Driving Simulation enthusiasts are always looking for adrenaline-filled thrills and surprisingly realistic driving experiences. We know how difficult it is for true track lovers to be truly satisfied with a driving simulation, and that’s why we try to analyze herein which are the universally recognized 3 best sim racing cockpits — and, in full, the 3 best driving games — of 2023.
Assetto Corsa is one of the most popular sim racing platform and certainly needs no introduction. Realized by Italian software-development house Kunos Simulazioni, Assetto Corsa made its debut in 2014, but it continues to evolve with constant updates and new content. This game quickly earned a solid reputation among driving simulation fans because of its emphasis on the physical fidelity of vehicles and circuits.
Assetto Corsa’s strengths:
- Realistic physics model – Assetto Corsa uses an advanced physics model that considers many aspects of car performance, such as suspension, tires, aerodynamics and engine behavior. This results in an authentic and responsive driving feel.
- Cars and circuits – In Assetto Corsa the driver can choose among a wide selection of cars, including street cars, race cars, historic cars and more. Circuits range from iconic tracks such as Nurburgring and Spa-Francorchamps to lesser-known but equally interesting tracks.
- Mod Support – The Assetto Corsa community is very active in creating mods to add new cars, circuits and other features to the simulator. This allows virtual drivers to further extend the driving experience and immerse themselves in a virtually unlimited number of possibilities.
Mod support is particularly interesting because, as fans point out, the amount of content is not as impressive as in other titles. Also, the single-player game and simulation mode may seem less structured than some competitors, as focus is more on simulation and less on career progression.
What makes Assetto Corsa so special is its faithful reproduction of vehicles and circuits. Each car is meticulously modeled, taking into account details such as suspension, tires, aerodynamics and engine physics. Circuits too, are equally detailed. In short: Assetto Corsa in 2023 is still an important benchmark.
Bonus: Assetto Corsa Competizione
Born from the experience of Assetto Corsa, Assetto Corsa Competizione(ACC) is considered, in 2023, one of the most popular sim racing platform among car racing fans. This is primarily because ACC was developed with an exclusive focus on the GT World Challenge Championship, ensuring an unprecedented level of detail and authenticity in terms of cars, circuits and racing conditions.
In terms of driving physics and realism, ACC further deepened the solid foundation laid by Assetto Corsa, offering a more advanced tire model, improved weather simulation and refined damage representation.
While Assetto Corsa offered a wide range of cars and tracks from different categories and eras, ACC focuses deeply on a single series, allowing unparalleled immersiveness and fidelity for GT Championship fans.
The main difference between the two titles, then, lies in the focus: while Assetto Corsa is presented as a “sandbox” for motorsport enthusiasts Assetto Corsa Competizione is a precise and detailed homage to the world of GT racing and is designed primarily for multiplayer and the eSport world.
iRacing is a true online simulator with an emphasis on competitive racing and clean driving. Developed by iRacing.com Motorsport Simulations in 2008, it was one of the first platforms to move from the home-game driving-level to the online driving competition level with realism and social involvement.
Its greatest strength? It ‘s among the best tools used for drivers training and by F1, NASCAR and other championship professionals.
However, it has several other strong points:
- Structured online competitions – iRacing gives access to globally organized leagues and tournaments. Virtual drivers can participate in races of different categories, such as single-seaters, touring cars and sport-prototype, and compete against drivers
ofwith various abilities.
- Licensing and Scoring system – iRacing adopts a licensing and scoring system that encourages clean driving and respect for other drivers. This makes online racing more realistic and rewarding, as on-track behavior directly affects a driver’s position in the rankings just like on the real track.
- Constant updates – is constantly updated to balance cars, improve physics and introduce new content, keeping it the experience fresh and interesting over time.
In addition, iRacing is also praised for the extreme realism of the track rendering: tracks in iRacing, in fact, have been recreated using laser-scan technology, capable of capturing every single detail of the track, from the curbs to the safety walls, with amazing accuracy.
Sure, its subscription model and the cost of additional content can turn up the noses of many enthusiasts, considering that the graphics – no matter how realistic and polished – are certainly not comparable to those of the most powerful modern simulators.
RFactor 2 is a simulator developed in 2013 by Studio 397, known for its focus on accurate simulation and advanced physics. This PC driving simulator also aims to offer a more-than-game-like and extremely realistic experience, with a focus on dynamic track conditions and wear of car components.
Here are the strengths of RFactor 2:
- Advanced physics: RFactor 2 uses a sophisticated physics model that takes into account variables such as asphalt temperature, tire wear and the effect of weather conditions on driving. This makes the driving experience incredibly realistic and challenging, so also extremely satisfying!
- Dynamic track evolution: The track in RFactor 2 evolves during the race, with the tire rubber leaving tracks on the asphalt and with a change in road grip over time. This makes racing more challenging and requires drivers to adapt to changing track conditions.
- Active modding community: RFactor 2 also has an experienced and active community that creates mods and custom content. In fact, the PC driving game is designed to be expandable much to the delight of fans, who are increasingly able to marvel at quality and attention to detail comparable to those of the parent company’s graphics.
However, RFactor 2 could be considered less accessible than some other pc driving simulator platforms, especially for beginners. The learning curve to master the challenges of RFactor 2’s advanced driving simulation might be steep for some virtual drivers. Furthermore, even in this software, the graphical rendering is not comparable to that offered by more modern and cutting-edge driving simulators.
In short, each of the 3 most chosen simulators of 2023 has its own unique features and strengths. Assetto Corsa shines in its wide range of customizable content and driving simulation fidelity, iRacing is the ideal choice for sim racers looking to try their hand at competitive and well-structured online racing, while RFactor 2 excels in advanced realism and dynamic driving simulation. The best choice will depend on personal choice and the driving experience you want to try.
What about you, what are you looking for? Want to experience an adrenaline rush on a real GT or Formula driving simulator? Find out how to do it in our Racing Simulation Center!