What equipment do you need to be able to compete with the best?
The big question regarding hardware for sim racing is what equipment do I need to be able to compete with the best? Do I really need to fork out a five-figure sum for the race simulator and all the accessories? One man showing that this is not necessarily the case is Walkenhorst Motorsport driver Christian Krognes. Although his equipment is not necessarily of the very highest standard, Krognes still managed to set impressive lap times on the virtual Nordschleife and challenged at the front of the field. “I basically sit at a normal table, on a normal chair. During the day, I work from home as usual. Then, in the evening, I fasten my steering wheel in place and drive for a few hours,” Krognes explained. His pedals are attached to a box under the table and there is no sign of a metal sim rig holding the whole construction together. That does cause the odd issue. “If I brake too hard, I sometimes slide backwards on my stool,” said Krognes. He is now considering making himself a simple rig.
Looking for the right simulation: how real should it be?
As well as equipment, it is also important to select the right simulation. Probably the best-known platforms, on which the BMW SIM Cup competitions take place, are iRacing, rFactor 2 and Assetto Corsa Competizione. They all offer a very precise simulation of real motorsport – whether it be the driving physics, the circuits, or the strictly regulated races against other drivers. “On iRacing, the battles are very fair, very open and very respectful, because everyone knows that they have to be careful,” said Eng, discussing the world’s leading motorsport simulation. iRacing offers hundreds of cars and circuits from almost every important racing discipline. From world championships and ‘special events’ to public, hosted and league races, no matter what level of driving or motor racing background, there is always an appropriate iRacing event for every user.
The rFactor 2 platform, on which the BMW SIM M2 CS Racing Cup was held in 2020, uses the ‘gMotor2 High Fidelity Physics Engine’ to simulate car-based dynamic properties for a host of road and race cars. Its centrepiece is an extremely sophisticated tyre model and clever features like the dynamic ‘Real Road’ track surface, 24-hour day/night transitions, and a wide range of weather effects. Since 2013, rFactor 2 has been a forerunner in the development of modern race simulators. It is currently managed by Studio 397. The latest software version includes additional features like DX11 and VR support, as well as further developments in the field of graphic performance and the integration of an advanced multi-player system, which allows software-internal support and the expansion of local and high-end Esports simulations.
The Assetto Corsa Competizione simulation, which boasts a realistic driving feeling and a large scope of series and cars, and is also available for PlayStation, Xbox and high-performance Windows PCs, offers beginners a very cost-efficient route into sim racing. Fans of endurance motorsport can have a lot of fun on Assetto Corsa Competizione, which is totally dedicated to GT racing. It is this platform that will host the BMW SIM Time Attack by Assetto Corsa Competizione from 2021. RaceRoom also offers an affordable way into the sport, as the basic game is free of charge. You do, however, have to purchase well-known racing series like the DTM, WTCC and GT Masters.