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As sim racing and gaming as a whole gets better over time, just how realistic is sim racing in 2021? And, if it is so realistic, does going fast in a sim mean you'll be fast on a track?

Before we compare the real world with a simulator, we have to understand that a simulator differs from a video game even though their roots are very similar. The gap between sim racing and the real world, in terms of realism, is closing at an exponential rate.

Unfortunately, for those who want to get into sim racing, if you want the best in terms of realism, it is going to cost a lot.

First of all, there is your visual sense. One screen in front of you won't offer the same dynamic as if you were to go with three screens to increase your field of view. This will help get you closer to what you'll experience in the real world. But, the best you can currently get for visuals is a virtual reality (VR) setup.

In terms of hardware, we (as sim racers) are lucky in a sense. This is because manufacturers offer pretty much the same as what you'll find in real-world racing cars, think seats, steering wheels, paddle shifters, sequential gearboxes and even pedals. There are so many options to choose from but, as for realism, what you are going to want to look out for is feeling and forced feedback – the more realistic you can get it, the better!

Before you go out and invest in your hardware, though, it is a wise idea to first decide on what time of sim racing you want to do. Whether it be Formula 1, rallying or Touring cars, your seat setups, steering wheels and configurations will all differ. You don't want to be racing around Silverstone in a Formula 1 car and have to pull on a large sequential gearbox to shift!

Then there is software. Your choice of simulator is a very subjective thing, and there are some fantastic options to choose from. Each offers an ultra-realistic racing experience, from cars to the weather, around real-world race tracks.

Currently, the top and most popular racing simulators include iRacing, Project Cars 2, Assetto Corsa, rFactor 2, Race Room and Formula 1.

We are at an exciting time in the world of eSports and sim racing as its popularity has grown exponentially over the last few years. Manufacturers are capitalising on this too, which means it will only get better from now on.

Sim racing has many advantages, and indeed helps someone drastically improve their real-world racing skill. Although they still differ a lot, you can learn throttle response, racing lines, braking points, tracks and many more useful skills in the world of sim racing.

Check out Red Bull Team Principal Christian Horner have a go at the Red Bull Racing simulator:

Take a look at the video below by YouTube channel, Driver61, on How Realistic Is Sim Racing?

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