Can you Make Money Sim Racing?
eSports Gaming is now a huge industry, and top gamer's in competitions fight over seriously big money prizes - the champion of the Fortnite World Cup Finals 2019 won an insane $3,000,000!
Obviously, Sim Racing has its own eSports championships, mainly using games like F1 2020, Gran Turismo Sport and iRacing, and and we are pleased to say that there is great prize money available too.
A few examples of big-profile sim racing championships:
- The F1 Esports Pro Series presented by Aramco has a prize fund of $750,000
- The FIA Gran Turismo World Championship had a prize pool of $250,000
- The Forza Racing Championship in 2018 awarded $250,000 in Prize Money
- iracing.com eNASCAR Coca Cola series handed out a total of $300,000 cash to sim racers in 2020
...total those 4 championships, and there's over $1.5 million dollars alone!
However, it should come as no surprise that not many people actually win these big prizes...to do so, you need to be extremely good. The competition at the top level is very intense. But some people have got to win it, so it could well be you...
Furthermore (and probably every sim racers dream) is that by excelling in sim racing, you could also end up getting a funded drive in a real life racing car! Obvious examples of this was GT Academy, which pioneered putting sim racers into real racing cars to show that their racing ability did transfer to real life racing too.
Nowadays there are loads of competitions ranging from small to large, such as World's Fastest Gamer 2, with a fantastic prize of a season of real racing!
If you have never played a racing game before, or regularly get beaten in online races, you're not likely to win any cash prizes. As with all sports, the people at the very pinnacle of the sim racing industry are talented drivers - proof being that a couple of talented sim racers called Max Verstappen and Lando Norris are also in a quite competitive single seater championship in real life...
One way of making big money is of course to become an influential YouTuber/streamer, but the number of people who will actually make this is rather slim, so it's not worth banking on this! For some, this is not a lifestyle some people choose to have, but none of us at Upshift would say no!
Another obvious pathway is to become a full time streamer. If you get 1000 monthly subs on Twitch for example, then that's fair amount of money incoming. But again this isn't feasible for some people...will the other half allow you to quit your job to become a full time streamer, perhaps with a mortgage and bills to pay? Not likely, unless you want to sleep on the kerb! Not to fear, there are other ways.
Many people contact companies asking for sponsorship - whilst this is possible, companies only want to sponsor the biggest and best sim racers, with large followings who will provide the greatest return. If you have just won your first race in iRacing, and suddenly decide that you are the most amazing sim racer in the world and assume everyone will now sponsor you.. not quite. Work hard, build up a following, and the sponsors will come.
For slower / less experienced sim racers, there are lots of smaller leagues for you to enter, progress through, gain experience and ultimately gain the skills required to participate at the top and contest for the big prize monies.
There was even the FIA Motorsport Games, an olympic-styled competition which includes a digital eSports competition. Though this did cost 1000 euros to enter, so it isn't accessible to everyone. The take home point is that everyone is endorsing sim racing now, so yes, there is potential to make money sim racing.
However, there are other ways of making money in sim racing aside from jackpot prizes. One example is tuition. If you have a good rig, and are a skilled sim racer, you can hire out your rig for private tuition. Many of our customers do this, and it is a great way to earn extra money. Equally, instead of hiring out your rig, you can tutor someone over the internet instead, helping them improve. All sportsmen get tutored from more experienced people (most drivers have driver coaches; and in tennis, the top seeded players usually have famous coaches, that were themselves a top seeded player decades ago)...sim racing is no different - if you have a skill, you can earn money from it. You might not make £100k a year from this, but could be a nice little supplementary money earner.
Proof that sim racing tuition is a viable example of how to make money sim racing is that the Williams eSports team recently announced their eSports Academy, where you get tuition from their team of super fast eSports racers. Packages start at £40 for 1 hour, and go up to £500 a month, for 3 hours coaching per week (8 weeks) and a day of live coaching at the Williams Esports Lounge & Williams F1 museum tour. Ultimately, this shows you that you can definitely earn decent money for (fundamentally) helping someone play a game!
As sim racing becomes more popular, and the competitive scene gets more coverage and becomes increasingly publicised, people begin to take more seriously aspects like car setup and car liveries. Various eSports teams partner with affiliates (indeed Upshift sponsors numerous teams, such as EXR and CRN), and these eSports teams who compete in championships require professional liveries incorporating all their sponsor logos. The same way as in a real race, an attractive and vibrant paint job draws attention to the car and thus the sponsors, a livery on your sim car is exactly the same.
Furthermore, experienced racers who know how to maximise each tenth of lap time through optimised car setups will offer an individual setup/packages of them, for a fee. Wherever there is competition, people will pay for anything that gets them an upper hand. Whether it be car setups or professional liveries, people with expertise can charge money In exchange for sharing these setups, and those who perhaps have neither the time nor skill to do it themselves, but want to get the best possible car set up, will gladly pay.
Indeed, it should come as no surprise that the fastest sim racers also use the best equipment. Upshift has partnered with many of the best sim racing brands worldwide, and have a team of Sim Racing Experts to help advise you and ready to answer any questions you have.