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The ADAC Simracing Expo 2023: A Fair and Honest Review

The ADAC Simracing Expo 2023: A Fair and Honest Review

, by Mark Verwoert, 6 min reading time

Sim racing is celebrated every year during the ADAC Simracing Expo. In this year’s edition, our team traveled to the Messe Dortmund. A very credible and spacious. The goal of this year's ADAC Simracing Expo was to bring the different worlds of amateur sim racing, advanced sim racing, and professional racing together. This resulted in a well-decorated hall with various racing cars, high-tech simulators, and beginner-friendly rigs to try out. However, it wasn't all sunshine and rainbows. In this article, I will give you an honest story – the good and the bad!

From sim racer to professional racing driver – Meet Tim Heinemann

One of the most inspiring events of the ADAC Simracing Expo was the chance to meet Tim Heinemann. Tim is a dream come true kind of story. Like many of us, Tim dreamed of becoming a professional racing driver. However, again, just like many of us, Tim didn't have the financial means or connections to follow his dream. He did a bit of karting (actually won a junior championship), but he had to stop because the costs were just too high.

That’s when he thought: "There must be another way to fulfill my dream."

And there was… Tim Heinemann became a well-known name in the sim racing genre by winning two consecutive AMG eRacing competitions in 2016 and 2017. This opened the door to joining the AMG Driving Academy. And Tim continued to blow everyone away with amazing performances. In his first-ever race, Tim came third. In 2020, Tim Heinemann achieved his biggest accomplishment to date. He won the DTM Trophy Career with his Mercedes-AMG GT4.

If you would like to become a professional racing driver too, then it’s important to create exposure and financial means. In our How to Earn Money in Sim Racing guide, you’ll find useful information to help you on your way.

Tim Heinemann DTM car

Tim Heinemann's DTM 2023 car - Image bij ADAC

The ADAC Simracing Expo 2023 brands – Where are the beginner-friendly products?

So, the experience so far was good with a chance to hear from Tim Heinemann. However, we wouldn’t be proper sim racing nerds if we weren’t wondering about the technical side of the expo! According to ADAC, 287 wheels have been showed during the event. That isn't a bad amount by any means, however, there was an issue with the product tiers.

Entry-level sim racers were poorly represented. Large beginner-friendly brands like Logitech were greatly missed. There were cheap and unknown brands, but the quality of the products was poor. In my opinion, ADAC could be more strict about who should be allowed to stand at the ADAC Simracing Expo. This will be beneficial to the beginner audience of sim racing and help ADAC to identify with all the different kinds of sim racers.

There were beautiful and high-tech stands from the likes of Fanatec, Asetek, Simucube, TrakRacer, and many more. The innovations within the sim racing industry are going fast. From carbon-fiber pedals to ABS-powered braking, a lot of new tech is coming our way. That's something we can only admire and be very grateful for. The interest that professional racing is showing in sim racing is positive. This will enhance our experience and make sim racing even better. Bright times are coming!

What does this say about the sim racing industry?

It tells us that the sim racing industry is growing and slowly maturing. We are still in a high-growth phase where certain elements about expos like ADAC can be better. The stands could have been segmented better. There was also a bit of passiveness from brand employees. They weren’t necessarily reaching out to everyone that was walking by. It shows us that we are in a stage where technological changes and momentum are driving the industry. The next step should be to bridge the gaps and become even more valuable to sim racing enthusiasts. That means a more diverse product offering, proactively approaching and educating visitors, and creating more synergy between the different stands.

Live sim racing!

And of course, a sim racing expo wouldn’t be complete without some proper racing! You could try beautiful rigs with immersive designs (an F1 cockpit for instance) for the individual, but there were also great events for eSport fans:

  • Community Trophy Race
  • Professional Trophy Race
  • ADAC Digital GT500

The Community Trophy Race was an opportunity for regular sim racers to participate in a broadcasted event. The first two rounds were held online and the final round was live during the ADAC Simracing Expo on the 13th of November.

The Professional Trophy Race was an event meant for professional eSports teams like Williams Esports and Veloce. Teams participated in three remote rounds before the final two rounds which were broadcasted live from the ADAC Simracing Expo. There was a prize pool to be won of €5.000.

The ADAC Digital GT500 was a live stand-out single event via iRacing. Two drivers per car face a 500 km race. There was live commentary and the winner walked away with €2.500 of price money.

It is experiences like this that make me excited for the future of sim racing expos and sim racing in general!

ADAC Professional Trophy Race winners Williams Esports

Williams Esports won the ADAC GT500 - Image by ADAC 

Conclusion: Will the ADAC Simracing Expo in 2024 be worth it?

The ADAC Simracing Expo in 2024 is worth it because there is a lot to be happy about if you look at the 2023 edition. Innovation is driving the industry and more and more professional racing teams, like McLaren for instance, are participating. This means that our experience will become better and different in the coming years. However, just like with any other growing industry, there is work to be done. ADAC needs to include more brands for beginning sim racers. This automatically means ADAC needs to filter low-quality brands. Additionally, by creating a better synergy between the different stands and a more proactive behavior, the expo will become even better.



We aim to create a comprehensive repository to help you make your sim racing gear decisions. Check out some of our other detailed articles:

> A Beginner's Guide to a Sim Racing Setup: This article provides an overview of your entire setup.

> Best Sim Racing Cockpits: This article recommends the top ten cockpits for all budgets and compares ~70% of all the cockpits on the market in a simple table.

> The Wheel Base Guide: A comparison of every single wheel base on the market. We show the torque, platform compatibility, price and other relevant information in tables. We also have an article that analyses the value of entry-level direct drives, and one that recommends Xbox wheel bases.

> The Steering Wheel Guide: See types of wheels and the other considerations when buying one. We also have one that ranks the 12 Best F1 Steering Wheels.

> The Wheel Compatibility Guide: See the bolt patterns and QR Hubs of all the major wheel and wheel base brands.

> The Shifter and Handbrake Guide: A comparison of every sim racing stick shifter and handbrake on the market.

> The Pedal Guide: A comparison of all the budget and entry-level pedal sets, and the most popular mid-range and high-end pedal sets on the market.

> How to Earn Money in Sim Racing: An overview of the various ways in which you can get income from your favourite hobby.

We've started a series of posts where we spotlight different brands. To start off with, check out our spotlight on Moza Racing, and our spotlight on Simons Gaming Solutions, an up-and-coming manufacturer.

We also publish sim related news, like analysing the value of the Fanatec ClubSport DD, reviewing the Fanatec QR2 or looking at the latest WRC updates. You can also find articles about us, like this article about our visit to the recent ADAC Sim Racing Expo.

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