Does VR Make You A Faster Simracer?

  • 🎬 Video
  • ℹ️ Published 2 years ago

It’s one of the biggest decisions a simracer can face. Virtual reality or monitor? Each method has its own pros and cons, with a devout following on either side swearing by their chosen method. Some argue that VR gives you a great sense of spatial awareness and depth perception, whereas others will stand by the fact that you will never get anywhere near the clarity or resolution of using a monitor. Not to mention the price and insane hardware requirements of virtual reality too. But what about pure pace? Which is faster?

In this video I’m going to hopefully answer that question once and for all by running a series of tests using both my virtual reality headset and my desktop monitor to see what the data says.




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💬 Comments

That was a super interesting video with a result I didn't really expect. I wrote you a comment some months ago about the same topic but on a different video and my expectation was that you will be faster in any sim on a monitor. But now that I think about it and even had a first-hand experience with AMS1 I can only wholeheartedly agree with you. Going back from VR to a flat screen is like learning how to drive again. You can't just go back and expect to be fast, I mean even the tracks look different. The corner markers and brake points will still be on the same spot but the surroundings are so different due to the forced perspective and the narrow field of view. If you're so used to how it feels to drive the car, it's so completely off to go "back" driving "flat". Guess all the people who say that you can't go back have a deeper meaning than I always thought it had. I always thought this is a really entitled saying but they're not wrong at all.

Though my point still stands. If you want to drive for consistency and maximum pace then triples is the way to go. But it will take time getting used to monitors again before you have the pace. I guess that's also the reason why you were faster in ACC because that sim is still new for you and there's still time to find.

But VR offers so much more than just depth perception and the ability to look around freely. It just feels so natural to strap your headset on your head and just drive. I cannot emphasise enough how *_natural_* it feels. It feels like you're home, like you are now connected with the car itself and not with the cheaply made G27 in front of you or the monitor, like you know exactly what to do. I can't go back to monitors because driving in VR is not only more fun but also something I fell in love with. And as entitled as it sounds, driving a sim on a monitor is not that fun for me anymore.

Author — Wuschel


Awesome stuff Dan! I managed to get on a VR rig (with motion too) at an event back in January - takes a bit of getting used to but it's definitely easier - just wish I had the money to get myself one!

Author — David Wressell


Nice video Dan, the stats are pretty interesting. Being lucky enough to have triples and vr I think the gap is actually even closer. But the emersion you get in VR is irreplaceable. I do find certain sims easier (probably due to resource) to race on screens - ACC being the obvious one.
Interesting how you immediately missed the detail in R3E after coming from a monitor, would love to see them move to dx11 for a better optimised experience. Race room with the graphic caperbility of ams2 or iracing would be a winning formula!

Author — MySimRacer


That's a very interesting & enjoyable analysis of the differences, I use VR & head tracking, you might give track IR / Trackhat / Delanclip a go to get something not quite as immersive as VR but better than a flat monitor (in my opionion anyway). One note for me as a big fan of both ACC & AMS2: the combo of Super V8 & Adelaide is a real test, much more demanding than the other combos used, especially the GT3s which are a relative breeze to drive, so I'm not surprised the AMS2 section was the least consistent. Great video though, I'd join you in the Volvo event but I'd likely last about 20 seconds & take several innocent drivers out with me.

Author — GSAM_DAD


Awesome video! I haven't done a test like this, but I feel like driving is easier for me in Vr and I can be more consistent. Also I feel like my racecraft got better through Vr because I can actually see my opponent besides me.

Author — Marc P.


very interesting, thank you for the video. there's really something going on when half of the games showed even better consistency on the monitor than in VR, despite the less comfortable feel for you. hmm...
now I wonder what would the results be for a race pace when mental exhaustion starts to build up. would it be better in VR or would there be some other weird moments that put the monitor higher?

Author — vsm1


You nailed it with your thoughts on immersion in VR. I don't really care if I'm a bit slower or faster than on the monitor, you can't beat the immersion factor. I just need something with a wider FOV than the CV1 now... and a new PC to power it!

Author — Jabbah


Great video! I used to race a little bit in VR, especially on Project Cars but i've not had that much experience with it. I do think it helps with consistency though!

