“I believe it’s maybe even tougher than real life.” – Charles Leclerc

Charles Leclerc was recently asked to give his opinion on the realism of racing simulators and said  “I believe it’s maybe even tougher than real life.” 

“Because we have the feelings of the car in real life,” he explained. “Here it’s a lot more mental.”

“We are sitting on a chair so there is not even the G-force we have on a real car. But I’m sweating like crazy. The muscles are not hurting but the concentration and everything I’ve been sweating a lot and it’s very hard. Unbelievably hard.”

Benefits of Sim Training for F1 Championship

Charles Leclerc is currently second in points in the F1 World Championship sees many benefits to spending time in his home rig and on the Ferrari team simulator. 

“Compared to even only a decade ago, the difference is no longer abysmal thanks to steering wheels and pedals capable of reproducing high-level effects but also large screens and simulation software that seems to be anything but simple games. The technological gap will be impossible to eliminate, apart from the costs, other factors come into play, such as the space available that we have here at Ferrari to build an experience that is immersive for us and allows us to develop the car at its best. The feeling is however now very similar.”

While sim racing is booming relative to a few years ago, there’s still a ways to go for crossover mainstream appeal. Leclerc explained why: “I think the reasons are essentially two. The first is that the general public has not yet perceived how advanced the technology that underlies the simulated driving experience is, and for this reason it is struggling to approach this world. Then there is the time and dedication necessary to emerge in an incredibly competitive esports category: talent is not enough, you have to work really hard and daily to get to compete with the best, like the drivers we expect to find in our Ferrari Esport Series.”

“If the talent, skills and dedication to work are there, why not?”

Increasingly sim racing has become a platform for drivers to become noticed. A handful of drivers who have excelled in sim racing have gone on to make careers of racing in the lower echelons of the sport. Will there ever be a day an F1 team promotes a driver from the sim racing ranks? “If the talent, skills and dedication to work are there, why not?” said Charles.


– Conor Murphy, Performance Engineer, Sim Racer Academy