I can’t say how much of my experience resulted from me coming to sim racing from driving games, but I liked the title. In all seriousness, though, this is a story of a highly unlikely, utterly accidental success.
The number of coincidences that had to occur for me to become a lifelong sim racer are staggering and anything I can do to help others realize the rewards (or realize them faster) is a worthwhile investment.
So, consistent with the title, I can confess up front that the purpose of this story is to unapologetically persuade casual sim racers to realize the true rewards of sim racing by investing in skill development. So without further ado…
So much of my early sim racing career was wasted on nonsense. Jumping from game to game ; combo to combo. Downloading every mod. Driving each for 20 minutes before moving on to the next. Knowing the next one would be the one ; until it wasn’t. Repeating. Misfiring.
Realizing I had merely become an addict, I called it quits and bought my first really fast car. After being fired by my lawyer after the second traffic violation, I decided track days would be cheaper anyway. That same day, a very talented modder from about as far away as possible released a stunning version of my local track for one of the new sims. I immediately got to work preparing for my first track day in the sim, enjoying very much the focus on a single combo, and ended up having an enjoyable first day at the track right from the start.
Coming off of the positive sim racing experience I had preparing for the track day, I decided to test drive a certain historic open wheel vehicle that was available for the same sim I used to prepare for the track day. I was immediately hooked and began driving the vehicle exclusively, impressed by how the increased physics detail of the new sim made every lap unique and by how this characteristic narrowed the gap between sim and IRL.
What happened next was both totally random and also what I consider to be the single most significant event of my sim racing career.
In the most casual way imaginable and without it ever entering my mind before and without any expectations whatsoever, I decided that it might be interesting to just take a peek to see what all the fuss was about with all this “driving technique” and “vehicle dynamics” mumbo jumbo. Maybe I could learn how to do something more than I am with this new beast I’ve taken a liking to. But trust me. I wasn’t expecting much out of this because your either born with it or not, right? What’s to learn? I drive a car every day. What’s to learn? I’m really good on a dirt bike so I got this. Right? Probably just a bunch of nerd engineering testing and setup nonsense anyway, mainly for untalented wannabes in order to sell books.
Well, no. Turns out, God did a pretty amazing job with physics. It’s actually a thing! I was captivated. It wasn’t long before the number of things I could do with the beast began to multiply. This is real XP. And there’s even this gizmo they call a roll bar that means I no longer have to fight the car. If that’s not a power up then I don’t know what is. Suddenly, I had an arsenal of weapons. Dozens of possibilities at any moment. So many decisions to make. So many things to try. Intensity through the roof. Now, regularly drenched in sweat after races, it was clear that sim racing was going to be a lifelong endeavor. And this was only the beginning…
Stay tuned for part 2 of this n-part series, “Dude, there are tenths everywhere!”