How to get faster in the sim
At Driver61 we believe that drivers should be trained so they have the skills required to make their own decisions as to how to be faster on track. This means that we focus on perfecting the fundamentals first, which primarily include vision, braking and steering. Get these right and you’ll be well on your way to being a faster sim driver.
If you’re keen to dive deeply into your driving technique, and we suggest you do, then take a look at our free 25-part tutorial series called the Driver’s University.
It was originally created for real-world drivers, but as sim racing has become more sophisticated we’ve found sim racers are also learning a lot from it.
The Driver’s University will take you through the basics of the racing line and the phases of a corner, before leading you through to more advanced techniques such as how to trail brake and understanding how weight transfer affects grip.
In addition to the University, you can find sim-specific content above. These videos focus on similar principles but are adapted slightly for sim racing.
To get faster, more consistent and fulfil your potential in the sim, here are a few things you should initially focus on:
Vision is important when driving on track whether it’s real-world or sim because you need to give yourself the right information at the right time. Most drivers will begin by not looking far enough ahead, meaning they’ll likely make quite a few mistakes and will commonly “run out of road” on the corner exits.
The other issue with vision is that a driver’s vision is often not active enough when they should be “scanning” around different areas on the circuit. You can take a look at our Driver’s University tutorial on vision – you’ll be amazed at how much it helps.
2. Smooth Initial Steering
How you turn in to each corner, is actually based on where you’re looking on the circuit – hence why vision is so important. If you’re not looking where you’re going to end up, you won’t have a clear idea of when and how much to turn in.
Once you’ve turned in, however, the steering wheel should be reasonably smooth as extra steering angle or correction will unsettle the car. Focus on having one smooth increase in steering angle as you turn your car into each corner.
3. Don’t Overslow Your Car
Keeping up speed throughout the corner sounds obvious, however, it’s one of the key areas sim racers and real-world driver lose loads of time. Most drivers will try to brake too late, before actually reducing speed too much before the apex.
If your technique is feeling a little “lumpy” try to think about your car’s fluidity as you drive through the corner. Of course, heavy braking is still required when you need to shed a lot of speed, like into a hairpin bend, but just before turn in you’ll need to begin to blend out of the brake pedal. This should make the car easier to drive and actually generate more grip, leading to a higher cornering speed.
If you are interested in getting faster in the sim and learning skills that make you a “natural” driver, check out our sim training courses.
Finding the right sim software is the first step on your journey. There are quite a few different types of software that vary in terms of realism and physics. If you’re new to sim racing, the physics and feel of each game is something that you’ll begin to understand over time.
Here’s a list of the best sim racing software:
There are other less realistic sim titles out there such as the F1 series, GT Sport and Forza, but for the most realistic experience, we recommend the list above.
Sim Steering Wheels
Again, as with software, there’s a lot of choice when it comes to sim racing wheels. Unfortunately, to get the most realistic feeling the wheels aren’t cheap.
If you’re looking for a complete guide of how to build your own sim rig, there’s an excellent article here from Sim Racing Cockpit.
As with real-world driving, it’s critical to get the best feedback from a steering wheel as possible and without the G-force feeling it a sim, it’s even more important.
Here’s a list of the best sim racing wheels:
- Logitech G29
- Thrustmaster T300 RS
- Fanatec CSL
- Fanatec Clubsport v2.5
- Simucube 2
- Fanatec Podium F1
- Fanatec Podium DD1
The direct-drive sim racing wheels offer the most authentic and realistic experience, which naturally translates into fast times on track. Granted, the direct drive wheels are the most expensive, but the feel they offer gives an immersive experience.