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[Ars] Can you really learn to race by playing racing games? Ars takes to the track

post #1 of 25
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Before I get any further, let's get something out of the way. I know there are PC racing sims that have more realistic physics models out there. I've played a couple of hours of GTR but nothing more. But I have played lots of GT and Forza Motorsport, along with other console racers down the years, and that's the gaming experience I drew from as I tried doing it for real.
Are you serious?
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Trinity
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post #2 of 25
You can't, Clarkson tried it with an NSX at Laguna seca.

Good excuse to play some games then go for a race though.
post #3 of 25
It helps your ability to formulate the correct lines to take through corners, as this is pretty universal, but unless it's something like the simulators F1 teams have, it's very unlikely to make you better overall... except for maybe reflexes and concentration
Edited by Scorpii - 4/27/11 at 9:12am
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post #4 of 25
Thread Starter 
If somebody did this in real life just to crash, I don't see much of a driving future for them. That's what Codemaster games are for right (I love to crash. The damage effects are just so amazing).
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post #5 of 25
I think gran turismo is probably the best widely available game that could actually enhance your skills (if you use non-racing tires). Most games will only confuse you and make you a worse driver because they are so unrealistic. I'm not sure about forza but I know gran turismo used GPS data to make the tracks perfectly accurate.

I know that professional racers have used many different games to help them learn a track they have never driven on before. I remember reading an article about a F1 driver playing F1 video games to memorize the tracks. Even if the game isn't a good simulator they can help you memorize the layout of a track. Hell I almost have the entire Nürburgring memorized from playing it so much in the gran turismo series.

One thing I remember reading that was funny was that Jacques Villeneuve was the F1 world champion in 1997 yet he couldn't win a race in the F1 playstation game back then. He still used it to study the tracks but he admitted he sucked at it. So I guess it goes both ways. Being one of the best drivers in the world doesn't mean you can play racing games worth a crap...

I've actually raced competitively in SCCA Solo II racing so I have a little real world experience in race driving. I think a day of autocross training should be required in order to get a drivers license. Just a single session teaches you so much about car control. People wouldn't get in so many wrecks if they understood exactly what a car can and can't do in a controlled environment.
Edited by Epitope - 4/27/11 at 4:28am
    
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post #6 of 25

Gran Turismo is a long way off realistic. There's a sim on the PC you have to subscribe to called iRacing which is VERY close to the real thing. And one of the "alien" drivers, Greger Huttu, was so fast, they put him in a real racing car and he wasn't far off the pace of people who've been racing professionally:

    
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post #7 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Boyboyd View Post
You can't, Clarkson tried it with an NSX at Laguna seca.

Good excuse to play some games then go for a race though.
You can, Wyatt Gooden managed it in the Jetta TDI cup in the states after winning a scholarship from winning the iRacing series. He mentioned that being able to practise on iRacing helped him to not only learn new tracks but properly prepare for the race. He's not the only one too, there are countless others who do the same thing. Obviously its not exactly the same, but it certainly helps with learning tracks, bumps and what the car is somewhat likely to do.

Greger Huttu was the other one, he'd never driven a race car but he's the fastest sim racer on the planet. PTRACER's post has the video in, there was also a huge report in Top Gear magazine about it as they were the ones who came up with it.

The issue with Clarkson's test is that he used GT4, which is incredibly unrealistic. Same goes for this test. Had they used something that was very realistic, such as iRacing then it would have worked a lot better.
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post #8 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fusion Racing View Post
Greger Huttu was the other one, he'd never driven a race car
He doesn't even have a drivers license
post #9 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by PTRACER View Post
Gran Turismo is a long way off realistic.

I know GT is far from perfect but it is light years closer to being the real thing than Need for Speed, Midnight Club, etc...

I've heard of iracing before but never played it. Found this funny video while researching it

It's a pub match in F1 cars. The start is hilarious.
    
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post #10 of 25
there was a series on UK TV about gran turismo and they got people to compete online and the top10 got to learn to race for real and go an compete in some 24 hour race. it was called like GT prologue academy or something
     
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