Racing games as training grounds: how professional F1 drivers use racing games

Racing games as training grounds: how professional F1 drivers use racing games

Racing games as training grounds: how professional F1 drivers use racing games

Unlike other sports video games including NBA 2K and FIFA, racing games like the F1 series and iRacing offer a unique appeal that you won’t find anywhere else.

With a full sim racing setup, gamers can truly experience what it's like to drive these iconic cars on a deeply immersive level, so immersive in fact that professional F1 drivers often use these racing games for training (and for fun as well).

The increasing popularity of sim racing has brought a whole new group of fans to professional motorsports like F1, who have the opportunity to bet on their favorite drivers and races through elite platforms like the Parx sportsbook app.

Which F1 Drivers use racing games?

While plenty of F1 drivers use racing games, Lando Norris is certainly the most prolific. McLarens young star is one of the top drivers on the grid, and he’s been an avid fan of sim racing since he was 11 years old.

But, the British sensation has certainly upgraded from playing Gran Turismo on his dad's Playstation, now rocking a state-of-the-art sim racing setup headlined by a top-of-the-line CoolPerformance GT Racing cockpit.

So why has Norris spent thousands of hours (and dollars) on basically doing a virtual version of his job? Well, a lot of it stems from pure old-fashioned competition.

“One of the more appealing things is the competitiveness,” Norris says. “We get the same buzz for that and trying to perfect a lap, trying to be P1 in a very competitive field, you still get just as much of a buzz and enjoy it as much as we do from doing it for real.”

Speaking of competition, the driver destroying the F1 grid right now is also an avid sim racing fan. Max Verstappen can often be seen streaming iRacing on Twitch and actually teamed up with Norris back in 2020 to win the virtual 24 hours of LeMans.

Since the COVID-19 pandemic, sim racing has seen a massive increase in popularity as many have realized just how similar to the real thing they are. Estimates from 2020 by Grand Review Research valued the Simulator Gaming industry at nearly $4.5 billion, with 12.1% growth by 2027.

Not only are more people playing sim racing games, but the sport has become one of the most popular categories on streaming platforms such as Twitch. For example, iRacing consistently receives over 1 million watch hours per month on the site, with thousands of concurrent viewers turning into the most popular streams from elite sim drivers and professional racers.

With its unique connection between real life and virtual sport, many in the industry believe sim racing will only grow in popularity as more people appreciate and recognize its unique appeal.

“I think eSports will only grow. Due to the fact that you can transfer the skill from sim racing to real racing, I fundamentally believe that eSports will only continue to grow in popularity, seriousness, and involvement,” said professional eSports driver Lucas Blakely. Hopefully, one day, for example, you see F1 eSports competing on the same day of a Grand Prix weekend.”

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