Sim Racing is rapidly becoming the main starting point for those who want to drive. The monetary risk and risk of bodily harm are some of the main reasons for this. The other main reason is the ease of access. You can purchase even the most basic equipment necessary for around $350 instead of a physical car, equipment, etc., for significantly more money.
So where do we begin with Sim Racing?
What is the simulator level racing and what is a game? Is there really a difference? Absolutely!
As a basic rule, a true simulator will not allow you to drive the car from any other position than the driver’s seat. If you are able to drive and race from any other view…that is a game.
For starters, here are some of the latest main titles out there to look into:
- iRacing – (SIMULATOR) By far the most competitive and realistic simulator out there. It requires a pretty solid commitment both monetarily and timewise to get started and to get good at it. Though not required, you would be foolish to try iRacing out without first purchasing a steering wheel and pedals. (PC/Mac Only) https://www.iracing.com
- Assetto Corsa – (SIMULATOR) Definitely a very realistic simulator with accurate cars and tracks. The online multiplayer community is not as vibrant as iRacing, but the commitment level is significantly lower in terms of cost to play the game itself. If you are looking to just get rolling and drive tracks by yourself, this is likely the best place to start. (PC/XBOX ONE/PS4) https://www.assettocorsa.net/
- Project Cars 2 – This is a game with simulator elements and it is evolving all the time. It is tons of cars and tracks and has also implemented a Safety Rating and Skill Rating system, pioneered by iRacing.
- (PC/XBOX ONE/PS4) https://www.projectcarsgame.com/
- Forza Motorsports Series – The latest release is Forza 7. The long-standing series is certainly a game with simulator elements. Tons of cars and tracks, however, the series has always struggled with being accurate for simulator steering wheels and pedals. (PC/XBOX ONE) https://www.forzamotorsport.net
- Gran Turismo Series – The original mainstream racing game of our time, Gran Turismo has been around forever and pushed the envelope consistently over the years. They started the push for gamers to go straight into real racing with the GT Academy (Playstation Only) https://www.gran-turismo.com/
All of the above games are excellent in their own right. What is important to consider when you are looking to start is what experience do you really want? If you are aiming to train for the race track in real life, then a simulator will always be superior to a mixed experience. If you are looking to just be a gamer then starting with the true games is certainly an easier more cost-effective path.
The next thing to consider is what wheel and pedals to purchase. This is a longer discussion to come however the main thing to consider is what wheel/pedals combination are compatible with the system(s) you have? Some are PC Only and others are XBOX ONE Only. There are some that are cross-platform compatible as well.
A detailed explanation of wheel/pedal configurations will be coming soon.