Have Your Say – What’s the Hardest Style of Sim Racing?

Hardest Types of Sim Racing.jpg
Sim racing is a diverse hobby, encompassing dozens of categories and sub-categories. Which do you find to be the most challenging?

In our latest Have Your Say article, where your responses are the real story, we want to hear about what style(s) of driving you struggle with in sim racing. Whether it’s something you can’t seem to grasp despite a concerted effort to learn, something that involves skills you’re too intimidated to learn, something you thought you understood before looking at a leaderboard ranking, or any other reason, we want to hear it. Below are some ideas, but whatever makes you shake your head in frustration, we want to hear about it in the comments below.
  • Drifting – Whereas some driving styles involve frantic activity from the driver, drifting done right is smooth and seems like it should be achievable. Scratch the surface of drifting, however, and you realize that drivers are sustaining perfect levels of traction loss in high-horsepower cars while moving the car around a complex course just inches from surrounding walls.
  • Rally racing – Speaking of traction loss, how about taking a racing car with acceleration comparable to the best supercars out to snow or dirt covered winding tracks, often at the edge of a cliff. Oh, and you probably won’t have the course memorized; you’ll need to listen to coded calls from your passenger to determine what challenges are ahead, only seconds before you come across them.
  • Formula 1 – Whether it's the modern generation of F1, which are the fastest cars to ever compete in a race series, or older, more unforgiving F1 cars with brutal speed and less downforce, watching real-life F1 drivers gives us an appreciation the incredible pace and precision demanded by these cars. This is something hard to replicate for most of us at home.
These are just a few examples, but of course we want to hear your specific story. What is the most difficult form of racing for you?
About author
Mike Smith
I have been obsessed with sim racing and racing games since the 1980's. My first taste of live auto racing was in 1988, and I couldn't get enough ever since. Lead writer for RaceDepartment, and owner of SimRacing604 and its YouTube channel. Favourite sims include Assetto Corsa Competizione, Assetto Corsa, rFactor 2, Automobilista 2, DiRT Rally 2 - On Twitter as @simracing604


For me it is Rally Raid. If there is a propper map the chances to get lost are big. Also you have to be carefull not to overlook huge dunes while focusing on the navigation. Sadly Dakar 18 was the best Game to experience this in years. But i have hopes for the new Dakar game coming out.
A very good topic to discuss! I was just thinking about this the other night.

For me, it has to be Rally. While I do enjoy it a lot, I am not very good at it, and if I manage to nail a stage, I tend to screw it up at the next one. I think it is a practice thing, however, and most of my racing is done on tarmac, so it would be weird if I did worse there :D
To add a sub-category, open-wheel oval racing is tough as nails as well. As an avid IndyCar fan, I love it, as it is thrilling and very satisfying if done right, but it's such a different discipline compared to road course racing that a lot of driving and setup tricks do not apply here. The experience is really damn cool, however, especially on super speedways.

Drifting, on the other hand, I have never tried, so it is not part of the equation for me. Though I suppose if you want to be very exact, my answer would have to be drifting then, unless I possess an unknown talent for it :D
I find anything with no electronics the most challenging, it's also the most enjoyable for me.

I also just got back into RBR in VR. Damn that's challenging! Not quite as enjoyable....
For me, Rally or Endurance racing for different, incomparable reasons.

Rally is intense, high input and it feels incredibly dangerous, even in a sim. It's all instinct, to take in so much information fast enough and maximize every corner, especially on a stage you don't know. Although running a stage with no prior knowledge is the most fun for me.

Endurance races (especially 24 hours) are exhausting, but the slow burn type. Keeping clean but fast and consistent is difficult. Doing so while keeping to a strategy, keeping in mind the bigger picture even more so. And then you wake up at 4AM after 2 hours sleep for a triple stint, having already done 4 hours racing before you slept.
For me after giving it much thought and analysis or what I think I do well I would have to say the sim that I have trouble with is the one that has wheels!
Rallying for me, too.

Althought I'm getting better through practice I'm still not great. On the other hand it provides a lot of fun and challenges. You can learn the stages if you repeat them enough. Like with every other sim/car/track combination you need a good setup otherwise you're totally lost and cars can really become undriveable. The one thing that frustrates me the most is that every now and then the co-driver gives false calls.

Drifting I'm also not good at all but I also don't have any interest to learn it.
Rally and Drifting, always sucked at both, can't get the feeling of it, don't care enough to put in the effort either.

Also anything non-ABS always takes me a while to get into. Non-TC is easier to adapt to
Haven't raced F1 is years, but back in LFS I had a weird "talent" regarding the smaller Formula cars, and a much easier time keeping up with the field compared to the other car classes.

Can't drift to save my life, but never really tried it as my old wheel was just unfit for it (DFGT, too slow)

Always did ok with rally, out of the three it provides the most fun :thumbsup:
Drifting. I can't do it for toffee.
I couldn't until I got a wheel that rotated faster then it all came together. Not amazingly but better than not being able to transition at all. Drifting is more of a guilty pleasure for me, I always feel like I've sort of wasted my time on it when I could have been putting more into actual racecraft.
Multiclass... on the slower car. You have to deal with your own race and that of others, in a situation you have little control of because the faster class is the one that does the overtaking and you in the slower car have to remain predictable while trying not to lose too much time in the process in order not to ruin your own race (and potentially that of others). It demands extra awareness of the difference in speed, racing lines, and the track (the place you are at the moment of overtake, types of corners, length of straights, ammount of cars coming through). You have to do a lot of math at high speed. Also, it requires you to be patient and remain cool and civil, especially when it goes wrong. Which does... luckily the crew I race with atm is an example of sportsmanship in this regard. :coffee:
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Definitely (old style) flat-screen racing. Without any sense of scale/distance you're relying solely on muscle memory and remembering the exact breaking points in two dimensions - very tricky. Similar to driving a driverless car from the pits from behind a monitor.. 'detached' and limited spatial awareness. Those old flat-screeners have some serious skills!

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Mike Smith
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What is the reason for your passion for sim racing?

  • Watching real motorsport

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  • Physics and mechanics

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  • Practice for real racing

    Votes: 17 14.8%
  • Community and simracers

    Votes: 26 22.6%