Alan posted this a while back. He argues that karting is (slightly) threatened by sim racing.
His logic is that the convenience and cost of sim racing is fundamentally easier from a cost and logistics standpoint.
He describes the options that historically been available to folks interested in Motorsports and how until recently, karting was pretty much the only game in town to get behind the wheel action.
He also points out that sim now features serious $ in competition (as opposed to karting). Ergo, those with talent and skill will likely pursue the more financially rewarding pursuit.
He does think that arrive and drive as opposed to owner karting is and will see a tick-up, as sim racers decide to try the real deal.
@Alan_Dove I think you may be correct in many ways. What you might consider is that sim, while terrific for all the reasons you stated, ultimately is not enough.
I started sim driving long before I started karting. To your point about karting being awful at promoting itself, it did not occur to me to participate in karting. It wasn’t even on the radar.
While I loved sim, it was apparent to me that without being able to drive a car fast IRL, my learning curve would take forever. There’s just too much leeway in sim and one tends to be less thoughtful than when piloting a real vehicle with real walls and stuff to run into.
So, I sought out karting because of sim, rather than abandoning it for sim. It was clear to me that to “git gud”, I’d need to go do the real thing.
That took in a life of its own as it turned out I might be a better sim racer than Kart racer .
So yeah, I guess I’ve become one of your arrive and drive / sim racer guys. But I am decidedly both as opposed to either or. I don’t identify as a sim guy or a rental guy or a 2-stroke guy. I identify as a racer, with a limited budget, doing what forms of motorsport I can when I can.
The sim provides the constant laps that allow me to race at the drop of a hat at 100%.
In my view, you are indeed correct that sim can detract from new karting participation in that its way more accessible (and financially rewarding at top levels?), but personally, I experienced sim pulling me into karting. I suspect that I am not alone in this. Certainly all these sim enthusiasts will likely crowd the club 100 and other arrive and drive series, just like me. It just doesn’t sit right being fast in a game, not knowing how you’d fare irl.
I don’t think it’s a foregone conclusion that there will ultimately be less karters. I think you will find fewer people having to stretch their budgets mightily to turn laps in a kart. Those who do make the jump to owner karting will likely have more staying power. I bet that every year, there were people who found that real racing was financially way more complicated than they expected. Sim fixes this. They don’t “have to” spend 10k to figure out if karting works for their lives. They can ease into racing via arrive and drive etc. or, not at all.
Fundamentally I agree with what you said. But, I have a hard time wrapping my head around the idea that sim (which is most people’s first motorsport experience) is ultimately a detractor to kart participation.
Maybe sim is becoming what karting was, “the only (cheap) game in town”. But I suspect that folks who find that they enjoy sim a lot will inevitably want to try real seat time. Karting remains the only way to do that conveniently and inexpensively. That doesn’t change.
In any case, @Alan_Dove, 6 months and one unfinished global crisis later, has your thinking on this changed at all as this unexpected sim surge occurred?
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