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Best sim racing starter cars | Content collaboration - Ben Harrison - La Broca Sim Racing


If you are just getting into sim racing it can be a bit of a minefield knowing where to start. I took a little peak on twitch recently to see a bunch of newcomers just starting out and struggling with the realistic physics in the latest sims. Our friend Ben Harrison from La Broca Sim Racing shows us a few good starting points .

In our latest content collaboration with Ben he aims to answer the "where to start?" question. It's tempting to jump into your favourite F1 car fro the 90s as soon as you buy your first sim and wheel but it rarely results in having fun as you invariably spend more time in the gravel than on track.

So how can you get racing and have fun without being in an underpowered bore fest? Well, take a look at Ben's video to see what he recommends. There are some of the OG classics in there like the MX5 in iRacing, but also a few that I hadn't considered before but on reflection are a great shout.

Here is my recommendation for people starting out. I recently discovered the Lotus Evora GTC in Assetto Corsa and not only is it a joy to drive but it handles really predictably. It's basically a glorified go kart.

What is your recommendation for people just starting out in sim racing? Which sim and which car? Let us know in the comments.
About author
Steve Worrell
A motorsport fanatic and sim racer for over 20 years. Content creator for RD, and MD at Simracing.gp. Favourite sims include ACC, AC, RF2, AMS, WRC9 - VernWozza#7419 @vernwozza

Comments

Especially for new and inexperienced simracers I organize multiclass events in Assetto Corsa with the Audi TT Cup and the Mazda MX5 Cup. I'm doing this from Februari 2021 and they are quite succesful. It's for premium members only and the events are attended by me or a fellow staff member to make sure that the participants drive with respect for each other. We don't want our drivers to behave like you often see on public servers.
Check out the next event here: https://www.racedepartment.com/thre...sitzring-wednesday-17th-november-2021.210696/

We also use this as a step up to our events with the GT3/GT4 class and classic cars.
 
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Especially for new and inexperienced simracers I organize multiclass events in Assetto Corsa with the Audi TT Cup and the Mazda MX5 Cup. I'm doing this from Februari 2021 and they are quite succesful. It's for premium members only and the events are attended by me or a fellow staff member to make sure that the participants drive with respect for each other. We don't want our drivers to behave like you often see on public servers.
Check out the next event here: https://www.racedepartment.com/thre...sitzring-wednesday-17th-november-2021.210696/

We also use this as a step up to our events with the GT3/GT4 class and classic cars.
I spend most of my online race time in Han's events and highly recommend them if you are a rookie or experienced sim racer.
 
Depends in what you like...
Open wheels?? Karts are the way of going, after that a trainer like skip barber or formula vee, your pinnacle will be 80s or 90s f1
GT? Start whit a light and predictable car, the mini, mx5, lotus came to mind after those jump in to a trainer like a catherdam teach you a lot about weigh transfer and inertia, your pinacle will be group c
Rally..., start with an R2, then fwd, no trainer here. Your pinacle will be group b rwd.
 
The one car that I always remember for teaching me the most was the Skip barber from rFactor. Constantly spinning the car on the same corner over and over again was what forced me to learn what was going on and get my head around car balance.
 
It sounds counterintuitive, but sometimes the faster high downforce cars are easier to drive than cars that are considered beginner class cars. The LMP2 cars from Project Cars 2 are quick, but with FFB mods they have precise, predictable handling and are fun to drive. The main goal with novice sim racers should be fun. We've all had car and track combos that make us go "just one more lap". That's the type of experience that gets people hooked on sim racing and allows them to take more challenging cars later on.

