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.