How Different Are Sim Racing & Real Racing?


Sim racing and real-world racing are getting closer in terms of realism, but exactly how different are the two and which is more difficult?

We’ve teamed up with World’s Fastest Gamer, @Jaaames, who has transitioned from sim racing to real-world racing with Jenson Button’s GT3 team.

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➤ Our sim racing course I mentioned:

James takes a look at all the aspects between sim and real racing including:

0:35 How does the feeling compare?
2:13 How VR and single screen affect driving
3:10 Do wheels and pedals have the same feel?
3:34 How does practice time affect performance?
4:50 Is the physical aspect of real-world that tough?
5:35 Is sim racing more competitive?
6:36 Do you feel the danger in the real-world?
7:39 Is sim racing or real-world racing more difficult?

F1 Driver’s Technique Explained

➤ Senna’s bizarre technique:
➤ How Schumacher’s style won 7 championships:
➤ Alonso’s strange steering:
➤ Why Verstappen will be a champion:
➤ How Verstappen is so fast in the wet:

F1 Engineering

➤ How F1 brakes work:
➤ How an F1 clutch works:
➤ What’s inside an F1 gearbox:
➤ How F1 teams change four tyres in two seconds:


➤ Take the Driver61 scorecard test and get a free report on your track driving:
➤ Get faster on track with our FREE 25-part tutorial series:
➤ Our real-world training programmes:


➤ My helmet:
➤ My boots:
➤ My gloves:


➤ Our sim racing course:
➤ Take the Driver61 scorecard test and get a free report on your track driving:
➤ Driver61 Sim Racing Channel:


➤ My sim wheel:
➤ My sim pedals:

#SimRacing #simVreal #Driver61

  1. clint hrris jr. says

    Most F1 drivers come from wealthy families with connections. It may be one of the most inaccessible things in sports actually. On top of that the margins of different drivers on that level and how much how good a driver is varies from car to car track to track it's hard to actually know how much we've missed out on in terms of drivers in F1

  2. Martwo says

    So I would be faster irl than in simracing. Not that it would be that difficult to do looking at my times 💀.

  3. Leo says

    This explains why I do a bit better than my friends at trackdays, but I believe the physical aspect of driving a real racing car is still significant for anyone who's not thoroughly trained. Just looking at the muscles of racing drivers make me feel the demand of physical fitness of driving.

  4. tzephon says

    120 bar of pressure? That's 1740 psi!?

  5. Igor says

    I do pretty well in Dirt 2 with VR and I do very bad without it. Depth perception is extremely important.

  6. Rafitamma says

    "you're using your sight, your hearing, your touch and your smell"

    Yes. Smell the fear from the fellow racers.

  7. anysimmers says

    Your head on the nail with the fact that sims are cheaper and more accessible. It's so easy to load up a racing game and play a few rounds for fun casually too. That's why I do it. I mean I don't play them as often when I was a kid but they're still fun every now and then. Plus my son shows me some of his games and holy shit did games improve over 20 years🤣. Great content, thank you😁

    *Just so I'm clear I'm an Elder Scrolls and Space Sim nerd lol, but I don't play racing games as often as in my childhood or the games I enjoy to often, adult activities keep me pretty busy, I'm sure pretty much everyone understands that too😅

  8. Phantom says

    James seems like a really genuine, well spoken and classy guy, I really like his personality and I think he has a bright future in motorsports long term as a both a top level driver and likely an announcer someday too.

  9. mry82 says

    I don't know about the "smell" point. I can smell by beer when sim racing! 😉
    p.s. jokes aside, great video. I love my Fanatec setups!

  10. Tom Hadler says

    Fantastic video. Reality just gives so much more feedback. I hope there will be advancements in vr and affordable sim rigs, with g-force simulation, or if real racing could become more accessible that'd be great too

  11. paul netzel says

    the danger makes irl racing because people actually space out and give each other room in a corner.

  12. James Mendham says

    I have to agree with the danger element. I’ve done both sim & track and in online and/or group racing, on a real track, no one is eager to run into you on purpose simply to get you out of their way, while that seems to be the automatic goto move for many sim drivers.

