It seems in recent years there have been major advances in both sim racing technology and sim racing's reputation. It has gone from a small selection of wheels and accessories to having the options to create any racing environment your imagination and budget allows. The physics appear to have turned a corner, once combined with proper force feedback it can feel very close to real life, apart from being in an actual moving object. Technology is now reaching a point where it is relatively affordable, even on a near professional level. What the future has in store for sim racing isn't exactly clear, one thing that is clear, however, is that sim racing is here to stay.
Thanks to new technology like Oculus Rift sim racing as we know it is sure to be undergoing some radical transformations. Having tried the Oculus Rift DK2 myself I can tell you to a certainty, eventually monitors will be a thing of the past, at least for sim racing. It may be quite some time before the technology and everything required to run it is affordable enough for that to happen, but it just goes to show some of the radical changes the future has in store.
With competitions becoming more common, prizes gaining value, and sponsors from real motorsport, sim racing is slowly becoming more and more assimilated with real life motorsport. Experienced drivers are working directly with developers to make the simulator's physics as close to real life as possible, bringing the average consumer ever closer to the simulators used by professional teams.
The former Stig himself, Ben Collins, is working to do exactly that with Project CARS, along with other professional drivers. Kunos has their office positioned on the front straight of Vallelunga Circuit. So, it would appear that at least to some extent, the motorsport world is accepting and welcoming sim racing as a fellow motorsport.
As computer technology increases, we see sims capabilities increase, along with their potential market. More capability brings the ability to have something for everyone. Stunning visuals, sounds that make you forget where you are, true to life physics, and aids for those who are still learning can come in one complete package, even including some form of single player career. To some it may still be clear that it is far from perfect, but you can't deny that it shows quite clearly where we are headed.
Sim racing has a bright future indeed, but its up to us to help it get there. Sim racing has always been a relatively little known hobby, and it shouldn't be. Sim racing has taught so much and inspired so much passion in so many people. How can it be so unknown? It is indeed growing more quickly than ever, and thanks to all of those who have convinced others to give it a try it is becoming less unknown. Its up to us all to help progress sim racing so that it can reach its full potential.
So to all those who once saw this as a fad, and thought sim racers were just "wannabe race car drivers" I say this: Get to know sim racing, and get used to it. It's not a fad, it's not fading away. Give it another chance, if you tried it long ago, it likely has changed greatly since then. Its growing faster and stronger than ever, and one day you may find yourself behind the wheel of a sim, having almost as much fun as with the real thing.