Sim racing is growing in popularity, here we see 4 reasons as to why sim racing has room to grow in eSports.
With the popularity of sim racing as a gaming genre continuously growing, we see how this has had an effect on eSports and more.
It can certainly be said that the interest in sim racing has grown over the past year or two, with visibility of the content also being more widespread.
There has been a distinct increase in the number of content creators streaming sim racing, with more people across the world showing off their talents online.
It has to be said that the influence of the real-world racers has had a large influence on the increase in popularity.
While fans couldn’t get to the track to watch their heroes racing in the likes of Nascar, Indycar and Formula 1, the stars of the relative racing disciplines took the events into homes around the world, albeit it virtually.
In the races there were crossovers between actual racers and sim racers and the collision of the two worlds has really elevated sim racing to another level.
Fans of Lando Norris, Max Verstappen and co are now more aware of who the likes of Matt Malone, Tyson Meier and Jimmy Broadbent are, and as a result, are taking up sim racing more than ever.
This has been proven by the confirmation that subscriptions to iRacing shot up by over 45% from 110,000 to 160,000 in a matter of just three months at the start of 2020.
And this is just one of the platforms available out there for people to get onto the virtual grid, of course.
As indicated by the link above, it has to be said that the combination of real and virtual racers has been a hit. Almost 1million people tuned in to the virtual Indycar racing and a mind bending 30 million across the globe watched the Formula 1 Virtual Grand Prix series.
More coverage can only mean more awareness of the eSport, meaning sponsors won’t be able to walk away from those sorts of numbers.
Sim racing championships and leagues increasing
Following the noticeable growth in interest in sim racing, there are a host of leagues and championships emerging or returning. With a host of big companies getting involved, Porsche continues to sponsor one of the biggest, along with Coca Cola’s involvement in Nascar extending into eSports.
Now arguably the biggest name in motorsport, Ferrari, has partnered with watch firm Hublot and Thrustmaster as technical partners for their driver academy.
Growth amongst gamers
In the gaming community itself, there has been a noticeable continued upward curve towards sim racing. In January 2021, it was noted that the total sim racing hours watched on platforms like Twitch was at a high of 4.4 million across the month.
Despite those massive figures, Bwin Sports outlines that the main events on the eSports calendar in 2021 didn’t involve any sim racing.
However, with the constant evolution of the titles and the ever increasing interest from brands, racers and gamers alike, it will only be a matter of time before the likes of the F1 eSports series and the iracing.com eNascar series appears on that list.
It can be a route into the sport
Sim racing can be a true path to a new career. James Baldwin is proof of that. The British driver won a contract worth over $1million to race for a GT3 team co-owned by former F1 World Champion Jenson Button after winning the title of ‘World’s Fastest Gamer’ and he didn’t disappoint.
In his first race as a professional, Baldwin took to the track at Oulton Park in the UK and after a second row start he stormed to victory in his maiden race.
What this proves is that having prowess as a sim racer can indeed blur the lines between virtual and reality to become a truly legitimate route to a career in the high-octane world of racing.