If you were to rattle off the names of the most popular sims, here’s the list most people would give: Assetto Corsa, iRacing, rFactor 2, Assetto Corsa Competizione and maybe even Project Cars and GT Sport.
The name missing from that list is Raceroom Racing Experience. The most criminally underrated sim of them all. Despite being around since 2013 and hosting various eSports series, the title rarely gets mentioned.
Personally, Raceroom was the sim that I first sunk my teeth into on the PC side. It’s free to play model was enough to entice me into giving it a crack, and thank God I did.
The free to play model essentially gives players an opportunity to try before they buy. There are five free circuits to try including Sepang, Portimao, Stowe Circuit and two Raceroom created originals. With cars ranging from 1992 DTM to Silhouette racers and Hillclimb icons to Prototypes there is something for every simmer to try.
If you like what you see, Raceroom takes it up a notch with a visit to the in-game store. There are 44 circuits and over 150 cars to get your hands on either little by little or jump right in with the Premium Pack which you can get at a cut-price €65 by purchasing VRP through the store here.
Okay, so the numbers are impressive, but what does it actually have? When it comes to variety, Sector 3 has nailed it. Open-wheel fans are covered with three monstrous 1990 F1 cars, a V10 2017 inspired modern F1 car and a Formula US Indycar as well as a number of junior categories covered. All the usual GT3 and GT4 suspects are present with features from GT2 and GT1 keeping the tin-toppers happy as well as prototypes including the Audi R18 setting the field for some endurance action.
If you’re looking for something a bit slower, Raceroom has you covered with touring cars and Porsche Supercups but for those wanting something a bit more retro? Group C, Group 5 and M1 Procars.
The tracklist is just as staggering – Imola, Silverstone, Zolder, Indianapolis Road Course, Daytona and the Nurburgring Nordschleife to name a few favorites. But just like Raceroom itself, the game also champions some of the more underappreciated tracks like Oschersleben, Mid Ohio and Bilster Berg.
So you like what you see but don’t have the budget to go all in? Raceroom has a number of content packs for premium content at a discount. The Starter Pack will get you a bit of everything while the European and American track packs have you covered exactly as expected.
But enough about content. What is Raceroom really all about? For a long time now, the sim racing community has agreed that R3E is the market leader when it comes to audio. The engine, the transmission, the squeal of the tyres. Sector 3 has immersion completely locked down.
Another key factor in creating an immersive experience is graphics. It must be conceded that Raceroom is no ACC, but given it’s age, it’s still a good looking game. At the lower end, it isn’t all that demanding to run with plenty of settings to fiddle with to optimise your experience. When you turn those graphics up though, everything just falls into place. Set yourself on a full grid of Group 5 cars at Bathurst at sunset, turn the volume up and you’ll see what I mean.
Another contentious topic in the simming community is ‘Which sim has the best force feedback?’. Raceroom must be doing something right as it is frequently dubbed the best sim when it comes to feel. Pair the detailed FFB with some new and improved physics and you’re bound to have a good time.
Although on the smaller side, the existing multiplayer base is loyal. You’ll go into a race and recognise a host of familiar names which is satisfying. There is a prominent league racing scene which is perfect for an added sense of community. Alternatively, use the new Ranked lobbies or the SRS plugin for a more iRacing style matchmaking system. If online action isn’t your style, the AI will more than keep you happy.
But why isn’t Raceroom booming?
That’s a question asked by the majority of its player base. The team at Sector 3 in Sweden is by no means the largest around and as a result, resources are limited. Updates and patches aren’t a constant stream and the UI is borderline dated.
At launch, the title was largely simcade in terms of handling and was more intended for gamepad users. But with time comes change which has been evidenced with Raceroom. R3E has broken that prejudice as a proven eSports ready sim and hosted the DTM’s Covid sim-filler this year.
Another disincentive for many is the pricing model. It’s a lot to take in for new users and may seem pricey, and is, when cherry-picking a few items at a time. But at €65 all in, less than most modern AAA titles, the price is more than fair.