“How realistic is it really?”
“That is just a game! You can not compare that to the real world!”
“You do not have the forces and stuff, don’t waste your time!”
These are the questions and comments I get all the time.
So what is the deal? What is that all about? Who is right and who is wrong? This will hopefully clarify some things.
What does simulator practice even mean?
It can mean working on the driver skills, but it can also mean working on the car setup.
What are the professional race car driver do?
They practice on the sim. Some practice even more on the sim, then in the real car.
For what is the simulator practice good?
For getting to know the tracks, the perfect line, how to overtake other cars, how to battle with other cars. Which line is the perfect one to defend your position in every corner? Where are the limits? How fast can you drive through that corner. What is the latest possible breaking point? How does the car behave? How does it look like in the rain? How does it look like in the night? Where are the Marshall posts? Where are the bumps in the road? Where can I hit the curb and where not? What does a certain setup change even mean? How long can I keep my focus?
All those things and many more can be done with a racing simulator. I guess, you already know why we are doing this.
What are the general advantages of a simulator practice?
- It doesn’t cost much. Of course you need to buy all that stuff and some racing simulators are rather expensive, but compared to the real world of motorsport, that is literally nothing.
- You do not need to travel somewhere, just to get some laps done. And remember, there is a team you need. So, it saves a lot of time.
- It doesn’t hurt when hitting the barrier. You can not get injures, I mean, technically you still can, but not that bad. Your life is not in danger.
- You get instant feedback about everything you want. In a real car, you just drive around and analyze the data later on. In the simulator, you can analyze the data right in the moment. You can even practice only certain parts of the track, over and over again.
- You learn the way of how to drive a car fast and save. After having more than a million crashes on the Nordschleife in the virtual world, I guess I have crashed in every corner to be honest, I know exactly what I am doing. Getting your car back under control? Just a matter of practice. In the simulator, you can practice it as long as you want to.
What is the racing simulator practice missing out on?
- The real forces. A simulation can get pretty accurate, but only within limits. Real G forces can not get simulated. Therefore it is and will always be a little bit different.
- There are no consequences for your mistakes. Missing the breaking point and destroying your car? In the simulator, you simply make a restart. In real life, you have lost at least a lot of money my friend. It is just not the same when you are sitting in a simulator. The pressure can get quite high, but in real life, it is just something else.
All in all, the simulator is a great tool. Not only for professional teams, but also, or let’s say especially for people like me. I want to start racing, but can not do that right now. The simulator fulfills my needs!
The technology is available to each and everyone of us, if you don’t want to use it, that is fine as well. But I see only advantages in doing this. And if I can prevent at least one crash with all the hours I invest in this, then it was totally worth it.
See you next time!