Sim racing can be expensive, especially when you end up buying things or services that you don’t need. It’s called buyers remorse and i get hit by it some times, but not quite as much as it used to!
We are all into motorsports, and ride the same wave of trying to shave off lap times, by improving not only our driving, but also the equipment. Even the smallest of improvements to our hardware can mean a lot of time on the digital track. At least this is what we are lead to believe and sometimes, just believing in it, makes it true! More often than not though, it won’t affect your performance or the fun you have on the track.
What we spend money on
If you’re like me, or have been, than you can agree to at least a few of the things mentioned bellow, that we all have spent money on
- Better Hardware. This could be wheel, rig, pedals, screens, PC, VR, headphones, shifter, handbrake, buttonbox etc.
- Software. Not only limited to games/sims, but also DLC, dashboard apps, telemetry etc
- Services, like coaching, livery designs, cars setups, streaming services
I am sure that some of us have spent money on other things too. Some more important and others more silly, but i am pretty sure that all of us have regretted at least a few of our purchases.
It’s ok to spend money on your hobby!
I’m not here to tell you not to spend money on your hobby. You do need to spend money on it, and there are some great things to spend it on out there! What I want to try to convince you is that spending money alone, won’t make you faster or even let you have more fun!
Compared to many other hobbies, sim racing can be very affordable, but as most any other hobbies, there are no limits at how much you can spend on it. The level of enjoyment though doesn’t really improve at the same rate as the money put into it. the more the cost, the less difference it will make. What you need to figure out, is where the level of enjoyment, is worth spending money on to improve. This may vary from one racer to an other.
What we need to understand is that we all enjoy our hobby at different levels, and that some of us wouldn’t necessary enjoy it as much, at the level that an other racer does. At the same time, we might enjoy sim racing as much as the pros do, but with lower standards of gear, performance and budgets. To be honest, I like to believe that casual racers maybe enjoy sim racing more than the competitive racers, but that is just a personal opinion that I haven’t spent too much time confirming.
Our needs and budget may be different
In line with this, it goes without saying, that a competitive sim racer, who gets paid to race, will have different needs than the ones you and me may have. That said, buying the same equipment that a pro has, won’t make you equally fast, and won’t even be a guarantee for more enjoyment. It may even result in less enjoyment!
When you consider a purchase, make sure to compare to your own needs and standards – not others.
Budget may also be a consideration. Pros more often than not, will have sponsors or teams who either pay for or give them their hardware, PCs, programs etc. Common, casual racers like you and me, can’t afford this type of purchases, but even more importantly, i don’t even think we’d enjoy them that much more.
Check out Lando Norris setup.
Have a look at the rig above. This is the current F1 driver of McLarren along with Sainz. His sim rig is said to have cost £30.000 ($38k) and he has two of them in the same room! Someone commented that the watch you’ll see casually laying there @0:57 is the RM35-01 that has a price tag well over £100K. For most of us, this is just crazy. In some places you can buy a house for that money and none of us would ever spend this money or even half of it, on a sim rig. No matter how hard you try, you won’t be able to afford the top line rigs available
You can spend money on junk
Marketing is really good at making us want something that we maybe don’t need. That said, it is also really good at making terrible things look good. Marketing is not only fancy banners, special pricing, or cool images. It is also fancy texts and positive review videos of things that aren’t.
Try to see through people who get paid to review things, or people who get offered products for free, to review them. Their incentive may be to not be too harsh because that probably will result in them not getting a free product next time. Sure they probably don’t need more free stuff, as they have so much, but the way they make money is by reviewing new stuff, and if companies don’t sent them, they can’t make new content. People like this, will always be very excited for the new products, and if negative, they will be very mild.
Some times, people or companies will try to sell you things that aren’t worth what they are charging. I have bought a few e-books that really weren’t any more informative that the discussions going on in forums, social media or even YouTube videos. Today I saw a guy try to sell a DIY-rig shopping list and plans for $40. Some people will sell rubber stoppers, springs, bolts, carbon fiber and think that they are selling gold. Try to see through these and don’t get fooled.
Once you buy it, its just one more thing
There is a hype about getting new stuff. You can share it to your media and get feedback, WOWs and thumbs up, but once you have installed it, and raced a few races, it’s just a part of your rig or one more track or one more car to the collection. There are really very few purchases, that I continuously appreciate again and again while i race. My rig is one of them, and still, I consider upgrading to something better. It’s like getting an larger TV. When you install it and watch a movie on it, it is fantastic, but a few weeks later, you just can’t tell the difference.
This is not all bad though. A new purchase that feels natural and falls into your needs, is just perfect. Just try to avoid buying things for that initial hype, and go for things that you really will appreciate in the long run.
Buying isn’t enough
One last thing to consider when buying new things for your rig, is that buying it just the first step. You’ll need to set it up properly to get what it’s worth out of it. I have seen too many rigs, too many triples screen setups and too many expensive wheels, being put to terrible and wrong use. When you finally do buy a new part for your rig, do spend the time to set it up properly. It can be tempting to simply attach it, use it and start thinking about the next purchase. Do yourself the favor and put in the effort to learn how to set it up properly and get the most out of it.
Some times people who have bought something that they regret, will try to convice others and themselves that it is greater than what it actually is, simply to lessen the pain of having spent the money on it. This is very common, and you'll often see people defending and even promoting purchases that they honestly don't really liked or needed all that much. Although that is alright, and very understandable, try to avoid falling for it and doing a similar purchase.
This has been a very random and unstructured ramble from me, about spending money on sim racing. I hope it hasn’t been too confusing, boring or a waste of time to read, but do comment bellow with your best/worst sim purchases or maybe with your own thoughts!