Over the past few years, the community of simracers has grown bigger and bigger. You can race a countless amount of cars on even more availabe tracks in dozens of great games. After more or less boring years, in terms of new “good” games between the arrival of rFactor in 2005 and the public releases of games like rFactor 2 in 2013, Assetto Corsa at the end of 2014, Dirt Rally and Project Cars (just to name a few of them…), the options have been getting better and better.
Simracing is becoming a more and more serious thing these days, as you can see by Nissans GT Academy and the iRacing World Cup. It can be considered as the motorsport for everyone. Even if you’re running on a tight budget. It is affordable for almost every car guy.
But why is it such a good time to be or become a simracer right now?
1. It’s cheap(er than real motorsport)
If you want to go to a trackday with your car, you have to spend vast amounts of money, just for buying and preparing a good car. Even if you choose an old 3-series Beemer, you have to pay for tires, suspension upgrades and if the inevitable happens: crash repairs.
Simracing just needs a more or less powerful computer and a steering wheel. For about 1.000 Euros you can get some serious kit. Of course, you could build or buy a nice gaming rig instead. But even with very cool tech in it (exluding some sort of hydraulic moving system), the cost for all this would stay in the four-digit range.
2. The amount of content
You want to drive Pike’s Peak in an Audi S1 Sport Quattro? Go for it.
You want to feel like Ayrton Senna in Monaco 1988? No problem.
You want to drive LeMans in an LMP1? Feel free to do so.
Besides the number of cars and tracks, which are already included in today’s games, there are thousands of them, made by independet modding teams. Since the days of Grand Prix Legends modding has become more and more important. Games like rFactor and Assetto Corsa are purpose built for being as developerfriendly as possible. You can design your own cars, tracks, liveries, sounds, HUDs and implement almost every feature via plugins.
You can choose between high quality games like Dirt Rally, RaceRoom Racing Experience, rFactor 2, Assetto Corsa, Automobilista, iRacing, Game Stock Car Extreme and more. Everything is possible, from driving a Citroen 2CV to sports- and hypercars of all big manufacturers and ultimately WRC, F1 and LeMans Prototypes.
3. The level of immersion
Technically, games are evolving at mesmerizing speeds. Nowadays, tracks are laserscanned, rather than designed by hand. The attention to detail and the quality of textures and models has come to a level, which is nothing but astonishing. Racing teams use the gMotor engines from ISI for their simulators. That’s the same engine, rFactor 1/2, GSCE and Automobilista are powered by, so real F1 drivers are using the same basic game, as all of us are. The virtual experience is so real, that working in the simulator replaces a lot of testing in the real world. Games of today are so realistic, that, if you’ve got yourself a proper wheel, like the ones of Fanatec, Logitech or Thrustmaster, it isn’t a big deal to adapt your driving technique from the computer to a real car. You can learn how to drift, without any risk of crashing. So simracing is huge fun and will make you a better driver. How cool is that, then?
4. The community
Last but not least, the community. With a little bit of research you could find yourself a seat in almost every racing series you like. There are big leagues out there, which became big organisations with hundreds of members. Most of them are very respectful and really do help you getting a better racer and it doesn’t matter if you’re at the age of 10 or 100. There are no limits. The only thing you need to have is passion. Passion for racing, driving and the one thing we all love most in our lifes: