Let’s Go Racing!
I watched Ford vs. Ferrari on the flight to PAX East and now I have this in my home office.
It’s perfectly reasonable to wonder how that happened. Plenty of people saw that movie and didn’t construct pretend race cars. I assume.
I had very little familiarity with racing. I had never heard of endurance racing or of Le Mans. I found the idea of a 24 hour race consisting of multiple classes of cars all on the track at the same time, fascinating. During PAX East I watched two documentaries, the 24 Hour War and Shelby American. On the flight home from PAX I watched season 1 of Amazon’s Le Mans: Racing is Everything. I was also reading the book Go like Hell and trying to decide which racing game I would download first when I got home.
It ended up being Forza 7 and I quickly gained a new appreciation for the game. I knew about these cars! I had read about these tracks! I understood the significance of many of the older cars included and I was really excited to test them out. Such was my hunger for racing that one game would not suffice. I also installed Gran Turismo Sport on the PS4 and ended up preferring it almost immediately. Here’s a great look at the strengths and weaknesses of both games from Digital Foundry. About this time I remembered I had a racing wheel in the closet. I’d purchased it years ago because I thought it would make Forza easier. That was not the case and so it ended up getting set aside. Unfortunately I had purchased the Logitech G920 and it was not compatible with the Playstation 4.
Back to Forza! But now on the PC so that I could use the wheel attached to my desk. I got it all set up, started a race, slammed down on the gas and pushed my rolling chair away from my desk. Thanks a lot Newton. Now seated in a folding chair, I tried again and shot off down the track. Now this was racing!
The next thing I watched was Truth in 24 and I learned about the game being played by the people who aren’t in the car. It turns out, the decisions being made in the pit were just as exciting as the action out on the track! My next game was Motorsport Manager and it was awesome. I even convinced Jerry to check it out. You can see our first crack at it here:
And our thrilling second go at it right here:
These streams are a million times more fun than they have any right to be.
Now that I was investigating racing on the PC I was seeing talk about a game called iRacing. I grabbed it from Steam and saw right away what all the fuss was about. In my mind I imagined myself a sort of connoisseur for preferring the "hard core" sim feel of GTA Sport over Forza’s Arcadeyness. HAH! iRacing makes GTA Sport seem like Outrun. This is a sim Racing game, which it turns out is an entire genre in and of itself. The game is beautiful and the cars and tracks are rendered with incredible detail but you don’t get the UI polish that comes with something like Forza or Gran Turismo. What you do get are cars that look and behave just like the real thing with the ability to fine tune every nut and bolt. I appreciate a game that wants to know how far my eyeballs are from the screen.
I’m still checking out new games. My current favorites are F1 2019 which is practically a Bioware style RPG as well as a killer racing game. I’m also just starting Project Cars 2 which I like a lot so far as it seems to have what I like about the sim racing games as well as the presentation I like from Forza.
With all these games filling up my hard drive I decided it was time to invest in a better racing setup. I was seeing some really impressive rigs out there and I had the itch to try it for myself. As soon as I started looking around I saw that you can spend as much money as you want on this stuff. There were chairs that cost over a thousand dollars but you could also just build your own cockpit out of wood or PVC pipe. In the end I decided to go for something in the middle.
First of all, yes I painted that mural on the wall. This room was the baby's when the boys were little. Anyway, I purchased the F-Gt from Next Level Racing. I also got the Challenger monitor stand. The reviews said it was good for one screen but a little wobbly with 3. I’m not ready for three monitors so I figured it would be fine and it is. The entire setup took a few hours to build and another hour or so to get it just right for me. For the monitor I picked up a relativley inexpensive 43” 4k HDR screen from TCL which I've never heard of but it was cheap and had solid reviews. It looks great and I’m very happy with it.
So was it worth it? I say yes. I’ve been having a blast racing with this setup the past few days. I’m putting practice in on iRacing with my eye on attempting the first Rookie tier race at some point. You can watch my very first practice session right here.
I’ll be doing more racing streams in the future so keep an eye on my tweeter if you’re interested. Also feel free to hit me up on there with any other questions about my setup or my descent into racing madness.