The last piece of equipment you'll need is a wheel and pedal set. Joysticks and console-style controllers simply don't have the level of precise control required to sim race. If you're new to sim racing, don't break the bank on an expensive wheel. Get a simple wheel available at your local electronics retailer.
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If you find that you like sim racing and do it a lot, you may begin to wear out that wheel. When that happens, I would recommend replacing it with a Thomas Superwheel. My wheel and pedals are pictured above. Durable, well constructed and precise, they are available in a variety of prices and styles.
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I enjoy auto-racing on TV, but sim racing actually lets me participate in the sport without fear of damage, either to my car or my body. There were no computers when I was young, just gaming consoles like the Atari and Mattel Intellivision. Later, in college, a few racing simulations were produced for gaming consoles and computer systems. I tried many of them and many other gaming genres, but I always returned to the racing sims.
In , Papyrus' NASCAR Racing brought stock cars to the sim world and allowed computer users on a local area network to race head-to-head in simulated competition. I gave it a try with some friends and was instantly hooked. It is a lot more fun than racing simulated computer opponents and it is safer and far less expensive than real racing. The TEN service allowed up to 20 people to race against each other. While spending time racing on-line with TEN, I made many racing friends, including three of my current teammates. It was during this period that I started racing in organized league events.
I also had the opportunity to race against Dale Earnhardt Jr several times, once with Hank Parker Jr along for the ride. I recall when he told us that he learned how to drive around the Watkins Glen road course in the sim. Then he turned around and won the Busch race there a few weeks later. The team organized and expanded to five members. Since we had never come up with a handle for the group, we decided to choose an official name.
After a couple of weeks of creative thinking, voting and tweaking, we decided to call ourselves MountainWest Motorsports. The software engine used to simulate the experience of driving a stock car was dramatically different relative to previous versions. From left to right, there's Paul, Doug, Ted, Rob and yours truly. We continued to race in the WSRL through it's seventh season.
Flashpoint merged with Onlineracin. They keep driver and team rankings and hold numerous special events. I raced with Doug in Sportsman, finishing second to him by 34 points. Five members of the team attended, along with a healthy number of WSRL'ers.
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In the picture left the team is together for a brief awards ceremony during the weekend. The Copperhead Grand National group was incredibly fast and I did not race very competitively with them. Thankfully for my ego , Thursdays were not a very open evening for me, and scheduling conflicts forced me to set OSCAR aside. The positive side is that the change freed me up to race full-time in the WSRL with my team mates.
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As a side note, at some point since, Flashpoint and OLR split back apart. There were some more physics tweaks and adjustments in the garage to discourage unrealistic setups, but the major change was opening the game code to allow the enthusiast community to make modifications or Mods. This resulted in a number of new racing series and opportunities. The guys spent some vacation time in Northern California Leading up to Trish and my wedding. The team has continued it's expansion, adding Mark Rediker and Trish to the roster in Mark sent each of us on the team a surprise around Christmas in ' In June iRacing went online, providing open-wheel and oval racing for sim racers worldwide.
He had the line he wanted to drive and knew where to shift and when to push it even before his first practice lap.
How did he know? He had raced an exact model of the track on a video game. But for Smith, it was not merely a game. A rookie Nextel Cup driver who is scheduled to share the No. Every little bit. It's so competitive now that those five extra laps might be the difference in qualifying 35th or qualifying 10th. Several high-profile Nascar drivers participate in sim racing, as it is called, including Dale Earnhardt Jr. Hamlin, who finished third in the points race in and was the Nextel Cup rookie of the year, credited sim racing at least partly for his first victory, at Pocono Raceway last June.
Skill and a well-prepared racecar had something to do with it, too. Still, Hamlin had never visited Pocono before arriving for practice, having raced only the computer model. I think the biggest thing in the video games, you learn patience. Because the video games you can get in trouble a lot quicker than you can on the racetrack. You don't get a chance to restart, and the team really lets you know about that. These days, Hamlin finds himself sim racing mostly for recreation. There are online sim racing leagues in which drivers like Earnhardt, Hamlin and Truex compete. Earnhardt started an invitation-only league.
Many drivers own sophisticated sim racing units that cost thousands of dollars and are designed to mimic the feel of real racecars. Yellow flags can also be turned off and players can run any race distances of their choosing. The speed of computer opponents is also adjustable, providing a competitive race for players of varying skill levels.
The game contains many real-life drivers. The game is the first stock car racing simulator to include real sponsors on their respective cars. Alcohol and tobacco sponsors were removed, but alternate carsets from fans restored many of these. NASCAR Racing also gives players the ability to set up their car in a realistic manner by adjusting the airdam height, rear spoiler angle, gear ratios , shocks, tire pressures, cambers and more. Driving physics are realistically modeled in the game. The adjustable variables have a significant effect on handling, and the tires themselves will grip differently depending on wear and temperature.
Tires are modeled in much detail. The game keeps track of 3 temperatures for each tire, reflecting temperatures at the center, inner, and outer edges.
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Numerous variables can influence tire temperatures. For example, an underinflated tire will tend to heat more at the edges rather than the center. An incorrect camber setting can cause one edge to heat more than the other. Temperatures are also influenced by many other factors such as weight distribution, toe-in, driver behavior, and the cornering characteristics of the race track.
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Tires in the game perform optimally at elevated temperatures, but if they heat excessively this effect is lost. The player can view current tire temperatures using an in-game keyboard command. Dedicated players can spend a great deal of time optimizing the car's setup to perform at its best on a particular race track. This testing process is normally performed using the game's Practice or Testing modes.
It looks better, sounds better and races better! What a killer update!
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I've only raced Sears Point with it so far, as this is where many of the updates were made, and what a difference it makes. The improvements to the cars handling characteristics make it way more interesting. The original version was far too twitchy and too easy to spin out. Now you can get into and out of the corners like you would expect and you can now anticipate what the car is about to do I can't explain this part without using my hands. Let's just say that the body roll now can help you instead of taking you out.
Also you can now hear your tires flex so you can better anticipate when your about to loose your back end or when your about to push like a dump truck. This sim is a gas! Not only that but when I emailed Aspyr about it, it took them 2 weeks to reply and tell that they had only tested it with one type of wheel, a Logitech something or other, and nothing else. I also mentioned some graphics problems I was having and they said that the game isn't compatible with any GeForce MX series chipset including, apparently, those shipping in brand new 17" iMacs like mine.