Are you interested to know, how close the modern professional racing simulators are to reality? The answer is hidden with the very best – racing drivers. And who would be a better person to describe differences between the racing simulator and reality, than Lando Norris, a young Formula 1 driver driving for McLaren, but also great fan of e-sports and racing simulators?
Colleagues from RaceFans.net asked Lando on this exciting topic directly. Lando Norris, as a big fan of sim racing, confirmed, that simulators have many common features with real Formula 1 cars. That’s also why all the F1 drivers use racing simulators for off track training. As per Lando, these are the advantages:
1. When driving in the simulator, you get used to the track completely. After a few dozens to hundreds of laps in the simulator, you learn all the details of the track. So you can fine-tune the ideal racing line, timing of braking, and so on. In other words, in the simulator, the driver learns how to control the car as accurately as possible.
2. As the racing simulator software includes endless tuning and adjusting options for Formula 1 cars (incl. lower. Formula categories), as a driver, you get an overview of what can be adjusted, and how this change reflects in reality. While in real racing world, drivers cannot test every single modification and get to know the possibilities of car adjustment, they can check it immediately while driving in a simulator. It also brings significant advantages to real racing.
On the other hand, Lando also revealed the limits of the racing simulators and which aspects they cannot compete with the real racing. These are cornering and braking G-forces, fear and weather aspects.
The Formula 1 cars achieve enormous longitudinal and transverse G-forces on the track, that affect the driver and the simulator simply cannot imitate this. These G-forces affect the speed of the reaction, thus affecting the control of the car on the track to certain extent. Fear is also a crucial and strong factor. While in the racing simulator the driver knows, that practically nothing can harm him and even takes on more risky maneuvers. In the real world the self-preservation keeps him with less risk. Ultimately, this affects time and in certain situations also the race strategy.
Lando Norris presents himself as a great driver after beating Max Verstappen in virtual race of Spa 24 hours. He also mentioned, that in reality the result could be different. Even the slightest weather changes, mostly the wind direction and velocity can affect the behavior of Formula one car, due to its high aerodynamic sensitivities. One sudden hit by the wind can upset the aerodynamic balance and the F1 car can lose grip and ideal racing line. Not even the best racing simulators can simulate these unpredictable elements.
And what is the conclusion? Though the racing simulators are great for training, they cannot replace the real racing entirely. Well, the virtual world will never be the same as reality …
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