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Featured Dear Petrolhead: Get to know simracing, it isn't going away

Discussion in 'Other Racing Games' started by Ryan Ogurek, Dec 18, 2014.

  1. Ryan Ogurek

    Ryan Ogurek
    Editor / Automotive News Staff

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    It seems in recent years there have been major advances in both sim racing technology and sim racing's reputation. It has gone from a small selection of wheels and accessories to having the options to create any racing environment your imagination and budget allows. The physics appear to have turned a corner, once combined with proper force feedback it can feel very close to real life, apart from being in an actual moving object. Technology is now reaching a point where it is relatively affordable, even on a near professional level. What the future has in store for sim racing isn't exactly clear, one thing that is clear, however, is that sim racing is here to stay.

    Thanks to new technology like Oculus Rift sim racing as we know it is sure to be undergoing some radical transformations. Having tried the Oculus Rift DK2 myself I can tell you to a certainty, eventually monitors will be a thing of the past, at least for sim racing. It may be quite some time before the technology and everything required to run it is affordable enough for that to happen, but it just goes to show some of the radical changes the future has in store.

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    With competitions becoming more common, prizes gaining value, and sponsors from real motorsport, sim racing is slowly becoming more and more assimilated with real life motorsport. Experienced drivers are working directly with developers to make the simulator's physics as close to real life as possible, bringing the average consumer ever closer to the simulators used by professional teams.

    The former Stig himself, Ben Collins, is working to do exactly that with Project CARS, along with other professional drivers. Kunos has their office positioned on the front straight of Vallelunga Circuit. So, it would appear that at least to some extent, the motorsport world is accepting and welcoming sim racing as a fellow motorsport.

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    As computer technology increases, we see sims capabilities increase, along with their potential market. More capability brings the ability to have something for everyone. Stunning visuals, sounds that make you forget where you are, true to life physics, and aids for those who are still learning can come in one complete package, even including some form of single player career. To some it may still be clear that it is far from perfect, but you can't deny that it shows quite clearly where we are headed.

    Sim racing has a bright future indeed, but its up to us to help it get there. Sim racing has always been a relatively little known hobby, and it shouldn't be. Sim racing has taught so much and inspired so much passion in so many people. How can it be so unknown? It is indeed growing more quickly than ever, and thanks to all of those who have convinced others to give it a try it is becoming less unknown. Its up to us all to help progress sim racing so that it can reach its full potential.

    So to all those who once saw this as a fad, and thought sim racers were just "wannabe race car drivers" I say this: Get to know sim racing, and get used to it. It's not a fad, it's not fading away. Give it another chance, if you tried it long ago, it likely has changed greatly since then. Its growing faster and stronger than ever, and one day you may find yourself behind the wheel of a sim, having almost as much fun as with the real thing.
     
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  2. Indeed, but how does one write an article on the diminishing gap between virtual and real racing without mentioning GTAcademy? Just saying...:O_o:
     
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  3. Ryan Ogurek

    Ryan Ogurek
    Editor / Automotive News Staff

    GTAcademy is focused on Gran Turismo, which is a mainstream game and not the type of relatively unknown sims the article is aimed at.
     
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  4. Two example:
    - Gábor Wéber, champion of Seat Leon Eurocup 2010 , ex WTCC driver
    - Norbert Michelisz independent World Champion of WTCC, who finished 4th in this year, at the highest available position after the 3 factory Citroen drivers Lopez, Muller and Loeb

    This two guys started their carreers as a simracer, before they got their first real racing car. Both of them still using simulators for training themself
     
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2014
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  5. Cool story bro.
     
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  6. Great article Ryan, I only got into sim racing a little over a year ago. I've always been a huge fan of the racing game genre and I've played and/or owned most all of the racing games available since the original Gran Turismo, but its only been since late October of 2013 that I bought my first wheel the Logitech G27, and since then I've also owned a Thrustmaster T500RS, Thrustmaster TX and Fanatec CSW v2. That's a lot of products in just over a year and just shows how much I've fallen for the sim aspect of racing now using a wheel instead of a gamepad controller.
     
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  7. Marco Bijl

    Marco Bijl
    adMAXIhater (O.O.O.)

