The Best Sim Racers Play Chess Not Checkers: How to be a good league racer

Updated: Feb 15

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Without a doubt the biggest frustration any sim racer comes across at some point in time (usually around the time that they realize that they enjoy sim racing more than the average person) is finding a league that meets their needs. Finding an acceptable league is subjective and is dependent on the level of malarkey an individual is willing to put up with. This is not an article about how to find a good league, this is an article about how to positively contribute to a league by treating sim racing like a game of chess, not checkers. Chess and checkers have their similarities however one game can be learned in a matter of minutes and the other has a segment of humans that study it as if it were fine art. If you can’t see where we’re going with this so let me just cut to the chase, sim racing is a game of chess, you need to be thoughtful, methodical, and study the craft if you want to keep a good reputation in your league of choice.


Not all sim racing communities are the same, what’s acceptable in one might not be acceptable in others. Before you sign up for your league, take a bit of time to either jump into a practice session, track day, or if your chosen league doesn’t have that option find some YouTube videos of races from within that league. What you’re trying to discover is if your racing style is too aggressive or in some cases not aggressive enough. There is nothing worse than being the guy on that is making double moves under braking (don’t do this period) or adversely being that guy that doesn’t understand the blue flag procedures of that league. Next is to study the cars and the tracks that the league races with, learning these can be challenging and you shouldn’t subject others to your learning curve as it ruins the experience for them which in return will get you labeled as "That Guy". Study the areas where passing is most likely to happen, remember chess not checkers, if you know you can sacrifice a position through the straight to gain it back in the next corner without ruining the other driver's race it is your responsibility to know how, when and where to do that.

Be Methodical

Know who you are as a driver, If you’re a brute force driver that likes to go on a run early in the race do so but be smart about it and make sure that your skills are up to the task, a pit maneuver isn’t a passing technique. If you’re a driver that likes to force others into mistakes by applying continuous pressure, make a plan about when and where you’re going to apply pressure because applying it in the wrong place could lead to the end of your race and theirs. Maybe you’re a creator and you create opportunities to bait drivers into miscalculations, find your strongest sectors and identify where the most common mistakes can be made within them, then understand what you need to do to get other drivers to make that mistake. If you want to gain a quick and positive reputation in your league then take this section to heart, drivers who are predictably quick and smart get gold stars; drivers that are Kimi one week and Maldanado the next get kicked.

Be Thoughtful

This is so underrated in the sim racing community, what if I told you that you can race hard and be fast while also being thoughtful about someone else’s experience? This does not mean that you let someone else win (we don't condone participation trophies around here), this means that you just don’t act like an asshole. Be thoughtful about the moves that you’re going to make. Would you be better off sacrificing 1 lap to stay in the draft for a better passing opportunity as opposed to breaking off on the back straight leaving you and the other driver exposed to the draft train that is closing quickly? Probably not, and especially not early in the race, stunts like this are a good way to go from leading the pack to boxing in the middle at places like Daytona and Talladega. Remember much like chess sim racing is about the long game and if you aren’t prepared to play that game then you and everyone else in your race is going to end up in the wall.

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