No Substitute for the Real Thing

Most disciplines of racing have adopted race simulators as a form of training. Simulators, aka video games, do have distinct benefits. But racing still provides advantages that can’t be replicated onscreen. While simulators do offer convenient and available access to “racing,” they lack aspects of the sport that can only be found on course. SCCA® RallyCross® provides an excellent training platform that rivals the cost of simulators but outperforms them in education.


All forms of racing preach the benefits of learning car control when the vehicle is near or beyond its limit of traction. Dollars for doughnuts, this is where RallyCross excels. RallyCross competes on courses that are loose dirt or gravel. This gives competitors almost endless opportunities to drive beyond the limits of adhesion, constantly steering, throttling and braking while managing a lack of traction. Rally simulators have similar situations, but they lack the physics, controls and responses of real cars on dirt.


The variability of racing surfaces is also something simulators can’t entirely reproduce. RallyCross surfaces change with location, precipitation, temperature and use, even within one lap. This challenges competitors on a turn-by-turn basis, forcing them to develop a level of driving adaptability that the static courses of sims can’t create.


Unlike simulators, RallyCross teaches mechanical skills. From simply changing a wheel and tire to upgrading parts for improved performance or reliability, RallyCross opens the door to learning the mechanics of cars. All drivers can benefit from this knowledge, whether it’s used to improve lap times or save money on car repairs.


Simulators don’t offer the camaraderie created by face-to-face competition. You won’t find a more helpful and educational group of people than RallyCross participants. . They want to have fun while racing and to do that they prefer to have as much competition as possible. To that end, they’re almost invariably willing to help you learn more about the sport and your car, even if that means they lose to you.


This is not to say that sims have no value. Because they are available 24/7, sims have unlimited access to “racing,” whereas real-world competition only happens during scheduled events. Sims can also provide endless repetition, which gives players multiple chances to learn particularly challenging skills. But this level of access doesn’t provide the same quality of education as racing on dirt, nor is it necessarily less expensive. A quality sim setup, especially if it involves a professional driving seat, will often cost more than a cheap RallyCross car.


If you’re seeking an inexpensive, effective way to train for racing, or simply a fun entry point into the world of motorsports, look no further than SCCA RallyCross. You won’t find a more educational, affordable and exciting way to have a great time competing in your car.