With so many racing games hitting the market this season, it’s only fitting to share with you some of my favourite tips to improving your in-game driving skills. Not all racing games are the same, so use the features you have available and get practicing.
Seems simple, but too many people let practice areas go to waste. There are plenty of options to run quick races or time trials in which your stats will not be affected, and you can make adjustments as needed. If your game has the ability to do so, save your settings for future runs on the same track once you get it tuned just right.
Finding the perfect steering sensitivity can be pretty difficult if you aren’t a veteran racing gamer. Most people tend to treat the wheel as if they were driving in their own vehicle during their daily commute, and fail to factor in the high speed of the game. The best way to adjust the steering wheel sensitivity is to take your car at a low speed left and right to the edges of the track repeatedly, and then go faster until you feel you no longer have good control of the car. At that point, lower the sensitivity if you lost control and crashed off the track. As you improve, you will be able to increase sensitivity until you find a comfortable spot.
Don’t ride the brakes! Tap or pump your brakes in tight corners, simply ease off the accelerator in open turns (no braking necessary) and power through slight turns. If you’re unsure of when to accelerate out of a turn, listen to the opponents’ engine sounds. You can harness the power of YouTube and see how others tackle the track by searching for pedal cam footage.
If you’re not playing with a wheel and pedals, go and get some immediately. If you’ve already got the simulator setup, try adjusting the space between the seat and the pedals, the seat and the shift and the pedals and the floor. Some hardware allows you to further adjust the sensitivity of each item. Raising or lowering the screen can also make a significant difference in your performance. Check out our article on how to build your very own kick-ass racing simulator.
The most helpful thing you can do for yourself in any race is to learn the track. Memorise every detail so that you are always aware of what’s ahead, and you can choose your lines with confidence. There is no other solution than to practice, just as a professional racer would do. When starting off, focus only on one track until you have mastered it, and only then move on.
Take advantage of the free help from other players. Dig through forums and online social groups for information or post your own questions. In games where you can form teams, try to find teammates with plenty of experience. Often, teams will have saved information on different race scenarios and can help you finely tune your car specifically for an upcoming event.
We all love to watch the playback features when we do something amazing, but viewing your bad performances can prove just as rewarding. Take the time to relive those troublesome laps and find where you made your errors. Maybe your competitor has been choosing a higher line in a particular area for a reason.
Depending on the game, you may have several driver aides available. Use them to narrow your focus on the skills you want to hone. Use aids like braking assist and automatic transmission or turn off the dynamic weather and concentrate your efforts on something else like accelerating at the right spots without all the added distractions.
Seriously, how do you expect to get any better if you don’t challenge yourself? When nobody’s around, crank up the game difficulty and fight for your place on the podium.
When all else fails, try something out of the box. Sometimes you may think you have exhausted all of your options making adjustments and running test laps, but there is still room for improvement. For example, I was consistently getting a slower lap time than one of my mates on this one particular track, but I knew I could beat him. After countless failed attempts, I finally gave it two tries with a different camera view (that I normally wouldn’t use) and suddenly I was winning.
If you want to know more about picking your track lines, tyres, suspension, gear ratios and more, just post your questions below and I’ll be in touch. Until then, happy racing!