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taparsons
taparsons New Reader
11/16/20 6:08 p.m.

I have been thinking about getting into Sim racing and I'm wondering if it's worth the investment? Does the experience and learning easily transfer to real racing?  Or would I be better off spending ~$1500 on track days etc? What are your thoughts? 

Jesse Ransom (FFS)
Jesse Ransom (FFS) UltimaDork
11/16/20 6:12 p.m.

What are you hoping to achieve?

I've rounded up a nice pedal/wheels setup on lucky timing, but am balking at spending another ~$1500 on a PC capable of using them properly.

For me, the edging slowly toward setting  up a sim is about the volume of opportunity. I can spend an awful lot of time in my basement relative to the number of times I can make it to a track day during a pandemic in the winter...

Nick Comstock
Nick Comstock MegaDork
11/16/20 6:17 p.m.

I believe you can learn racecraft from a sim. I believe sims can help you learn unfamiliar tracks. I don't believe that it's comparable to real life experience.  I believe sims are very fun and also very frustrating but ultimately worth trying.  You may find that it's not for you and regret not spending the money on track days but also may find great value in it. 

I think you get out what you put in.  Not necessarily speaking about money but the mindset you go into it with.  It's a skill to be learned and as a skill it requires patience and dedication to be proficient at it.  

Floating Doc (Forum Supporter)
Floating Doc (Forum Supporter) UberDork
11/16/20 6:20 p.m.

I'm not able to answer your question, but it is relevant to me as I've been wondering if it would facilitate development of my autocross skills.

I think in the short term, I'm going to follow an established path, and do more karting. An indoor electric cart track just opened up here in Daytona Beach.

In the longer term, I still intend to set up for basic Sim racing.

I expect Sim racing to be of some benefit, but there's just such a huge variation in the quality of the hardware that a simple answer to the question won't be either yes or no.

ProDarwin
ProDarwin MegaDork
11/16/20 6:22 p.m.

Worth trying, definitely.  Worth investing in?  Depends what you are after.

Some stuff translates.  Some stuff doesn't. 

Its a bunch of fun, low risk, and you can play around with all kinds of stuff you will never experience in real life.  Its easy to try on a budget.  And its easy to get out of if you don't like it or see value in it.

 

dps214
dps214 HalfDork
11/16/20 6:52 p.m.
Jesse Ransom (FFS) said:

What are you hoping to achieve?

I've rounded up a nice pedal/wheels setup on lucky timing, but am balking at spending another ~$1500 on a PC capable of using them properly.

Unless you want high quality VR or huge triple monitors you can do it for waaaaay less than $1500, even buying new.

Nick Comstock said:

I believe you can learn racecraft from a sim. I believe sims can help you learn unfamiliar tracks. I don't believe that it's comparable to real life experience.  I believe sims are very fun and also very frustrating but ultimately worth trying.  You may find that it's not for you and regret not spending the money on track days but also may find great value in it. 

I think you get out what you put in.  Not necessarily speaking about money but the mindset you go into it with.  It's a skill to be learned and as a skill it requires patience and dedication to be proficient at it.  

I think that's a good summary. They're more or less two seperate things, both with their own merits and drawbacks. There's some things you can only get from sim, and some things you can only get from real life.

taparsons
taparsons New Reader
11/16/20 6:54 p.m.

I would definitely like to try it before diving into 1,500 dollars worth of equipment. That being said its not hard to resale albeit at a loss.

With all that has been talked about IRacing, even in issues of grassroots, I've yet to hear personal opinions of it. I've also heard about those won Gran Turismo game tournaments did exceptional when given the opportunity. Is that typical? Or just chance? I definitely need more experience and seat time.

taparsons
taparsons New Reader
11/16/20 6:58 p.m.

In reply to dps214 :

If I build a PC its going to cost ~1000$ plus the steering wheel/pedals/shifter. I don't want to build only to have to upgrade soon. What would you recommend in a system?

 

What would be some examples of things you could only learn from sim and real life? 

ProDarwin
ProDarwin MegaDork
11/16/20 7:24 p.m.

Go on craigslist, buy a PC and wheel setup.  If you don't like it you can resell them for a near-zero-loss.  If you do like it, you can resell them for a near-zero-loss then build the setup you want.  Also check with members of your local sports car club, one of them may have some gear you can try (I imagine borrow/rent is probably more likely given the pandemic).

Alternatively, do what Tom did here:  https://grassrootsmotorsports.com/forum/simulation-central/bye-bye-consoles-my-350-gaming-pc/177505/page1/  Try that with whatever monitor you've got and a G920 setup.

Additionally, do not get hung up on having all the power in your computer setup.  You don't need to turn the graphics to ULTRA 4K INFINITY OMG to get a feel for it.  Pick something that the computer runs at a good framerate.  Its fine to compromise the crowd detail, trees, texture resolution, LOD distance, etc.  Many of those things contribute to the overall experience, but don't change the fundamentals at all.

https://grassrootsmotorsports.com/articles/sim-racing-real-racing/

https://grassrootsmotorsports.com/articles/can-virtual-coaching-turn-real-world-winning/

Also, from what I have seen, *nobody* gets their setup right on the first try, so don't let perfection be the enemy of progress.

spacecadet (Forum Supporter)
spacecadet (Forum Supporter) SuperDork
11/16/20 7:26 p.m.

