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      07-16-2021, 05:18 PM   #1
Bunford
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What's the best gateway into sim racing in summer 2021?

Having previously dabbled back in the old days of iRacing with a Logitech Driving Force GT wheel and pedals that I've long since got rid of, just wondering what's the gateway back into sim racing in summer 2021?

What's the best simulator, both in terms of the title and it's playability/realism as well as the community?

And what's a decent low budget wheel and pedal combo nowadays for a PC/Xbox gamer?

I'm more into track racing rather than oval, rally, dirtcross and so on and am a huge F1 and DTM fan, so would be aiming to use these types of open wheelers and GT type cars to race with.

Cheers in advance for any pointers!

Last edited by Bunford; 07-25-2021 at 01:58 PM..
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      07-20-2021, 12:10 PM   #2
chasebish
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I personally am a big fan of Assetto Corsa and Assetto Corsa Competizione, and when on sale, both can be had for relatively cheap with the game + all the DLC. AC is a more of an all around sim that has a seemingly infinite amount of mods as the game is relatively old (2014 I think) whereas ACC is strictly a GT3/GT4 simulator, but the realism and physics is absolutely top notch. iRacing is ridiculously expensive and I'm not hardcore enough to pay for all the cars/tracks/subscription - I think it gets into the 1k dollar range over time if you seriously invest in it.

As for F1, I haven't played F1 2021 but F1 2020 is pretty arcadey when compared to something like ACC, but if open wheel racing is a must, go for it. AC I think has a couple of older F1 cars included and there's a ton of mods for other F1 cars too, but it might be harder to find online races for that.

For wheel/pedal combos, would probably recommend either Logitech or Thrustmaster for a few hundred bucks. Once you get past those two brands I feel like it gets exponentially more expensive. I used my old Logitech wheel for ages (Driving Force GT) mounted to my desk and only recently upgraded to a fancy cockpit setup - definitely not necessary but it is a lot more realistic.
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      07-20-2021, 12:18 PM   #3
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Chasebish pretty much nailed it. Iracing offers by far the best online racing, but is the most expensive. I've spent about 1k on it total over the last 10 years. To me it's worth it. It's still way way way cheaper than any real-life racing, so I don't think the subscription is that bad for the hours I get out of it. I don't bother racing online in any other sim, it just doesn't come close and there's no way to police other drivers unless you race in a league.

Assetto Corsa has a huge amount of content for very cheap and is very fun to drive. Get it with all the DLC. Great value. Race with AI and join a league if you want to race online.

The F1 games are fun and the physics are decent enough. Since you're a huge F1 fan, it's worth buying since the title has all the tracks on the calendar, which other games don't have.

The lowest budget wheel/pedal set I'd get would be the offerings from Logitech or Thrustmaster. Use those for a while and as you get more into it, save up for a direct drive wheel and load cell pedals.
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      07-20-2021, 09:52 PM   #4
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I've been on iracing for almost 3 years now. Trick to iracing is to buy your subscription during Black Friday Sale. You can also race rookie cars and their series championships without having to purchase any tracks. You don't have to buy all the cars and tracks. Find a car you want to run and stick with it. Also participate in 8 races during a season (12 races) and you can gain credits to spend on cars and tracks.
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      07-25-2021, 02:02 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by shiftdnb View Post
I've been on iracing for almost 3 years now. Trick to iracing is to buy your subscription during Black Friday Sale. You can also race rookie cars and their series championships without having to purchase any tracks. You don't have to buy all the cars and tracks. Find a car you want to run and stick with it. Also participate in 8 races during a season (12 races) and you can gain credits to spend on cars and tracks.
This is pretty much what I used to do with iRacing. I was primarily using the rookie cars and tracks until I upgraded my license class, at which point I invested in only cars and tracks that 'fit' my interest, i.e. open wheel/GT cars over any stock cars/trucks, and road race type tracks, rather than ovals etc.
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      07-25-2021, 02:07 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chasebish View Post
I personally am a big fan of Assetto Corsa and Assetto Corsa Competizione, and when on sale, both can be had for relatively cheap with the game + all the DLC. AC is a more of an all around sim that has a seemingly infinite amount of mods as the game is relatively old (2014 I think) whereas ACC is strictly a GT3/GT4 simulator, but the realism and physics is absolutely top notch. iRacing is ridiculously expensive and I'm not hardcore enough to pay for all the cars/tracks/subscription - I think it gets into the 1k dollar range over time if you seriously invest in it.

As for F1, I haven't played F1 2021 but F1 2020 is pretty arcadey when compared to something like ACC, but if open wheel racing is a must, go for it. AC I think has a couple of older F1 cars included and there's a ton of mods for other F1 cars too, but it might be harder to find online races for that.

