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
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!