Do you want to get into sim racing? Here are a couple of tips on how to get started.
Sim racing (aka the simulation of real-world racing through video game gear) is growing. While the majority of it is done inside homes with netplay communities, the sport is starting to pick up Steam with a recent in-person tournament.
Check out this awesome recap video from the recent sim LAN event at IEM Katowice. We interviewed the Mercedes-AMG Petronas esports team, talking about one of the first races in a new, exciting sim racing game, RENNSPORT.
1. Choose a racing simulator
You can find your favorite sim racer on many platforms, such as iRacing, Assetto Corsa, Project Cars, or Gran Turismo. However, a new platform is on the rise — RENNSPORT. RENNSPORT brings cutting-edge technology to push the boundaries of sim racing in the ultra-realistic Unreal Engine 5. Tied to professional circuit racers, it's emerging to lead the future of digital racing.
The game is currently in closed alpha, but you can sign up for the RENNSPORT closed beta. The game is eventually heading into an open beta later this year (exact timings may differ).
2. Get the right gear
Depending on your needs, you may need to invest a fair amount of money into it, but not necessarily. You need to ask yourself a couple of questions: how serious are you about pursuing this? What is your budget?
For example, console racing is better on a tight budget, but it leans closer to an arcade style of racing rather than deeper sims. Even Gran Turismo, which is considered one of the more realistic racing games, may be overtaken by some PC titles.
With PC, you open yourself up to the ability to tinker with your setup. In terms of performance, you can really go sky-high with the GPU and CPU. You can also go for a dual or even triple monitor setup. When it comes to VR, consoles only support a single monitor, while PCs can go for dual or triple monitors. Recreating the feel of the cockpit with the right chair and controller goes a long way to that sim racer feel.
Don't forget to snag a great gaming headset like the Arctis Nova Pro for top-notch, ultra-realistic sound. In the interview, the pros mention the importance of sound for sim racing, as listening to the engine is extremely important. It may actually matter to listen to the car's engine.
3. Practice, practice, practice
Bono Huis, one of the pros interviewed in the video above, mentions that he has been racing since about 2005. That's 18 years of dedication! While you may not be aiming to be an esports pro, it may be good to develop a certain perspective. You will not be good at this at first, the path ahead will be long.
Get familiar with your tools. Memorize certain tracks and master them. Beat your timer. Beat your friend's timer. Take small steps all the time, and they will add up to big steps.
"Believe in yourself!" the pros said in the video. Learning from there is a great place to start.
4. Find online communities
It's hard to get good on your own (and you also need the competition!). It's time to find more rivals, friends, and teachers in sim racing. I find this similar to my personal enthusiasm in fighting games. I'm in many Discords, attend tournaments, and spend time playing with friends, competing and getting better. You can do very much the same in sim racing.
You can join one of the largest sim racing communities, Simracing.gp, which has a very large Discord. You can RENNSPORTS's Discord server by signing up on the beta waitlist.
5. Attend competitions
It may be difficult to find a local sim racing event for now, as LAN spaces aren't prevalent. However, sim racing is starting to pick up. As seen in the video at the top of the blog, IEM Expo Katowice began including sim racing. ESL started a brand-new championship called R1. There will be two seasons of ESL R1, Spring and Fall, with 9 rounds in the Spring.
The Major will take place at the second RENNSPORT Summit in Munich, Germany, on May 27th-28th. The Fall season will be at DreamHack Winter in Jönköping, Sweden, on November 23rd-25th. If you're in the US and you're a big fan, this is a great excuse to travel out of the country!
Once you embed yourself in the online communities, you'll stay informed about other upcoming events in person and the multitude of online ones.