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All simracers are cheaters! (kind of... )

Discussion in 'Sim Racing Hardware' started by Niels_at_home, Jul 3, 2011.

  1. Niels_at_home

    Reiza Studios


    I'm not talking about shift macros used in iRacing, although that is rather funny. The physical aspect of driving a racing car is underestimated. Although in the current era of motorsport, there is what George Carlin (RIP) would call a 'pussyfication' going on with more cars using power steering and closed cockpit cars having air conditioning etc, there are still many cars that are quite physical to drive.


    Your typical sim brake pedal might require about 2kg (4lbs) to press down fully. Perhaps you have a loadcell based brake pedal, but CST's leverage means its still probably about 15kg max (33lbs) and if you have Andy Pastores nice loadcell g25 addon, I believe thats 25lbs or just above 10kg.

    To get 4G braking in a GP2 car, or 5G in a F1 car you need a peak force on the brake pedal of over 120kg, possibly more than 150kg! (more than 260lbs, perhaps 330+!). Even in a F3 car to get 3G's its 100kg pedal force (220lbs). That is very very tough and makes us simracers pretty much a bunch of wimps.

    But do the brake G's help as a sort of 'automatic force generator' on the pedal? Barely I'm afraid. It will feel different applying 120kg in a static simulator compared to being thrown forward in the belts of a race car, but most of the force must come by stiffening your leg/body muscles. Imagine a 'ragdoll' driver in a car, perhaps only part of the weight of your lower leg might put some force on the pedal. Its old school muscles that press the pedal, with the G forces making it feel different but not much less tough. This is confirmed by some of the racing teams simulators I've seen, I put the brake strength to 200% in order to even manage good braking. And I'm used to 50kg (110lbs) of braking, so these simulators have 100kg / 220lbs or more brake pedals!

    You can't do weird simracing techniques and odd throttle/brake at the same time when the physical effort of pressing the pedal is so hard. It is very unrealistic I'm afraid how most of us not only cheat on the physical aspect of braking, but also how it makes us get away with techniques you don't see in real racing.

    How about steering then? Well, powersteering is available in some classes nowadays and I have no knowledge on how much this system typically helps. Perhaps a GP2 car is near the top of what modern unasisted racing cars ask from the drivers steering effort. In the fast multi apex corner at Turkey for example, values of about 25Nm occur. That is 12 times more than a G25. You won't believe it until you feel it. Analysis of an Indycar of some time ago showed that just to go straight (because of the assymetric setup) you need to apply some 20Nm (10x G25) going *STRAIGHT*

    Realistic steering loads mean you can't do what simracers can do. Certain fast steering motions, or even the ability to keep the wheel nice and straight over bumps, in real life with these cars, the wheel will decide to a greater extend what is happening. Perhaps some simracers are faster using 240 degrees of rotation and low force feedback. In a real single seater they wouldn't know what hit em! (probably the wall.. :))

    There will always be a big difference between real and virtual racing, but its good to know just how the physical aspect (and we haven't even talked about the G forces on the body and neck!) influences the experience. Perhaps at some stage iRacing or rFactor 2 or a good rFactor mod are pretty realistic, but nothing is realistic when you look at how most of us control these cars.

    Why am I saying this? Well I'm bored, but also to voice some concerns how some simracers feel they're really doing something realistic where in fact this might not be quite true.
  2. spot on Niels, that's why I keep on talking about "playing" rather than "racing". witness the famous video of Greger Hutu, the fastets guy out there, doing his first laps at Skip Barber driving school and having blisters on his hands after only a couple of laps! Witnesds also the myriad statements of real life racers saying that to control the cars they mainly use their butt and their stomach, parts of the body not really involved in SimRacing. That#s just the way it is and each of us who has done only a lap of karting knows instinctively that this is so. That said, Hutu's performance in the real racecar is outstanding and I doubt many here would be able to get even close in real life.
  3. Abdul Al-Amry

    Abdul Al-Amry
    2011 RD Indy 500 Winner

    Good read.

