Screenshot from Assetto Corsa Top 3 Best Formula 1 PC Virtual Racing Experience

Top 3 Best Formula 1 PC Virtual Racing Experience

Screenshot from Assetto Corsa Top 3 Best Formula 1 PC Virtual Racing Experience

With Formula 1 booming as a sport globally, no surprise the quest for simulation games that depict the virtual version of the premier single-seater (aka open-wheel) series are also well in demand, more so than probably ever before.

In this guide, we look at the top three sim racing games featuring Formula 1 for you to sample as a virtual F1 driver from the comfort of your PC. Similarly to how you can experience the thrill of online casino games from anywhere you go, you can enjoy racing sims from your desktop. 

Of course, there is the usual debate among virtual racers, namely whether the titles that feature F1 are in fact simulation games or arcade games or a combo aka simcade. In the end, we chose three sim racing titles that deliver a believable and immersive F1 experience on PC, from the comfort of your home or wherever you have space for your rig.

The Official Formula 1 Game

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The EA Sports title is an obvious candidate with all the drivers, cars and tracks of each season. With added bonuses in the past, such as Legends pack featuring older cars and even modern Formula 2. Very immersive and a popular title among casual sim racers and even pros, to a certain extent. All officially sanctioned by F1.

It styles itself as: “The official videogame of the FIA Formula One World Championship, featuring all the updated cars with the official F1 lineup of your favourite 20 drivers and 10 teams.”

The title gained high-profile exposure as the chosen F1 title for an eSports series involving the ten teams in the top flight, hiring the best sim racers in the world for the virtual F1 World Championship. A project that received massive exposure on F1’s vast scial media network, turning sim racers into household names.

But there appear to be cracks in the series as reported by RacingGames.gg: “In news that will surprise pretty much no one, the first round of the F1 Pro Sim World Championship has been postponed. According to a League Racing News post on X (formerly Twitter), the postponement is due to a dispute between F1 and the organisers over the potential prize pool.”

However, if you are no interested in the politics of ‘pretend race cars’ the F1 Game does offer everything you need to have an enjoyable experience, with plenty content on YouTube to get you up to speed, as well as Pro-Am and Amateur leagues to get more involved.

iRacing where pro drivers and sim racers get serious

iRacing where pro drivers and sim racers get serious Mercedes-AMG F1 W12 E Performance - iRacing.com | iRacing.com Motorsport Simulations

The likes of Formula 1 drivers Max Verstappen, Fernando Alonso, Lando Norris and many other professional drivers from Karting age through to single-seater racing, GT and prototypes. While not known for its F1 content, compared to their GT and NASCAR series, iRacing does have official licenses for the Lotus 49, Lotus 79, Williams FW31, McLaren MP4-30, Mercedes W12 and W13.

The historic F1 cars have very few online participants as they are extremely difficult to drive on the limit, without the assists of modern cars such as traction control, ABS braking and gizmos the old cars never had and were thus tough to drive in real-life, ditto the virtual world.

The most modern of the F1 cars on iRacing, at the time of writing this piece, is the Mercedes W13, Lewis Hamilton and George Russell’s ride in the 2022 Formula 1 World Championship. It can be raced against other real drivers online on iRacing, or offline against AI.

iRacing say of their Grand Prix series: “The fastest, most challenging, most exciting road racing series on the iRacing service, the iRacing.com Grand Prix Series features the Mercedes-AMG F1 W13 E Performance on many of the world’s most fabled and demanding circuits.

“Befitting their place in the A license class, these cars are the fastest and most technically advanced cars in the iRacing stable. You’ll need to be at the absolute top of your game as a driver the maximum performance from this car.

“You’ll be competing with other A-licensed drivers who will be using all the driving tricks in their bags to find even the smallest advantage. The iRacing.com Grand Prix Series is contested on iRacing’s world-class circuits, many of which have hosted events on the World Championship calendar.”

If you are serious or want to be serious about your sim racing, even aspirations to do real motorsport, iRacing is the ideal platform, where serious online racers get their fix.

Assetto Corsa rebooted never gets old thanks to its vibrant modding community

Assetto Corsa rebooted never gets old thanks to its vibrant modding community Screenshot from Assetto Corsa

Over a decade since its release in 2013, Assetto Corsa by Kunos has a new lease on life thanks to a vibrant pro and amateur modding community that has turned the sim game into a must-have for true motorsport enthusiasts who enjoy sim racing or “simming” as some say.

In its vanilla state, the game was trend-setting at the time. With a strong if not spectacular array of cars and tracks made by Kunos set the foundation for the Assetto Corsa of today. Played by more sim racers than any other virtual racing title thanks to a Content Management System that has taken the sim to the next level of quality and immersion.

Just about every race car and road car ever built has been replicated on Assetto Corsa. The diversity of content available, much of it for free, including incredibly good mods to very bad mods, some that don’t even work.

However, if you cherry-pick or even use the cars that the game came with, along with CMS and various custom shader patches and other easy-to-install mods F1 enthusiasts are spoilt for choice. Mods out there have just about every Formula 1 season covered.

With some research on Race Department, the hub of sim racing news and modding, you can race whatever F1 season you wish from 1950 to the current era, cars and tracks lovingly replicated to mimic the real thing.