You can make money sim racing however the chances are rather small. Currently, there are only a handful of ways that sim racers can make money. Private leagues, professional series, and sponsorships. Privates leagues usually have a signup fee where the total prize pool is split among the winning team, professional series have extremely large prize pools but only the very best drivers can compete for them, and sponsorships are usually exclusive to the top running teams and drivers.
So the short answer is yes, you can make money from sim racing but for the majority of us that are not the best of the best, it’s a very small possibility.
How Can I Qualify For Professional Sim Racing Series?
Pro series are where the big money is at in sim racing and in recent years, as both sim racing and eSports have grown in popularity, prize pools have drastically increased.
Here are some of the most popular pro series and their prize pools.
|F1 Esports events||US$500,000|
|Porsche TAG Heuer Esports Supercup||US$200,000|
|eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series||US$300,000|
Qualifying for each series will vary but generally, there are two ways.
- Top leaders boards in qualifying events
- Get signed by a team
Qualifying through leaderboards is a much more accessible option for most of us. Usually, there will be an online session open for a specific amount of time and the top X drivers get through to the next round.
It’s not much more complicated than that.
Where it is complicated though is actually getting to the top of the leaderboards. Just about every competitive sim racer in the world is going to be competing against you. By all means, give it your best shot but don’t be disheartened if you are much slower than you thought, this is the best of the best that we’re talking about.
As far as joining a professional team, again, it’s not easy.
Like any other sport, you’ll need to be scouted or drafted in order to join any of the teams that are going to be competing in a professional series. An easier option is trying to work your way into a smaller team from a private league and go from there.
This is the NFL, MLB, or NBA of sim racing. Don’t expect to get to this level easily and without a lot of hard work and skill.
How Do I Join Private Sim Racing Leagues?
For most people reading this article, joining a private league that offers cash prizes is going to be the most achievable way of earning some money from sim racing.
Most sims will have some sort of league directory to assists drivers in finding a suitable league, although the quality of the directories and the leagues themselves does vary greatly so make sure you do your research before joining just any league.
I’ve created a table below with some popular sims and their corresponding league directories. You will be able to apply to the leagues from there and most will have some sort of information about what the league expects of drivers, how to apply, if there are any entry fees or conditions, etc.
How Can I Get Sim Racing Sponsors?
Sponsorship is another way that some drivers make money from sim racing but again, there is a very high barrier of entry.
Are you starting to see the pattern emerge here? Making money in sim racing is really hard!
If you’re trying to get sponsorship as an individual driver then it’s going to be almost impossible unless you have some sort of following or popularity in the sim racing community.
YouTubers, live streamers, well-known professional sim racers, and other influencers will be able to get sponsorships relatively easily as they have an audience that the sponsor is after. However, if you’re just like 99.99% of us that don’t have that sort of audience then the only other option that you have is to try and get into a team.
As you can tell from this article, teams can really help you and are almost mandatory in getting your foot in the door to a lot of the more exclusive sim racing opportunities.
There are a lot of teams that have sponsorships as it provides a larger audience than sponsoring a single driver. There is really only going to be money coming out of those sponsorships for the top-tier teams though.
The mid-tier teams that a lot of people would be looking at joining will possibly have sponsors but usually, they simply offer discount codes or free use of their services. Typically there will be no money at this level.
As you can tell, making money in sim racing is a very real possibility, but it is also an exceptionally difficult thing to achieve for most drivers.
The option that you would most likely make money from would be to join a private league where you put up an entry fee and there are cash prizes. These are usually small enough that the odds are decent, however, don’t expect this to be easy money. People that race in these sorts of leagues are really good drivers so unless you’re well above average, I wouldn’t enter with the sole purpose of making a couple of hundred dollars at the end of the 12-week season.
If you’re not winning a majority of the most competitive races then I wouldn’t even think about the professional leagues. Usually, these represent the top 20 (or whatever the grid size is for the series) sim racers in the world. Do you consider yourself a world-class sim racer? If not, set it as a goal for the future but don’t be too upset if you don’t make it.
There is a decent amount of money in sim racing, and it is only growing as the hobby becomes more popular, however, I would not get into sim racing or make it my mission to turn sim racing into an income stream. Enjoy the hobby for what it is as only the very best of the best in the world even have a shot at winning any of the cash prize pools that are up for grabs.