Originally Posted by Epitope
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 NÃ¼rburgring 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.
World Touring Car Championship drivers (these are ex-F1 guys, top notch racing, FIA's 3rd most important championship, after F1 and WRC) and they use SimBin's Race series of games in memorize the tracks. The physics in Race On (Race series newest game) are spot on, very very immersive and "realistic".
Hell, I can literally drive through in my brain: Macau's Guia circuit and UK's Brands Hatch because I have played it so much. As a fun fact, I hold the fastest lap times online in Macau's Guia circuit
For the most immersive experience, you will need a racing wheel (G25 because it has sequential shifter, G27 does not.)
A proper racing seat with the "cage".
FM3, Race Pro
Fanatec 911 GT2 wheel (far better than xbox wheel as it has a shifter, but G25 still beats it)
iRacing, Race On, etc. etc. (too many great games!)