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What is SimRacing and what does E-Sports Racing mean?
15.10.2020
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user-iconKevin Rohrscheidt
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Virtual Motorsports, E-Racing, SimRacing or E-Sports Racing? There are many buzzwords and terms that are mentioned around our passion. In our article we take a look under the hood and dive into the meaning of SimRacing from our point of view. For this purpose we will introduce you to the term E-Sports Racing.

Many motorsport fans long for the chance to race a GT3 or GT4 racing car over iconic race tracks like the Nürburgring-Nordschleife and get as close as possible to the dream of a racing driver. Diving into the golden era of motor sports in the cockpit of a Group C monster or formula car from the seventies is now also possible in an authentic way in Simracing, also written Sim-Racing or SimRacing.

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Ideal training option for racing drivers

SimRacing is the abbreviation for "Simulated Racing". SimRacing is considered an umbrella term and refers to racing simulations that have implemented racing vehicles and race tracks, and especially the driving behavior, with a very high demand for realism. In contrast to other racing games along the spectrum, the driving dynamic limit range of the vehicles in racing simulations is rather narrow and therefore requires a lot of training laps and patience. This includes numerous other variables such as vehicle tuning, fuel and tire consumption, and changing track conditions. The more realistic, the better.

By simulating vehicle behavior more precisely, the racing simulation can pass on more data and information to SimRacing hardware such as force feedback steering wheels and wheel bases as well as pedal units. This makes SimRacing a tool for racing drivers to prepare for real test and race applications and to coordinate new vehicle setups together with the teams. Conversely, for motor sports and racing game fans, this means that they can train and practice the same motion sequences, driving techniques and working methods as a real professional racing driver with a significantly lower budget investment for SimRacing hardware and software compared to real racing.

Weight transfer, tire management and vehicle control at the limits play an equally decisive role both virtually and in reality, and many basic principles can be transferred from SimRacing to real motor sports and vice versa. Lando Norris and Max Verstappen have been active in SimRacing since their youth and have been able to train their skills there. SimRacing is also based on a mixture of driving skills, professional preparation and technical know-how. The biggest difference is the physical aspect of motorsport, especially the G-forces that act on the body in the real vehicle. In addition, there are also real consequences in the event of a claim. 

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Approved as a motorsport discipline

SimRacing has also recently become an official motorsport discipline. "In no other sport reality and digital simulation are as close to each other as in motor sports", is the opinion of Dr. Gerd Ennser, member of the DMSB's executive committee and responsible for the DMSB's SimRacing activities. "From our point of view, SimRacing can be the entry into motor sports, as it is relatively inexpensive and can be practiced by practically anyone - by the way, also by people with physical disabilities. Concentration, reaction speed and basic technical understanding are perfectly trained in SimRacing. This is also shown by the pilots who have been able to win through in the SimRacing area in junior scouting competitions and have already gained a foothold in real sport. Now we want to make this possible for even more drivers".

Even active racing drivers who hang up their racing shoes can continue to pursue their passion in SimRacing. But it is not only on the driver's side that SimRacing offers possibilities comparable to those in real motor sports. As moderator or commentator, photographer or organizer of virtual race series and races, designer of digital racing paints, team manager or engineer, there are numerous tasks and fields of activity within the SimRacing community with which one can spend even more time than actual driving.

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Reach boom of e-sports racing

The keywords "e-sports" and "e-sports racing" have recently become increasingly present in the SimRacing community. They refer to the competitive area of SimRacing, but can also include less simulation-oriented racing games. The first World Championship in Grand Prix Legends was held as early as 1998. At that time, 20 drivers competed with steering wheels, joysticks and a modem for a small prize pool in virtual Grand Prix cars. 

Then in 2008, Sony PlayStation and Nissan Motorsport launched GT Academy on the popular Gran Turismo series, which took winning racing game enthusiasts on a journey into real racing. rFactor 2 was used, among other things, for the Visa Vegas eRace of Formula E, in which professional racers competed against SimRacing pros for a million dollars in prize money.

Both the Formula 1 with its F1 Virtual Grand Prix series and the virtual 24 Hours of Le Mans brought in record numbers of spectators this year. While Formula 1 generated 30 million hits on TV and digital platforms, the first official edition of the Le Mans Virtual 24 Hours, which took place from June 13 to 14, attracted 14.2 million viewers.

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Manufacturers and racing series have recognized the potential

Almost every racing series now deals with SimRacing and E-Sports Racing. Porsche and BMW, in particular, each have their own virtual racing series with attractive prize money at the start with the Porsche TAG Heuer Esports Supercup and the BMW 120 SIM Cup as well as the BMW M2 CS Racing Cup. With the Porsche SimRacing Summit and BMW SIM LIVE, there are even their own SimRacing events at the manufacturers' premises. McLaren and Ferrari are also active in promoting SimRacing drivers with their own programs. The WRC has its own Rallye E-Sports World Championship, the GT World Challenge hosts the SRO E-Sports GT Series, and American racing series such as NASCAR and Indycar also have their own virtual counterparts. 

SimRacing and E-Sports Racing therefore offer numerous opportunities not only from a driving or personal point of view, but companies and brands have already recognized the potential and reach in a young and technology-oriented community.

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