Alan's Vlog: is sim racing a threat to karting?

Alan posted this a while back. He argues that karting is (slightly) threatened by sim racing.

His logic is that the convenience and cost of sim racing is fundamentally easier from a cost and logistics standpoint.

He describes the options that historically been available to folks interested in Motorsports and how until recently, karting was pretty much the only game in town to get behind the wheel action.

He also points out that sim now features serious $ in competition (as opposed to karting). Ergo, those with talent and skill will likely pursue the more financially rewarding pursuit.

He does think that arrive and drive as opposed to owner karting is and will see a tick-up, as sim racers decide to try the real deal.

@Alan_Dove I think you may be correct in many ways. What you might consider is that sim, while terrific for all the reasons you stated, ultimately is not enough.

I started sim driving long before I started karting. To your point about karting being awful at promoting itself, it did not occur to me to participate in karting. It wasn’t even on the radar.

While I loved sim, it was apparent to me that without being able to drive a car fast IRL, my learning curve would take forever. There’s just too much leeway in sim and one tends to be less thoughtful than when piloting a real vehicle with real walls and stuff to run into.

So, I sought out karting because of sim, rather than abandoning it for sim. It was clear to me that to “git gud”, I’d need to go do the real thing.
That took in a life of its own as it turned out I might be a better sim racer than Kart racer :joy:.

So yeah, I guess I’ve become one of your arrive and drive / sim racer guys. But I am decidedly both as opposed to either or. I don’t identify as a sim guy or a rental guy or a 2-stroke guy. I identify as a racer, with a limited budget, doing what forms of motorsport I can when I can.

The sim provides the constant laps that allow me to race at the drop of a hat at 100%.

In my view, you are indeed correct that sim can detract from new karting participation in that its way more accessible (and financially rewarding at top levels?), but personally, I experienced sim pulling me into karting. I suspect that I am not alone in this. Certainly all these sim enthusiasts will likely crowd the club 100 and other arrive and drive series, just like me. It just doesn’t sit right being fast in a game, not knowing how you’d fare irl.

I don’t think it’s a foregone conclusion that there will ultimately be less karters. I think you will find fewer people having to stretch their budgets mightily to turn laps in a kart. Those who do make the jump to owner karting will likely have more staying power. I bet that every year, there were people who found that real racing was financially way more complicated than they expected. Sim fixes this. They don’t “have to” spend 10k to figure out if karting works for their lives. They can ease into racing via arrive and drive etc. or, not at all.

Fundamentally I agree with what you said. But, I have a hard time wrapping my head around the idea that sim (which is most people’s first motorsport experience) is ultimately a detractor to kart participation.

Maybe sim is becoming what karting was, “the only (cheap) game in town”. But I suspect that folks who find that they enjoy sim a lot will inevitably want to try real seat time. Karting remains the only way to do that conveniently and inexpensively. That doesn’t change.

In any case, @Alan_Dove, 6 months and one unfinished global crisis later, has your thinking on this changed at all as this unexpected sim surge occurred?

Time will tell…

Something has to change, all I see is a slow decline here at least. I do think that people coming from a sim world won’t want to mess with 2-stroke or maybe even 4-stroke engines and will want to just hop in an electric kart and go. Kids understand charging and batteries, carburetors and jetting are completely foreign concepts.

I don’t even know what my view is now to be honest :slight_smile: That’s what global pandemics do to your mind I suppose. I appreciate you watching the video though :slight_smile:

I’ll have a think. I was planning to do a follow up video after the K1 Superkart Champs, but really I don’t know the lay of the land all that well.

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Ekarts could bridge the gap for many. I’d like to see more development maturity in cell tech, as the current offerings are heavy & have rather limited capacity.

As I also said in another thread, there’s also something about the whole experience of ownership that I enjoy, including just assembling the kart, spec’ing & installing components that I want it to have. I’ve even enjoyed remodeling the interior of the 6x12 I bought for hauling duties, which has been fun to design & build (& become an illustrative model of feature creep in the process).