For wheel/pedal combos, would probably recommend either Logitech or Thrustmaster for a few hundred bucks. Once you get past those two brands I feel like it gets exponentially more expensive. I used my old Logitech wheel for ages (Driving Force GT) mounted to my desk and only recently upgraded to a fancy cockpit setup - definitely not necessary but it is a lot more realistic.
I thought this may be the case. I actually used to use AC, and was about 2014/2015 I last dabbled. I have since purchased ACC about a year ago when on sale too as was silly cheap in a Steam sale, just never got round to it yet

I had been eyeing up something like the Logitech G920 (PC and Xbos wheel) or the Thrustmaster TX (again, PC and Xbox) as I assumed these were about the lowest level worth investing in. The Thrustmaster is more appealing due to the servo base allowing for switching rims for different types of cars and tracks, i.e. the F1/GT rim for open wheelers or tracks with tighter turns needing initial quicker turn in, or the full rim for the more rookie level cars where tighter turn circles is less important.

Anyone got any views on whether the G920 or the TX is the better option? And also, is it worth considering the newer G923 over the G920....though I head the new Truforce thing, being the main difference between them, is a bit of a non-feature in reality?
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      07-25-2021, 04:32 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bunford View Post
I thought this may be the case. I actually used to use AC, and was about 2014/2015 I last dabbled. I have since purchased ACC about a year ago when on sale too as was silly cheap in a Steam sale, just never got round to it yet
Both of these are great games. I enjoy AC for it's ability to work with mods. I can take basically any car I want and drive in LA Canyons or the Pacific Coast Highway. It's more of my relaxing driving sim. ACC is good but I found the online to be lacking. I'd do a race and immediately get thrown into something else. No idea my final position or any kind of competition feel. I've heard there are some servers with good outside organization like a league. I enjoyed ACC's single player driver mode. Like I said before, if you're looking for online competition against a lot of good drivers, iracing seems to be where everyone is. We just finished a SPA 24 hour race this morning that had 4 separate race time starts with a massive amount of splits in each of them.
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      07-25-2021, 05:36 PM   #8
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You didn't ask about state-of-the-art in Sim racing right now, but it's worth knowing. The biggest sim-racing development of the last 24 months has been DIY motion rigs. The SFX-100 system and its variants allow a dedicated enthusiast to build a professional-quality, 3DOF motion system for 1/10 the cost of the commercial rigs.

Combine this with VR, and the immersion is unreal.

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      07-25-2021, 05:47 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shiftdnb View Post
Both of these are great games. I enjoy AC for it's ability to work with mods. I can take basically any car I want and drive in LA Canyons or the Pacific Coast Highway. It's more of my relaxing driving sim. ACC is good but I found the online to be lacking. I'd do a race and immediately get thrown into something else. No idea my final position or any kind of competition feel. I've heard there are some servers with good outside organization like a league. I enjoyed ACC's single player driver mode. Like I said before, if you're looking for online competition against a lot of good drivers, iracing seems to be where everyone is. We just finished a SPA 24 hour race this morning that had 4 separate race time starts with a massive amount of splits in each of them.
I did notice the 24 hour races, mainly cos one popped up on my YouTube recommendations as it had Max Verstappen in it
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      07-25-2021, 05:50 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by diablo2112 View Post
You didn't ask about state-of-the-art in Sim racing right now, but it's worth knowing. The biggest sim-racing development of the last 24 months has been DIY motion rigs. The SFX-100 system and its variants allow a dedicated enthusiast to build a professional-quality, 3DOF motion system for 1/10 the cost of the commercial rigs.

Combine this with VR, and the immersion is unreal.

That looks like such a nice and clean setup. I never got mine to look clean previously as I ended up with cables everywhere

I am also considering a cheaper end cockpit this time, with wheel and pedals, and perhaps VR. Trying to do it on a bit of a shoestring budget though, but hoping to get there as it's the lack of immersion/realness that always has made me get bored of sim racing.
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      07-26-2021, 01:43 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bunford View Post
I did notice the 24 hour races, mainly cos one popped up on my YouTube recommendations as it had Max Verstappen in it
I've been in public races with Max as well as with Lando Norris, Zak Brown (who is surprisingly good), and Alex Palou among some other lesser-known pros. That's another awesome thing about iRacing, that you can join a race and get paired with pro drivers.
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      07-26-2021, 04:46 PM   #12
chasebish
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Forgot to add this earlier, but another benefit of AC and the mods is that you can download models for the M2/M2C/M2CS so you can drive your car in-game as well
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