Beginner looking for some help

Hi people!

I have been curious about sim racing for months, maybe even the last few years but never took the plunge. I am an avid F1 and Touring Cars fan and they're my main car interest areas.

I have just invested in a Logitech G25 to get into sim racing. I have also bought Assetto Corsa as my sim. I also already had F1 2013 and a Dirt 3, but are both obviously more arcadey and i barely played them, but when I did I always played with some assists on so I could enjoy just racing.

However, I am now at a point where I have turned all the F1 2013 assists off and running decent lap times, but nothing great, considering I am a beginner. To be honest, I am just glad to be running laps without spinning or crashing as the refinements will cause my time to come down as i progress.

Then I switched to Assetto Corsa for a spin. I thought I was sensible in starting with the slowest car, the Fiat 500-type Abarth car just to get a hang of it. Now, I have run laps for a couple of days but am still spinning all over the place. I think my main issue is not really knowing the tracks and not having a mini map as a reference. This means my braking points all over the place, as is my driving. Weirdly though, when I choose the a lotus F1 car in AC, I pretty much began running faultless laps with average to slow times straight off from lap one. It has left me a bit stumped as I seem to be able to drive the more difficult cars but struggle with the 'easier' cars :)

I am just looking for some help and practical pointers for a beginner in order to improve, how to learn tracks quickly etc etc.
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Bram Hengeveld

RaceDepartment Founder
Hi @Bunford

Best tip I can give is to not try too drive too fast in the beginning. For example during track recon, try setting your car only in fifth gear and gradually try to speed up without up or downshifting at all. It gives you a nice reference after a couple of laps where to brake, where to accelerate.

Once you know the track, learning the handling of the car is just a matter of eat, sleep, race, repeat :)

I am sure others have much more useful tips.
Good starting point! :)

I am definitely suffering from trying to run before I can walk, or go too fast too soon. However, I think cos I have no concept of fast you can take the corners that your fifth gear idea might help me work this out from there. Also, it seems like the cars go faster than they look and I will need to get used to that. I think this may be one of the main issues for me as F1 cars obviously look and feel fast as I drive them. For example, I slowed to a near stop to go around a hairpin and managed to perfectly stride the racing line. I thought that surely couldn't be right as I was far too slow, but upon looking at the speedo the car was going 35-45mph, which seems quite fast around a hairpin in a standard road car :)


Mid pack attack!
I can understand where you coming from. It is quite a bit to take in when your just starting out. The Simcade games are good games but they have a lot more assist going on in the background for the most part. I have discovered that once you start going online you really learn a lot more being around other drivers. Speed is a by product of Knowledge and practice. When your online you ask people questions in realtime. We really have a great community that are really willing to help new comers.

My tip is to take your time and enjoy the learning experience. Also pick a handful of cars and run them over and over till you start to get the hang of how they handle. Also no shame in some assist to help with your learning development.


Right on Brother, I hear ya, it's all good.
I just started online racing last week and these guys a great, jump in ask questions and have fun.

Here is a tip that helped me. Run a race in assetto corsa against one other car and pull off the road and let the AI do the 5 lap race. Then replay it you can pick the car and the camera view in the replay and just see what the AI does it really helped me figure out the basics of going fast, it's not perfect but it's real close. With out other cars on the track you can see what the AI does to get around the track unimpeded.
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Fred E Jay

Hello Bunford,

I hope I won't confuse you too much. I think that learning a simulation begins even before you start driving.
You have to understand and manage many things so that you have good feeling of what happens.
How is your driving wheel set up ? Do you use the profiler ?
How are your pedals set up ? (especially the brake)
Which view do you use ? With which field of view ? How do you appreciate your speed ?

For instance, It took me years to have a good feeling through my driving wheel and pedals. It is quite difficult to explain as each one of us has a different controller and different settings (due to different sensations). After reading, testing, I found some setups which make me feel the cars and understand what they do. I don't say I'm fast (I'm not), but I feel reactions that corresponds to what a real car would do.
For instance, In many recent sims and games I don't use the profiler.

Simulations are more realistic than games. They will give you more, but they need you to "work" a bit

The way you use pedals and gear shifter is important in a sim. downshifting too quickly may bring the car to overreact (differently if it's a front or rear wheel drive). Pushing and releasing the pedals too quickly will also have an influence on the behaviour of the car. Learn to make every move gently.

Another example : in Dirt, your tires are always at the good temperature. In Assetto Corsa, they are cold in the beginning, you must warm them up gently. And if you make some spins, you must drive quietly for around a minute to let the tires cool down and get their grip back. Same thing if you go out of the track ; the tires will be dirty and they need around a minute of (quiet) driving before getting their grip again.

Don't be afraid. You chose a good controller and a good simulation. As the other wrote, take your time to learn and don't hesitate to ask questions. You'll find help here.
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Before making another lap go here:

Pay special attention about the apps that are accessible when you move your mouse to the right of the screen...there you will find your track map and such; the apps are movable to wherever you want them on your screen..try not to use too many at once though, information overload is just as bad for your driving as not enough info.

After you have read that, then go here to make sure you have your wheel set up correctly:

In order to learn the layout of a track, search Youtube for videos. There are in-car laps of pretty much every car/track combo in AC.

Once you feel comfortable with a car/track combo you can go here to see what a fast lap time for that combo is:
Thanks for these tips and links so far. Been running some laps and definitely improving already!

Installed RSRLive to check times easily in game. Went into the ASR - Formula Abarth - Monza for a spin and ran a few practice laps, running the car for the first time and running the wheel settings recommended in the link above for the first time.

Ran off track a few times on first couple of laps whilst getting a feel, but on the third lap posted a lap time of 2:06ish. By the sixth lap that was down to 2:02ish as I refined my gear changes and braking points. I still feel like I am driving very cautiously and conservatively though. Then, to my amazement, when I checked the RSRLive times, the fastest was 1:52ish and 20th was a 2:01ish, meaning I was already within a second of the top twenty times and know I have plenty more to get out of the car.

Feeling well chuffed and it could be the car clicks with me, the new wheel settings, having the track app up on screen or it could be the fact that Monza is amongst the easiest to pick up due to lack of turns (or complex turns at least). Either way, my sister rang and then I stopped racing for the evening.

All in all though, to be an absolute beginner to sim racing with new wheel settings, new car, no assists whatsoever and to get that close to top twenty within 6 laps filled me with confidence that if I dedicate myself I can get good at this :)