If you're not ready to drop at minimum $1500 to get started... you're not ready to get into sim racing.

it sounds like you are, so that's a good first step IMHO.

i use it as a training tool for racecraft.. which i've learned i'm berkeleying terrible at but getting better.

$1500 in a rig will get you a lot further than track days IMHO. because $1500 will go like nothing when you factor in consumables.



 

dps214
dps214 HalfDork
11/16/20 9:23 p.m.
taparsons said:

In reply to dps214 :

If I build a PC its going to cost ~1000$ plus the steering wheel/pedals/shifter. I don't want to build only to have to upgrade soon. What would you recommend in a system?

 

What would be some examples of things you could only learn from sim and real life? 

I was replying to the guy that already had wheels and a pedal. You're right, starting from scratch it's going to be hard to be in for too much under ~$1500 total, especially for something you'd consider "doing it right". I'm probably a touch under, but I also have what I'd say is the absolute bare minimum of "right" and most of it was bought on sale in one form or another (and honestly if I was any more serious about it I'd be spending ~$200 on better pedals right now).

Sim is great for getting to experiment with no risk. Learn the concepts of racecraft with no real penalty for accidentally punting yourself or others into walls, etc. Get a feel for new tracks and (less so) new cars before you drive them in real life so you can hit the ground running. But no matter how much you learn from the sim, doing it on the computer and in real life are still very different and not everything always translates perfectly.

ddavidv
ddavidv PowerDork
11/17/20 6:55 a.m.

What it will do (based on my experience with i-Racing):  teach you new tracks you haven't been to. Their mapping is spot-on. It will teach your race craft, situational awareness and some things HPDE simply can't.

What it will never do is provide the seat-of-pants feel for what the car is doing. That is it's biggest detriment.

I haven't been on i-Racing for a few years so this comment may not be accurate, but one thing that bugged me was the 'safety rating' points. While I like the idea of it to keep kids from just invading races and turning them into wreck-fests, I couldn't bump-draft people without receiving penalty points. There also didn't seem to be any rhyme or reason to how many penalty SR points you would get. And then you had to claw your way back up to a good SR rating by having a dozen perfect, incident-free races--which often didn't happen because of other drivers incompetence.

Aside from that I did tend to run just a few series with cars I preferred and began to encounter some of the same people. Some were good fun to race with, just like in real life. All I need is a good battle; finishing position wasn't as important. It's not like you are winning money or getting a kiss from a trophy girl.

Jesse Ransom (FFS)
Jesse Ransom (FFS) UltimaDork
11/17/20 12:11 p.m.
dps214 said:

Unless you want high quality VR or huge triple monitors you can do it for waaaaay less than $1500, even buying new.

A bit, I'm sure. Much less feels like it could be a false economy. Right now I've got a single monitor, but my otherwise dandy computer isn't capable of functioning in this capacity at all, so building a computer almost entirely for the sim (I'll also use it for video editing and CAD, I suspect, but I could get by on those with my laptop) feels like a spot where anything that can't be resold for close to full price should be spec'ed well enough to do whatever you want the first time if you can swing it. If the sim thing works for me at all, VR would probably be the next step.

My figure is mostly taken from a discussion following JG's article and input.

I know Tom recently dove in on a $350 answer, so it's not like it can't be done for less; just have to figure out what you gain/lose or might have to buy more than once to get to where you want to be.

Tom1200
Tom1200 Dork
11/17/20 12:27 p.m.

 Sim does a good job with muscle memory and learning your marks. Sim is also great for racecraft.

BUT

There are some great on board video tutorials for almost every track in the country, so you can learn new tracks by watching videos.

You can start to learn racecraft  from videos; there are loads of online videos with telemetry. You can see what does and doesn't work based on telemetry. You will spend hours watching these videos, it's not a short cut it just costs less. Racecraft is nothing more than having an alternate scenario plugged into your brain and being able to access it instantly; note you need to practice said alternate scenarios once you are on track.

With that said if I were racing at a SCCA Majors with an eye toward the RunOffs I would most definitely have a Sim set up as well as a driver coach.

 

 

chada75
chada75 HalfDork
11/17/20 2:50 p.m.

I looked at Sim racing like this. The $1500 dollar budget you set vs. say, running a late model that Iracing provides is a steal. $1500 is maybe a local race at best. So I'd go Sim Racing first. 

BoxheadTim (Forum Supporter)
BoxheadTim (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
11/17/20 3:58 p.m.

iRacing seems to have relatively low hardware requirements, so I'd agree with the "you don't have to spend $1500 on new hardware" crowd. If you already have a PC, I would look into getting an inexpensive steering wheel and pedal combo and try it out before throwing more money at it.

