Gaming has been essential over the last two years, not only as a hobby but also as a company. One such highlight has been Sim Racing. But what is Sim Racing, taken from the mouth of a top Sim Racer in India, Prakhar Vats AKA Indian Simracer, “It’s about racing makeshift cars on makeshift tracks, and going as close to reality as we can.”
Sim Racing has come to a point where it is now being acknowledged by real-life drivers and if you are lucky enough you might find the likes of Max Verstappen, Current Formula 1 World Champion, or George Russel or even Lando Norris Racing beside you in online lobbies.
Unlike Real-life racing you don’t need to spend a fortune to take part in races. All you need is a decent setup and a steering wheel, and believe me, even some of the sim racing pros use entry-level gear because just like the real world counterpart your weight of skills is more than what you drive with.
Sim Racing has grown to a point where racing series around the world have started taking drivers who are best of the best to drive with real cars. James Baldwin is one such example who is now racing in the renowned GT3 series.
Coming back to basics, there are three things that should be addressed when it comes to sim racing for beginners:
- What Genre/Series of Racing do you want to get into
- Your level of immersion
- Whether you want to be a part of an online community or not(which ultimately leads to leagues and community races).
What Genre/Series of Racing do you want to get into
There is a multitude of titles to choose from and it is completely on you what kind of cars you want to drive, what track, and what series.
When it comes to rallying Dirt Rally 2 is currently one of the best offerings, though you have the WRC games Dirt Rally somehow always has that edge.
If you want to race F1 cars then there is the officially licensed game from Codemasters, though it is not revered to be a true sim racing game, the likeness of it cannot be denied.
After this there are 3 main contenders, iRacing, Assetto Corsa Competizione, and Automobilista 2.
iRacing is somewhat of an extravagant affair with monthly subscriptions for different tracks and cars. In return, it offers a very competitive field with a ladder-like license system which people compete and qualify for. It also offers laser scanned tracks and a great assortment of the latest cars. Graphically the game looks dated, but it is now being addressed by the developers.
The biggest breakthrough title in the list Assetto Corsa Competizione, or in short ACC, has been on an upward climb since its official launch. With constant upgrades to its tire model, graphics, and small details, it is currently the best of what sim racing can offer. Each and every track is laser scanned, and each and every car is similar to their real-life versions. Each car is different and one needs to learn them inside out. The game also offers a great multiplayer experience with leagues running all over the world. It is officially licensed under the GT World Challenge Europe under SRO and is looking to expand its grip over the GT racing category.
Finally, Automobilista 2, a new contender in the field of immersive sim racing, the game offers a vast array of cars and tracks and genres especially the Brazilian series of stock car racing. The game is not that good in terms of online experience but the developers have promised to make it better. When it comes to having some chill driving sessions I would surely recommend this game.
Other titles like rFactor2, Assetto Corsa, and BeamNG Drive are also great offerings if you are looking to get started.
Level of immersion
Immersion is defined by how well you want to feel connected to the game. There are full immersive rigs but you don’t really need them to have an experience. For beginners, even an entry-level wheel like the Logitech G29, Thrustmaster T150 pro/T248 offers really great experience.
Another popular choice is the Fanatec Direct Drive wheels which offer huge amounts of torque and can break your arm if you are not careful, but when used properly offers a very 1 to 1 feel. If you want to just get an idea, a controller is very well suited also.
Online gameplay is surely something that many of us would like to be a part of. Games like iRacing, ACC, rFactor2 offer great online sessions, with ACC and iRacing running online leagues. You can always find a league that is in your comfortable time and pace and have a great time.
Sim Racing is not about being the fastest or the best, it’s about having an experience, many of us would never be able to drive fast cars or go to a track because those places are very exclusive but sim racing brings us a tad bit closer of having those experiences. So what are you waiting for jump into what you like the most and brace yourself for an amazing experience.