How to Get Started with Sim Racing?

How to Get Started with Sim Racing?
Author Alessio Lorandi
Alessio Lorandi
December 22, 2021

So you’ve probably watched some F1 drivers like Max Verstappen and Lando Norris streaming while sim racing on their Twitch channel and wanted to also get involved in this world.

It’s no secret that sim racing has now become a fantastic way to practice real life racing techniques for professional drivers as well as for the fun of competing with dozens of different people in online races.

A growing Trend

It’s incredible how many people got started in sim racing in the last few years, especially after the 2020 lockdown.

iRacing and Assetto Corsa have seen an impressive growth both in terms of users and also in terms of time spent on the platform.

Both the games have well crossed the 100k user milestone and are now expanding their features set at a very quick pace.

Reduce the overall costs of racing

It’s a really great solution considering the fact that your driving costs are cut down to almost zero and that you don’t have to worry about risking and crashing since you won’t have to pay the bills as you’d have to do in real life! 😉

Reduce the overall costs of racing

No seriously, you can’t believe how scary it is to lose the rear of a GT3 car at 240 knowing that if you’ll crash, it will easily cost you $200K+ of damage.

Remove some stress

Not a nice situation to be in and that’s why you can remove the stress off while driving on your simulator.

Race from anywhere at anytime

Plus you’ll be able to drive from the comfort of your home giving you the chance to save some time after a long day at work.

Not only that, but you’ll also be able to schedule your practice and races at anytiime with total flexibility.

A fantastic online community

It’s really incredible to think at how much the community has grown and evolved over the years.

The iRacing forum is a fantastic resource for people who want to learn more about sim racing but that’s not the only place to go!

You can’t believe how many forums are out there and how much value is shared inside the community.

The Reddit and Discord community is really something incredible and you can get plenty of help from people without them asking for anything in return.

There’s also a ton of free stuff shared in these forums including car mods, track mods, driver skins and stuff like that.

Having said that, let’s now see how you can get started in the wonderful world of sim racing!

How do you start sim racing?

How do you start sim racing?

So how to get started? Well here’s a list of steps you should follow:

Download a top sim racing software

That could be either iRacing, rFactor 2, ACC or Assetto Corsa and you’d be good to go.

Starting with the proper game is fundamental since it will really make or brake your learning curve.

If you start driving on games like Forza Horizon 5, it’d be difficult for your to master important driving techniques such as trail braking or wet driving.

Get yourself some sim hardware

I’m sorry for your joystick, but you’ll have to ditc it if you want to become a successful sim racer.

A wheel, a cockpit and a set of pedals are essential for any sim racing game and they’ll provide you with a realistic driving experience.

This is really important as it will give you the right feel for the car and also from the grip of the track.

I’m not saying that you should go and spend 5k on the top high end products as a beginner, but some basic hardware should be needed.

Purchase professional car setups

Car setups are what makes the difference betwee aliens and amateurs in sim racing.

Purchase professional car setups

There’s a lot of professional drivers that will sell you their setups for a few bucks and it’s something you should definitely invest in.

In the long term, you’ll be able to create your own setups and share them with the community, but for now, it’s better to just purchase them and learn from the best.

Here’s a in depth article for choosing the best sim racing setup shops.

Practice practice practice.

The next thing you want to do is to practice a lot with single player mode before competing in your first online races.

That’s because racing against AI and time trials are really good for your development as a sim driver.

You’ll learn the best driving style techniques, how to handle setups, how to overtake cars, how to practice pit stops and so on.

How much does it cost to start sim racing?

In terms of monetary investments, you can expect to spend somewhere around $800 initially for a good wheel and cockpit setup.

The next cost would be about $12.99/month which is the average monthly cost of iRacing depending on what kind of membership you’d like to have.

How much does it cost to start sim racing?

Yeah you could get other games as a one-shot payment, though iRacing is where the saction is taking place right now for professional online races so I’d suggest you joining the community.

Also the F1 drivers are using iRacing for practicing, so it’s definitely a great place to be.

Once you’re in, there are plenty of online racing series and events that you can join including single races or qualifications for bigger series in the world.

How long does it take to become good at sim racing?

That is actually one of the most frequently asked questions inside forums and I’ve to say that it really depends on how much time you’ll spend practicing as well as how naturally gifted you are.

Yes, I do thing that talent is a significant factor in the equation, though in my opinion practice is waaay more important.

So if you’re reading this and you’re thinking that you don’t have the talent to be a good sim racer, just forget about it and start practicing.

You’ll be surprised by how fast you can improve.

What is the best sim racing game for a beginner?

In my opinion nothing beats iRacing, Assetto corsa (& ACC) and rFactor 2.

What is the best sim racing game for a beginner?

Yes there are other quite good sim racing softwares such as Gt sport or Raceroom though these 3 are the ones that I would recommend.

Each one of them has a different focus, so you’ll want to try them all to see which one you like the best.

Do sim racers get paid?

Yes they do and if you get really good, you could even make a full living out of it.

There are professional sim racing leagues where the best drivers compete for prize money and sponsorships.

One of the most popular one is iRacing and they do have a pretty good payout system.

Have a look at our article about hom much money you could do sim racing and the 5 best ways to do so!

Time to wrap up:

So if you’re looking to get into sim racing, the best thing you can do is purchase a good wheel and cockpit setup, get some professional car setups and then practice, practice, practice.

You’ll be surprised by how fast you can improve and who knows, maybe one day you’ll be a professional sim racer!

The sim racing community is growing bigger everyday and it even got introduced at the eSports Olympics in 2021!

There are lot of championships taking place all around the world, so if you’re into racing, grab yourself a really good steering wheel and start practicing because you’ll definitely love this thing!

Hope that was useful and good luck with your sim racing!

Till the next time 🙂

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About the autor

Alessio Lorandi

Alessio has been involved at the highest levels in racing since the age of 5 (2003). He won a CIK-FIA World Championship in 2013 and then raced in F3, F2, and finally GT3s before now dedicating himself to SOLOX. He’s now on a mission to help thousands of sim racers around the world achieve their fullest potential through his ACC setups.






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