A pink BWT branded F1 car that is identical to the livery used by Alpine in the first three Grand Prix of the 2023 F1 season.
Image credit: Codemasters / EA Sports

Sim Racing Tips For Beginners: Dos & Don’ts For the Virtual Grid

Are you new to sim racing? Or just stagnating with your progress? Looking for mistakes to avoid, techniques you should know and tips on how to practice? Here are our sim racing tips for beginners.

Sim racing is no easy feat, and everyone is still learning, even those who have been doing it for years. No one bit of advice works for every player, nor every scenario on a sim racing title.

Whether you are a veteran or a novice and if you are driving on the F1 game, Gran Turismo or iRacing, we have compiled our best general tips that can help you out.

Sim Racing Beginner Mistakes To Avoid

Nobody can realistically hop into a car, virtual or real, and know how to drive it quickly right off the bat. It takes time and practice to become a truly quick sim racer. Everyone has a first time doing something, and it can often be quite daunting.

Sim racing is of course no exception, especially if you have picked up habits from other types of racing games. Our resident sim racing meister Jonas (or ChampionJoe) compiled a range of tips to give novices a good start. They include the likes of maximising the width of the track and optimising external software if needed.

One of the most common sights when observing new racing game players is a car which is positioned right in the middle of the road. Now, it is true that this is the safest way to drive. Sometimes when starting out, it is important to drive safe lines so that you can develop a solid foundation.

However, at some point you will need to start to attack the racing line a little more aggressively. Putting your wheels as close as you can to the grass on the outside of the track on entry to a corner will gain you lap time. Of course, the challenge is then to make sure you don’t clip the grass and cause yourself an accident.

Slow In, Fast Out

Most people who have been around the simracing scene for any time at all will have encountered this old cliché before. This mantra, the favourite of many a simracing coach, recommends that you prioritise your speed on the exit of a corner, rather than on the entry or in the middle. If you are compromising your exit by carrying too much speed through the corner itself, you will lose lap time overall.

It sounds simple, and that’s because it is. However, when you’re out there driving it can be hard to bear this motto in mind. If you truly take in its message, though, you will find yourself with a far better understanding of what you should be doing in order to gain time.

That is not all. There are many other techniques which can help you out when getting started. To hear our other tips to help you avoid making beginner mistakes in sim racing, take a look at our latest video now.

Sim Racing Tips For Beginners: Techniques

Now that you know what to avoid, now what you need to do. We needed a true professional for this one, so move aside ChampionJoe! We have an actual champion in the form of Emily Jones. She is the 2021 Porsche Esports All-Stars iRacing champion and also made it to last 2022’s Gran Turismo World Finals.

In this video, Emily provides tips on how to effectively brake, apply throttle without losing momentum and effectively manipulate the weight transfer of the car in a corner.

It is no secret that driving an F1 car requires a different approach than driving a GT3 car. But the differences in techniques can also apply to the platform as well. In fact, Emily also did a video on just that when it came to iRacing and Assetto Corsa Competizione.

We also interviewed Jamie Fluke who competed in the VCO Esports Racing World Cup, which was held on three platforms. He provided fascinating insight on how he and his teammates had to adapt to rFactor 2 and ACC after only ever competing on iRacing.

Of course, it is always a good idea to develop the best techniques for fundamentals such as braking and acceleration. However, there are more specific tips and tricks which the best racers deploy to make sure they get ahead.

Getting a good start, remaining consistent, and even simply knowing the rules are all very important things to practice as well. But then the question would then become, how much practice?

How to Practice

In theory, you could have unlimited time hotlapping cars in practice. But how much is too much? Plus, how can you effectively use that time? Back to ChampionJoe again, and he loathes the “do more practice” schtick as it is not a productive and helpful piece of advice.

There are many small things you can do to improve the way you train. Say you are starting to learn a new track and want to find out about the ideal line and corner speeds. Believe it or not, one of the best ways to do this is to learn from the AI.

When you turn up the AI opponents to the highest difficulty, they will drive close to the maximum of what is possible on that racetrack. When in a practice session, do not blindly follow the AI. Instead, try to watch and learn how it drives so you can replicate everything in online competitions.

Practice Alternative Lines

You will not always be able to use the ideal line in a race. That is why another tip is to also learn alternative lines for important corners. When you are in a battle with another car, you can use your knowledge to start an attack on the outside or defend your position on the inside. Get alternative lines and braking points into your muscle memory to gain an advantage over your opponents.

In racing, you gain or lose most of your lap time in the corners. To find the quickest way through a corner, not only do you have to know the racing line, but also when to brake. Use reference points like trees, special pieces of a fence, metre boards or the start of some kerbing for this.

These objects do not change, and thus will help you to always brake at the correct point. One key point, though, is to remember not to use shadows as reference points. This is because they change their position at different times of the day.

When going through a corner, it is also important to enter it in the right gear. When learning a new track, Jonas’ tip is to link the name you give a corner with the gear you have to use. This way, you will always use the correct gear to roll through a turn safely and at the highest possible speed.

Most Importantly, Have Fun!

With all this in mind, you are now ready to compete in sim racing. But of course, the most important thing you have to learn is simple. We are here to scratch an itch and have a good time.

There may be some bad eggs who don’t show respect on track, but do not allow them to ruin it for you. Let’s go sim racing!

What tips would you have for a sim racing novice? Tell us on Twitter at @OverTake_gg or in the comments down below!

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