Nobody ever had imagined the possibility of a pandemic halting all car races. Racetracks around the world are deserted, the stadiums are empty, and the cars are longing for their drivers. For the amateurs and the professionals, this life sentence is an unbearable one. Car racing requires practice and tournaments for the racers to stay active. But with a lockdown, all their skills are bound to rot, right?
Not really. You see, just like everything else, car racing has also shifted online. Yup, just like work and study from home, car racers are virtually practicing racing, too! It sounds unbelievable, but virtual racing, also known as simulator racing, is an exciting feat of modern technology. To be absolutely clear, it's more than just plain car racing games.
Sim racing is an eSports venture that has actual competitions. It has pro players from different places who compete against each other in lifelike virtual racetracks. Many professional racers have now started to play online, given that COVID-19 has canceled all track races. Racing sim setups consist of rigs, gears, seats, tires, steering, monitors, processors, gaming consoles, and much more. This, coupled with playing against actual professional racers, makes it all very exciting.
Behold, here's your complete guide to sim racing!
What Is Sim Racing?
Sim racing, also known as simulation racing, is essentially virtual car racing. You know those arcade games you saw with a wheel and pedals? Could you race cars while actually feeling like you're in one? That's essentially what sim racing is – but arcade games are a much basic version of that.
This esport is highly competitive, as all others are. But recently, with the coronavirus crisis, many professional racers who we’d usually see on the track have now resorted to playing online. Charles Leclerc, currently driving in Formula One for Ferrari, is just one example of a professional racer both on and off the screen.
Unlike when we sit behind the wheel in the arcade, sim racing for these professional racers is no mindless task. They have to drive under insanely realistic conditions, which mimic what they see out on the racetracks. Of course, given there’s no chance of real injuries, the pressure when racing virtually is considerably less. But that doesn’t mean it’s easy.
Sim Racing and Professional Racers
As we pointed out, Leclerc is a Formula 1 racer, who’s also an esports champion. The 22-year-old just recently won his fourth Formula 1 Virtual Grand Prix. Who was he competing against in this race? It wasn’t just random gamers from around the world, but other racers from around the world, and even some Formula 1 drivers.
It’s true that many professional drivers are also avid esports players. Here’s just a few that we can name:
Alexander Sims – BMW Formula E Driver
Jesse Krohn – BMW GTE Driver
Martin Tomczyk – BMW GTE Driver
Beitske Visser – Race Car Driver
The intersection of real-life racing and sim racing is interesting, and it’s a great topic for essays about television. The use of television this way is perhaps something that its inventors never thought of. So, you can consider using this If you need a tv topic for your next assignment!
Sim Racing Today
Given the current COVID-19 crisis, many F1 and NASCAR games have been canceled. The Bahrain Grand Prix has also been postponed. At a time like this, sim racing is replacing real races. But, just a while ago, the first replacement races were held – dubbed 'The Replacements 100'.
These online races are streamed live on a popular streaming server, Twitch, for thousands of people to watch. Sim racing itself has a long way to go in becoming a popular esport, but the success of these replacement races was exceptional. The main race had 23,000 concurrent viewers and over 70,000 unique viewers.
Veloce Esports, in collaboration with Motorsport Games, have also begun the 'Not the GP' events that take place on what we're supposed to be Formula 1 race weekends. The upcoming 'Not the GP' event is set to feature racers such as Lando Norris, Nico Hulkenberg, and Esteban Gutierrez.
One of the reasons that racing was able to find a virtual replacement, while other games such as football and basketball have been unable to, is the similarity that the virtual and the real sport have. Given the set up required for sim racing, you mimic all the things you would do if you were in an actual race car. On the other hand, with virtual football, you rely on using controllers instead of actually simulating the action of kicking a ball.
This parallel between the esport and the real sport is one reason why many professional racers have been able to take up sim racing. It's also the reason why thousands of people are so interested in watching these racers battle it out online – there's a chance that if this was a race on the tracks, the winners might have been the same.
Given the unprecedented situation the world is in, every industry has had to experience a major challenge, and the world of sports is no different. The realm of racing has, however, come up with an innovative solution at a time of social distancing.
Online gaming platforms in collaboration with Formula 1 and NASCAR have given professional racers a platform to race against each other online. By doing so, they’re providing racing fans with the chance to see their favorite racers on their computers live.
Of course, this form of racing still has its challenges. For those racers with no exposure to virtual gaming, there will be some difficulties in making this shift. But, it’s interesting to see how this will carry forward in the near future.