Dear Non-simracer: An explanation of the madness

Ryan Ogurek

Apr 13, 2014

We have all heard it. The angry words of wives, girlfriends, roommates, parents and many others who simply don't understand.

"Why do you take these games so seriously? It's just a stupid racing game!" These words haunt sim racers around the globe every 3.4 seconds, and continue to ring in our ears like the screams of tortured wolves. To attempt to silence these unbearable screams, I will try to give some explanation for our madness.

There are many reasons why we simrace, they all vary person to person, as unique as our own identities. However, there are certain roots which connect us all. Some are motorsport enthusiasts or even racers who simply can't get enough in the real world. Some are computer nerds who have found a new obsession. All of us are bound by one simple truth, which we dare not admit.

Many of us will say it makes us better drivers. Indeed, science has proven it does, (We are all flawless drivers, are we not?) and many race teams do in fact use simulators as a crucial training tool. We may try to use that to win the argument, but lets be honest, that isn't what keeps us up until 2:00 AM doing laps around Spa.


One common trait of sim racers is we are inherently competitive, as sim racer would imply. So, many of us will say that we crave the competition, and "I won't feel like a man until I have beat the stig". As good of a reason as that is, that's not it either.

The truth is, we all still have a bit of 8 year old inside us. Sim racing allows us to escape to our own fantasy world and be whatever sort of race car driver we always wanted. It takes it beyond just driving a cool car around in a race, it makes it feel real. It brings it so close, that you are just peering through a window into your dreams, and all you need to do is allow that inner 8 year old to fill in the gaps. It allows us to go where we would not, or could not without fear, and without penalty. Sim racing may be practice for the real thing, it may be a hobby, but the thing that makes us love it so much is how it brings our dreams closer to real life.

In today's world people need a way to escape, to maintain some sanity from all the chaos. For us, that escape is sim racing, and as far as escapes go, I'd say its a pretty good one.

So when you see us spending thousands of dollars on a new sim rig, and staying up until the wee hours of the morning using it, please keep in mind its one thing keeping us all from collapsing under the stresses of life in this crazy world. We will do our best not to become lost in a fantasy world, just please, please, let us have our time to drive.

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Chris James

Jul 4, 2011
Video game nerd. I started with Gran Turismo, and enjoyed the fact that I could beat my friends. Granted, they rarely played, and I played too much, but it got me into the competition, which inexorably led me to PC sim racing. Now I'm addicted, with at least $2000 wasted (not wasted) on equipment. Good article.


Jun 28, 2012
Great read! I started as a gamer. First, at the beginning of 2012, I bought F1 2011 and that made me love F1 (but I've lost that love some time ago), and with time, another racing categories (MotoGP, BES, WEC). At the end of 2012 I decided to start playing rFactor, but it was very hard with the keyboard. So here I am, with my old G27 and my passion for cars and simracing. And this two years amongst the RD community and other car communities (like CT or Jalopnik) have been amazing. And the years to come are going to be even better.


Simracer since 99 / 3D Engineer & Game Developer
Oct 14, 2012
Really nice that someone thought about it and gave 5min of his time to write it so many others will not lose 5min by reading it


Sep 27, 2012
This post actually sums up everything about sim racing and hits the nail right on the head!.
I have tried to explain too many times to people who have just said the exact same words as, "Why do you take these games so seriously? Its just a stupid racing game!".

And that's what sim racing allows you to do, it enables a person to do something that otherwise they couldn't do, and that's the joy of it. For me personally, it gives me a sense of being a racing driver, and if the sim/game is good enough, gives you that feeling at the end of the race when you actually pump the air with a fist and shout 'YESSSS!'.

My point is I guess, whatever hobby or passion you have, its becomes yours and nobody can take that away from you, and as long as it doesn't hurt, bother or land you in trouble with the law then that's fine with me!.