Author — James Early


What a great video, thank you! You definitely deserve more views and subs so keep at it and they will come! I was recently thinking of getting into VR just for sim racing since it look so immersive. The looking ahead and into and beyond the apex is huge and what I'm looking most forward to (well that and the overall immersion). My concerns are motion sickness and reduced screen time vs a monitor. Do you get sick with VR? And do you feel more fatigue after playing vs just with a monitor? Also how is the clarity? For reference my gaming monitor is 27" 1440p with freesync

Author — JCTiggs


I always struggled to sim race on flat screens, as it’s completely alien to driving in real life. VR gives me a sense of distance, space and speed which helps me enjoy sim racing. I personally am faster and more consistent in VR compared to flat screens. A large part of this is that you can look into Apex’s, turn to see where your competitors are and feel that you are in the car. I also learn new tracks far quicker in VR than I ever did on flat screens. Since I switched to VR, I play my sims a lot more now, than I did on flat screen because it’s more immersive and more enjoyable. When I watch esports 99% of them are playing in flat screens or trebles, so I would say if you want to be a pro sim racer that’s the way forward! But for me personally, being a non alien I want total immersion and VR gives me that and total escapism too.

Author — James Lee GTE


So enjoyable, thank you! You are really talented as a presenter as well.

Author — Perts Onvelts


Nice video DDF. I think an interview/discussion with some of the lads that have transitioned from single screen to VR and then to Triples would be interesting. I personally can't do VR but I can say that if you have a chance to play it with a triple monitor setup the experience would be very different as you would be able to look into those blind corners that a single monitor does not allow for. I also use tracking iR at times so I too can look around while driving or sitting in the pits.

Author — John Marsalis


Fascinating. I wonder if the consistency with monitor comes down to you being able to get to the limit and stay there due to not having the same level of feel, as opposed to the headset where you're much more comfortable and so naturally then start pushing the car harder and harder? Great experiment anyway. I really want to try a headset one day but I'm a bit worried about what might happen if I like it.

Author — Mark Jones


Great video Dan! All that data hurt my brain! ;-)

Here's my experience:
I have used Single screen, VR and Triple screen.
I am fastest in VR, then triples, then the single - all by tiny margins like you were in most cases (except single where I suck - see below).
I like VR for the immersion the best, but because of the heat and the weight of the headset, I rarely use it these days
I got the triples because I couldn't stand single screen (mostly because it's my TV and it's too far away from the wheel so the FOV is screwy at that distance)

The triples is where I now spend all of my sim racing time - and it's really great most of the time. It took me a long time to get the FOV right in all of the sims (and in some I still find I drive in bonnet/hood cam so that I can see what I need to see of the track. It's the vertical view that makes it feel restricted - so I guess this is a hold over from what I miss from VR

You are spot on about feeling what the car is doing in VR. The immersion tricks your brain into thinking you are actually there, which helps you feel the movement of the car rather than actually having to observe it on a screen or 3 (it's easier with 3 than 1 screen as the change in your peripheral vision is very noticeable - and I can confirm you can get motion sick watching replays on triple screen!).

Thanks for the video Dan - was really interesting to watch. That Super V8 in AMS2 is really tricky.

Author — RubberStig


I went from a single 27" 4k. to a Hp reverb G2 it felt so much more normal and natural hands down also far more consistent. Great comparisons, subbed

Author — Matt L Jones


Dan, I figured out your problem in Automobilista 2 with the monitor: your field of view (FOV) is too narrow. Try increasing it for better situational awareness and being able to hit apexes more consistently.

Also, as a general rule of thumb on all sims, in my opinion playing with your seat position (height, distance, etc.) is what I find most crucial to being comfortable in the car.

Author — IN5T1NK3D


Great video mate .. Empirical even :)
Just from the outside looking in as a non VR owner, it does appeal to me for the same reasons that Track IR was a game changer back in the day. Being able to turn the head to see an apex or an opponent. I'm probably going to go down the triples route but mainly because of the added value for other aspects of my computer using (ie music production and programming). However, if I didn't have those in my life VR would be very appealing. Maybe I'll do both when I'm rich and famous (at 50+ I better get a wriggle on on that one) ... :)

Author — Digger Plays


I was definitely faster in VR than on a monitor, as the depth perception was the key ingredient that was missing. I might've gotten quick on a monitor, too, but it felt unintuitive and clunky. So one thing to test would be how quickly do you learn/adapt to a new car/track combo in VR versus monitor. That is a good thing to test, as it is a quality of life feature to get used to new cars and/or tracks, as a beginner.

Author — DasBreitschwert


Interesting comparisons and observations, not the outcomes I expected to see.

DDF, if you had access to head/eye tracking and ultra wide or triple monitors, do you think that would give you more situational awareness?

Author — Raucous Gamer


new to sim racing and still considering my upgrade path. i'm heavily debating the VR vs triple monitor aspect, to me it's not about being the absolute best or fastest, but more importantly for me is the immersion and fun feeling not the tryharding. this is kinda why i think im leaning towards a VR headset, not only that but also considering it will likely end up cheaper than a triple monitor setup. i equally enjoy doing a race in iracing or ACC as i do cruising around and doing laps at the nordschleife just for the fun of driving.

SIM will be as close to i can get to so many super cars and different roads so might as well focus more on the immersion side than the lap times.

Author — 256k