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How to get started in sim racing?

The world of sim racing and online games has reported a significant increase in popularity during the past couple of years – especially due to the coronavirus pandemic which has blocked access to real motorsport events and has severely limited the possibility of racing training and competing in both professional and amateur motorsport.

The results of studies of the global simulation games market seem to confirm that, as it has been estimated at 4,04 billion USD in 2019.

How to start sim racing experience to not only understand this field but also enjoy it? How to developing your driving technique correctly? I will explain it in this article, enjoy!

What’s your plan? E-sport? Fun? Training? Get into sim racing!

Before anything else, we must answer the question – why do we want to racing on a virtual circuit? We can divide this into following categories: online championships, driving for fun or professional sim racers training. Furthermore for many sim racers the main goal is to ultimately enter real motorsport.

To competitive racing you don’t really need a high-end sim racing setup to be competitive online racing. For high level driving only a set of steering wheel with pedals is required. A good example of such a set would be the Thrustmaster racing wheel T300 RS with optional TLCM pedals, who, thanks to the load-cell sensor, will offer a satisfactory level of braking precision.

In terms of driving for fun the only limits are your budget and personal preference. For some people it might be sufficient to use what others have for e-sport purposes, other people might focus on the most sophisticated and advanced solutions as a sim racing cockpits or even full racing simulator. I recommend you search for other sim racers preferred setups to get inspiration for something that works for you.

It’s important to remember that expensive sim racing equipment will not directly guarantee faster driving but can offer much more immersion.

When it comes to training before actual race track driving it’s better to focus on the advanced sim racing rig in order to achieve the best racing simulation.

Console or gaming PC – what should be your basis?

Hardware market for sim racing offers many possibilities – from the most basic console or gaming PC sets available in almost every major shop through more advanced solutions with high-end steering wheels and pedal boxes from the same manufacturers who supply their solutions to actual racing drivers and sim racing teams (for example AP Racing or Tilton).

For starters, especially when having a limited budget, it’s good to use the hardware already available at home. Once our abilities improve and we get more fun from sim racing crossing over to PC or buying additional racing accessories will come as a natural process.

What sim racing games are the best?

For starters, it’s worth knowing that not every sim racing game checks out in the simulation aspect. Arcade games, like “Need for Speed” for example do not belong to the same category as games branded as racing “simulation” titles. Popular racing simulators from the “simcade” group such as “Gran Turismo Sport”, “Forza Motorsport” or “Project Cars” only give a certain dose of realism and keep a more simplified profile in comparison with classic simulation titles.

As a beginner sim racer we should check which of the below racing simulators suit us the most. We should start by selecting one specific title, nevertheless we should probably try out what the other racing games have to offer as well.

ForceSeatPM
  • Assetto Corsa,
  • Assetto Corsa Competizione
  • iRacing
  • rFactor 1 & 2
  • Raceroom Racing Experience
  • DiRT Rally & DiRT Rally 2
  • Automobilista 1 & 2
  • Project CARS 1 & 2
  • „Gran Turismo” series
  • Richard Burns Rally
  • Beam.NG

Sim racing gear – start with the basics

Manufacturers of sim racing peripherals usually posses a wide variety of products and accessories in their portfolio. For starters we should focus on two main options. First one is choosing a sim racing setup that can be expanded or improved by either official or DIY addons or modifications. Second one is purchasing a much more expensive but more advanced direct drive steering wheel systems and pedal boxes with load cell technology etc.

Regardless of whether we decided on a PC or a console, when beginning your sim racing experience you should consider the sim racing setup:

  • On a budget but properly built – Thrustmaster wheel T300 RS GT (plus optional TLCM sim racing pedals)
  • Middle level – Fanatec CSL Elite wheel rim
  • Professional – Fanatec wheel Clubsport Elite , Fanatec driect drive wheel Pro, Fanatec CSL DD direct drive wheels

Great starting point

Purchasing criteria can be limited by the budget. Each and every one of the mentioned brands or models has something different to offer but they all give you a good enough feeling, let you keep up a good pace and even produce record times during sim racing events.

Summary

To sum up, how to get started in sim racing? Sim racing experience is not just playing video games anymore. Virtual racing is a quickly expanding industry. A long time ago sim racing was a form of entertainment or fulfilling passion for cars.

Nowadays we know that thanks to advanced technology and greatly improved simulation software sim racing has become an inseparable part of many professional drivers, including those of F1, GT car series or rally championships.

Thankfully, to start racing virtually we don’t need to spend a fortune on a bolide or a racecar – in order to drive on a track we just need a basic set of steering wheel and pedals.

Author: Damian Lempart, Professional Racing Driver and Racing Coach, who started his career from the sim racing.

LEMPARTRACING.COM

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2022-04-07T08:23:07+01:00

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