While 2020 was a rough year for most things and most people, it was a banner year for sim racing. With global racing series going silent, all the world’s best drivers were stuck doing the same thing as the rest of us: running laps online. And so, the global online motorsports boom was born.
These days the checkered flags are back, yet the sim racing action is just as hot as ever. Vehicular eSports are incredibly competitive and breaking out in virtual racing is still infinitely cheaper (and safer) than doing it on the track for real.
Plus, with the
It’s made of beefy, extruded aluminum with a wide cross-section, meaning it’ll easily handle all the torque your epic force-feedback wheel can crank out. It’s also fully customizable, so you can sit up high if you’re doing some rally racing or crank it down low and lift the pedals for a laid-out, formula-style posture.
It also comes with a side plate for an H-pattern shifter and, if you’re looking for a little more immersion, another $3,499 adds on the
This includes the DD1 wheelbase, which is the core of the system. DD means direct drive, so no gears inside to muddy up the feedback. Fanatec does make a higher-end version, the DD2, but unless you’re looking to rip your shoulders from their sockets, stick with the DD1.
It’s here that you’ll attach a steering wheel of your choice and a set of pedals. This bundle includes a formula-style wheel, but again Fanatec has dozens of choices covering everything from giant, NASCAR-style rims to the
Okay, it’s decision time: do you want to find room for a giant monitor, or do you want to strap something to your face?
Traditionally, the ultimate sim-racing setup has been triple monitors, arranged edge-to-edge to give you a wide, wrap-around view. But, with an increasing number of curved, ultra-wide displays on the market, a single panel is the way to go.
The sweet spot is
The gaming VR headset market is a bit stagnant at the moment, but my personal choice is the
For a game released over a decade ago, rFactor 2 has some remarkable staying power. Though there are many prettier, more modern sims on the market, rFactor 2 has something they all lack: a professional physics engine. Well, close to it, anyway.
rFactor 2 relies on similar code to rFactor Pro, the software running in many of the multi-million-dollar simulators used by teams in Formula One, Indy, and NASCAR. That provenance has earned it a place as one of the leading tools in eSports series, like those run by Ferrari and Williams.
Assetto Corsa Competizione
The newest game on this list, Asssetto Corsa Competizione, is a hardcore spin-off of the more casual racing game Assetto Corsa. Brutal and unforgiving yet beautiful and engaging, ACC is a real joy to play assuming your graphics card can handle it – and you can find some competition.
Finding pick-up races in ACC is tricker than in iRacing, but plenty of leagues rely on this game, and some eSports, too. This is Lamborghini’s tool of choice for its sim feeder series, The Real Race.