Sportsmanship In Sim Racing


Every sport has its own set of rules and regulations, and while the written rules are easy to learn and follow, it’s the unspoken ones that are only learnt through knowledge and experience, namely sportsmanship. Just like real-life racing, sim racing has a host of unspoken rules that are not mandatory requirements but should be followed if you don’t want every driver to be your enemy. Every driver who wishes to grace the race track should familiarise themselves and accept these as quickly as possible. Today we are looking at sportsmanship in all its glory and how to act when in communities and league racing.

‘Sportsmanship’ – Noun

  1. Fair and generous behaviour or treatment of others, especially in a sporting contest.
    “he displayed great sportsmanship in defeat”

Off-track sportsmanship 

Now there are two areas where you can show great sportsmanship and that is off the track and on the track. Let us talk off the track, to begin with. For many of you in sim racing, you will partake in league racing of some form, regardless of which game or sim you play and this is where you begin to build a good sporting perception of yourself because that means you are part of a community. If a community has rules, which any good community will have, you must respect these as a driver, they put these rules together in the best interest of all, to maintain order and create a safe racing environment for all. 

Now you can show you are a good sport by engaging with that community. I know from first-hand experience as a driver in other communities and as a community host myself, that being a driver comes with responsibilities of sportsmanship off the track. Engage with your fellow competitors, engage with the community admins, and show that you are present in the championship and the community even before a wheel is turned on track. This is sporting. 

If you are involved in incidents on track, do not throw the teddies out of the pram off track, do not shout and swear at your competitors. If you are needing to see the stewards, stay respectful, most communities have these people helping for free, so the last thing they need is drivers being disrespectful to them when they are trying to create a safe and great place to race. You could say showing good sportsmanship would be admitting you made a mistake out on track and are willing to accept any penalty that is required. 

Also, you may think there isn’t much to do after the race. Please do not be the driver who instantly switches the PC off. Making an appearance post-race is valued just as much as before and during a race. Some organizers may want to speak to drivers, while some may want to schedule some events with the racers on the grid. If you DNF’d or simply had a bad race, you might feel like quitting and exiting the event altogether. But you should try to avoid doing that. Staying on as a spectator is a polite thing to do. If you have a bad race you should still make every effort to see the race through as a mark of good sportsmanship. All too often I see drivers quitting races, championships and leaving communities because of one bad race.

On-track sportsmanship

Let us talk about qualifying first because many a time before I’ve seen or heard about drivers blocking someone on a fast lap or going super slow on an in lap or out lap. To be 100% clear here, the most sporting thing you can do as a driver is be aware of your surroundings and not cause issues in qualifying. First, it’s your responsibility to find space in qualifying to do your flying laps but if you are not on a fast lap, move off the racing line and do not sabotage anyone else. You’ll know a driver on a qualifying lap is approaching because you will receive blue flags to show this.

It is also entirely valid to state that racing can cause red mist and in the heat of the moment, mistakes happen. But there are still some etiquettes to follow even when one makes mistakes. First and foremost are race starts. The essential discipline to follow during a race start is not to push any car off the track, not rear-end a car in front of you, and not brake check a vehicle behind you. I know, easier said than done but healthy racing is critical.

When following a car, remember to follow them at a safe enough distance. This is called close racing, and some championships may even have specific rules governing close racing. This rule is followed to ensure that the leading car’s blind spots don’t cause a collision with the chaser or that the chaser does not hit the vehicle in front by braking too late.

A similar pattern is to be followed while duelling or contesting/defending an overtake. Respect is crucial when you race wheel to wheel with someone, and space is to be considered at all times. When you take the inside line to overtake, ensure that the other car has one car’s width of space on the outside line of the track and vice-versa if you are on the outside. While defending, please follow the one line move, wherein you cannot change your racing line more than once when defending from a car behind you, especially in a braking zone.

If things get a little toasty and you end up wiping someone out, don’t hit and run. If it was indeed your fault, wait for the other driver to recover and resume racing. On the other hand, if the collision meant you are gaining their position, it is polite to give them their place back and continue racing after that.

Why Is Good Sportsmanship Important?

Good sportsmanship is important because it makes competitive play more enjoyable for everyone. While winning might feel like the most important thing during these esport events or league races, good sportsmanship teaches competitors how to be gracious and respectful towards others. Bad sportsmanship fosters a negative environment and can take the fun out of the sim you are racing on and nobody wants that. It will look bad on you as a driver, on the community as a host and can even push other drivers away.


  • Be a gracious winner. Being a sore loser when a race hasn’t gone your way isn’t a good look, but neither is exaggeratingly gloating over your win. 
  • Play fair. Cheating at a game is poor sportsmanship. Fair play means racing within the rules without putting your competitors at a disadvantage through dirty tactics or driving
  • Picture the future. Sometimes you’ll have to compete against a friend, team-mate, or even a family member and it can be hard to put that relationship aside during competition.
  • Shake hands (Virtual GGs). Win or lose, shaking hands is a good sign of respect for the other people involved. It leaves a good lasting impression on the community you race in and the competitors you race against. There is no better feeling than jumping into a voice chat and sharing a beer after a hard race.


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