Depending on who you talk to, you will always end up with a different answer to this discussion topic. We share our views on which of three, home gaming, karting or simulators in opinion reign supreme when it comes to giving you your racing fix.
Home gaming has progressed massively over the last decade, in fact the latest wave of next gen consoles are close to release and from all of the promotional content each party has released the gaming community are in for a treat. The likes of Forza Motorsport, Gran Turismo and F1 series offer levels of detail that weren't thought possible all those years ago and immerse the user in a photo realistic environment. Some of us here at Lets Race are partial to a race or two on a games console and it does offer a great experience, to the point that people discuss tactics and tyre strategy before the race in order to gain an advantage on the opposition. The GT Academy is a fine example of how good gaming has become, with Carlins own Jann Mardenborough winning it back in 2011. He had to prove himself as one of the finest racing drivers on that platform, if not the best in the world, in 2011 to win. That has now elevated him to professional motorsport which before the GT Academy was a distant dream for gamers.
One of the points against gaming though is the fact that it is quite a solitary activity, racing is a very social event and karting and sim racing can offer that element as well. While you can connect over the internet and chat with other drivers you aren't actually there. Racing is a spectical for others to be a part of, to talk to like minded people and build up a personality and notority within certain racing circles. You don't get this with gaming, you can be known but as the saying goes, actions speak louder than words, and you can't fully express yourself in the way you can at a kart circuit or in a sim centre. Now the arguement against the sim centre could be that you aren't actually at the race circuit, but as we said earlier the levels of detail certain programmes can create is astonishing so the racing is still great but in a centre you get the atmosphere of a crowd and the interaction with other people.
Simulator centres such as Lets Race and karting tracks allow drivers to show more of their passion, both on and off the circuit, occassionally not in the best way but even the more aggressive actions are still all part of the atmosphere that you just don't get sat at home. The other element that simulators and karting are better at offering is the sense of movement and the feeling through the steering wheel. When you feel the kart on simulator fighting underneath you, the rear of the car breaks traction, it locks up, you are part of all of that. Your adrenaline levels shoot up and the whole experience becomes fuller, no one can stop the grin spreading across their face. Karting gives you the danger element that everyone gets a kick from. James Hunt said himself that "the closer you are to death, the more alive you feel". Simulators can offer this feeling but in a safer more controlled way, upon impact with a tyre wall or another car the simulator gives you a kick which can have a varying amount of force behind it. Most professional drivers make their way up from karts, but as the GT Academy has proven, there is definitely a place for simulated racing in the motorsport world. A simulator just offers a much more immersive, real world experience compared to a games console. Drivers can hone their skills and improve their car control while sticking to a budget and in a safe environment.
The choice between karting and racing simulators is a very hard one, you start in a kart and to progress you have to have funding, in a simulator you can do whatever you want to do. From the WTCC to Formula One. Simulators can do it all and they are proving to be more and more important in the motorsport world, to be able to choose any discipline you want o an circuit in the world and race with other people in a full motion car is incredible and offers everything karting can, minus the wind rush and the tarmac rushing beneath you.