Real life and simulator: What is the difference?

If you have watched Formula One races on television you have seen these very memorable graphics of how difficult it is for Valtteri Bottas to overtake Max Verstappen, or how durable Lewis Hamilton’s tyres still are after he says his “tyres are dead”. To display these graphics accurately, a lot of data is gathered and analysed to give the viewer accurate information. This information might not correspond to what the driver is giving their team as feedback. So, a question arises: What is useful information and what is not?
Similar questions can be asked when sim racing, except the answers might differ. This is mostly because you are usually driving alone and do not have a team of about 150 people analysing data from your driving and guiding you through the race.
That is also the essence of our current project: Creating a feedback system in Assetto Corsa which helps the driver improve their driving in the fastest way possible.

Why Assetto Corsa

There are a lot of racing simulators out there to choose from when doing this project.
Assetto Corsa is widely known as one of the most accurate and realistic race simulating games on the market. Its easy-to-use API and with cars reacting differently to details some people do not even think of when racing online, for example, wind direction, angular speed of the tyres and aerodynamic drag, there is no game more suitable for collecting data than Assetto Corsa.

Picture 1: An example of Assetto Corsa’s complexity.

Data: What is useful and what is not?

There is a lot of data you can gather. From something simple like speed and lap times, to something very complex like how much drag your car is generating or the inner temperature of your tyre.
As a driver there are so many things you can do to influence the control of your car. One of those things is to change the setup of your car (to read more on this topic you can visit the previous simracing blog), and another is to analyse your driving and see where you can improve.

That is where the latest project comes in. The creating of a feedback system based on your personal driving. Everyone has a different driving style and improving points. Whether it is improving on your braking points or on your corner speed exits, there is always something to perfect. The goal of the project is for this feedback system to detect this and report it back to the driver.

There are some interesting decisions that will need to be made for this feedback system. Questions such as should the feedback be reported live, during driving, or should the driver be able to analyse their driving after the fact with the use of a dashboard with reports on the driving session arise during the creation of this. With the help of interviews with sim-racers and the creating and testing of preliminary systems help discover what is the best way to go about creating a feedback system.

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