AC: MX-5 Cup & Corvette C7R
RF2: GT3 Aston Martin
PC2: LMP2 Honda & Aston Martin GTE
 
I think the GT4s are quite good for this too. A bit more advanced than the fwd starter cars but still relatively lower power and more forgiving and less aero driven than their bigger GT3 counterparts. You can still get public GT4 races and multiclass races on ACC and they are a better learning platform than GT3s
 
Another thing to take into consideration is that the setup options can be overwhelming for newcomers.
That's why I disagree with you that the GT3's are a good start, at least in Assetto Corsa. A newcomer must learn the basics of racing instead of worrying about if he has a good setup. So my growing path for newcomers is to start with the MX5 with very few setup options. Learn how to race and how to race with others. Then try the Audi which is faster and has more setup options.
If you have mastered the Audi then you can go either to the GT4 with more setup options or try a classic car to learn to drive without assists and in unstable cars. After the GT4 you can go to the GT3.
@Interslice and I are hosting events for all of those classes. You can find them by clicking on 'AC EVENTS SIMRACING.GP' on the left of this screen.
 
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The Lotus in Grandprix legends :D

Sorry is a joke! ;)
It took me 'weeks' to get that car out of the pitlane without crashing lol.
But after those 'weeks' I mastered it pretty well.
I think rwd is always more challenging and rewarding (also irl) than fwd.
So 1M in AC(I helped Kunos/Aris a bit finetuning the handling of that car, I had a 1M in real life at that time) , Ginetta GT4 in ACC, BMW 2002 Turbo in AMS2, BMW M2CS Racing in RF2 would be my preferred semi'easier' cars.
2002 Turbo in AMS2 is a blast!

Edit: An easier car would be E30 M3 streetcar in AC. A tad boring and slow, but very well balanced!

Cheers
Robin
 
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On tarmac, everyone else has pretty much said it, the MX-5 cup seems to be the most popular (and most available) beginner car out there. I personally would add the Abarth 500 to the list, it's just so nimble and fun to throw around short tracks.

On dirt, I actually started out on rallycross with the Speedcar Xtrem from DiRT Rally 2.0. Not exactly a thing I'd recommend to new drivers, but if you're looking to learn how to correct oversteers on dirt very quickly, there's no better option to start out than with a kart cross imo (or jump straight into a Wales stage with a Lancia 037 I guess :roflmao:)
 
Automobilista 2:
Caterham Academy
Caterham Supersport
Caterham Superlight
Formula Trainer
Formula Trainer Advanced
Lancer R
Lancer RS
Mini 60's
All the Brasilian classic cars

Richard Burns Rally:
Any of the WRC 2.0 NGP cars. They are similar to the vanilla cars

Dirt Rally 2:
Mini 60's
R2
R5
2000's

That's it.
 
For starters in the 'real sim' world I've had succes on several occations advicing newcomers driving the Alfa Romeo Giulia GTA 1300 Junior WB from the legendary GTR2 Power & Glory mod ver. 3.2

Then just slight advices of traditional racing virtues of early brake, early on gas out, and few advices using the H-gear with heel & toe, but leaving the rest of experiences up to the new simracer, resulting in his/her personal driving style.

Tracks; typically starting at Monza Junior, then at classic Brands , then at Montagna di Piatra, then at small curled rally slopes, and finally at Targa Florio for newcomers getting dedicated.

This car is so much fun and intuitively instructive for a newcomer, with great ability on sliding/broadsiding, two wheels round the corner, etc, but yet still very forgiving, due to the relatively tiny engine :inlove:

Yes old sim, but it surely still works, apparently ;)

The official driving schools in the GTR2 and ACC are fine too, both getting guided hands on dry, wet, dark and dark wet conditions.

And for single-seater fans, the rFactor rSchool class with a small season. Again; less power than grip.

Edit: Oh forgot the latest newcomer a year ago aiming directly for online competition. Adviced the ACC School and GTR2 school at first, but then he went into iRacing. And I suggested Youtuber DaveCam's advice on how to get quickly out of the rookie classes. Helped myself 1½ year ago, rebooting my account after 10 years hibernation and quick advancement to the B class. And even this newcomer to sim is already near Class A, telling me he has just followed DaveCam's advices on YT ;)

Edit2: With latest improvements in AMS2 I think I would even dare to suggest a newcomer one of the GT3 cars, with the right simgear. But without any guided school surely some common advices on driving would help.
 