  13. JoshuaW_2 says

    My dad says gran turismo sport with a controller is harder than his irl car

  14. G Grants says

    Good content!

  15. Simon Cross says

    the issue with vr even on my valve index and 2080ti is there isnt really much depth perception. the cockpit looks brilliatn but outside the car the corners are pixelated and once you have done a few laps and the headset is sweaty the whole thing is over. great experience in the short term but no long term gain imo.

  16. Kurt Baldur says

    Bla bla bla. Sounds like some one is feeling way more superior than others. How much arrogance can you put in one video

  17. Audio Cracked says

    In terms of competition I completely agree. I have spent well over 10k building and racing a car that would never come close to any professional level events. Spend that much on a simulator and you can start practicing specifically for those events and get to the top of any class you want

  18. theslashmetal says

    before racing at Le Mans, Sebastien Loeb practised on the track with a simulator (in the plane while is was going back from the other side of the planet)

  19. Tom Smith says

    In sim racing, if you hit a wall, you restart. In real racing , if you hit a wall, you'll probably break a bone or two, and you might even die. Sim racing also has no extreme heat, real wet track(which can be unpredictable) or other weather conditions, which sometimes change from one minute to the next. There are a lot of reasons you can't truly compare the two. and why bother? It"s apples and oranges.

  20. Major OMG says

    This analysis is put together very well! I enjoyed listening to his sold argumentation 😀

  21. steven G says

    sim racing is far more competitive and harder. Already more sim racers then there are Motorsport drivers and you cant buy your way to the top like you can in motorsport.

  22. Sean Moore says

    Wouldn't you push harder in sim because you cant exactly die?

  23. Max P. says

    So in the end you can't really train that much to real racing, you just need a massive amount of talent (and money). Sim racing you need a massive amount of spare time and commitment to spend hundreds of hours on one track. To everyone I guess having done a bit of Karting, we all agree real racing is easier to approach as it's a physical activity when Sim Racing is forcing your brain to imagine you're driving.

  24. cmacdhon says

    It doesn't matter how much money you invested in a rig, and if you totally nerd-out and wear gloves and shoes, you are still just a guy playing a video game. If it were really that easy to become a driver, then it wouldn't be one of the most difficult and dangerous occupations there is.

  25. Plamen2007 says

    What a fantastic explanation by James. He's very well-spoken and structured in his thoughts.

  26. jockellis says

    Has anyone died in SIM racing.

  27. Toyz Kidz says

    Can a car swing?

  28. chuck guerin says

    Great video Bro. Someday I will get VR, since I am 56 with lung disease. Love racing just cant afford it anymore!

  29. Nekrokick says

    Note: IRL driving is way more realistic than sim driving. ✅

  30. nathan vu says

    the f1 sims are about 6 mill which is insane

  31. Alvaro Olavarria says

    300 hours or even more for each week?!?! But how many hours a Day? How many races a year?

  32. Tom l says

    I can drive a corvette pretty quick IRL, but I am total cram at sims.

  33. Emil Dahl says

    "God gave me an ok mind, but a really good ass which can feel everything in a car.”
    – Niki Lauda

  34. Venitha Herarth says


  35. Miika Virta says

    I tried to teach my nephew to drive with SIM when he was 17 and getting classes at driving school too, he didn't pay almost any attention to SIM neither the theory lessons and now he thinks he's Ari Vatanen (rally) and wrecking his 4k€ car. But I have also taught my friend who was 26 and been driving for 8 years. He wasn't understanding how balance, mass or power shifts through corners. It was very easy to show and feel* with sim just because you can try and try again until you get it, now days he knows exactly how to dodge a moose at 100km/h at night without going off the road and possibly hitting a tree.

    *when you can feel it with sim you can definitely feel it with your steering and bum 🙂

  36. XtremeBHP says

    Lando spends a lot of time on the sim and it showed last weekend!

  37. Mixup 221 says

    I don’t know if James will see this but I wanted to ask you James if since you have restricted time practicing before an event if your able to practice in the sim before you get your limited practice in real life so your more prepared because it seems like general handling and strategy in the game is the same but it takes you a bit to get adjusted to the real car

  38. X-90 says

    I trust you cause you drove a 720s


    Great review, well explained and very true.

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