    The day I win the Lottery, is the day I will step in the real thing :). Until then, there is no reason to sell my stuff :).

    Great article Ryan.
     
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  8. ouvert

    ouvert
    Premium Member

    well in regards of putting sim racers (which are "forced" to play simcade mainstream game as a part of marketing) in to the real car .. yep ... it is doing its part of diminishing that virtual-real racing gap ... but that is not what is this article about, right :)
     
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  9. That is a great article. I see sim-racing's growth along with arrive-and-drive indoor karting that are booming here in the states. Both allow casual entrance into racing. It gives you a relatively inexpensive feeling of real competition without a major capital investment or time commitment. Hopefully, this will lead to more fans of actual motorsport, which was the path I took.
     
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  10. Yea but by that logic, Greger Huttu should be the best real world race driver ever since his talents in sim racing are better than anyone, yet he isn't. Its a cool story to say that the two people you listed started off as sim racers but that's not really telling anything, it simply means they were fans of motorsport racing and also happened to enjoy playing games as well and managed to have enough talent to make it in real life racing after having played sim racing games. For all I know there's numerous real world racers in the world today that have enjoyed playing a little Need For Speed at home with their kids, but does that mean that racing games made them talented in real racing? No, not at all.

    GT Academy is nothing more than a promotion for Gran Turismo by making gamers think they can become real life racers if they play Gran Turismo. And how many people play or have played Gran Turismo yet can't cut it in a real race car? Likely hundreds of thousands if not millions.

    This is not a knock against sim racing when I say all this. It simply means that sim racing doesn't necessarily and very likely doesn't translate to real world racing as well you might think and sim racing simply allows us to live out our racing fantasies at home without spending an arm and a leg and pick up and play when we have time. And we get to share that experience with a community of friends and there's nothing wrong with that. I love sim racing and its getting better and better every year as Ryan stated.
     
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2014
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  11. I simrace because I enjoy it, not because I dream about being a IRL racing driver and pretend to be one in the virtual world. Tbh, being a father of two, I prefer being a simracer to being a real racer putting my life at risk and being far away from home for much of the time.
    Would I jump at the chance to test drive a real race car at a real track? Hell yes! Would I embark upon a career as a paid race driver if anyone handed me the chance? Probably not.
    Simracing is what I do, this is my hobby, this is my home, I'm here because I love it and I intend on continuing for many many more years. If wasn't simracing it'd be some other type of game.
     
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  12. I disagree with this sentence VERY much, there's not a million things in life I find more fun, there are a few, such as spending time with my kids, and I get to do those a lot while still being a simracer.
     
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  13. Ryan Ogurek

    Ryan Ogurek
    Editor / Automotive News Staff

    Well this has gotten a bit off track. Thanks for the compliments guys, I love knowing others are as passionate about this as myself. Sim racing isn't about making yourself a real race driver. Its about having fun doing something you love, no matter if you can do it in real life also, if you are imagining you are doing it for real because you cant or anywhere in between. There's so many of us who are extremely passionate about sim racing, for whatever reason, and there can and will be many more. Yes, assimilation with racing is a part of that growth, but I have no notion that we will all become real life career racers. As Kjell and I said, I have no desire to. The bigger sim racing becomes, the better it gets. I'm not talking about one particular game, or portion of sim racing, but sim racing as a whole. The capability of sims has made huge strides recently, its quite amazing to imagine what the future may hold.
     
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  14. Ryan Ogurek

    Ryan Ogurek
    Editor / Automotive News Staff

    Thread cleaned up. Let's keep things on topic please.
     
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  15. H34d5h07

    H34d5h07
    No money, no team racing.

    I have been told many times that I should go to this place called "outside" and get involved in IRL Motorsport, due to my Sim racing interest. And yeah sure, it does sound awesome, but at the same time, I have no money, no sponsors, no contacts, no experience, no car, no driver license, and as far as I know, there is no local motorsport where I live, etc etc. In other words, I have nothing. So it isn't possible.
    Therefore, virtual racing is the closest thing for me at the moment.

