While sim racing is undoubtedly a fun way to enjoy racing without the expense and inconvenience of doing it for real (in fact many professional racing drivers use it to practice and hone their skills), it does involve a not-insignificant investment.
Designed to replicate a real racing experience for drivers, sim racing is even used by professional racing drivers, including those from Formula One, helping them to hone their skills and ultimately, reduce their lap times. But, with a wide range of gadgets and accessories available to enhance the racing experience, such as the Simucube 2 wheel Base Sport, it can be an expensive pastime.
To help you decide whether investing in sim racing is the right choice for you, here are some important factors to take into account, and questions to ask yourself:
- How seriously do you plan to take it?
If sim racing will be merely a hobby for you, you could consider investing in a basic system without any of the accessories. If you plan to become a sim racing pro, on the other hand, or want to use it to enhance your racing skills as an amateur sportsperson, it might be worth the long-term investment.
- How much can I afford to spend on it?
There’s no way around it, sim racing doesn’t come cheap, and if your budget is slim, you might not even be able to afford to get started. Should you plan to take sim racing seriously, you will need a substantial amount of money to maintain your hobby or keep it up while you race as a professional or amateur in the real world.
- Are you familiar enough with the finer details?
Sim racing is nothing like Mario Cart, and to get the most out of it, you’ll need to have at least a basic understanding of how a vehicle is setup, the various settings for steering, game dynamics, and driving techniques among others.
- Should you choose a controller or a wheel?
While a lot of sim racers do start off with a controller or a keyboard, nothing gives quite the same experience as a sim racing steering wheel, and most who are enthusiastic about racing, will progress to this once they familiarise themselves with it all. That said, some of the top lap times recorded have been accomplished using a controller, indicating that a wheel doesn’t necessarily offer an advantage in terms of performance. When it comes to realism, however, not to mention feedback, the steering wheel offers unparalleled advantages. The technology used to create steering wheels for use in the virtual world, such as the Simucube 2 sports direct drive wheel base has vastly improved since its inception, and with so many options available, it can be hard to know which one to pick. A chat with a sim racing dealer can help you determine what type of wheel would best suit your needs and your budget, and be prepared to pay separately for such things as pedals, gear shifters and mounting brackets.
In short, the more you spend on a steering wheel, the better your driving experience is likely to be.
Sim racing gives such a realistic driving experience that you can be forgiven for imagining yourself as the next Formula One champion while still sitting in your front room; having never set foot – let alone tyres – on a real race track! But, it requires careful consideration before investing, and you’d be wise to discuss your options with someone in the know, before spending your hard-earned money trying to beat Max Verstappen’s lap times!