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Eight SimRacing Ideas for the Holidays

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The holidays are almost here, and with them, considerable amounts of rig time are upon SimRacers around the world. With leagues likely being on Christmas break and many friends unavailable to race with, this leaves the question of what to do with this much spare time – SimRacing Unlimited has assembled a list to give you some inspiration to make good use of it.

1 – Learn how to Race with Manual Transmission

Modern race cars rely on sequential gearing, and the majority use paddles on the steering wheel to shift them. Up until the early 1990s, manual transmission was everywhere, however, and it might be a handy skill to have in SimRacing – plus, the immersion factor will be upped considerably when you are driving 1960s Formula 1 car with three pedals and an H-shifter.

While the upshifts are the easy part, downshifting requires mastering the heel and toe technique – which we have laid out on SRU before. This will take a different amount of time to learn, depending on the person, so the holidays are the perfect opportunity to dig deep and put all three pedals to good use.

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2 – Recreate Your Favorite Historic Race

Whether you grew up on Formula 1, Group C sports cars, or DTM or BTCC touring cars – SimRacing has the unique capability to make it possible to experience what it must have been like on the grid for the races of the past. The amount of accurate cars and tracks almost knows no bounds, so you can recreate an event that might still fascinate you.

The obvious candidate is Assetto Corsa with its large selection of mods, but rFactor 2 might be a good call for this as well. While it does not feature all the different cars, skin packs can transform the historic classes in Automobilista 2 into something that looks the part rather easily, and the sim comes with multiple historic tracks as well. Bonus points for the possibility to set up historically accurate weather – so you are free to relive the enormous pile-up at the start of the 1998 Belgian Grand Prix to your heart’s content, if you like.

3 – Try and Perfect Your Rally Skills

Due to its nature, Rally is the perfect discipline for single player SimRacing. Whether you are into offroad racing against the clock already or are looking to try something new, trying to master the gravel roads of Finland, the snowy forests of Sweden or the rough Argentinian countryside, the world of Rally is likely to keep you entertained for quite a while.

The WRC series and DIRT Rally 2.0 are the obvious choices for this, but you might also want to take a look at for this occasion – its extremely realistic damage model makes Rally scenarios all the more exciting, and the sim does feature scenarios for Rally stages in multiple challenging environments.

© BeamNG

4 – Scenarios in

Speaking of Known to most SimRacers for its excellent crash physics, the sim has evolved into more than this. In fact, the most recent update introduced not only a rocky desert map called Johnson Valley, but also the accurate modelling of hydraulic suspension including Bypass Shock Absorber simulation.

Rock crawling, Rally, free roaming or races against the AI are all included as scenarios in the sim, and its modding community is constantly releasing new content and scenarios for players to enjoy. Even pizza delivery missions in an urban environment are an option – do not crash and spill tomato sauce and cheese everywhere, though!

5 – Fire Up the Old Favorites

There is nothing like a good hit of nostalgia – and the holidays might be just the time to dig out some classics to enjoy: Whether it is on PS1, Xbox 360, or PC, the titles of yesteryear are sure to evoke memories of all the hours you have spent on them when you were younger.

Some hold up very well even today, such as GTR2 – but it does not have to be strictly SimRacing, of course: A nice, long session of Need for Speed Underground 2 or the first iteration of Forza Horizon, for example, are also worth a try if you have enjoyed them in the past. If you can get your friends or family that you used to play them with together again for this, even better!

6 – Grind up that Rating

So, all your SimRacing friends are busy, out of town or otherwise not available to race online, but you still want that online fix. Should you find yourself with a lot of time on your hands, trying to improve your multiplayer ratings in iRacing or Assetto Corsa Competizione can be a nice alternative to race with an aim in mind.

While iRacing offers competitive racing around the clock, ACC needs the help of Low Fuel Motorsport for this. Trying to advance your license to the next level should keep you busy for the better part of the holidays.

© SimRacing Unlimited

7 – Try and Take that Perfect Screenshot

Photography is much harder than it may look, and taking nice screenshots in SimRacing is not exactly easy, either. Most modern sims come with a photo mode nowadays, allowing for enormous amounts of adjustments to fine-tune during the process of making the shot.

If done well, some screenshots are almost indistinguishable from real-life photos, and thanks to the high resolutions of monitors these days, they can easily be used for prints to hang on your wall, or for wallpapers for either your phone or desktop. Screenshots in SimRacing know no bounds – it is all up to your creativity.

8 – Freeroam and Relax

The year has been stressful enough and you do not feel like jumping into any competitive scenarios over the holidays? Luckily, that does not mean that you would have to stay away from your sim rig in this case: Thanks to impressive community efforts, Assetto Corsa has a multitude of enormous free roaming maps available, some mods even making it possible to have traffic on them to make them less empty.

Fire up your favorite car and some driving music of your choice and go explore the environment at your own pace without having to think about opponents, tire pressures, or having to nail braking points ahead of corners lap after lap.