    But who knows? Maybe in the future, somewhere, someone says "okay, this guy seem alright, make him an offer" ;)

    The amount of gems when it comes to Sim racing is incredible as well. I started with a demo version of GT Legends, and moved from there to GTR, GTR2 (to me this one of the best game, when it comes to the old school Sim racing games) Race07 and recently Assetto Corsa. I have also started to cast an eye towards Project Cars.

    And it can only get better right? But at the same time, I look at these videos of people sitting in front of a monitor, with a G27, and drive a real car on a real track, and wonder "Whats the point with that? Either get real, or stay 100% virtual".

    I know it's just to show off how far the technology has gotten, but I can't also help thinking how much money that must be involved for that kind of project.

    But that is a topic for another day. In the meanwhile, I will drive my nuts off in various racing games, and pretend to be a pro racer doing an Endurance race on Nordschleife, in my dusty apartment :D
     
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  16. For me, I don't really care if it's not exactly like real life racing. It doesn't matter. I love the competition and comradery that simracing brings. If real racing is your thing than great but I doubt most sim racers think they could race a real car successfully, or make racing a real car, their ultimate goal. They are having too much fun racing a sim car successfully and it doesn't require thousands of dollars, hours of travel time away from home, and all the other hassles that would accompany real life racing. That's why I love simracing. I can come home after work, practice and run a race with like minded people, and be done in time for dinner. Plus you can race all kinds of cars and series whereas you'd be most certainly be running one make and series in real life. In a way, sim racing is much better than the real thing! Also, as Steven Scott stated above, sim racing has made me a fan of all kinds of motorsports around the world and not just the oval racing that I was brought up on here in the US.
     
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  17. Andy Jackson

    Andy Jackson
    Sponsored by BRUT Premium Member

    The biggest benefit of sim racing is that it doesn't hurt. I can tell the difference and speak of it with real experience. And it's a damn sight cheaper too. :cool:;):roflmao:
    A fun hobby for passing a little me time.

    Great thread OP.:thumbsup:
     
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  18. Brandon Wright

    Brandon Wright
    I'm just here for the snacks Premium Member

    I strongly disagree with this. If you have a proper rig with a proper wheel and pedals and a multi-screen setup then you are developing muscle memory and situational awareness that is a very good foundation for what you'd need in the real world. Also, if you spend a lot of time competing online against other sim-racers then you're also developing the mindset and thinking skills necessary in the real world. Learning how to adapt your braking points as your tires wear or when you're in dirty air, learning to anticipate another drivers braking points or his reactions to an incident in front of him, learning to keep calm during the beginning and pace yourself for a sprint at the end, all of these thinking skills would transfer very well to real world skills.

    Sure, in the real world there would be a lot more elements added to these things but if you've been a serious sim racer for a period of time then you already have a very good foundation to build on which is going to make it easier/quicker to learn what you need in the real world. Is a sim racer going to jump in a car and be as fast or faster than the pros? Of course not. But is that sim racer going to be faster and adapt quicker than someone who's never sim raced? I'd bet my bottom dollar on it.
     
  19. OK, agree to disagree but at least you explained your reason for believing.
     
  20. Personally, I am less concerned with Sim-racing translating to real-life racing ability and more about real-life enjoyment for driving in general. Ryan and I both had the opportunity to participate in an Autocross event this past autumn and it gave us both new perspective for the relationship between virtual and real-life driving. We were both surprised by how well we did in our first event, not because we are naturally talented drivers but, I believe, because we had developed considerable understanding of the forces at work that allowed us to make better judgements and adapt more quickly.

    I've also had some very close calls while driving on public roads that should have resulted in horrific accidents but, I really think that my virtual driving experience allowed me to make faster and better decisions while keeping a cool head. We all know that fear and panic are detrimental to our well being in dangerous circumstances and I truly believe that just having the belief that I could avoid catastrophe was enough to make the difference. We have to make decisions and judgements all the time while Sim-racing and the value of that is unmeasurable.

    I think that it's hard to quantify just how much virtual racing can improve one's driving but, the fact that more and more RL race drivers/teams are adopting the tech as a training tool says a lot. Just knowing that we might be a small part of that is pretty neat. Knowing that we can draw so much enjoyment from the virtual experience and the community interaction is priceless IMO.
     
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