Sim Racing is quite an interesting hobby that we all enjoy. Since its introduction in the late eighties, we have seen advancements in the realism and authenticity of the driving experience. However, there have been advances that brings Sim Racing beyond just driving. Now, we have the ability to replicate most of the aspects of real life racing, ranging from being a crew chief, down to designing the paint schemes for virtual race cars.
One of the first aspects of non-driving features was the ability to create your own customized paint schemes. NASCAR Racing in 1994 provided an external application to create your own liveries for your car. After a while, custom painting moved to the current Photoshop-based applications, utilizing templates, similar to how real life designs are created.
Custom painting has also transcended the virtual barrier, and has given many sim painters opportunities to have their work put on real life cars! Sometimes real drivers will contract painters via iRacing forums to paint their race cars. Dale Earnhardt Jr actually had some paint schemes in 2013 that were designed by sim racers. Sim Racing has provided talented painters with the opportunity to get their works recognized on a national scale.
It can be said that, while the majority of sim racers like to get behind the wheel themselves, others like the aspects of being behind the wall or in the spotter’s perch. With recent advances in sims, people have formed their own teams, which has led to “roles” being assigned. Spotting is a common element that has been replicated, either via the sim or through software such as TeamSpeak.
An evolution of the team functionality has led to crew chiefing. While in the past it has just been advice and recommendations for setup, modern sims have been providing unprecedented control over the car from the pit box. iRacing has recently rolled out their team functionality, which allows crew chiefs to make setup changes and adjust pit strategy.
Some people like to take their seat inside the virtual broadcast booth, and give their own voice to the racing. On the iRacing side, you can find great broadcasts, from broadcasters like as GlacierTV, RaceSpot, and PSRTV. The rFactor 2 side has some very interesting broadcasts as well, with RaceDepartment being one of the most notable broadcasters. Some broadcasts are at a very high quality, and can be quite enjoyable to watch.
These are just some of the many different elements that makes sim racing so great. There are plenty of other elements outside of racing, such as community forums and car modding, that have expanded on this hobby to a whole new level. What is your favorite non-racing aspect of sim racing? Let us know in the comments!