It’s a conversation that will always cause great debate in any sim racing forum – what’s the best FoV to race with? In fact, more often than not, simply asking that question will get you a dozen different replies all with different answers. So, in this article, we’ll explore what FoV means, why it’s so important, and how to optimize your FoV in iRacing.
What is FoV?
FoV, or Field of View, is the angle at which you view the world around you. For example, the human eye means that we have an FoV in the real world of around 200°. In comparison, the default in iRacing’s settings tends to be around 80° for racers on a single standard 16:9 monitor. This is based on estimates from iRacing of how close to the screen their racers tend to sit and, whilst this setting may be good for some, this doesn’t mean it’s likely to be good for everyone.
Why FoV is Important
FoV is important for several reasons, with the most notable among these being immersion and safety.
The science says that whilst our eyes have an FoV of roughly 200°, most of the information that we process tends to sit within the first 40° to 60°. The rest of our FoV is dedicated to our peripheral vision which, when driving in the real world, helps us to get an understanding of our surroundings as well as having a sense of the speed that we are travelling at.
The same is true, in sim racing. If you race with a smaller FoV, you end up running the risk of eliminating useful information from your peripheral vision that can help you make sense of your surroundings. These can include the road around you and your sense of speed but, critically, can also include seeing other cars on the track.
As iRacing doesn’t include a built-in radar, you are reliant on your spotter to tell you about cars surrounding you on track. Whilst you can get free plugins that can help you in this area, including a more comprehensive spotter and a radar amongst other useful apps, if you’re looking to immerse yourself in a more raw and unaided experience you are unlikely to do this.
At the end of the day, the most important thing is that you feel comfortable with the FoV that you are racing with. In some cases, these settings can vary from car to car and from track to track, with a wider FoV in disciplines such as oval racing that encourage pack racing instead of single-line strategies of attacking and defending that you will often find in road series.
Here’s what your game may look like with a tight FoV versus a wide FoV:
How to Calculate FoV
The best way to work out your FoV is by using an online calculator. You can use them for multiple titles such as Assetto Corsa Competizione too, meaning that this tool can help you get the most out of every sim racing title that you engage with.
Sampsoid, the brainchild of sim racer and streamer David Sampson, have their own calculator that is specific to iRacing that will allow you to input your monitor width, the distance from where you sit to the monitor, and their bezel width. These values will allow you to find and race with the optimal FoV for your setup, meaning you can perform at the very top of your ability.
If you are looking for some iRacing setups to help you on your way, we’ve got you covered at Coach Dave Academy, with new setups every week via our iRacing setup bundles and our iRacing setup subscription.