I do like sims for what they offer, but they’re still limited. I can’t imagine a sky diving sim measuring up to the real thing, & I feel the same about driving a shifter on the track. It would take a lot of expensive motion hardware to even approach the experience, possibly to the point of surpassing the cost of the real thing. But it is convenient & accessible because the entry-level hardware (PC, consoles) is affordable & widely disseminated, & that translates to high participation levels, which, in turn, facilitates the funding of cash awards.

The plain truth is, some people just don’t want to get their hands dirty, much less their feet wet, & a sim allows them scratch that vicarious itch. Nothing wrong with that, if that’s all you’re after.

I have to wonder what things would/will be like if the majority just limited their experiences to sims in lieu of the real thing.

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I think the Iracing n00b Miata cup races are exactly that. :rofl:

The Laws of Physics: Why SIM Racing Can Never Be as Hard as the Real Thing

Sim racing is harder from a competition standpoint unquestionably. Le Man is full of very wealthy gentleman fundamentally buying seats. The virtual Le Mans, from a pure performance standpoint, was of a higher standard. Mentally speaking it’s incredibly taxing, several ‘real’ drivers expressed this.

These kinda articles are just empty. No one is saying sim racing replaces the full visceral experience of real racing. There isn’t a person who wouldn’t replace a sim with the real thing if the opportunity arose.

The article just reads like grandstanding from someone who talks about cornering at 6G but actually has never cornered at 6G (like pretty much everyone on the planet) and is a bit miffed and defensive as to why the simmers were mostly faster than real lifers (obviously the concept of simmer and real lifer will become more and more blurred over the next few years) and had to write some boomer (I hate the term but it just fits, sorry) article

… and this ‘physicality’ talk. Car racing, for the most part, isn’t that physically demanding nor particularly dangerous any more. Yeah sure it’s more ‘physical’ than a sim (though having worked on pro set ups you can match brake force requirements and turn the FF up to he-man levels) but i am not sure that’s a point that needs to be made, it’s self-evident.

Made me think of John Stapp who was the g-force test guy. He has an interesting story. Anyways, his record was 46.2 G’s. Apparently he dislocated his corneas. Ouch.

“Don’t get me wrong—the 24 Hours of Le Mans Virtual showed top-level SIM racing can be interesting and engaging. But it’s nowhere near as hard as the real thing. And never will be.”

Define Hard. The physical stuff is offset by the fact that you have to be far more perfect at top level in sim than IRL. If the alien is almost 2s a lap faster, that is night and day. It’s a different thing.

Would he be as fast in reality as in virtual reality?

Since virtual racing emulates the real thing, how attractive would it be if the real thing dried up for lack of involvement? At that point, what would it do to simulate the iterative development/advancement in tech if the real thing was gone, since there’d be none? Part of the attraction of racing - a big part of it - is the development. Without real racing, sim racing would have nothing to model after. Then again, maybe sim world fans wouldn’t care.

Personally, arrive & drive probably wouldn’t be as appealing. I still like the other, off track aspects of it. But that obviously doesn’t speak to everyone’s interest.

British GT had to redefine their gold - silver - bronze system for British GT because they GT Academy lads were too fast.

Of course, they aren’t as quick as the top level drivers out of the box. By the time they are ‘fast’ they’ve but enough real world hours in to forget the tag of ‘simmer’. However, the point is that the notion real le mans is harder is kinda of a moot point

Agreed. I guess what I was trying to say is that we should think of them as different disciplines with specialized knowledge. It’s absurd to expect Vettel to hop in a sim and be as good a sim driver as he is real driver. He could, with training, become as good, but it would take time and effort.

It looks like many of the younger drivers are already pretty steeped in sim racing like LeClerc and Verstappen. So, you could do both, I guess. They probably don’t really have the time and motivation to try to take their sim as far as it could go, obviously. Verstappen has Alien potential from what I’ve read.