Too little choice is not something SimRacers can complain about: Every sim on the market has its strengths and weaknesses, there is something for everyone. Raceroom is just one example of an entry with a broad variety of content – but it still took a while for the sim and SRU editor Yannik Haustein to get along.
Sometimes, things take time – like they did with Raceroom in my case. I had tried the sim time and time again but was never really convinced. Considering that RR boasts a big lineup of different cars including historic ones (which I always appreciate), this was somewhat weird. Opinions differ on the pay model regarding content, but in the end, it enables SimRacers to only pay for the cars and tracks they want, especially since the sim is free to play.
Thanks to the impressions of esports series like the CUPRA SimRacing Series, which I covered for SimRacing Unlimited, or the ADAC GT Masters eSports Championship, my curiosity grew again recently, and the freshly released DTM pack only added to this. Plus, I got a visit to the first race of the ADAC GT Masters series at Oschersleben planned in late April – should be a good idea to take a closer look at the sim that has that series officially licensed again then.
While my last encounter in the fall of 2021 had ended with “pretty good, but not my favorite” as the final impression, Raceroom surprised me this time. Granted, on my most recent try, I exclusively raced GT3 cars, but those were tons of fun – and felt almost as good as in Assetto Corsa Competizione. Races at Oschersleben, Spa or the Nordschleife made me want more, and the fact that Raceroom is among the best-sounding sims out there only helped this feeling, increasing the goosebump factor of an Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evo’s V10 engine even more.
However, my most recent encounter with Raceroom did also show that there is a lot of potential in the sim that is not used right now – or rather cannot be used. The engine runs on DirectX9, so has aged a bit in this regard. You would think that performance would not be an issue because of this, but since DX9 does not get along with modern processor architecture particularly well, FPS drops can happen from time to time – which is a shame, because despite the older technology under the hood, Raceroom does not look bad at all.
Also absent are a day/night cycle and rain, likely a limitation of the engine, as can be read online frequently when researching the issue. For endurance races in particular, this is a considerable gap – especially since driver changes are not possible, either. For competitions with drivers by themselves, this is not much of a problem regarding esports, but team events cannot be held in Raceroom as a result.
Meanwhile, the Force Feedback deserves a positive mention: The component was replaced entirely during the summer of 2021, a newly developed system has been in place since then. It provides a great feeling of what the car is doing to the driver, where they reach the limit or might go over it and contributes to a pleasant driving experience. The fact that there are suggestions for the different parameters in the settings menu is a nice bonus, making the initial FFB setup much easier.
In the end, the feeling that I should give Raceroom a shot regularly remained this time around. The sim can definitely be recommended for a few races here and there, and the competitions frequently offer something new, as do the ranked races. However, the hope for the addition of important elements like weather, dynamic time of day or driver swaps remains – one can dream, right?