Sim strategy question

It’s a bit out there as a question but I wanted to see what the opinion is.

I have been doing a lot of sim. Of late, I have been driving with force feedback turned almost off. This allows me to drive with a much higher degree of precision.

As a friend put it: “I don’t want to have to work too hard to the steer the car… or put another way, I don’t want to squelch subtle feedback from the wheel by having to use lots of muscle to move the steering wheel.”

This is a true statement. With ffb low or off there’s no force required to initiate a turn. Also, mid turn there’s no fighting back against the wheel. This allows you to really control what’s happening with grip throughout the life of a turn.

As there’s not much physical demand, you can run endless laps without getting fatigued.

So, the big question: would you consider this “cheating” or at least counter productive to the idea of sim?

You are deliberately removing a variable that in doing so changes the nature of the experience. However, it works.

Wether it ruins the experience is another story. I find it makes it different but not worse/better.

I know many of you don’t sim, but some do. What are your thoughts? Just curious.

I’m not hung up on “cheating” because it’s sim and this isn’t a new concept. What I’m curious about is people’s opinion of modifying a game experience, arguably for the worse, in order to gain a time advantage. Pretty standard behavior but I’m wondering, given it’s sim and supposed to be fun, how this sits with folks in general.

My thought, and it applies to all racing is to do what works for you and get leverage.

If it means no FFB in sim racing, go for it. If it means using a kerb or grass in a way you wouldn’t in RL, go for that too.

People used to get pissed at my for “driving through” accidents, saying you can’t do that in RL. Well, in RL I’ll do what I can given consequences and circumstances. Just like you’d drive a rental with wraparound bumper vs a no bodywork vintage.

Thanks James… so essentially, in racing you feel the end justifies the means (so long as it’s within rules or not excluded)?

I believe so. Others will disagree and say sim racing should be as close to IRL as possible.

Driving fast is a two-person dance. The car is your conduit to the track, so it responds to your inputs, reacts, and then you need to responds to its reaction. If the car isn’t giving you any reactions, you’re not feeling what the car is doing on the track, so for me, that’s takes out the only feel for the car that you have in the sim, since there’s no g-forces to transmit that data to your body.

It’s a bit like driving blindfolded. I guess it could be useful for some exercises. As long as there is some force feedback I think you’re okay. On KartKraft I have it turned up quite a bit because I want to feel what the kart is doing. So much of driving a kart fast is feeling that super direction connection to the track surface and responding accordingly. Plus, I WANT to be fatigued by the end of a run, because by running under stress like that, you are training your mental endurance as well.

On a GT or F1 car, I don’t have it as high. Some of those cars have power steering anyway.

Basically, if it were me and I was using sim racing as a training tool, I would want the FFB to be as realistic as possible.

So, I agree with you.

However, if you think about it, am defending a position and also trying to rise up to top ten global.

So, this has taken on a new significance. I have “reputation” skin in the game, for want of a better word. Ego is now involved. So basically, this is as significant to me as actual racing at this point.

Thus the spot check. So I wonder if that changes things.

(To be clear I am keeping some ffb. enough to get a sense of loads and grip but very light so that you can drive with one hand).

To be honest, I started and still am driving on a no FFB wheel. I will not go into details why I don´t have FFB but yeah, not much money for decent computer nor wheel. So I might not be such relevant source of information about FFB but I feel that my simracing can and only helps me feel the real race situations, like spins, going through traffic, overtaking situations. On top of that, you are driving “blindfolded” as you don´t really feel ieverything. It can be good, because my brain makes difference between full experience and some uncomplete, not getting used to the virtual stuff, rather focusing to the real thing when it comes to it. (I hope you got my point, don´t really know how to express myself)

I mean FFB is good in case of tens of thousands of dollars sims that F1 drivers have, it is alright but in case of really cheap experience, that I have at least, it is more of a fun and some practice, maybe some muscle memory, rather than real simulation so I feel no importance of FFB.

If you are trying to push to the top of the leaderboard, I would suggest you to use whatever it needs to be done to do so, it is virtual world at the end, it can not be the same as real experience. Have fun is what is most important, I feel.


Interestingly some of the aliens run without FFB. I have a friend who had been in discussion with one of the top splits guys in Iracing.

I believe he was told that the important information insofar as trying to set perfect laps was sound as opposed to FFB. They run without FFB so that it doesn’t get in the way at all. I can understand why. The lack of ffb requires perfect weight transfer and timing. Slightest inefficiencies are laid bare.

it’s not as fun, though! So I compromise and run 30%. It’s enough to provide some context without having to fight it.

Does simracing make you faster in real life? You are now a very fast Kart Kraft driver but does the experience in the sim help you in your own kart? If so, I’m suggesting you are doing the right thing with the sim.

Last week I was driving in one of these with VR glasses.

It was so awesome, I was hooked! I think this is about as close to the real thing as it can get. Unfortunately the set costs about 30-40 thousand dollars. The wheel and the pedals alone were worth 6,500…

I’m gonna go with yes. I am going to have a problem proving this as I have decided to retire from TAG racing for the foreseeable future. (Tuition > Dad’s racing).

