulator teaches you how to extract your vehicle’s best performance by adjusting the setup. In doing this, you’ll understand what changes can be executed to achieve the overall handling of your car. If you locate something that works, you can carry out further research on the tendency of making a similar change on your car.
We are all aware that time is precious. It is a well-known fact that there seems to be more limited time than ever in today’s busy world. When considering that your time on track is limited when you dedicate an entire day to testing when a lot of this time can be better used.
You can achieve testing around your busy schedule using a simulator. With just a push of a button on your power PC, you can be ready to head out on track in 5 minutes. So, whether you have a spare few minute here or there or a couple of hours in the evening, it is easier and very possible to head straight out on track and start learning.
Will it make me faster?
Professionally, yes, it can!
You cannot achieve this by just switching on your PC and doing a couple of laps and expecting to see seconds drop off your lap. Making a simulator session can be of an advantage to you depending on several factors such as those found below:
- Mental approach
The secret to the mental side of driving is just as important as the physical driver aspect, and it is no different in sim racing. Interestingly, it is important in the simulation racing world to be in charge of your emotions and focus because of the lack of physically moving.
As you proceed to enter the virtual race track, it is expected for you to say to “it’s but a game, if you crash or run off track you can always restart.” That’s true, you won’t be in any physical danger as a result of the said action on a simulator, but this doesn’t mean you can’t learn a couple of things from it because it can be life-threatening when it comes to racing on a real-life track.
If you log into a simulator session with a motive to driving as you would on a real test day, you will realize that you are in the best position to discover new ideas that will be vital for your driving in real life.
Also, as a result of low physical danger when utilizing a simulator, it is very easy to be distracted when driving. Keeping the focus on track is a very vital aspect of motorsport. If you concentrate during a race in the simulation, you will be well prepared to keep your focus behind the wheel.
As the old saying goes, “failing to plan is planning to fail” is what sim racing is all about. Like we earlier stated, there is no perfect and complete race driver. Even the very best racing drivers in the world are always on the lookout for possible ways to improve their driving skills. So, there’s always something new that everyone can learn from.
Suppose you signed up to sim improve your racing lines, braking technique, throttle application, or proper handling of the steering wheel or for whatever reason. In that case, once you enter the simulator session with that same mindset, you’ll most definitely get the results you wish for as long as you’re focused and dedicated.
For instance, in the breaking technique, if your confidence is a little bit shaky as to what happens when you apply the brakes of your race car, you can build on your confidence by practicing the various exercise available on the simulation.
You can commence with a straight-line braking exercise at a stable speed and using a reliable braking marker. Practice with different brake pedal applications and note down the results based on where you end up at a full stop.
Once you approach the level where you can always produce the same results, you can move this to a more advanced level to adjust brake bias and see how this changes the brake functionality. Other available exercises include trail braking, left or right foot braking toe, and lots more.
The important thing to remember is that if you keep practicing on a particular exercise repeatedly, you will easily get acquainted then you can combine it to an overall lap, thereby adding more skills to your name and boosting your confidence. The only task required is transferring the skills you’ve learned to the race track.
- Practice, practice, practice
There is only one guaranteed way. And that practice, Lots and lots of it. As it is far easier to be flexible with the schedule on a simulator than to attend a test day, there are plenty of avenues to practice.
Learning and improve my consistency. When learning to play a musical instrument, you have to participate in exercises to help you become conversant before upgrading to the next one. It is no different with driving a car in reality and when using a simulation.
It is important to note practice does not guarantee perfection. Only perfect practice makes perfect. Repeating a bad habit over and over again will only make it difficult to break away from. So, if you want to get your techniques right, you will need a start to see your times get quicker, and you will be capable of transferring your new skills to the race track because they will have become part of you.