It is a well known fact that I am a sim racing junky. Whether it be iRacing or Forza, I love to get out on track and drive the wheels off of the most famous cars on the planet. Since I will probably never do it for real, sim racing offers me the next best thing. So when Declan Brennan offered me the oppurtunity to jump on Simraceway and give it a spin, I was all over it!
First thing first, Simraceway is not iRacing and it is not trying to be. The beauty of the sim is that is offers me a wide variety of cars I can drive. I am not restricted to just race cars or crappy street cars that I have no desire to drive like a VW Bug. Now the beta is live at the moment so it only offers me four (Lancer Evo 10, Renault Megane Cup, classic McLaren, and a BMW 1 series). However, a deal has been reached with the sim and McLaren. Whats that mean? It means that any car ever produced for the road or track will be incorporated at simraceway. So if you want to channel your ineer Ayrton Senna, you will be able to pilot his range of McLaren F1 cars. They also are teamed with the likes of Ford, Volkswagen, and Bugatti to name a few manufacturers.
Now one of the issues with the iRacing I have is the really stiff prices on cars. It costs $11 USD for a car when I get promoted. That is not really that bad when you think of it, but the BMW 1 Series I bought from simeraceway was 47 cents. The retro McLaren race car was just over $2 USD. The cost of the cars that you download are ultra cheap comparatively speaking and super fun to drive! They are all very detailed on the interior and represent their real life counterparts really well.
Did I mention the client was free? Yeah, no subscription costs. That is huge and really makes the sim available to a wide range of drivers with varying income. Let’s face it, we like free stuff and a free sim service with affordable cars and tracks is music to the ears. Speaking of music to the ears, let’s talk about the actual sim and its in game beauty.
The first thing that jumped out at me was the sound of the engine. For those of us who race on iRacing, the cars can sometimes not sound 100%. They are really close and still sound good, but the engine sounds I heard with the simraceway cars was awesome. I was really enjoying the Evo X at full song. The older McLaren was also amazing when you jumped on the throttle. For a split second I thought a Saturn 5 rocket had been ignited behind me. Needless to say, the upstairs neighbor was probably less than thrilled when my surround sound got cranked up.
The sound effects outside of the car were also very good. I could hear the forced induction spooling up in the car when I was flat out. I could also hear my race breaks squealing a little when they were not up to temperature. For me, that just adds a lot of realism that I expect from a sim. It made me feel like I was actually driving the car. After all, isn’t that the point? So I give very high marks on the in game sound.
Now on to the graphics. One thing that jumped out at me when I first started the sim was the graphics. They were so intense and detailed that my computer struggled a bit to run them. I was able to adjust the sliders myself to make it run a bit smoother. My issue though is this, not a lot of people have super gaming or sim computer graphics cards. Even when I turned them down, the PC had a little bit of an issue. Now I understand it is a beta and perhaps those items will work themselves out through feedback, but you have to make something that works on a wide range of machines. I will say though, if you are one of the lucky ones who can run this sim at full song, you will find it hard to race as you take in the unreal settings of the world’s best race circuits. When the graphics are on, they are on in a big way and it looks stunning. The detailed marks on the track and the nice environment around the track comes through very well onto your monitor. Again, high marks for graphics if you can run them. I am hoping that this situation will work itself out. Given the high caliber of developers working the project, I am very confident they will.
The feel of the track is also a big part of any sim racing expirience. You want to feel the surface and not feel like your are driving on a perfect black top surface. I want to feel the bumps and rumble strips as I attack the circuit. Simraceway has done a very good job of this as well. Mid-Ohio is a track I know very well and it was an option on the beta. The laser replica was highly detailed and felt good. I really could feel the rumble strips and the elevation changes were spot on. There were also a lot of bumps in places where there should be. So all in all I will give high marks on the track designs as well.
Overall, I feel as though Simraceway has done what it says it has and “blurred the line” between real and sim. The sim will offer a large number of challenges and events to choose from and anyone can take part. That teamed with the affordable cost and amazing in-game feel, makes this a real winner and a must have for any racing enthusiast. You can head over right now and sign up for the free beta and be racing within minutes. This is a beta and with all betas, there can be issues. Simraceway has a staff on site to answer any questions and take your feedback. That speaks volumes to be honest and a lot of game companies these days are content with putting a product on the market untested and full of bugs.
Head over to simraceway.com and get registered. It is a real treat and I can’t wait until the real version goes live in the very near future. Best of luck and we will see you on track for sure!