If you’re into racing, chances are, you’ve played at least one racing game in your life. With technology ever on the rise and sim racing becoming more than just a ‘game’, Germany’s racing governing body, Deutsche Motor Sport Bund, has decided to officially proclaim sim racing as a legitimate motorsport discipline.
The whole distinction between real life sport and esport is becoming blurrier and blurrier by the day. Platforms like iRacing can provide a simulated racing environment that, with the right technology, can actually be a legitimate means of honing a racing driver.
After all, what do Formula One drivers do in their spare time? They practice on a simulator. That kind of tech is making its way into homes now.
So, in a press release from DMSB (available here in German), the governing body admits that there’s little difference between real-world racing and sim racing—with some important caveats, of course. They’re talking pro sim racing. The kind of stuff people get sponsored and paid for.
You are not an actual race car driver because you are really good at racing games on your phone or at-home console (unless, of course, that at home console is what enables you to break into the big time).
Plenty of folks on Reddit credit sim racing as helping them out in real-world driving situations. Lando Norris, who will be racing in a McLaren for the 2019 race season, claims that esports helped him hone his skills on the road to F1.
Ford is using simulators to test out road cars as well as the ones they’re entering in NASCAR—and Ford’s driver training program (including sim racing) has been shown to help out the average person focus on everyday tasks and multitasking. Hell, even Formula E and Formula One both have their own dedicated esport teams and series now.
The DMSB’s announcement is paired with the introduction of an esport sanctioning body, which is planning to establish a standard set of rules that can be implemented across the board in sim racing situations. That way, everyone will be operating under the same basic regulations.
It’s a big step forward for the legitimisation of sim racing on a professional level, and it compounds the understanding that a lot of drivers and racing enthusiasts have that sim racing has improved their driving skills, making them better drivers in everyday situations and, of course, better racers. The DSMB is the first governing body to make this ruling—it’ll be interesting to see if other countries follow suit.