Welcome to the 2020 Quarantine! Where everyone is stuck in their houses and there is nowhere to go. Fortunately for us racing fans, Iracing has kept us entertained with virtual racing that seems almost as real as the real thing. There are televised events on the weekends and you tube channels all over the place that are chock full of virtual racing.
For some of us, this is new information. There is a whole virtual world full of professional virtual racers that run IRacing. This may be due to lack of funding, lack of time, or both. But these races are real races against real people and you can do this too!
This is not free, but it is way (waaaaayyyyyy) less expensive than fielding an actual car in an actual race. For the cost of competition school, you could have a super high tech sim rig and be racing online for the small (in terms of racing) monthly fee that IRacing charges.
I am not loaded with money so this post will not be about
spending $3000 on a super high tech setup.
This is about getting you started, getting online, and getting you
racing. This is what it is all about,
getting online to get racing.
I am going to make the assumption that you have internet in your house. Some kind of decent connection to the virtual world out there on the cloud, most cable service will be plenty fast enough to support the IRacing platform. I currently have cable service at 200MB per second running over wireless to my racing PC which is downstairs. I have a Lynksys Wireless AC1200 router which supports wireless speeds of up to 800MB / sec so it is perfect for my setup.
You need a computer. When I first started, I used my laptop which met the IRacing Minimum requirements. The screen was small but it worked and it let me get started without spending money on a PC. If you have a powerful enough computer already, you are all set. If not, I will make some recommendations below.
In the past I would have recommended building your own PC, but it seems that you can pick up a pretty nice gaming PC already put together with software for just about the same price. What you are looking for is a decent video card, the higher the number the better for a general reference. NVidia 1000 Series or higher would be acceptable. You will want an SSD hard drive, it does not need to be very large, just enough for the IRacing software, this does not take much so any size SSD is fine. Memory is important, but spend money on the Video Card before this, more memory is better and you will want at least 8GB. The processor is also important, but not as much as you’d think. I would make sure you have at least an I5, if you have money to spend go big, but an i5 should work just fine. Below are some examples of PC’s that I would consider purchasing if I were just starting out, remember, if you already have a computer use what you have.
Either one of the below options would work…..
AVGPC Max Gaming PC – AMD Processor, but it would work
CyberpowerPC Gamer Xtreme – Really Good Budget PC
IBuyPower Gaming PC – Steps up to i7 and 16GB of RAM
You will need a wheel and pedal set. This is the same as the PC, the prices and quality of the equipment can range from super cheap to super expensive. If you are just starting out, go straight for the Logitech G29, it is super nice and has all the features that you would want (minus the h pattern shifter), the most important feature being force feedback, don’t even bother with a wheel that doesn’t have it. I used the Thrustmaster T150 for awhile, but it eventually broke and was of cheaper quality. Also the pedal feel was non-existent. I’m sure more expensive pedals would feel better, but for the starter set, don’t mess around, and get the G29.
A stable place to mount your wheel and pedal set is important. You don’t want your pedals moving around on you in the middle of the race, and if your steering wheel moves while you are up front……Any desk will work with the G29 and you can put rubber feet on the pedal set so it doesn’t move. I use a Playseat Challenge seat which I can fold up and put away when I’m not using it. This keeps the wife happy and the room I use for racing available for kids and other activities. I would definitely like a better setup, but this works really well for my current situation and does not take up too much space. If you have the money, I would recommend it.
Now that you have the PC and the Wheel and pedal set, you need something to see it on. I am currently using a Samsung 49” TV that is mounted too high on the wall but it works. It is too high because it pulls double duty as a second TV and spin class instructor. That works for me and the setup in my house. You can use a standard monitor but if you are purchasing new equipment, a nice wide screen gaming monitor would work well, or just use a giant TV, it is probably cheaper.
So, if you choose the cheapest options here, you can be IRacing from scratch for about $1000. If you already have some equipment it will be cheaper. Racing regularly for less than $1000, I’m in!