Which reminds me, I renewed my subscription a couple of months ago, maybe I should get my behind in gear and actually set things up again.

Snowdoggie
Snowdoggie HalfDork
11/17/20 4:42 p.m.

Inexpensive steering wheel and pedal combo? Where do you find that? Most of the stuff I see on Amazon is a little expensive for what it is. 

 

I already have a nice four monitor setup and a couple of expensive computers for working at home. What would be the cheapest way for me to set it up to go racing? 

 

BoxheadTim (Forum Supporter)
BoxheadTim (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
11/17/20 4:55 p.m.

In reply to Snowdoggie :

I've mostly bought my wheels & pedals used. I'd have a gander around eBay and see what pops up. Get a reasonably priced set first and if you like sim racing you can probably sell it for what you paid for it and get something better. $100-200 should buy something pretty decent. I wouldn't got much cheaper, and of course the other end is pretty unlimited, but I don't think one needs to start out with a Fanatec Elite wheel and pedals. I'm pretty sure that my problem with sim racing isn't the decent wheel and pedals I have, but rather in front of said hardware.

aircooled
aircooled MegaDork
11/17/20 4:56 p.m.
Snowdoggie said:

Inexpensive steering wheel and pedal combo? Where do you find that? Most of the stuff I see on Amazon is a little expensive for what it is. 

 

I already have a nice four monitor setup and a couple of expensive computers for working at home. What would be the cheapest way for me to set it up to go racing? 

 

 

Probably to find a used Logitech G27.  That's an older model (what I have) but works fine on a PC (not ideal for new consols).  Buttons aren't ideal, but it should be cheaper than a G29 (you can setup a keyboard or keypad if needed).  You might even find one with a shifter (which I really enjoy using).

iRacing has a subscription, but it's not terrible.  Assetto Corsa has a low buy in (I got it from Steam), and an insane amount of content (mostly custom made).  It does require a bit more technical savvy than a console to set up though (not really a lot though).  If you like the classic stuff, I don't think iRacing has much of that (AC has tons).  Keep an eye on Simulation Central, we are playing around with setting something up with AC now.

I did a quick review of AC (with some useful links) in Simulation Central from the perspective of having been driving Project Cars on a PS4:  https://grassrootsmotorsports.com/forum/simulation-central/assetto-corsa-on-pc/174453/page1/  

m4ff3w
m4ff3w UberDork
11/17/20 4:56 p.m.

I have a cockpit and steering wheel/pedals from a thrift store once...

 

 

But the pedals/wheel are gameport.  Sucks that I can't use it with anything modern.

spacecadet (Forum Supporter)
spacecadet (Forum Supporter) SuperDork
11/17/20 4:57 p.m.

SO the market for almost all sim gear and PC stuff is still at all time highs because of the increased covid demand.

 

ProDarwin
ProDarwin MegaDork
11/17/20 4:57 p.m.
Snowdoggie said:

I already have a nice four monitor setup and a couple of expensive computers for working at home. What would be the cheapest way for me to set it up to go racing? 

https://www.amazon.com/Logitech-Dual-Motor-Feedback-Driving-Responsive/dp/B00Z0UWV98 + a scrap chair you clamp to the same thing you mount the pedals to.

 

Snowdoggie
Snowdoggie HalfDork
11/17/20 5:10 p.m.

$150 to $200 is quite a bit of money for what is essentially a used game controller device. I remember back in the day you could get a cheap joystick for ten bucks at the computer store. 

I guess this is a more expensive hobby than I thought. 

aircooled
aircooled MegaDork
11/17/20 5:32 p.m.

Yeah, used ones might be a bit tough to find with the recent increased popularity.  Controllers have come along a bit since the "old days":   cheeky

 

Atari CX 40 "Standard Joystick Controller" | Atari games, Atari, Game  console

Strike_Zero
Strike_Zero UltraDork
11/17/20 5:58 p.m.

I recently went through the song and dance with updating from my old rig.

Old Rig:

  • Athlon 64 X2 4200+ (Socket 939)
  • 4 GB Ram
  • Radeon HD 4670 (AGP POWA!!!)
  • SB 24bit
  • 1TB HD
  • Logitech G25
  • Acer S231HL monitor

New Rig:

  • RefurbedDell 9020
    • Intel i7 4790 3.6GHz
    • 16 GB Ram
  • Radeon RX 570
  • SB Audigy Fx
  • 1TB HD SSD
  • Logitech G25
  • Acer S231HL monitor

Upgrade totaled a little over $500. Nearly everything was purchased via eBay and looking for sales at NewEgg. It runs everything smoothly at max ultra stupid level detail. However, my old rig ran everything at medium details without any hiccups. I milked the hell out of a system built back in 2004. As long as you get a consistent frame rate, it will be playable.

If you are starting from zero, I can see you hitting that $1500 mark for everything. However, if you have a fairly modern PC, you maybe able to get in with little outta pocket cash. What is your starting point?

 

 

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