Sim Racing has become a huge part of many people’s lives. It’s fun, addictive, and even educational. But does playing games really help you learn how to drive?

Can sim racing improve your driving skills on the track? I’m gonna answer that question with a confident YES!

Although it is not a 100% comparison to real life, it can help you improve in a lot of areas of racing.

In this article, I’ll go over why sim racing makes you a better driver, and how you can use sim racing to get better at driving.

So, does sim racing make you a better driver?

There is no way to know for sure whether playing sim racing games will make you a better driver. However, they may be useful for improving certain cognitive abilities, including information processing, reflexes, and spatial perception.

It can also help people who drive cars learn how to handle unexpected situations that occur on real roads.

Despite its many advantages, sim racing games cannot simulate the stresses and dangers of driving a real vehicle, so a lot of practice must be done behind the wheel before taking to the track.

In this guide, we will discuss the validity of simulator racing and whether it can actually improve your driving skills.

How accurate is modern sim racing?

Sim Racing is accurate, and it aims to be as close to reality as possible.

In fact, professional drivers such as Max Verstappen (the current Formula 1 Champion) use sim racing to practice their craft and learn tracks, but the accuracy of sim racing largely depends on your setup and the game you are playing.

Sim racing games have very accurate physics engines

True sim racers differ from simcades because they include detailed physics simulations.

Top-level sim racing games such as iRacing use highly realistic game mechanics to simulate the actual driving experience as closely as possible.

When you clip the curb at high speeds, you will feel it both in terms of how your car behaves and in the reactions of the force-feedback on your wheel.

You’ll notice some changes to your tires’ pressure and other aspects of your vehicle as you drive around the track, forcing you to adapt to every new situation similar to how you’d need to if you were driving a real racing event.

From a viewer’s point of view, if you watch a car race on iRacing, you can clearly observe the weight transfer on the cars and the ways they are influenced by bumps on the track.

In other sim racing games, you can see different ways that the physics engine reacts.

For example, in Automobilista it feels a bit exaggerated, and perhaps a bit understated in Assetto Corsa, but it’s still impressive to watch the cars reacting in a realistic way.

iRacing collision physics are also realistic, with different vehicles behaving differently according to the angle at which they were hit and the speed they were going when the impact occurred.

If you were to get hit by something, it would not necessarily derail your game immediately as it might on a racing simulator such as Gran Turismo.

The tracks on reputable sim racers are laser-scanned

Many of the games in the sim racing genre are so realistic compared to the real thing, it’s hard to imagine that they’re virtually recreated.

This is in part because of the use of laser scanning, which is capable of capturing small details to the exact millimeter. This is the absolute best way to recreate a track in a video game.

This technology has been used by iRacing, Assetto Corsa, and rFactor 2. All games that are renowned for their realism and faithful recreations of real-life racing.

Laser scanners involve mounting a scanner on a tripod which then rotatably scans 360 degrees.

This device uses a laser pulse to record the distance between the device and the surface below it and records that data.

Laser scanning records everything from cracks, bumps, and potholes on the road surface to the exact position of each pebble on the track.

This level of detail makes these sim games especially useful for professional race car drivers, who use video game simulators like iRacing to practice before actual races.

Drivers can identify their braking zones around the circuit, figure out where they will go, and prepare themselves for anything unexpected on the track.

Sim racing games have accurate sound design

Many games featuring driving simulations include an immediately noticeable feature: the sound effects.

This can really affect the realism of a game. Each vehicle needs to have its own voice.

With the visuals being so good, Sims can’t get away with the cliched car sounds they used to use when making their game.

Often overlooked by simracing players, recording and editing audio for racing games is a time-consuming and complex process.

One of the biggest challenges when using recorded sound effects in games is that they’re often interactive and unpredictable.

Sound designers have to create sounds that can be edited and then used in conjunction with the way the driver is driving the car.

Assetto Corsa has been widely recognized for its excellent sound engineering, both inside and outside of the vehicle.

Sound engineering plays an important role in simulation racing games, but if a video gaming experience has good audio, visual, and tactile elements, then the immersion and realism of the gameplay increase significantly.

What are the benefits of sim racing?

Sim-racing has been growing in popularity for years now, and its influence on the motorsport community continues to grow.

Nowadays, even amateurs can create a budget simulator in their homes, which they can then train with and compete against each other.

Just like how there used to be doubt around whether or not having a professional race car driving coach could help improve racers’ performance, the evidence has shown that sim racing can benefit players just as much.

While the digital world doesn’t provide all the physical sensations of driving on a race track in the real world, it offers many benefits for drivers who use simulation racing as an integral component of their training programs.

Here are some of the benefits a racer will find from driving simulation games.

You can use a sim to learn a new track quickly

One of the immediate benefits of sim racing is the ability to learn new racetracks.

Simulators allow drivers to practice laps without having to pay for a track day.

They have the ability to do a ‘virtual track walk’, stopping in various places and using the replay cameras to analyze the driving line from different points of view, providing additional familiarity in preparing for the real thing.

A lap in a simulator won’t necessarily turn you into a racing expert on your first lap in real life, but it can be helpful for reducing the initial “getting used to” and lowering the learning curve.

It can help you improve your race craft and your decision making

One advantage of sim racers is that they don’t have any physical consequences for making mistakes. If you crash into something, you can just restart the race.

It gives you an opportunity to test out new ideas or try out risky behaviors when you’re not actually risking anything.

Replay videos are a big advantage for sim racers because they allow them to review their driving performance.

On a simulator, for example, you can review an overtaking maneuver from multiple different angles and at various speeds, which would be impossible in a real car.

You can begin to see why something worked (or didn’t work) and what you might need to adjust as a driver to ensure that your race car is more effective the next go-round.

While playing against AI cars is helpful, by competing in online multiplayer races, the human element is brought back into the game, making for an unpredictable experience that gives you plenty of chances to hone your racing skills.