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A beginner's car should be something with little to none setup options, no downforce, little horsepower, non-slick tyres, responsive, dynamic, and a bit knife-edgey. It needs to be a learning tool, and a learning tool will clearly show you when you messed up.

The Pontiac Solstice on iRacing was great for this, because if you didn't get your inputs right you would slide all over the place at a snail pace. The Miata replaced it a couple years after, and it was quite more n00b friendly, but that made it perhaps too forgiving, and drivers would carry bad habits into faster cars, then pay the price when they had to wheel something more difficult to drive.

But then, if a car is hard but does not feel rewarding enough, you scare away a potential simracer out of the hobby. Nailing that balance is not easy. I guess that's the reason why Miatas continue to be the most popular rookie class among all sims.
 
iRacing:
Road
MX-5
Skippy
Formula Vee
Gt3 fanatec fixed
Oval:
Gander Truck series fixed
Dirt Oval: Dirt stock car fixed
RallyX:
VW Beetle lite fixed
Pro 2 lite truck fixed

Asides from the GT3 and Gander Truck all those vehicle's listed above are part of the base subscription package.

There is also a a driving school available on there YouTube channel to help new comers.

Raceroom:
Audi TT Cup

AMS2:
Sprint car....but there's little to no one to race with regularly due to the lack of no organized online system in AMS yet.
 
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I'd avoid anything with lots of driving aids. Having to learn throttle control and especially threshold braking are key driving skills and you don't learn those in gt3 cars when you can just go to max throttle or max brake without no issues. If you have issues you can just tune them out with more driving aids.

I'd also avoid any fwd cars. They also tend to teach the wrong driving cues. When in spin just add more throttle. You are in lots of trouble when you try to drive rwd cars the first time.

The car I'd suggest you to drive first is the car you want to drive in the sim you want to drive it. That car is something you obviously want to drive and are interested already. Even if that car is gt3, then just go for it.

That being said if you want car suggestions: For iracing, try the skippy or mx5. These cars are great for the racing and also teach you some fundamentals about catching slides, even if in iracing that is harder than all other sims and real life. For assetto you can look at the available combos at srs and pick the one you like the most. For raceroom the f4 and f3 cars are nice, even though understeery and snappy.

I'd leave ams2 out completely because it is more weird than realistic. That being said the new vintage bmw 2002 is fun. Rf2 low powered single seaters are fun too but for the whole painful setting up the damn thing I'd not suggest that to anyone new to simracing. Acc is out because it is gt3s with lots of driving aids. Nobody drives the gt4s.

I'd suggest picking something that has online racing aspect to it. Any iracing car has that, same for srs assetto cars or the ranked raceroom cars. Racing people online is one of the best things about simracing so you definitely want to learn something that also allows you to compete with other people. Seeing how other people drive will also teach you things. You can also ask questions while at it.
 
The Lotus in Grandprix legends :D

Sorry is a joke! ;)
well actually, the L49 is like an open wheel trainer on steroids. It's where I've spent the most time since getting out of rookies. I've learned a ton of things from it. Once you have some degree of control over it, then you can jump into almost any other car and get up to speed pretty quick.
 
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The Lotus in Grandprix legends :D

Sorry is a joke! ;)
Many years ago I went for a job interview at Papyrus. GPL was the game in development at the time. They had released the demo, but I didn't have a computer strong enough to run it. So the first time I got to play it was in front of the Papyrus staff, driving the Lotus at Watkins Glen. I think I got to the second half of the esses before I got into the grass verge, then the guardrail and then the, "Uh, where's the reset?".
 
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I think the "Copa Marcas" from AMS 1 are a lot of fun and very predictable FWD cars.

@Ghoults suggested avoiding FWD, but I think It can be an interesting way to get the fundamentals of driveline and racecraft before going deeper into advanced car control stuff.

Anything in the likes of BTCC/WTCC/WTCR should be good too, I am just not sure where you can find very good sim versions of those.
 
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