Do you sim? Does it help?

Do you sim?

  • Yes
  • No

0 voters

Ok, so, with the past couple of years, being what they’ve been, we have seen a lot of people from a wide variety of backgrounds get into sim.

If you will recall, this all popped off with NASCAR and F1 staging sim races in the early days of the pandemic. This seemed to set off a huge new level of interest in sim racing.

I remember some of the NASCAR pros being caught rather flat footed as compared to their peers who have simmed.

So, my big question is:

Does it help?

  • Yes
  • No
  • Undecided

0 voters

Talk to me folks, tell me your experience. Has sim helped you in some way? Or, has it been indifferent or even detrimental to your progression?

I drive so rarely that sim racing is good to get my brain back in racing mode without all the other distractions of a race day.


Does it help mechanically or just mentally? In this scenario, you drive infrequently so it might be a case of “no idea”.

I think I have mentioned this before so I apologize if it is old opinion (or maybe I just thought it and never typed it?).

For me, Sim racing is 0 help. I view it as a very fun thing to do (although I don’t do it as often as I wish I could), but it is completely separate from driving a real vehicle (kart, car, motorcycle, anything). I think of it as a completely different discipline. Again, this is just for me as many people (including professionals) have proven that you can transfer skills from sim racing to actual cars. I view this similar to someone who is good at stick and ball sports bringing their reflexes and abilities to racing. Two different disciplines where some of the skills overlap.

Stop reading here if you dont want to hear some of my ramblings on why I think sim racing only helps some people.

I think there are two different kinds of racers.

  1. Hit your mark/visual racers.
  2. Seat of the pants racers.

I am a #2 and I think thats why sim racing doesn’t “help” me. I cant “feel” what the car is doing in sim racing (when I am on the edge of grip, when i am losing the rear end, when the car is pushing). Now, people who can visualize that instead of just feel it, can see the car doing that in sim racing. Does any of that make sense?

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Mentally. I use it as a refresher for my brain to bring it up to speed faster. Practice looking ahead, hitting my marks etc.

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Sim does make a difference. I work on consistency with longer races and really focusing on lap times and hitting my marks. And I really try to work on passing techniques and working the guy in front of me. As a newer racer it does help my patience. I also wear a heart rate monitor so I can monitor my stress levels and work on keeping cool when pressing for that next position, or starts when I have the pole!


I would say it for such helps. There are so many things you can practice, data analysis, no overdriving(I do a lot), close quarter combat and more!

I just remember first race last year, I can stick with somebody I cannot even see their bumper normally and pass people I usually cannot pass.

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This makes a lot of sense. @tjkoyen has articulated similar regarding Kartkraft, an inability to feel the kart’s yaw behaviors which is critical to rotation and thus, driving.

I think this is a question of acclimatization. There is info there, it’s just that it takes considerable time to adapt and feel it, and even then, it’s a pale shadow of the real thing.

However, this can be somewhat counteracted with setup. I personally feel the back end of my kart moving (illusion) due to my shaker setup.

@tankyx do you concur my alien friend? Or am I merely dreaming?


My journey into racing involved learning how to pass. Like everyone else.

I remember not being able to get enough seat time and wanting to improve between races. So, I decided to set up big AI races with as many cars as possible.

This was a good process for me. Imperfect but a pass is a pass!

At the time @speedcraft was (just starting) coaching me (pre sim for him) so I don’t know what he made of that exercise. But, I did send him my thrustmaster rig when I upgraded and he then went bananas and got a really nice setup!

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For me, sim has been very helpful in terms of managing my behaviors (overdriving). The process of TT involves subtraction. You go out and overdrive then refine. Sim is perfect for this.

As others have said, I think it helps me mostly mentally. Managing the race, approaching overtakes, staying focused over longer runs etc.


I remember when I first realized sim was changing me, making me much more competent and precise.

After a 3 month hiatus from IRL racing I went to Florida to drive for 2 days. I was super consistent and quick (relatively) wih zero seat time. The tightness of my lap times shocked me.

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If you were still racing like you were 10 years ago, would you find it useful as a tool? Or just a diversion?

Less useful then. Real seat time is obviously more beneficial, and if I had a lot more of it I wouldn’t feel like I would need to get my fix or knock off rust on a sim.

Setup is a big thing for sure which bother me quite a bit. With a g27, the fb just so poor that I cannot feel much, I have to relay on the audio to see if I am sliding or locking up. To save a car I literally have to pre-save it. If I feel it through the steering, it will be too late.


I don’t agree with the two different types of driver. IMO if you are one of the two types, you are an incomplete driver.

Simracing helps tremendously with consistency, but also when it comes to work on different techniques, like saving fuel or tires. I feel like it helps with confidence when it comes to racing other drivers.


Ooh great sound bite! This is likely controversial.

Do you think that this applies in the past or is it a “Now” thing. Ie if you have any hope of being a top tier racer you had better also have a considerable sim resume? Ie Max and the younger guys in F1?

Also remember the nascar guys who made noise about how sim sucks and proceeded to get their asses handed to them? That must have been a “hmmmm” moment for them.

I am amused at thinking of a really big racer having butterflies at the start of a sim race (like the rest of us). Oh shit, what have I gotten myself into?

I think that even back when there was no simulation, top tier racers used both visual and haptic cues. People now think you have to one of the two because they misinterpreted a quote from an F1 driver.

Simracing now multiplies your time behind a wheel and it transfers to IRL, and I think it is now a must-do in your training if you are a kid trying to make it

I would agree in that it’s economical and allows you to drive more than the “other guy”.

I am not particularly talented but I punch above my weight because I drive constantly. It’s a second language (I’m not fluent yet but can order from the menu and make myself understood).

Can you elaborate on whom and what was said?

Ok so. One thing about sim is that in order to do it well you inevitably reach the point where you have to pay attention to grip and it’s evolution. Quite simply, sim forces you to try to be aware of grip levels in a way that you don’t irl.

Since you don’t “feel” the kart tires in the same way you have to look at the whole package: sound, ffb, visual, cues from equipment (load) Etc.

All this carries over to irl and now you are more aware. Previously you just felt tire. Now you feel everything.