Are you new to SimRacing?
There has been a huge rise in online racing over the last decade. Whether competitive or for run, professional drivers and millions of fans enjoy SimRacing on a daily basis.
The new Racing Edge SimRacing Series hosted by Canadian professional race car driver Daniel Morad launches on April 21.
With that in mind, here is everything we think you should know about SimRacing.
What is SimRacing?
SimRacing is an incredibly popular arm of online gaming. The driver completes races of all lengths and variables, depending on what game they use. It attracts millions of players around the world and thousands who tune in to watch races live via streaming services.
Online racing adopts proper rules and regulations seen in real life motor racing. It offers an authentic virtual replication of modern day and classic racing!
Who races in SimRacing?
Lots of people enjoy SimRacing! Professional drivers such as Formula 1’s Lando Norris and Max Verstappen as well as Racing Edge SimRacing Series host Daniel Morad are big SimRacing advocates.
Norris often live-streams his races, which attracts thousands of viewers at a time.
There are lots of official top level SimRacing teams such Team Redline and G2 Esports. Many real life racing teams also have virtual equivalents – including all 10 Formula 1 teams that currently occupy the grid.
Former F1 driver Fernando Alonso runs his own eSports team, FA Racing.
What equipment do you need for SimRacing?
Buying equipment for SimRacing can be a minefield as there is so much choice available.
But there are five main components you need to race online:
- Steering wheel complete package or steering wheel rim/motor
These components are known as a ‘rig’.
It’s worth remembering that certain equipment works better with certain games – so choose wisely and do your research upon deciding what game you play. Formula 1’s official game, for instance, is optimized for a Fanatec esports set-up.
Of course, there are rigs available for all budgets. But if you want to compete in top level SimRacing, you’ll need to invest in top level equipment to be consistently fast. Better equipment allows you to better control finer details, like braking through corners.
If you’re new to SimRacing, look into Logitech or Thrustmaster products depending on your console. Once you are more serious about online racing, you can look into upgrading.
Heusinkveld or Tilton hydraulic pedals are popular. Then you get to top level equipment like Fanatec, Simucube and Bodnar. Building better set-ups makes SimRacing more enjoyable – you get more from it. It’s like driving a Porsche versus a Toyota.
You get faster using better equipment because the technology can keep up with the demand and heating.
With monitors, the most common rig is a tri-monitor set-up. Some choose to run one monitor, but three gives you a big field of view.
Others use a Virtual Reality headset, which is more immersive than monitors. You can turn your head to see where your opponents are mid-corner. But with VR, you sacrifice frame rate – goggles give around 80 frames per second which compares to 144-165 frames per second on monitors.
Bigger frame rates help you process more information, which can make a big difference to lap times.
What leagues and series are available?
There are many leagues and series available in SimRacing. When it comes to professional leagues, the Porsche Pro Series on iRacing – a membership-based platform – offers €100,000 to the championship winner. NASCAR hosts professional races, too.
Most major racing series have their own virtual series. Formula 1, IMSA, IndyCar all have leagues. Racing Edge SimRacing Series host Daniel Morad drives in the IMSA Pro Series, SRO GT Rival series, the Nürburgring VLN and Redline Racing alongside Lando Norris and Max Verstappen.
However, many series – unlike the Racing Edge SimRacing Series – do not offer prize money yet.
iRacing offers official races and leagues but also has the option to host private leagues. The good thing about iRacing is it has license classing. Everybody starts in the Mazda series on iRacing, with Mazda MX-5 Cup Cars. You then graduate through the licenses as your safety rating improves – which forces you to take things seriously. That then allows you to drive in more series with different types of vehicle.
How realistic is it?
Nothing will properly match racing a real car around a real circuit. There will always be things missing – the physics, the feelings and the G-Forces. A lot of professional drivers heavily rely on those feelings.
In SimRacing, you’re not driving to real world limitations. You’re driving an algorithm and looking to exploit a system and its program as much as you can. It’s a different driving experience.
Races, race duration and the circuits model real life versions accurately. But the set-ups of virtual cars compared to their real life counterparts differ.
The hardest thing is simulating realistic tire models – cold tires, thermal degradation, overheating. iRacing releases constant updates to its platform that better integrates realism.
But when it comes to racing rules and regulations, SimRacing is pretty close to the real thing. iRacing, for example, penalizes you for hitting other drivers.
You collect incident points and once you get a certain number of incident points against you, you’re given a penalty. If you carry on, you’re disqualified. You can’t just go pinballing in, rear-ending or side-swiping other drivers.
There is even a pit lane limiter – so if you go over the pitlane speed limit, you’ll get penalties! The regulations and consequences are very real - it makes you stop treating SimRacing like a video game and more like real life.
What are the benefits of racing online?
Professional race car driver and host of the Racing Edge SimRacing Series Daniel Morad explains the benefits of SimRacing.
“The biggest benefit that SimRacing improves is your focus. If you can focus for a long period of time online, that will translate directly to real life. I feel like I’ve become a better driver in the real world due to SimRacing,” Morad said.
“I am a driver who heavily relies on the real world forces. SimRacing forces you to nail reference points without feeling them – it’s like taking away one of your senses and as a result the others get stronger.”
What should I do if I’m new to SimRacing?
Daniel Morad’s advice to new SimRacers? “Just take it slow,” Morad said. “I never did that for the longest time – I was just trying to win races, but by doing that I was being reckless. And by being reckless you get damage points, so my safety rating dropped terribly. In the end you’re damaging yourself doing that.”
Treat SimRacing like real world racing – take it easy on your outlaps. Treat crashes like real world crashes. The consequences of overshooting corners or bashing into someone can be really serious both financially and physically. So in real world driving, you’re not as aggressive or ridiculous. If you just treat it like a game, you get in a bad frame of mind.
But once you begin implementing those real world consequences after making mistakes, you’ll start to improve. You don’t want to hit other drivers because it’s expensive, your rating suffers. So treat it like real life and you will see progress.