Gran Turismo Sport | Sim racing at the Olympics Games

Mark this in your diary folks, sim racing is going to the Olympics!

Yes, our beloved virtual motorsport has been going through something of a boom period in recent months, while the rest of the world is seemingly falling apart around our very ears, the sport of sim racing has taken the very grey cloud that hangs above us all, and found the richest of silver lining since we first felt the effects of Covid-19.

From real world drivers and personalities taking up our sport in serious numbers, to an ever-increasing interest in sim racing and esports from manufacturers and businesses the world over, it seems like even the age-old Olympic Games are keen to get in on the action, with the announcement that sim racing and other virtual sports are set to be officially recognised as part of future Olympic Games events, with the announcement of the first ever Olympic Virtual Series.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) will partner with five International Sports Federations (IFs) and game publishers to produce the Olympic Virtual Series (OVS), the first-ever, Olympic-licensed event for physical and non-physical virtual sports.

IOC President Thomas Bach said:
“The Olympic Virtual Series is a new, unique Olympic digital experience that aims to grow direct engagement with new audiences in the field of virtual sports. Its conception is in line with Olympic Agenda 2020+5 and the IOC’s Digital Strategy. It encourages sports participation and promotes the Olympic values, with a special focus on youth.”

With Motorsport set to be represented by the massively popular Gran Turismo Sport, the new initiative is set to take place from the 13th May to the 23rd June 2021, with further details expected to be revealed by the organisers once final arrangements have been put in place.

Do you think this new announcement will help increase awareness and popularity of sim racing? Is this a genuine movement to recognise virtual sports in the real world, or simply an opportunity to cash in on the recent esport boom?

We like to hear your opinions in the comments below.

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About author
Paul Jeffrey
RaceDepartment Editor-in-Chief, occasional YouTuber, commentator and broadcaster, with a passion for motorsport on both the real and virtual racetrack.

Comments

It's pretty obvious the Olympic Committee isn't interested in whether the games they use for their ESports events are realistic or not, if they were, real motorsports would have been recognized a long time ago. They're pretty clearly looking for the most marketable name to drive up interest in their virtual series and like it or not, that name is Gran Turismo.

GT Sport for Sim Racing Olympics? Yeah, maybe Sim Racing Paralympics :D

I've seen plenty of elitism on the internet in the sim racing crowd but calling or implying that people who play Gran Turismo are disabled is beyond unsavory.
 
Why GT? I'm not excited about arcade games that anyone can easily drive ...:p
I don't agree.
PC Simracing active user base is like 30, while Gran Turismo active user base is a billion. It's in a totally different league in a competitive playground. It's about ruling the world with your plastic toy.

Easy doesn't mean easy against billions of people. While peep who use auto-win setup win against the same tiny crowd over & over. Thus the ez way.
 
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It's frustrating how the IOC has an habit of gatekeeping legitimate sports out of their events for decades(well, over 120 years for actual motorsports) yet wants to throw the red carpet at a bunch of video games that are a few years old at most.
 
Let's face it GT Sport was the only choice. It's an accessible racing sim (and yes I do use the word sim) that runs well on a base PS4 @ 60FPS meaning it's open to just about everybody who can afford around $300 including game. It's also backed by a tried and tested broadcast system and the previous FIA championship events have knocked it out of the park in terms of production standards - it's also FIA certified and that in itself makes it an obvious choice. Not to mention there are a vast array of car classes to explore here

Now let's take a look at why the other sims probably didn't make the cut, apart from the fact that they're not FIA certified

ACC - Single class, just GT3 and 4. Runs like dog poo on consoles, needs at least a top end last generation rig dedicated to broadcast, and even then suffers jarring frame drops.

rF2 - Every race would have to have half an hour of commentary explaining that the contestants are still loading, or that the server needs to be restarted.

