Games that let you enjoy the thrills and spills of motorsport from the comfort of your sofa have their origins in the early days of the industry. And as technology has evolved, the complexity of racing simulators has increased along with it.

This is good news for people who are happy to dedicate a lot of time and effort in order to build the right skills to win. But if you always end up at the back of the pack, beaten by your family and friends, you might be disillusioned with the whole genre.

Fear not; with the following tips, you can become a champion of the track and impress anyone who comes up against you.

Understand The Win Condition

It may seem obvious, but unless you know what constitutes a win in a racing game, you might have a tough time outdoing your competitors. And with so many different modes available in modern titles, there is no guarantee that getting across the finish line first is the only thing to worry about.

In some games you might need to drift around corners and earn style points over the course of several laps. In others you might need to drive as cleanly as possible and avoid colliding with other cars to come out on top. Plenty of racers, including the Need For Speed series, feature modes where you have to escape the cops by any means, which introduces a whole new set of requirements for victory.

Consider The Game Type

As the old saying goes, you should always pick your battles. And when it comes to racing games, you are more likely to be in a winning position if you are playing a game that you actually enjoy.

If you have a lot of patience and want to master the control of a realistically modelled car, a full-blooded racing simulator will be your best option. Don’t expect to be an expert immediately, as they can be tricky to get to grips with at first. But if you persist, a sim series like Gran Turismo, Project CARS or Forza Motorsport will become your specialism.

If you are more interested in high octane action, crazy modes of play and simpler physics, an arcade racer will be appealing. From classics like Outrun to modern examples like Trackmania, there are lots of driving games that you can pick up and play with ease, but still take a bit of work to get good at.

Learn The Basics

There are lots of differences and quirks which set driving games apart from each other, but there are also some features that are relatively consistent across them all. And learning how to exploit these will put you at an advantage in multiplayer match-ups.

Firstly, you need to think carefully about when to brake. In simulators set in digital versions of real world tracks, this info can be provided in real time as you approach corners via helpful driving lines. When the line turns red, it’s time to hammer on the anchors.

Just remember that this feature is usually disabled in competitive modes, so practicing is important. And unless you want to drift, leave the handbrake well alone, as it will more than likely lead to your car spinning out of control and off the road.

Drafting is another useful skill, with lots of titles taking it into account to varying degrees. It involves staying close behind rival vehicles, sitting in their slip stream until you have the opportunity to slingshot past them when the time is right. This is especially useful when all of the vehicles are closely matched in terms of power and performance.

Pick A Comfortable Control Scheme
Aside from the motion control madness that Nintendo still insists on pursuing with its consoles, most modern racing games will be played using a standard controller. So unless you’ve got racing wheel setup, it is essentially to familiarise yourself with this before you get started.

The Xbox One and PS4 have quite different controllers, even if they share underlying similarities. There are also lots of third party options for each machine, as well as for PC if this is your platform of choice. New tech even lets visually impaired people play racing games, so there is something for everyone.

Within racing games themselves you could have the option to alter the control scheme, assigning buttons to functions that make sense for you, rather than sticking with the developer’s default layout.
All of these little considerations can help to improve your play over time, so don’t get disheartened if you are not an instant racing game god. Ready to get started? You can play driving games online like Madalin Stunt Cars 2 for free.