The leap from computer racing games to a global internet racing series can prove to be a bit of a shock to the ego.

You see, most computer racing games are designed to let you win. Race in F1 and you will be running with the Red Bulls rather than the Virgin, Lotus and HRT. The games may get progressively harder, or be adjustable so the driver can ensure they have the “perfect” level of competition, but the general idea is to enable the driver to win races.

Of course it is all a fantasy, though it is easy to convince yourself the reason you are not rubbing wheels with Mark Webber is lack of opportunity, money, time or fitness, amongst other things. Once those barriers are removed and we are all “equal” our true colours can shine behind our computer screens.

Don't waltz into iRacing and expect to beat the pros.

Don't waltz into iRacing and expect to beat the pros.

Until you get to race other human racers online, that is, and find yourself seconds off the pace in spite of being in the same car. With the cushion removed of racing against computer-controlled opposition matched to your pace, the experience of the “other” end of the grid is beckoning.

This is where we need to get our head around the difference between computer gaming and a world sport. Take up golf and the vast majority of you won’t expect to be playing in International tournaments.  In a life time.  Ever.  Internet racing needs to be viewed in a similar light – there will be a small minority who is truly world class.

That is not to say we lesser mortals should resign ourselves to being also rans.  Just as a “duffer” strives to beat his rivals be they his mates or in a local competition, so should we. It is just that the golfer doesn’t compare himself to the best in the world but to his immediate peers, and we should aim to do the same in internet racing. Consider it a global sport not a computer game and it starts to make a lot more sense.

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For some of us, it is not about coming in 1st place, but rather about the fun of racing against other people. I know the assumption that you are going to get first place in one’s first race is nothing but foolish. We can all make excuse as to why we did not finish first, but in the end, it comes to the point where we realize that all sports take time to get used to.

If you have no expectations, iRacing is extremely fun. Even though I am seconds off the pace, I have fun in every race that I have even though I might finish well off where I expected myself to. I came into the game with a slight ego, but knowing the reality of the world, I knew that my previous experience would help me knowing the tracks, not with the other persons on the track.

However with the different racing simulators out there, the mindsets coming into the game are different. Having lapped thousands of laps on Waktins Glen with different sims, using iRacing version of the track was an eye opening experience that took me off guard. It does not matter of nuanced differences or fundamental changes when it comes to a myriad of technical changes within iRacing, I am still wary of the track.

In the end, people like Greger Huttu, who have been fast on all sims, and who’s stats on iRacing proves that such statements are not true. It is all a matter of what you are used to and your skill. I will not argue that I am any good, however, for me it is all about the fun.

– David Bragg

David Bragg
April 4th, 2010 at 5:24 am

It a interesting article an indeed an important attitude to have if you are going to really get the most out of sim racing… although what iRacing has done it put a structure to the world of sim racing where for me it didn’t exist before. Somewhere you can log in and compete at your level without hassle but also within a structure that provides us with an opportunity to progress and measure if we are improving.

So while I agree with the sentiment it also needs to be realised that people are aspirational and you need to provide people with an opportunity to learn and get better and one day believe that maybe they could reach the pro level. iRacing provide a fantastic system for the novice to get involved and get started easily, but I feel there is still a lack of support to take someone who aspires to acheive more from being a average racer to a higher level. Some of the top guys post set-ups and replays which is great but it is still a massive learning curve to acheive more. Some interviews at least or structured coaching organised by iRacing from the top racers could be an example of what could be done, or are you saying that you either have it or you don’t and if you don’t just have fun at your level and don’t expect too improve.

Vincent Bird
April 4th, 2010 at 3:04 pm

[…] Racing Games to Online Racing: A Harsh Reality?   Computer Racing Games to Online Racing: A Harsh Reality? | __________________ "If you ain’t … you’re last". Ricky […]

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April 4th, 2010 at 4:04 pm

What’s said here doesn’t apply only to online racing, it applies to any form of online gaming.. It’s the same thing when I go into the COD4 rooms and compete for a team win or to reach the top of the board in a match. Good article!

April 5th, 2010 at 3:12 am

Good article, Tony. I think when someone beats a real life ace in sim racing, like say Dale jr, they don’t necessarily think he could beat him in real life too. But he knows that in sim racing, he beat a real life pro, and that’s worth a lot to many alone. Also, like how a golf fan plays the game in his local green, race fans enjoy sim racing to experience what it’s like and be able to relate better to what they see on TV on Sunday. I’d love to see sim and real life racing get closer though.

Sandeep Banerjee
April 9th, 2010 at 4:44 pm

shut up

December 24th, 2012 at 12:45 pm

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