So here's where you tell me I am nuts: Sim = Real

Asked Bobby of me the other day… and the first thing that popped to mind was… It felt exactly the same as when I am playing KK.

I don’t know if its my mind having gotten used to all the information coming from my rig, coupled with our natural ability to make mental inferences, but I am feeling almost as much in SIM as I am IRL.

There are some distinctions. While I don’t feel G’s the same way, I am very aware of the lateral load on the kart. Braking has a blank spot at initial bite, but as soon as the tires get info, its fine. I can also feel the tires interlocking with the track. I can feel the interlock tear. I can feel the tires hop as I overload them.

But, I also can feel the chassis move. There was a moment where I was playing with braking a bit harder into the entry of 4 at NJMP, to rotate the back a bit. It occured to me that what I felt on track was approximately the same as in sim.

Long story short, there is absolutely nothing I am doing differently in Sim than IRL. Also, the sim racing “feels” basically the same. The level of energy spent in KZ KartKraft is also approximately the same as hoofing a rental kart IRL. There is Zero mental adjustment going from sim to real and vice-versa.

This is not a one off. I noticed the same thing when I went to DKC in Feb.

Sim works.

Well, you are putting files into the brain’s subconscious folder.
It just depends on the quality of those files.

Largely, where I think sim racing helps me is on the mental driver development aspect.

  • I tend to find myself creating bad habits in racing, whether I’m pushing too hard to early, or not pay attention to trackside markers, etc that racing in sims gives me the time to stop and think about how to improve my behaviors or habits.

It’s not a 1:1 for everything, but sims definitely are helpful if you use them correctly.

For sure. What I am saying though, is that the quality of the experience, at least as I experience it, is far more nuanced than it is made out to be.

Everyone says that its numb, that you dont get the seat of your pants, and therefore, its less relevant. But that is incorrect. I do have a seat of the pants experience. It’s subtly different, though.

While different, I submit these differences are not terribly relevant. The use of this as a training tool will change. I guarantee you that talent nurtured daily in sim versus not experiences exponential growth compared to the racer that only practices IRL. (Assuming they are on track a 8 times a month only).

Good to hear, I have been sim racing for a couple months now and recently started KartKraft in preparation for my first Lo206 race next weekend. I have never driven a race kart before, excited to see how it feels in comparison to the sim and indoor Rental karts.

While it might feel similar, as we’ve discussed in the past, there are significant technique differences between real and simulation. Comparing this from KK to your recent rental on-board or your X30 on-boards, the driving style is drastically different. There’s no way you could get away with hucking the kart around like this in real-life.


Lots of game/sims aim for “realistic feeling” rather than outright perfect physics, as sometimes those physics become tough to drive given you are lacking a few feedback points with the lack of actual G forces. Something I’ve always liked about KK is it does truly feel like you’re in a kart. They’ve nailed that aspect, even if the tire model is a bit wonky yet.

But I’m in agreement that a lessons learned in sim racing can apply to reality, and I’m glad you’re finding something of value with all those laps you’ve turned on KK.

Admittedly the inputs are different. But despite that, the way the kart feels and reacts is remarkably translatable. I honestly no longer give any thought to what I am feeling and just do. It’s exactly the same thought and reaction process as IRL.

I think that’s the main benefit, especially in a karting context where everything happens so fast. You are able to build muscle memory in the sim.

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Since I’m not a high/level driver and have no clue what their resources for training are like, I can’t assume that sim would benefit them. It’s entirely possible that they can get enough time on track to work their craft most effectively IRL.

But, most of us don’t get enough seat time. Take 2 racers of equal ability and put them in the same series. One just does the monthly races and practice saturdays. Once does that and also trains on sim daily. It is clear to me that karter #2 is going to grow and improve faster.

My opinion, of course, but my experiences seem to support this thesis.

Admittedly not. But that doesn’t change the feel of the driving. Just how it’s expressed.

I have to agree it helps, a lot. I’ve been running in Skippys for the last 2 months, at least twice a week. What I found last week at the track I was much more readily taking things in - essentially I found I was concentrating more on getting the power down at the correct point rather than just hustling my way through the turns because there’s so much coming at me, that I now consider normal.

Yah. Vision is at the core of driving and the sensation of speed can be tamped down through sim repetition.

To your point, when speed stops overwhelming your mind with novel sensations, you start noticing the subtleties of driving, like how and where to put down power.

