Sim racing has become increasingly popular in recent years, with more and more people looking to get involved in the virtual world of motorsport.
However, there are still many misconceptions about sim racing, and how it compares to real-life racing.
In this blog post, we’ll take a look at some of the key comparisons between sim racing and real-life racing, and make some predictions for the future of both disciplines.
So whether you’re a seasoned sim racer or just getting started, read on to find out more!
Spoiler alert: despite both having their pros and cons, I believe sim racing is the future and that real racing is doomed to shrink, if not disappear within 15 years due to its crazy high costs, almost zero drivers’ prizes, shrinking existent PRO drivers salaries and future lack of interest.
Having said that, these are the main aspects we’re going to cover and compare them against:
- Practice time
- Prizes & salaries
- Future projections
What is the difference between sim racing and real-life racing?
The main difference is that sim racing can be done from the comfort of your own home, without any need for expensive equipment or track time. You can race against drivers from all over the world, and there is a massive variety of tracks and cars to choose from.
Real-life racing, on the other hand, requires expensive equipment, track time, and travel costs.
You’re also limited to racing against drivers in your local area, or at specific events and if you crash the car… Oh boy, that’s scary. You might have to pay $50,000 for fixing the damages.
How much does it cost to get into real-life racing?
It costs a lot. Depending on what car and series you’re looking to get into, it might cost you anywhere from $100,000 for a Lamborghini GT season or up to $1,200,000 for racing in Formula 3.
And the scary thing is that those prices keep on growing, year after year making it even more painful.
This is the typical costs breakdown for racing among the most prestigious teams and if you’re aiming for F1:
- Karting is like $150,000 per season
- Formula 4 is like $350,00 per season
- Formula 3 is like $1,200,000 per season
- Formula 2 is like $1,700,000 per season
And the worse part is that prices are growing quite a lot year by year. Could we call it Motorsport inflation?
10 years ago a Formula 3 season would have cost around $400,000 while nowadays it costs three times that…
How much does it cost to get into sim racing?
The cost of getting in sim racing typically ranges between a few hundred dollars all the way up to $5,000 for a complete setup. That includes a steering wheel, a pro cockpit (seat), pedals and a gaming PC.
As you can see this is just a one-time expense and you can keep on using that equipment for the next 5-10 years with no problem.
Of course, as with everything in life, you can always spend more money on better equipment, but that’s entirely up to you.
As you can see though, this is totally different to real-life racing where your expenditures keep on growing year after year.
Heck, with the same cost of a pro sim racing cockpit you wouldn’t even purchase a new set of GT3 tires!
How much can you practice real-life racing?
The amount of practice you will be able to get only depends on the time and financial resources available. Deep pockets = lots of training = better equipment = better results.
That’s pretty much how it works and unless you’re financially backed, it will be very difficult to succeed all the way to the pinnacle of GT3 or Formula 1.
How much can you practice sim racing?
There’s no cap on how long you can practice sim racing, as it only requires a PC and an internet connection.
In fact, you can practice as much as you want and you will never have to pay a single extra penny from your upfront gear investment.
As you can see this is completely different to real-life racing, where the amount of practice you can do is highly dependent on how much money you’re willing to spend.
What prizes can you win in real-life racing series?
Prizes are very limited as you will 99% of the time win only shiny trophies.
In GT3 and GT4 you can earn some prizes if you finish top 3 in the championship, though those tend to go over the team or maybe even be reinvested back into another racing season.
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.
For example, in the eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series, the total prize pool was $300k while the winner would take home an incredible $100k cut!
That’s awesome since it means that you can not only make a living out of sim racing, but also win big prizes if you’re good enough.
It really is a real step forward as most racing drivers have been struggling to find ways to monetize their talents in the past.
Can you make a nice 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 as well.
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 evolve in the next 5 or 10 years.
What’s the future of real-life racing?
I think real-life racing will shrink more and more and remain a sport of a few wealthy people who can afford the exorbitant and increasing costs.
Unless some actions are put in place to reduce the overall cost of racing series including karting, I fear that it could spiral down and eventually become an irrelevant sport.
Sim racing on the other hand has a very bright future as it’s growing more and more popular with each passing year thanks to its low barriers and increasingly large community.
How does sim racing look in 10 years?
I see a very bright future for sim racing as it will become more and more realistic thanks to the power of next-generation hardware and VR simulation. I can’t tell when, but eventually, it will replace real-life racing 10 or 20 years down the line.
We will also see a rise in professional sim racers who will be able to make a living out of it as the prize pools will continue to grow.
In fact, the prize money is already starting to attract the best real-life racing drivers around the world.
It truly is the future of racing and I think more and more people will start to take it seriously as they realize how much potential it has.
I’m really excited to see where sim racing will be in 10 years’ time!
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.
To wrap up
So here was a very brief overview of sim racing and how it compares to real-life racing.
As you can see sim racing is rapidly growing and has a lot of potential. It offers great prizes, lower barriers to entry and an increasingly realistic experience.
It also has the potential to replace real-life racing in the future as it continues to evolve.
Do you think sim racing will become the future of motorsport? Let me know your opinion! 🙂
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