All sports have the universal question of “where will their next generation of athletes come from?” “How do we get younger generations involved?” “Are we doing everything we can to expose people to our sport?” With the rise of eSports, online streamers, and simulators, racing can answer these following questions:
Where will the next generation of athletes come from?
Generally, kids get into micro sprints or go-karts and start to rise their ways through the ranks of their local tracks and local series. All this to get a shot at being a professional race car driver. As you can imagine, this cost money and lots of it. For less than a $1000, you can have a reasonably good sim racing set up in your spare bedroom. I dare you to find a better deal to go racing than that! Plus, wreaking a virtual race car cost nothing as they always say, “if you can’t afford to fix it, you can’t afford to race it.”
How do we get younger generations involved?
Nothing can replicate the actual real-world experience, but racing is racing. I can learn what I like in a racing set-up, understand how different aspects of the car behaves, and I can hone my racecraft. These are some of the essential skills for young racers to develop. Racing games are abundant, and this is how you get them involved in our sport.
Are we doing everything we can to expose people to our sport?
This question is the most crucial to ask, in my opinion. Without the proper exposer, we don’t get the next athletes; we don’t get the interest. We don’t get correct involvement. The focus on participation at the local level is a fantastic investment. It will be something I will always be a proponent toward. But the investment toward sim racing that NASCAR, WORLD of OUTLAWS, and Formula 1 have made are growing the sport. Germany has recognized sim racing as an official form of motorsport, and hopefully, soon, other countries will follow.
The exposer is heading in the right direction. IndyCar and NASCAR have made full races available on YouTube-arguably one of the most used internet platforms around the world-and other series have followed suit. There are also many sim racing YouTubers and Twitchers, who stream their personal races with their own commentary. These influencers have built a racing community among each other and have promoted the sport on an ever-growing medium.
I’ve said this before; sim racing is different than the other eSports. You become the racer, the inputs you put into the steering wheel, the throttle control, the focus to compete at a high level comes from you, the user. This control is why I believe within the next several years; this is where you will see the increase in motorsports participation. Racing can capitalize on the rise of eSports, and this is where a future star could be born.