Sim racings relationship with motorsport and F1 is massive. Many leagues and sponsors have aligned themselves with this growing genre of gaming.
Many people across the globe are heavily into motorsport including F1, but did you know there is a massive relationship between sim racings gaming titles, sponsors, equipment and so much more?
So, you’ve heard of virtual poker. You’ve heard of online casinos taking the industry by storm. You’ve probably even dabbled in online betting on esports, but did you know about racing simulation?
The digital era is well and truly on its way, taking many industries by storm. In the space of a decade, sports betting has gone from being an activity which happened every Saturday morning in the local betting shop, to something that’s almost exclusively now offered online.
Taking this one step further, the online space is now beginning to incorporate actual sports in which people can play tennis on their Nintendo Wii or drive a simulated race car along the F1 track.
Fans of racing are currently able to watch a race in real time, while placing a bet online at one of the best sportsbooks available on who they think will win the race. However, they can now take this one step further.
Simulated racing isn’t just popular with fans but is also being utilised by professional race car drivers themselves, with F1 even having their own virtual team. Below, we’ll take a look at how F1 are utilising sim racing to take the sport to the next level.
What is sim racing?
Sim racing, or racing simulation, is a collective term for racing simulation software that enables players to drive a virtual car, along with all the factors it involves such as fuel usage, damage, tyre wear, grip and suspension settings.
Sim racing isn’t as popular as online casinos and video games as it generally requires a lot more skill than a game does. Many sim racing programmes are geared towards racing enthusiasts, but they’re also incredibly popular with professional F1 race drivers.
Sim racing is different to video games in the sense that a video game has real world variables taken out, whereas sim racing contains all the factors that affect a real F1 driver. The main objective of sim racing is to create a sense of speed as opposed to a sense of realism.
Who uses sim racing?
There are a number of professional racing drivers that use sim racing in order to get in additional practice or to train in a more convenient way. Some of the top names who utilise sim racing include:
The British-Belgian race driver Lando Norris currently competes in F1 with McLauren. Having won the MSA Formula Championship in 2015 and numerous other prestigious racing awards, Norris is already known as an elite in his field.
Yet Norris is also known as a mega sim racer in which he regularly engages in sim racing alongside fellow racer, Max Verstappen. Both racers have since commented that sim racing continually helps them to refine their skills.
Enzo Bonito is an Italian superstar who rose to fame through racing sim. Today, Binoto is part of McLauren’s formula one racing team after they quickly snapped him up for the taking. Since then, Bonito has even beat an ex-formula one driver, proving that sim racers most definitely do also have skills on the track and not just on the sim track.
Ex Formula 1 driver and current simulator driver for RedBull, Alex Albon, is a regular sim racing user who doesn’t provide essential information on race car setup and behaviour for their drivers.
This demonstrates the importance of sim racing in aiding real-life F1 racing where drivers can gather real data and information that helps keep them safer on the track, as well as enabling them to become more competitive.
The deal between iRacing and Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula 1 Team
As one of the largest and most well-known sim racing providers, iRacing have recently struck a deal with Mercedes Formula 1 racing team. iRacing’s simulator offering is strictly regulated so that it provides the most closely matched experience with what takes place on the real track, enabling them to attract some of the world’s top racing drivers as clients.
While the latest race cars used in Formula 1 were previously only available through Codemasters; an Electronic Arts offering, cars including McLaren Honda MP4-30, Williams-Toyota FW31, Lotus 79 and Lotus 49 are now all available for the virtual experience through iRacing.
Things to bear in mind when sim racing
Sim racing is the most closely matched virtual experience to real race car driving and certainly isn’t for amateurs. That being said, there are a variety of F1 type sim racing experiences now available to racing drivers and racing fans alike. However, there’s a few things that F1 racing fans need to watch out for when getting into sim racing.
Choices, Choices, Choices
Just like the online betting and casino market, there’s a huge variety when it comes to choosing a sim racing provider. Be sure to do your research to be sure which product is best for you before committing.
Unless you really are a Formula 1 racing car driver, the chances are that sim racing is going to burn quite a hole in your pocket. Virtual racing wheels can start at £200 alone, with Direct Drive wheels costing as much as £800 and up.
It’s best to think carefully and seek the right advice before making an investment.
Overall, sim racing is having a huge effect on the F1 racing world. While the past few years have made it challenging for Formula 1 racing to happen uninterruptedly, sim racing has provided a solid way of gaining practice and honing in on skills for professional F1 drivers and their fans alike.