Here’s what we know: I worked with Warren from after my final race of 2018 (November) through my second race of 2019. As it was winter I had to sim exclusively for most of our work together.

Season 2; began 3rd, 3rd, DNF. If you look at those races, it’s a different driver. I was starting to be substantially more assertive. I had my first experience holding off a better racer (which I did for 8 laps) while smacking Tony down repeatedly. Also, I am pretty sure if I was able to get to a gripped up etown, I would have gone sub 41 this year.

Despite finances making it such that a true race schedule is financially a non-starter, I’m not done. I will continue to sim. Tomorrow I go to NJMP and be just like you and race their rental fleet. (Summer race Thursday’s $75 for quali, pre and final). Maybe when I do my annual business trip do what I always do and find the nearest track and go do a test day. Stuff like that.

So long answer to a short question. Yes I am demonstrably a better driver today thanks to sim. One thing that I was thinking though: I gotta stop allowing myself to have horrible wrecks in sim. It’s a bad habit and I don’t want to have trained the “it’s ok you can just reset to track” mentality.

Rig: I told you so.

Those simulators can get pretty amaze balls. But totally overkill. If you want to sim here is what it cost me over time:

Low-Mid range pc: $500-800
Vr googles; 200-350 (used)
Playseat challenge: $125 Craigslist
Buttkicker 2: $112 eBay
Clubsport csv 2.5 with 2 steering wheels used and clubsport v2 pedals $700.
Loadcell kit: another $100
Kartkraft: $20

A simple rig like mine gives me a ton of feedback and is pretty amazing to drive.

Anyways you don’t have to spend big bucks. A used Logitech g90, vr giggles, and a chair are all you really need.

Unlike your kart, you can build this over time. I’m paying attention to the used market and looking for 3 more bass shakers and an amp, for example. My first unit was thrustmaster tx and a simple wheelstand. I played on my Xbox. That’s where I learned the basics of driving zippy. I worked my way up leaderboards and managed some top 10s in forza and one top 5. TT leaderboards, not races. Forza sucks for that but I would load up max ai grids and set 20-30 lap races and just pass the hell out of them over and over.

I then had an epiphany playing golf. I had let nick drive the golf cart and at 10 years of age he negotiated a particularily tricky tee box turn. I was like “hmmm”. Maybe we should try go-karts. The rest is as they say, history. I started doing stuff like porsche school and Lucas oil once. Rapidly decided that it was too expensive to get serious at. Then settled down into karts.

So if you think about it, I learned to drive on sim.

Edit: that’s another thing. The rig is an end game in and of itself. I swear there’s people who sim mainly because they have fun building and upgrading magnificent contraptions. It’s such a rabbit hole.

The pedals you spoke of are hydraulic wonder things. The wheel is a direct drive industrial motor capable of putting out enough torque to break your arm. It’s on actuators. None of this makes you faster, actually.

Final thought: re are you a better driver from sim? One way to think about this is to look at the questions I have been asking and the stuff I have been writing. Do you see any development there in how I see, think and drive? I do. Hopefully it’s the right kind of development!

As far as your first questions goes, I don’t consider turning the ffb on or down cheating at all. If that works for you then go for it. For me I have always have ffb that is way to high for most people just because of the feeling it gives me through the car. I always feel more stable all the way through the corner.

Regarding your last post, I see that you have made something for the pedals on your Playseat Challenge. The whole pedal assembly on mine is falling apart by the day so if you have any tips on fixing it that would be much appreciated.

Thanks for your thoughts. I’m less concerned with cheating and more concerned with purity of purpose. In other words, given that sim is a major input in my driving development, is altering the experience to gain a timing edge a reasonable thing to do if the end goal is becoming a better driver?

Edit: pedal are on the bottom of one of these type things: image
I will likely add two bass shakers to the pedal support: image

It’s unclear at this point wether 0% ffb is sensible for that purpose. It definitively exposes where you are inefficient. But it changes the nature of the thing.

Re playseat challenge: the pedal extension arm thing is too lightweight for my taste. What I did was zip tie the bottom of a wheel-stand base directly to the pedal extension. It is substantially more stable. If you play on pc as opposed to console, pedals connect separately via usb so you can use whatever pedals you want. The ONE piece of simbgear that actually makes a diff are loadcell pedals. So, if your pedals have fallen apart, take a look at some fanatec v2s used or something.

Thanks Dom for your answer. I’m thinking more and more about starting sim racing. I know it’s not the real deal but it’s gotten pretty close the last decade. And since I will ‘never’ go back to proper racing (time, budget, family priorities, transport, storage, you name it) I will have to do with second best to feed my passion. My second best is now rental karting but why not sim racing as well?

Why not indeed? I would caution against spending too much money trying to get everything perfect up front. It’s a temptation but makes no sense. Do it cheaply and see if it works for you as either fun or training. Build from there if you like it.