How Do I Get Started In Sim Racing?

What is the closest possible way of getting into any form of racing without having to actually go out and buy a car, take courses in actual racing and spend hundreds and thousands of dollars?

The answer is Sim Racing, and we have written this guide so you know exactly how to get started and continue with this amazing hobby.

How do I get started in sim racing? The minimum you will need is a PC or games console to get into sim racing. Many people can actually get started with a games controller, but we would suggest at least getting a compatible steering wheel and pedals.

If you have decided you would like to get into this amazing hobby then read on to find out exactly what you will need to get your online racing career underway.

What game should I choose for Sim Racing?

Sim Racing is shortened from the word simulator and for a game to be a simulator its needs to have certain aspects, things like realism, mechanics, physics, and damage models.

We must take these into account when choosing what Sim Racing games to play, something too arcade can feel really unrealistic, and although fun, they are not a simulator of real-world racing.

Here’s a list of what games we think are ideal for the Sim Racer:

  1. iRacing

iRacing, made by iRacing.com Racing Simulations, is a subscription-based simulator that thrives on a massive community-based simulator experience.

With its constant competition and racing rating system iRacing is the serious Sim Racers simulator.

You are pitched against people in different safety ratings and the safer you race the better your competition is.

All the tracks are laser scanned and iRacing spares no expense in making the racing experience the most realistic it can be.

  1. Assetto Corsa

Developed by Kunos-Simulazioni Srl and 505 Games, Assetto Corsa is the true car collector’s dream.

This game is hosted on Steam and has a massive mod community that is very passionate about their game.

Whatever you would like to race you can be sure to find it on the Steam workshop, I’ve literally seen people tearing around the Nurburgring in Robin Reliants!

Check the latest price for Assetto Corsa on Amazon here.

  1. Gran Turismo

Gran Turismo is only available on PlayStation and is well known for being the flagship racing sim for Sony.

Developed by Polyphony Digital, the level of detail in this game is beyond any other console sim racing game available.

With its modern vehicle models and prestigious class racing system, Gran Turismo is a must for any PlayStation owners game collection.

Check the latest price for Gran Turismo on Amazon here.

  1. Project Cars 2

Slightly Mad Studios, really hit the ball out of the park with the second offering in the Project Cars series. With stages like Rally, F2, and, Track racing you can get lost for hours.

The career is a nice added feature that allows you to start as an amateur and work your way up to be a legend in the racing scene.

Project Cars 2 is available on Windows, Xbox and PlayStation.

Check out the latest price on Amazon here.

  1. F1 2019

For those of us who have dreamt about becoming the next Ayrton Senna or Lewis Hamilton, then this game is for you.

A hard to put down Formula One simulator that offers a beginner mode that helps you win to the ultimate no assists simulator, as real as it gets experience.

Check out the latest price on Amazon here.

  1. Raceroom Real Racing

Sector3 Studios have done something totally different with this game, they made it free! Yes, that’s right, you can download Raceroom for free and start racing online with other people across the world for free.

But, if you want to unlock the true Raceroom experience you might want to check out there licenced vehicles, liveries and tracks that you can purchase for very reasonable prices.

What steering wheel should I choose for Sim Racing?

If you have tried Sim Racing with a controller and enjoyed it, then you are going to absolutely love it with a steering wheel.

Not only does a sim steering wheel give you a more realistic feel but will also help with getting better times and positioning within the game.

  1. Logitech G920

This is one of the best belt-driven force feedback sim racing wheels out there, made by Logitech these wheels have become the cornerstone for any budding sim racer.

The wheel comes with a 3 pedal deck and a shifter can be bought and added easily to the wheel hub.

Check out the latest price on Amazon here.

  1. Thrustmaster TMX

The Thrustmaster TMX is well known for its robustness and has a budget range for those that want to get into sim racing but without the price tag.

The Thrustmaster comes with a 2 pedal deck and, like the Logitech, you can purchase an H-shifter.

Check out the latest price on Amazon here.

  1. Thrustmaster T300
Thrustmaster T300 Steering Wheel

The Thrustmaster T300 is the step-up in the Thrustmaster steering wheel series and has a clip-on and off steering wheel that can be changed up for the more expensive Thrustmaster replica wheels.

They have anything from replica rally series wheels to F1.

Check out the latest price on Amazon here.

  1. Fanatec

Fanatec is at the cutting edge of sim racing and many professional sin racers use these wheels for their Direct Drive (DD) technology.

These wheels are the closest anyone will get to use the real thing and offer precise force feedback.

Unfortunately, they do come with a high price tag and are generally only bought by people who have been in Sim racing for quite some time.

Do I need a Sim Racing cockpit?

When you first start sim racing you there is no need to go out and buy a sim racing cockpit, you can mount your steering wheel to a desk or other flat, sturdy surface.

But after a while, you might decide to go and invest in a sim racing cockpit.

How To Start Sim Racing Guide

A sim racing cockpit is built for the sole purpose of allowing the user to be able to sit in an ergonomic way of driving and this allows the user to be able to sit for long periods of time, similar to driving in a real car.

Whilst using a sim racing cockpit you will notice that the angle and rigidity of one will definitely help when trying to be more competitive within your chosen game.

Your peripherals will feel a lot more sturdy whilst using a cockpit and this, in turn, gives you more confidence when it comes to sim racing.

The pedals are situated on more of a natural angle and this, in turn, helps with braking and accelerating.

What PC specs do I need to start Sim Racing?

When buying or building a PC for Sim Racing you should consider trying to get the most powerful PC you can afford.

Always go for a PC that can be upgraded over time as sim game requirements do change as technology gets better.

You should concentrate on getting nothing less than a series 8 Intel Processor or an AMD 4 series.

Never used integrated graphics, always use a graphics card. Our personal favourite is the GeForce family of graphics cards but using AMD Radeon is also ok.

You should be using at least 16 GB DDR 4 RAM as this will offer you the best stutter-free experience.

What else can I get to make my Sim feel more realistic?

If you have exhausted the list outlined in this guide and still want more, why not add a Buttkicker or rumbler to your sim setup.

A Buttkicker can be added to the underside of your seat and uses sound waves to create the feeling of going over rumble strips, losing traction and other realistic racing feelings.

Another peripheral that you might want to consider is using a VR-headset, something like the Oculus Rift or HTC Vibe will allow you to be able to have more peripheral vision whilst racing in your favourite sim racing game.

Conclusion

When it comes to sim racing there is a whole multitude of things to consider, this can be quite overwhelming and actually put people off trying. But the fact of the matter is that you can start sim racing with minimal equipment and build up your collection one-piece at a time.

Dont let the choice intimidate getting into this fantastic hobby, use what is available to you and get racing, you won’t look back!

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