With the recent surge in popularity of sim racing, there has been a lot of debate surrounding which is better: sim racing or karting.
While both have their own unique set of benefits and drawbacks, it’s important to understand the similarities and differences between the two before making a decision about which is right for you.
In this blog post, we’ll take a close look at sim racing vs karting, including comparisons of key factors like expense, safety, and skill level required.
We’ll also discuss some future projections for each type of racing to help you make an informed decision about your own racing goals.
Spoiler alert: despite both having their pros and cons, I believe sim racing is the future and that karting is doomed to disappear within 15 years due to its crazy high costs, complete lack of prizes, nearly non-existant PRO drivers revenue and future lack of interest in the sport.
Having said that, let’s have a look at this,
These are the main aspects we’re going to cover and compare them against:
- Practice time
- Making a living
- Future projections
What is the difference between karting and sim racing?
The main difference is that go-karts will require a different driving style, having to brake less aggressively and carrying less speed in the corners.
Despite that, it usually feels very physical to drive since the G forces you will take in the corners are usually higher compared to most motion simulators.
There are also other main differences including training costs, travel costs, career projections that we’re all going to analyze now.
How much does it cost to get into karting?
It takes between $50,000 to $150,000 per season to compete in international karting championships across an average of 15 to 20 races.
This cost is mainly due to the whole kart, engine and tires equipment as well as travel and team compensation. The kart itself can cost up to $10,000 while renting a nicely tuned engine will cost between $1,000 and $2,000 per race.
As you can see these costs are incredibly high and to be honest, they keep on growing as the sport becomes more competitive.
How much does it cost to get into sim racing?
There is a wide range of costs associated with sim racing, depending on the level of realism and equipment you desire though you could get started with a $3,000 professional equipment.
That will include a pro steering wheel, a GT or F1 cockpit (seat), the best set of pedals as well as a triple screen monitor setup.
As you can see this is way cheaper than a single season in karting.
How much can you practice go karts?
The amount of practice you can get only depends on the time and financial resources available.
The average driver will probably be able to get in between 4 to 6 days of training days per month, while more resourceful drivers will be able to even get up to 12 days, tripling the cost expenses.
Not everyone will come from a wealthy family that can afford to spend $7,000 on their child’s sports per month.
How much can you practice sim racing?
As much as you want depending on the amount of time available. You won’t have to spend a single extra dollar for each hour or day behind your sim racing wheel as you would do in karting or in real car racing.
What prizes can you win in karting?
Pretty much much nothing. Only shiny trophies as I won multiple times. In 10 years of professional karting, I’ve never received a single cent for my international racing podiums and victories.
That goes a long way to explaining the lack of interest in the sport from the series sponsors or any othyer karting manufacturers involved.
Can you make a living in go kart racing?
No, unless you’re willing to be a mechanic for other drivers as most pro drivers are forced to do from time to time. Though you’d be lucky to earn anywhere between $2,000 and $3,000 per month.
There are probably only 10 go-kart pro drivers in the whole world and most of them are based in Italy driving for Italian manufacturers.
The other 20 semi-pro drivers out there, only get the glorious chance of racing for free though still having to pay all their travel expenses.
So answering the previous question, no, you can’t really make a living racing go karts. You’ll be much more likely to make money as an esports sim racer.
What prizes can you win in sim racing?
You can win so many prizes of up to $100,000 both on iRacing and the official GT World Championship powered by Assetto Corsa Competizione. There are also new revenue streams for teams coming up with online competitions and distributing the entry fee together with the sponsorship deals.
That’s awesome since it will create a whole economy around professional sim racing and drivers will be able to make a good living out of it.
I can’t describe how amazing this is since finally, motorsport talented kids will be able to race without having to spend an arm and a leg but most importantly will be able to monetize their passion.
Can you make a living in sim racing?
Absolutely you can. It still requires you to be exceptionally good within that 1% of sim drivers, though with lots of practice and perseverance you’ll probably be able to make it to the top and earn a living out of it.
For example in the eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series the total prize pool was $300,000 while the winner would take home an incredible $100,000 cut!
Those are serious money for a sim racing competition and it’s only going to grow from here. I can’t wait to see how the professional sim racing landscape will look in 5 or 10 years.
The best drivers in the world can already make a good living out of it and with the growth of sim racing, this number will only grow in the years to come.
What’s the future of karting?
I believe karting is going to be either totally electric and much less expensive within 2030 or completely disappear as the younger generation will move on to sim racing to compete and earn a living.
That’s a pretty bold statement, but with the current trend, I don’t see how karting can survive when sim racing is so much more accessible, less expensive and you can even make a good living out of it if you’re in the top 1%.
Maybe it won’t be 2030 or 2035 though its end is about to come relatively soon due to the exorbitant price tags and lack of career opportunities.
What’s the future of sim racing?
It’s a very bright future in my opinion. SIm racers will be able to compete every day in different races and even earn a living out of it.
We’ll see most kids starting to race in sims rather than in real karts and the best ones will even have the opportunity to get into professional racing teams and have amazing careers based on their skills.
As VR technology improves and the sim racing driver pool increases, the quality of the races will also get better and better. This is something I’m really looking forward to in the coming years.
It can only get better as time goes by and I can’t wait to see the amazing things that will happen in the next few years.
Sim racing vs go karts FAQ
Does sim racing help with karting?
Yes and no. It generally helps in learning about racing lines and racecraft, though the driving style is totally different and it will require you to spend lots of time driving a real kart in order to acquire it.
Does sim racing improve real racing?
Yes, it 100% does. The racing lines and core driving technique will be transferable, but you will still need to drive a real car to understand how the real driving feedback is.