AC - Would be a good choice as it runs well on both consoles and PC, but is not so well known outside of sim racing circles and would be difficult for the public to relate to, who have almost certainly heard of, if not played, GT Sport.

iRacing - After just about every professional racing driver, who took part in last years Covid iRacing events, denounced the physics as utter shite, and totally unrealistic this one's grave was already dug. Added to this given its cost structure it would have had to have been Pay-per-View, which is not in line with the ethos of the Olympics.

R3E - I don't have a bad word to say about this one, but it's PC only and nobody's heard of it.

F1 2020 - Another good choice, apart from the fact it's a single series, and F1's management would be looking for a couple of billion from the Olympic committee to allow its use.

Wreckfest - Well, let's just say that the olympic committee failed to understand that the vast majority of people who are not motor racing fans only watch it for the crashes, and with this they would have drawn in a much larger audience. However I'm guessing that the violence and carnage of this game would not sit well with the politically correct.

So there you have it. Oh and as for those who criticise GT Sport, please allow me to fart in your general elitist direction - most of you probably don't have a driving licence anyway.
 
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I don't agree.
PC Simracing active user base is like 30, while Gran Turismo active user base is a billion. It's in a totally different league in a competitive playground. It's about ruling the world with your plastic toy.

Easy doesn't mean easy against billions of people. While peep who use auto-win setup win against the same tiny crowd over & over. Thus the ez way.
GTS' competitive system also works pretty well. The infrastructure is there, the entry point is much cheaper than a PC and it already has a deep partnership with the FIA.

EDIT: Basically what @Slapped said (disagree about iRacing a little though)..
 
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GTS' competitive system also works pretty well. The infrastructure is there, the entry point is much cheaper than a PC and it already has a deep partnership with the FIA.

EDIT: Basically what @Slapped said (disagree about iRacing a little though)..

No worries and always feel free to disagree with me - in fact I prefer it as it would be a very boring world if everybody agreed with me. ;)
 
Really don’t understand this gate keeping/elitism. More people getting into driving sims is always a good thing. And sure, GT is a much more streamlined, user-friendly experience, but it definitely is a driving sim - for crying out loud, they’re not putting Mario Kart or Forza Horizon in the olympics. Sim racing, even at entry level, takes more skill and dedication than a lot of people know about, and if the Olympics can showcase that I’m all for it.

Also, as a note, the Paralympics deserve way better than to be used as a smear against entry-level enthusiasts you deem unfit. Pretty shameful.
 
An odd event to be have any olympic connection.I would have thought any olympic Esports event should have games representing olympic sports.A modern version of Daley Thomsons Decathlon.
.No doubt it is probably more about Sony paying fees to the IOC to be part of the show,
 
HAHA !

Another sign which signals that being realistic and having common sense doesn't mean that much in senseless world.
 
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So what would be the "this is not as sim"'s choice for a driving video game that wouldn't be automatically ignored by the Olympic viewership because they wouldn't care or wouldn't know about it or crashing in the first 5 minutes of a race?
 
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Shut up and make some more mediocre tracks instead of "jokes" at cost of already disadvantaged people.
Joke was about the game, not people. And you can shut up yourself and dream about making something remotely mediocre. Maybe go put some bad reviews on my tracks, will make you feel better
 
So what would be the "this is not as sim"'s choice for a driving video game that wouldn't be automatically ignored by the Olympic viewership because they wouldn't care or wouldn't know about it or crashing in the first 5 minutes of a race?

Racing we had back in the day in AC "ALOOG-1" and "Streetfight" servers definitely was more eventful and much more entertaining to watch that most F1 races.

I am surprised the choice is not ACC or iRacing.

Ideally sim of the sims would be rF2, but S397 didn't got it together since they took it from ISI, perhaps they will never get it together. However, Virtual LeMans race last year proved that with colossal professional effort a very decent event can be ran by using rF2, despite all the shortcomings, misused rF2 physics potential with the way S397 makes physics, and several unavoidable server freezes.

Simracing overall is kinda stalled. And it is everyones fault, the only stuff fairly appreciated seems to be hardware and gear. Low hanging fruits took the shine away from real and most important virtues.

I guess everyone will be happy with the winter of simracing that we brought on ourselves by being stupid.
 

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