    I use me Mrs to shake the chair to simulate G Forces. Works most of the times and other times she over does it and I fall off.
    • Haha Haha x 3
  4. Now THATS Funny! : )
  5. The steering isn't that bad these days Neils. It is power assisted in all cars, from stock hatch all the way up to F1, and 20Nm is more than what you need to get around Turkey. They reduced the force needed to go from lock to lock while moving in order to reduce fatigue, which did cause accidents.

    It isn't just the power assisted steering that helps though, it is also partly setup, when the front is setup right, you get a little wobble on turn in, then it will not fight back until the rear gets hairy or you hit a curb or pot hole.

    All though I do know from speaking with Damon Hill that back in his F1 days, the steering was a hell of a lot tougher, and you can imagine it was the same for other classes too.

    As for the brakes, well there isn't any power assists here, nor any electronic units to help us, it is just brute strength. Realistically, saloons and hatches apply around 80Kg force on the pedal, single seaters between 80Kg for Formula Jedi and 120Kg for GP2. LMP cars however have bigger discs and you only need 90~110Kg to get them locked up.

    So yes, braking in your chair at home will never be the same, you will never get the feel of the maximum braking point on your pedal, nor what wheels spin feels like on your accelerator. Although maybe one day we might get biting point on a clutch.

    And just to let you know how we train, I do 30 minutes on a rowing machine at high force, 30 minutes on a cross trainer, and 20 repetitions of 80Kg leg lifts, and yet I don't think I'd be fit enough to get good braking in an F1 car.

    So I think it's time we all stopped whining about FFB, it's fine how it is, maybe we should get to work on something closer to real pedal action?
  6. Niels_at_home

    Reiza Studios

    Hey Alexander, well F3 isn't power assisted, nor is (or was last year) Gp2. GT cars and LMP (and F1!) have gone all soft. F3 is about near 8x G25 in torque, GP2 really is quite silly, at least that was the 2010 car with Bridgestones. Dallara soon introduced a 'low effort' steering arm suspension thingy that reduced the suspension trail by a few mm but its still quite physical.

    But yeah, these days unlike say 10 years ago lots of classes have powersteering.
  7. F3 don't race anymore do they? Thought they were phased out last year due to other formula, such as Renault world series etc.

    But your right it is too soft, if anyone remembers the early 90's cars, and how much softer they were set, that was proper racing. Nowadays almost all classes use really hard suspension, aerofoils and power assists, it's nowhere near as tough as it used to be. And because they made it easier for everyone, they made it way too expensive for most people to be competitive, which is why you hardly see any real talent in professional racing anymore.
  8. great comparison for you.

    An LMP1 car from 2010:

    A Group C Le Mans car from 1982: (the famous 1,2, and 3 cars that finished 1st, 2nd and 3rd :D)

    You can definitely see the difference in steering feedback and that was even with an aluminium chassis and a relaxed steering rack to reduce fatigue. Although as Darren mentioned a few times, braking is still a pig of a job :)
  9. Simon Bacon

    Simon Bacon

    Spot on read:) I can only talk from driving in Ma5da here in the UK, although not the most demanding you'd be surprised at the amount of effort that goes into a 20 minute race. I feel as tired at the end of 2x20 mins as I do at the end of an 8 mile run and it's always stomach, neck and shoulders that take the brunt.

    PS the Mk1 Ma5da MX5's don't have PAS or anything else :)
  10. nice discussion here, as for fatigue: I only ever did some 10min stints in a tuned down kart and was sweated through from head to toe and had a rib concussion after one of the stints. My hobby is running the marathon (no kidding) so i should be used to physical exertion (also i do gym twice a week for 60mins). even playing games of 90 mins or more, the fatigue is mostly eyes and maybe shoulders a little, but that's about it, no sweat unless its summertime :)
  11. Yeah, motorsport is more demanding than meets the eye ;).

    The neck is always the first to give, us endurance guys get used to whiplash pretty quickly though, with only 4 hours on a circuit your guaranteed to get it, the stomach comes from pumping the brake, and tensing in corners, try to relax a little, it will last longer. The shoulders shouldn't take that much of a beating unless your using bicep strength instead of lower arm strength, I'd imagine that is the case in most non PAS cars.

