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By Jesse Simons, 6 april 2020

Sim racing for beginners: Where and how do I start?

Sim racing is hot. The steering wheels are sold with a high rate and the servers for online races are well stocked with many excellent drivers. Time to take a closer look at how you should actually start as a sim racer, because there are quite a few options. Simplace.co answers the most essential questions in the guide below so that you can successfully start as a sim racer.

Before you start sim racing, it is useful to determine a budget for yourself. You can make it as crazy as you want in terms of expenses, but this is certainly not necessary to start at a good level. To make a good start in sim racing, there are a number of basic principles that you should think about and Simplace have listed them in the article below.

Step 1: Which console do I need to use for sim racing?

There are simply two choices when you start sim racing. Either you choose a PC or you go for one of the famous consoles: Playstation 4 or Xbox One. Both choices have advantages and disadvantages. If you choose a PC you have a machine that is purely focused on running such software, the performance is generally slightly better and you have the option to update your machine over time. Moreover, you run real simrace games on the PC. iRacing, the largest and best sim racing game, only runs on PC. The same also applies to rFactor 2.

When you choose a console you still have a wide choice from the different games, but you lose a bit of realism. On both Playstation 4 and Xbox One there are several good games and you can also compete against your friends online. When you choose a Playstation or Xbox, it is good to know that there will be a new generation of consoles at the end of this year. For that reason, it may be wise to wait a while before purchasing such a console.

Step 2: Do I need a steering wheel for sim racing?

The simple answer to this question is: no. There are plenty of people who play racing games with a normal controller, but there is no doubt that a good steering wheel with pedals greatly enhances the experience of the racing game. There are countless options in this area and you can make it as expensive as you want. As a beginner, however, it is not necessary to start with the most expensive steering wheel, simracer Rudy van Buren once said: "Do not immediately go for the most expensive models. You won't drive faster. I use at home a Logitech G29 and it works really well. With that wheel I also participated in World's Fastest Gamer. "

When you decide to buy a steering wheel, there are certain brands that are recommended. There are manufacturers who produce bars for a reasonable price (€ 200 to € 300), such as Thrustmaster and Logitech. 

Do you want to go one step further? Then there are multiple well-known brands like FanatecCube ControlsEsportsim or Rexing with an unprecedented range of possibilities in a price range that is slightly higher than the aforementioned brands. In addition, there are specialized companies where you can spend an infinite amount of money to get your favorite set. For example, the set used by McLaren F1 driver Lando Norris will cost more than € 20,000!

Install your new handlebar and pedals in a smart way? Consider a stand where you can place your handlebars and pedals. These also come in shapes and sizes with different prices. Especially choose a setup that feels comfortable. Of course it is also possible to produce something similar yourself.

Step 3: Which games should I use for sim racing?

Depending on the console you chose to start your sim racing career with, you have a number of games to choose from. Not every developer releases her game on all platforms, but from the overview below you can see that there are enough options for every console and that there is something for everyone.

As mentioned earlier, iRacing and rFactor are the purest games for sim racers, but in terms of fun, it is not essential to reach for these two games. There are countless entertaining options that provide enough challenge for the beginner. Gran Turismo Sport is definitely recommended on the Playstation, Forza Motorsport 7 is also a few years old but also offers good entertainment during this quiet period Or Assetto Corsa.

Would you like to play Max Verstappen or Lewis Hamilton? Then F1 2019, the official game of the Formula 1 world championship, is the ideal option. This year, developer Codemasters will of course release F1 2020, but an official release date has not been announced yet. It is clear that the new Zandvoort and Hanoi circuits will also be included in the game!

Playstation 4Xbox OnePC
Gran Turismo SportForza Motorsport 7iRacing
Project Cars 2Project Cars 2rFactor 2
NASCAR Heat 4NASCAR Heat 4Project Cars 2
Grid - Ultimate EditionGrid - Ultimate EditionGrid - Ultimate Edition
F1 2019F1 2019F1 2019
F1 2020*F1 2020*F1 2020*

Assetto Corsa Competizione*

Assetto Corsa Competizione*Assetto Corsa Competizione*
Dirt Rally 2.0Dirt Rally 2.0Dirt Rally 2.0

* Released in the summer of 2020

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