What is sim racing? Baby don't hurt me... Wait, that lyrics weren't correct. In the third part of our sim racing guide, we are answering the most important questions around the virtual motorsport.
In times of COVID-19, virtual motorsport called sim racing is booming like no other esports discipline. In Part 1, we already talked about the sim racing basics and in Part 2 – about the best steering wheels. Did you miss those? Check them out here:
- Sim Racing Hardware Guide: What Do You Need?
- Sim-Racing Guide: Best Steering Wheels for PC, PS4 & Xbox One
For the final guide, we are answering your questions.
1. Sim Racing: How Did it All Begin?
The history of sim racing is nearly as old as the genre of racing games itself. There is no concrete starting point but battles were going already on in 1982, when the first arcade machines started getting around.
And it's no wonder, after all, what is more competitive than car racing? Let's not forget, the Formula 1 World Championship has been captivating racing fans since 1950.
Sim racing was about to take off in 1989 when the car racing classic Indianapolis 500: The Simulation got released. Compared to most other racers of his time, the title relied on realistic physics and telemetry of the cars – well, at least more or less.
With the release of the first Gran Turismo, the genre of racing simulations finally made its debut on home consoles as well, whereas real sims had previously only been reserved for PC owners.
2. Which Are the Most Important Modern Racers?
What do MOBA fans play? League of Legends and Dota 2. Football sim pros are playing? FIFA 20... or shortly FIFA 21. But sim racing cannot be reduced to a single game. Instead, it hosts a lot of titles that are sometimes very different from each other.
The most important current sim racing titles include Assetto Corsa, which is still able to maintain its leading position after more than six years. Furthermore, titles like iRacing, rFactor 2 and Project Cars 3 can show highly functional tournaments. Not to mention the F1 Esports Series, which has a whopping $750,000 as a prize pool this year.
- READ MORE: Project Cars 3 Review: More Is More
3. Is It All About Circuit Race?
Sim racing is as multi-faceted as real motorsport. The most important events take place on circuits – sometimes in short sprint races, sometimes in endurance races and sometimes even over 24 hours, like in the Le Mans Esports Series.
But sim racing has much more to offer. Let's not forget about the offroad races in rally and rallycross events from the DIRT Rally 2.0 World Series or in the virtual Rally World Championship of the WRC Esports Series. Motorcycle fans fight for victory in the virtual MotoGP and even arcade racing games like Mario Kart are holding exciting esports events.
4. Are the Drivers Esports Athletes or Professional Racers?
A question that is quite hard to get answered. Sim racing titles are now so realistic that the boundaries blur. Real Formula 1 drivers like Charles Leclerc or George Russel are also doing very well in the F1 2020 racing simulation.
But it works just the other way round: British sim racing professional James "Jaaames" Baldwin won the second season of the casting show World's Fastest Gamer and secured himself a cockpit in a real racing car. He is driving for the top team Veloce Esports and the esports section of McLaren Shadow. But in reality, he is at least as fast and recently even won races for the Rocket Motorsport Team in the GT World Challenge Europe.
Sim racers are esports athletes, just like their colleagues from FIFA and other titles. But there is one big difference: the requirements are similar to those of real sports. Sim racing is exhausting! It's really exhausting, in fact – modern steering wheels realistically reflect the resistance and unevenness of the track.
EarlyGame fun fact: Our Smartwatch recognizes a workout while playing intensive sim racing games – we have not yet achieved this with FIFA or Call of Duty.
5. How Realistic Is Sim Racing?
This question should be answered already. It's extremely realistic! The racing tracks of modern simulations are very similar to their real-life counterparts. The demands on the drivers are also comparable (although the G-forces naturally have a far greater effect on real racers in curves). Moreover, the same factors have to be considered as in motor sports.
Vehicle setup, tire wear, fuel consumption and much more are crucial to be successful in the race. Turning off the optional driving aids that most titles offer to newcomers, and the driving experience comes incredibly close to the real thing.
Here are two comparison videos that show how close Sim-Racing has come to real motorsport.