The joys of racing are universal. I remember the time I won online in Monaco in the rain with an overtake on the last lap. It was electric. I can travel the speed world of the affluent debutante at a fraction of the cost. I’ve driven hundreds of laps around laser-painted Monza in digital Ferraris, so much so that I’m convinced I can handle a normal car around this track. Monaco, with its tight corners and wide concrete barriers, takes me a few days (and sour drinks) every season to Formula 1 action.
Sim racing has made me appreciate the true skill of actual racing drivers. I can’t press all the buttons I need — override, DRS, differential adjustment, shuffle — in almost any game I play. “I rely on all kinds of help to keep me in the chase at all. People like Verstappen and Hamilton, among many other drivers in various fields of racing, do these things while enduring G-forces and crazy temperatures with shockingly little variation, lap after lap. It’s Like watching Joshua Bell Play the classical violin softly in time while walking across the hottest coals.
For me and many fake racers, sim racing offers a great way to get around the track without the risks of reality (or the expense, or the weather, or the lack of tasty drinks). You can truly drive around world-famous locations and test your mettle with near-real pedal inputs and wheel inputs. Then you can go inside to feed your dog dinner.
When you get past how ridiculous it is to make sports so close to reality in such an accessible way, it’s quite exciting. Hamilton’s half-brother Nicholas is a physically disabled sim racer turned professional driver (With a car modified for his needs). Whether you use a pad or a wheel and pedals, sim racing means a safer, more accessible time for everyone, regardless of age, location or physical ability. You can participate in teams, tournaments and many other events in the major games. Simulator racing games, like top-tier iRacing, require you to earn safety points and spend time in lower-level classes before you can race faster cars, just like in real life. Be good enough, and you might literally race against real Formula 1 drivers on their weeks off.
Another great thing about sim racing is that it saves me money in another way: this sim setup is so good, it instantly silences any middle-aged desire to buy a muscle car. When you can race your mid-engined Ferrari GT3 between slices of pizza, crash it into a wall, and hit the reset button, it’s hard to imagine changing the oil on a real car (let alone the front end). I completely understand the Ferrari driver’s reason Carlos Sainz was driving a Volkswagen Golf For years.
One thing I am an act Buy, after long hours and some rough hands: custom red, yellow and green racing gloves with my last name engraved on the wrists. I’ll probably never go to Monza in real life, but you have to look at it carefully. Even if it’s only in my fantasies.
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