Sim Racing is Not Just a Game

Sim racing is not just a game, but don’t take my word for it. Listen to race drivers and up and comers in this weekend’s Sim Racing Roundup for more proof. People like Max Verstappen, Sacha Fenestraz and Derek Kraus demonstrate how sim racing is becoming integral to driver development.

Oh, and video games are also effective in developing essential skills in kids as well as helping them to develop as real-world racers.

This week I also bring you news of opportunities as a sim racer to graduate to real-world racing in addition to the usual general and sim racing news, tech reviews and sim racing tips and advice.

It is all here in this week’s edition of the Sim Racing Roundup. Its sim racing news for those that want to race in the real world, not just gamers.

From Sim Racing to the Real Thing

Sim Racing Roundup

Kaulig Racing’s Derek Kraus was finally able to go from the virtual track to the real-world version last week at Richmond Raceway. The Cup newcomer practiced and qualified in the No. 16 Chevrolet ahead of Sunday’s race. on behalf of regular driver AJ Allmendinger, who was at Road America competing in the Xfinity Series race.

The 21-year-old does a bulk of the simulator work for Kaulig Racing and ran four Xfinity Series races with the team earlier this year. Dover, in late April, was the last time the young driver was behind the wheel of a stock car in a competitive race.

I feel like this will just help overall from my side to be able to take what I learn here to use it toward the sim with making sure things are right,” Kraus said. “Before, I really had no idea what they drove like. Now I’ll have an idea and be able to take that to the simulator.”

Another Derek is making the transition from sim racing to the real thing. The Digital Journal profiles young sim racer Derek Gleason as he made his real-world racing debut in a Mazda MX-5 at Willow Springs International Raceway. He finished 5th in the event which he entered as part of a Sim racing team that was sponsored by a local car dealership from San Diego.

I think Sim racing is the best way to learn and improve your skills as a racer,” Gleeson said. “You can practice anytime, anywhere, and with any car or track you want. You can also get feedback from other drivers and coaches who can help you get faster and more consistent.”

Sim Racing Roundup

Max Verstappen is passionate about sim racing and has made that abundantly clear as he sim races most of the time when he is not winning in Formula 1 for Red Bull Racing. But he aspires to do more than just sim race. Box This Lap explains how he envisions a sim racing team where sim racers can showcase their skills and make their mark in real-world racing. “With his passion for sim racing, Max aims to build a platform that nurtures talent, opening doors for sim racers to achieve their dreams. The possibilities are vast, and Max’s dedication to realizing these ambitions shines through.” For Max Verstappen, sim racing is not just a game.

The video above explains the brand new Prodigy Search Committee providing yet another path to making it to Prodigy Week and your chance to transition from sim racing into real world racing.

Sim Racing is Not Just a Game

The Asia-Pacific Junior Esports Challenge gives young drivers aged between 14 and 17 a unique opportunity to display their skill in a thrilling online event. Held across seven iRacing sessions featuring a mixture of practice, qualifying, and racing, the overall winner will get the chance to secure a trip to Malaysia and participate in an Elite Driver Academy program.

The Asia-Pacific Junior Esports Challenge runs from 18th-20th August 2023 for those aged 14-17 and with a $25 (USD) entry fee. That charge is scrubbed if you already have a Motorsport Australia Esports licence. Run as a collaboration between Motorsport Australia and Formula Racing Group Esports, up to 50 driver slots are available. As opposed to a championship structure like Motorsport UK’s upcoming series, this will be a single event stretched across three days.

The winner of the Asia-Pacific Junior Esports Challenge will secure a trip to Malaysia and participate in an Elite Driver Academy program. Valued at more than $15,000, the prize includes flights, accommodation and the Elite Driver Academy training in September of 2023.

With the exception of on-track driving sessions, as these are reserved exclusively for Elite Driver Academy participants, the academy experience will feature a mixture of theoretical and practical training programs in Malaysia alongside real-world drivers – giving Esports participants a sample of an elite driver program.

Participants will need to be accompanied by an adult guardian during the event and all other expenses (e.g. meals, passport fees, internal travel) will be the responsibility of the winner.

More details can be found here.

Sim Racing Roundup
Nissan’s Lucian Gheorghe in conversation with racing driver Sacha Fenestraz

Nissan research has shown that summer holiday screentime could help turn gamers into real-world racers. Nissan Formula E Team race driver Sacha Fenestraz and sim driver Luca Ghiotto both say that time spent playing driving games when they were younger have helped them hone essential skills such as dexterity, concentration and stress management that they now use in their full-time jobs. “While sim racing is a more advanced form of gaming, the fundamentals of racing on a console at home are also the same, making it widely accessible.”

Not only will it help sim racers move into real-world racing, video games can also assist in developing essential skills in kids. Research carried out by Nissan also shows close links between gaming and gainful employment, with a survey of 1,000 people who regularly use video games for entertainment revealing 1 in 10 are already in a career related to their hobby, with 20% believing their hobby has influenced their career choices. One-fifth of video game players say their hobby has influenced their career choices. “Gaming can open up a world of career opportunities. Whether your focus is writing, art, coding, design or even motorsport – gaming has pathways to suit.”

Game is Hard looks at the the growing intersection of Formula 1 and gaming.

The worlds of Formula 1 and gaming continue to intersect more and more. From the abundance of F1 racing games to the use of sim racing by professional drivers like Max Verstappen, it’s clear that the two industries are intertwined. A notable development in recent years is the establishment of dedicated esports teams by every Formula 1 team, reflecting a deliberate effort by F1 owners, Liberty Media, to attract younger and broader audiences.

This relationship, however, goes both ways. Gaming companies are now actively sponsoring F1 teams and events. Tech giants like Workday and Salesforce were prominently displayed at the Hungaroring, and EPOS has become a prominent sponsor of Aston Martin. Most recently, Alfa Romeo unveiled a new livery associated with their controversial game streaming service, Kick.

Competitive Sim Racing News

Here are more headlines from the world of competitive sim racing:

Sim Racing is Not Just a Game

Sim Racing Tips & Techniques

Sim Racing Roundup

Sim Racing Tech Roundup

Here is a roundup of the latest sim racing tech news and reviews from around the world.

Sim Racing Roundup
Customized Vesaro V100 at the 2021 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix | Credits: Vesaro

General Sim Racing News

Sim Racing Roundup
Sim Racing Roundup

Mark Boudreau
Author: Mark Boudreau

Mark is the publisher of Motorsport Prospects. As a former lawyer, he applies his legal background and research skills to assist race drivers by showcasing the resources they need to make their motorsport careers happen.