How Sim Racing is revolutionising motorsport


Sim racing, a rapidly escalating genre of eSports, is creating a tectonic shift in the world of motorsport. Once an exclusive domain to those with access to expensive high-performance vehicles and race tracks, motorsport is now opening up to a broader audience thanks to the phenomenon of virtual racing.

Sim racing‘s rise from a casual pastime to a significant arm of eSports has been powered by the advancement in technology and the rise in popularity of eSports.

Racing simulations offer detailed car setups, accurate replications of world-famous race tracks, and lifelike physics models, providing an immersive and realistic racing experience. 

The impact of sim racing on professional motorsport is undeniable. As the realism and sophistication of these simulations evolve, they have caught the attention of professional drivers and motorsport teams.

Sim racing has ushered in a new era of motorsport training, providing a practical platform for testing car setups, learning new tracks, and refining racing strategies without the associated costs and risks of real-world practice.

Levelling the playing field

One of the major revolutionising effects of sim racing on motorsport is its ability to level the playing field.

Historically, the cost of competing in motorsport has been prohibitive, limiting access to only a select few. Sim racing changes this dynamic entirely. With a computer and a racing wheel, anyone can now compete, bringing an unprecedented democratisation to the sport.

This accessibility is not just limited to racing; fans can also engage with motorsport in ways not previously possible through online racing leagues and tournaments.

New up and coming talent

Sim racing competitions held globally are proving to be fertile grounds for unearthing new talent. Top sim racers, often demonstrating a level of skill and strategy comparable to professional drivers, are being scouted and signed by professional motorsport teams.

The virtual racing world is effectively acting as a talent pipeline, identifying and nurturing drivers who may have otherwise slipped through the cracks.

Sim racing is becoming more common for younger people getting into motorsport | Philipp Benedikt / Red Bull Content Pool

Sim racing serves as an engaging introduction to motorsport for newcomers. Through virtual racing, players can learn about different cars, racing series, and even master racing techniques – all while promoting and expanding the reach of motorsport.

Best sim racing equipment

If you’re looking to get started in sim racing, you will need some essential equipment. Here are some of the leading providers of sim racing equipment:

  • Fanatec: Known for their high-quality and performance products, Fanatec offers a wide range of sim racing equipment from steering wheels to cockpits.
  • Thrustmaster: Thrustmaster products are synonymous with affordability and performance. They offer a wide array of sim racing equipment.
  • Logitech: As a leading provider of computer peripherals, Logitech also offers a range of affordable and user-friendly sim racing equipment.
  • SimLab: Known for their high-quality and durable cockpits, SimLab caters to a wide range of sim racing needs, from entry-level to high-end setups.
  • Next Level Racing: Offering high-quality sim racing cockpits, Next Level Racing products provide excellent value for money, meeting both entry-level and high-end needs.
Red Bull’s Esports state-of-the-art sim racing training facility in Milton Keynes | Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

Most popular sim racing games

  • Assetto Corsa: Known for its realism and accuracy, it offers a wide range of cars and tracks and allows players to customize their cars and setups.
  • iRacing: A subscription-based service known for its vibrant online racing community, iRacing uses a physics-based simulation engine renowned for its realism.
  • Project Cars 2: Popular for its stunning visuals and variety of content, it features a career mode allowing progression from karting to Formula 1.
  • rFactor 2: Known for its realism and accuracy, rFactor 2 offers a wide range of cars and tracks and enables players to customize their cars and setups.
  • F1 23: The official video game of the Formula 1 World Championship, it allows players to race in the Formula 1 World Championship via its career mode.
  • Gran Turismo 7: The latest instalment in the popular Gran Turismo racing game series, it features a career mode that allows progression from driving school to the World Racing Series.
  • Forza Motorsport 8: The latest in the popular Forza Motorsport racing game series, it features a career mode that allows progression from amateur to professional racing driver.
  • Automobilista 2: Known for its content variety and focus on historical racing, it features a career mode that allows progression from karting to Formula 1.

Future of sim racing and motorsport**

Looking forward, sim racing is poised to continue its disruptive influence on the world of motorsport. The accessibility, affordability, and realism of sim racing are catalysing a new wave of enthusiasts, fans, and potential professional drivers.

As the technology advances, so will the realism and potential applications of sim racing in driver training, talent discovery, and fan engagement.

In the broader context of motorsport, sim racing is not only revolutionizing the sport but also accelerating its evolution, acting as a vital driving force in the continued growth and popularity of motorsport.

The future of motorsport is indisputably intertwined with the future of sim racing – a virtual race to the exciting unknown.

John Smith
Editor at and all round Motorsport journalist specialising in Formula 1, IndyCar and Formula E.
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