Would We Hate Sim Racing If We Had Money To Race For Real?

Jim Glickenhaus… Son of a Wall Street banker, U.S. millionaire, Inventor, Racing driver, Collector of rare and expensive cars, and Owner of Scuderia Cameron Glickenhaus. Topgear called him “the coolest Jim in the world”.

Scuderia Cameron Glickenhaus currently developed 5 types of cars, the SCG 003, SCG 004, SCG Boot, SCG 006, and the SCG 007 which is meant to be Glickenhaus’s vision for a 2022 Le Mans hypercar.

By popular demand, I removed part of this article related to a misinterpreted Tweet by Mr. Jim Glickenhaus. Though I did not find it harmful in any way. Funny enough, some of the requests to remove a few paragraphs came from community members who actually posted the misinterpreted Tweet themselves.

While all opinions should count equally, it’s needless to say, that the ( misinterpreted ) Tweet generated some colorful reply’s from the sim racing community.

! Update !

After the whole Tweet debacle cooled down, a few community members explained a few things, and it became apparent that the said Tweet was not directed toward sim racing or any related topic. My apologies if any human or animal got hurt in the process.

Nevertheless, the topic of this post remains the same. Would we feel any different about sim racing, if we had the money to do the real thing? Is the motorsport scene as pleased with sim racing, as we think?

That said, some could argue that he has a point when he is saying that the only real racing is real racing. Is the motorsport world really jumping in joy to get involved in sim racing?

To sum it all up. The Motorsport fan and spectator count, has been declining in the last decade. With it, it has become increasingly harder for event organizers and racing teams to find the needed sponsors. For a while now, national and international sporting organizations have been brainstorming how to engage a younger public, and make them the motorsport fans of tomorrow.

When the COVID-19 pandemic took over the world by storm, and all public racing events were canceled, sim racing became immensely popular, and turned into somewhat of a hype. Sim racing hardware sales went out of the roof, live streams and media coverage doubled, and many people in lockdown became true virtual racing enthusiasts.

This rapid growth in popularity did not go unnoticed, and a good number of international sponsors jumped on the bandwagon, fueling the hype even more. Also, the international motorsport world took notice of the fact that the sim racing industry, could be utilized to keep their clients, and sponsors active. Soon we could witness a number of exciting sim racing events with a good number of real-world racing drivers on the virtual grid. NASCAR, Indycar, WEC (24h of Le Mans Virtual), GT, Formula-E, and Formula 1 to name a few, all had their racing stars lined up to participate in a number of virtual racing events, and doing so, keeping their audiences engaged.

So far so good. Many real-world racing drivers enjoyed this temporary trip to virtual land and some even managed to polish up their image, and enlarge the fanbase. Thousands of fans enjoyed seeing the stars in action while the real motorsport events were put on hold.

One could argue that things started to go wrong when certain sanctioning and operating company’s started to enforce the participation of real racing drivers in virtual championships. While not going into details, sadly enough, some professional drivers lost their job and/or sponsor after publicly venting their dislikes regarding the forced sim race participation. These events led to a situation where certain individuals within the motorsport scene did not dare to criticize the ongoing situation in fear of repercussions.

What also has a bad effect on how sim racing is perceived in the real world, is the minority of the sim racing community who seem to have lost all sense of reality and started to believe the hype. We have all witnessed sim racers who seem to put themselves on par with real racing drivers after winning in a racing game. (I know… Simulator)

For instance, what personally annoyed the S*** out of me, is the sheer number of constant childish comments by sim racers when watching a real-world racing Livestream with a chat window. Some have taken it so far that I personally feel embarrassed when they make macho statements about our hobby. Whether we like it or not. It is a game, and it will always be a game.

In other words, for most sim racers it is super cool, to see the real and virtual world come closer together. This is also true for some real-world racing drivers, as sim racing is one of their hobby’s or a way to keep a racing mindset in between races. But at the end of the day, most, if not all professional racing drivers want to perform in a real car on a real track, cumulate real points in real championships, and experience the real emotions of a real race.

So in my humble personal opinion, the truth lies somewhere in the middle. As motor racing is a highly expensive sport, the real stuff is just available for the happy few. For most people out there, racing in a meaningful championship with an exciting racing car is beyond the budget.

Mr. Glickenhaus stated in one of his replies, that racing at the local drag strip, at a local autocross, or even in the Baja 1000 in a stock VW is racing and would cost less than a sim rig. I dig it, but even that approach would prove too expensive for most of us. All costs involved, such as the car, insurance, logistics, safety equipment, and more, can quickly add up for the regular Joe.

That brings me to the title I chose for this little article.

For most of us, Sim Racing is a passionate hobby. Importantly, all I have mentioned in this little rant has lead to the fact that for some, sim racing can be a stepping stone towards a real-world racing career. I am pretty old-school myself. I have been a life-long racing fan and attended hundreds of international racing events. Not all the things that changed in the world of racing are to my liking, but the fact that a virtual sport generates interest, and appreciation for the real thing can only be a good thing.

So let’s not complain too much. We might not all have a bank account that lets us chase the dream. But hey… We have sim racing. The cars and tracks might be just pixels, but the drivers, the racing, the competition, the racecraft, the excitement, the camaraderie, and the fun are all very real.

My two cents.


Official Webpage – glickenhausracing.com