    I do remember when I raced at Wembley, we were doing a 24 hour race, and it was very short notice in December and I hadn't trained, the weekend after RoC 2008. The kart we were giving was a dog, very heavy steering and I made the mistake of gripping like a gorilla. My hands took the strain, after my first stint my gloves had removed about 0.3mm of skin on my palms, quite sore indeed. Although my shoulders and arms were fine throughout my stint, it was only when I was asked to do an extra hour as one of our guys had fractured his neck and couldn't go back out.... that extra stint almost killed me, a was using my body to turn the kart at the end of 6 hours because my hands and arms had seized up lol. But I can say for sure, nothing since then has ever been as difficult to turn, or heavy, most corporate karts are probably the same though, so I tend to stay away from them like the plague lol.
  12. What's the point of this thread?....using data to confirm what we already know.
    Fact is, it takes skill to drive difficult cars, skill and to a large degree track knowledge, but take away skill and you're left with slowness.
  13. Not necessarily, I know people without any skill at all, but lots of track knowledge, and they are fast at their own track, but useless anywhere else, we call them track specialists, and they're mostly marshals.

    I also know people without any talent, that drive semi-pro, they got into their current level with money, not with skill, or knowledge.

    Fact is, the cars are a lot easy to drive in real life then they are from behind a PC screen. It is not difficult to go fast in real life, it just costs money. You do not need talent to race an F1 car, just lots of money. Talent does help, and it splits the Vettel's from the Alguersuari's, but at least 80% of all racing drivers, got to where they are because of money, not because they were skilled, talented, or had huge amounts of knowledge.

    20~30 years ago, different story. People needed talent to race, not money, and the cars were hard to drive, and required talent, skill, knowledge and balls. Today, not even close to how it used to be.
  14. Yo....I'm talking about the the OP's analysis which sounds like a slap in the face to fast sim racers.
    These days race cars are much faster vs the old days of slower cars with more physical input required....consider the braking distances of 50's and 60's F1 cars vs todays....
  15. On the other hand, you could also argue that the body receives more overall and higher quality sensory feedback in a real race car than on a computer (plus 3D and peripheral vision), thus making a real life car it easier to drive in those aspects ;)
  16. The only thing tougher than motorsport is older motorsport...

    As for me, each time I go Karting (Rental) the first thing that starts to hurt after a while are my hands... Plastic steering wheel + no proper gloves + rough parts on the track + relatively fast Kart, for a rental... (Sodi GT4 Honda 9hp 270cc, 85-90 kph) = My hands are numb...

    Other than that, I don't remember any other hurted limbs... Ah yes ! My ribs because the seat was too large (5feet7 and about 57kg) and I was being thrown around a bit too much...
  17. Nice touch on old motorsport :D. As for your karting, gloves are key, poor quality gloves will shred your hands to bits (as I found out). On many sites and in many shops you can get a good pair of anti-abrasion and nomex gloves for barely any cash at all. As for your ribs, either grab a seat insert (which they should have at your track) or buy a rib protector, karting tends to be nasty on ribs, so considering all the cracked and bruised ribs I've seen in the sport, it's not such a bad investment.
  18. +1 to that.
    There is no shortcut for talent, if you're quick in sim-racing you will be quick in real life, giving the propa physical training to cope with the G-forces of course. I never raced in real life ( not counting a few karts fun races ) but i,m sure if i had the chance i would have kicked many butts of the current crop of real life racing drivers :D

    Thats cheeky:wink::wink:
  19. I'm planning on racing in the Honda Senior Championship (4 stroke, about 110kph) here in Quebec eventually so I'll buy everything at once to have a nice little discount :)

    Instead of 5000$ (Kart with engine + Suit, helmet and everything) I could get that for 4000$... Not too bad me thinks :)
  20. nice thread guys, very imformative.
    I had 10 laps around 3 sisters track in the uk in a 1996 Arrows F1 2nd of June... YAHOO!
    600hp, 600kg. Nice.
    Birthday pressy from Mrs, kid and mates. I knew nothing about it, blew me away.
    Went as hard in the car as I dare... wish I had gone harder...