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Hack Your Environment for Better Sim Racing Performance

Sim racing is about mastering racing techniques and having the optimal hardware to secure maximal performance. That’s at the heart of Asetek SimSports’ DNA and in every product we make. 

But in addition to that, there are also environmental factors influencing your performance at a high level when sim racing. 

Lighting, air quality, noise, temperature. All the elements of the physical environment you sim race in can affect your overall performance. So how can you optimize them? 

As a performance coach at Saga Performance, Satu Ahlman has spent years working with athletes and business leaders to help them achieve top performance.

When talking about performance and specifically athletic performance, we often think about nutrition, physical capacity, sleep, recovery, etc. We easily forget or just neglect the environment.  

Let’s start with understanding what we mean by “environment”.

The Environment Around Your Sim Racing Rig

It’s not just your sim racing setup you should pay attention to.  

Look into everything from the room where your rig is, to the building or house you live in, even the outdoor environment of the country you live in – these are all aspects of the environment concerning your performance.  

Genetically, some people are more sensitive to pollutants such as toxins from poor air quality (indoors or outdoors) or the materials we use. All of these may lead to less than satisfactory performance and even health issues, including cognitive or physical performance decline, in the long run. 

So how to “hack your environment”? What can you do to optimize your space to best support performance when sim racing? We recommend making a habit of the following:

Optimize Lighting 

See how you can play with the lighting to follow the natural daily rhythm as much as possible: bright lights in the morning and midday, then softer and darker towards the evening. 

If you do most of your racing in the evening closer to bedtime, invest in blue-light blocking glasses like the Gunnar Glasses from Asetek partner Razer. This helps to maintain your melatonin production by suppressing the impact bright blue light may have, especially in the evening. By doing this, you can secure a better night’s sleep when exiting your rig! 

blue light

Keep things clean 

It’s not rocket science but still important to mention: make sure to keep things clean. Dust the sim rig and all areas you spend most of your time in. You don’t want to have dust or in the worst case mold in your airwaves, hindering your physical or cognitive performance.

Fresh Air   

Fresh air always beats indoor air, no matter how clean it is. But the truth is, we mostly spend our time indoors, so do yourself a favor and, wherever possible, go outside to get some fresh air (obviously questionable if you live in a highly polluted area).  

If you are endurance racing or spending an entire night behind the wheel, getting fresh air in your breaks can make a more significant difference than you would think.

Dry vs. Humid Air 

Neither dry nor humid air is good if it’s too much. 

Winter often brings drier air. That’s why we are more prone to getting sick, as viruses can more easily enter our airways when the air is dry (as are our mucous membranes).  

Conversely, in the summer, depending on where you live, it could be so humid that you would need to get yourself a dehumidifier. For reference, a good humidity level is around 40-60%.

Invest in Plants 

Today’s modern offices often have plenty of plants or even some air-purifying intelligent plant walls. This is no coincidence, as it strengthens concentration and productivity. 

At home, plants like aloe vera and snake plants are brilliant options. For instance, aloe vera emits oxygen at night while simultaneously taking in carbon dioxide, which we naturally produce when breathing. Snake plant is excellent for releasing oxygen at night, but is also one of the best plants for filtering toxins from the air, leading to purer air quality and a better night’s sleep.

plant

Room Temperature 

Room temperature can affect how you perform when you sim race and both the time and quality of your recovery afterward. For optimal performance, somewhere between 68-72 Fahrenheit (20-22 degrees Celsius) is what you should aim for when sim racing. At nighttime, bedroom temperatures for optimal recovery should be slightly lower, around 64-68 Fahrenheit (18-20 degrees Celcius).

Ambiance and acoustics  

Racing is all about focus, which means blocking out all unnecessary distractions. 

Invest in quality lights, as some bulbs flicker when not working correctly, creating unnecessary distractions and subconscious stress to your system. 

You may want to invest in a quality sound system or headphones, but also make sure you give your ears (and eyes) time for rest and recovery. Do this by pre-planning breaks and time away from screens. 

Summary 

To conclude, there’s quite a lot you can do to optimize your sim racing environment with simple investments. Practice on the track and the right equipment are a massive part of sim racing, but don’t neglect the little hacks you can bring into your physical environment to support your performance and health for years to come! 

Satu Ahlman, founder of Saga Performance, works as an advisor to high-performing individuals and teams, including both corporate professionals and elite athletes. 

She specializes in performance optimization, behavior change, and utilizing body data (such as genetics, stress, sleep etc.) in client programs. 

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