Sim is also a great way to train yourself in how to use your eyes. I do all sorts of wierd stuff like take turns, deliberately not looking at certain things (like the apex I am headed to) in order to keep my mind ahead of the kart. This is easy to experiment with in sim but sorta scary IRL.

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Juts a little note. Humans are hopelessly unreliable with regard to describing their own eye strategies. You need eye trackers for any kind of reliable data on this.

Agreed, I did ask my local track to put a grid girl at each exit to help, they said it was inappropriate :man_shrugging:t2:

Ok I’ll bite. Totally contrary to what I understand. The only thing that isn’t reliable about vision is the user. Not sure I follow.

I enjoy the mental training aspect of Sim racing, but I really can’t get into any of the open wheel stuff and haven’t bothered to dabble in kart kraft either so nothing from the 2 cars I primarily drive (GT3 cup and GT4 clubsport) really translate into karting for me.

The GT4 clubsport is good fun and almost EXACTLY the same pace as my car in real life which makes it great fun to run and good training for big track stuff for when I’m not karting.

I found when I did car sims that certain car types felt more accurate to me. Closed wheel cars generally felt ponderous and numb. I found that downforce open wheel cars felt more like what I thought a car felt or should feel like. That being said, outside of a skippy type car, ive never driven a real race car. So, what do I know?

The thing that made a difference for me with sensitivity in sim was equipment and acclimatization. When I expanded my simrig to include ffb through simhub and shakers, it made a real difference for me.

Also, Xbox and PC are two different worlds in terms of how the games feel/drive imho. If you are on console, it’s still good but not quite the same.

You don’t know where you look until you get an eye tracker. Humans are notoriously bad at describing where they look. They think they know, but they don’t

I can see that. That being said, I assure you that when I am driving like crap and trying to figure out what’s wrong, I revisit where I am looking.

There’s a process I go through and it’s around getting on top of the kart as opposed to behind (reactive).

While it varies somewhat, I am deliberately noting the important bits prior to my arrival and keeping my eyes moving, with an emphasis on what’s next as opposed to what’s beneath or just ahead of me.

It’s intentional and deliberate. It’s controlled. Once I get my laps back where I want them, my vision tends to revert to a more passive approach till I fall off again. Then, I get my vision back forwards.

While I could say I look here and then there and then there, which is true, it’s only when I need to get back on top. Otherwise, to your point, it’s all beaten into me as “automatic” until it’s not anymore and I have to pay attention.

But I would say that in general I know where I am looking. When I’m not using my vision correctly, I get pressured and can feel it in my driving.

Also, peripheral vision is a thing. Although I am focused on where I want the kart on exit after the apex and that’s where I am looking as I cross the apex, I can still see the red and white kerbing pass to my left and am aware of the distance I placed the kart from said kerbing. I’m just not looking at it in that moment, directly. It’s more of a confirmation thing.

If, for example, my approach was wrong and I needed to pull flaps, you can bet my vision comes right back to the here and now to deal with it. But I am desperately looking ahead to try to salvage the corner and be as efficient as I can despite my screw up. Lotta eye and head movements here.

I am very much a believer in @speedcraft idea of the lap as a film. We are comparing our driving to the mental movie we are simultaneously playing out as we drive. Vision is a funny thing that appears to combine active and passive skills that we train into habit.

I’ve seen the eye tracker videos and yes Magnussen moves his Focus around a lot and it’s similar to what I am talking about.

You need an eye tracker to confirm that. Like I said eye-tracking studies have proven humans are not the most reliable describers of their eye-strategy at any given moment. You may feel x y and z, doesn’t mean it’s true. I am not saying it’s not important to focus on this area, but humans aren’t great at actual describing their own subconscious actions with a great deal of accuracy. When we talk about eye-strategy we should do it with some caution.

have a read of this. I wrote about it extensively a few years ago

I’ve driven a GT4 clubsport at VIR and they have the overall speed as it related to lap times accurate, they have the overall balance fairly accurate (it actually rotates a little more on entry than it does in the game), the front end of the car is a little lazy in sim but still works well enough, where they missed the mark is the brakes…the thing has 991 cup brakes on it and the brakes were the single most impressive element of the car when I drove it and I NEVER got into ABS in the real car. Again the speed is still good but they really missed the mark on the brakes. They over-boost tire / traction noise in the game because they have to but it make sit sounds like it has this huge window where it’s losing grip which isn’t really the case. All in all they have done a great job modeling cars based on what i’ve actually driven in real life to compare them to.