Last updated: October 11th, 2021
Sorting out your FOV (Field of View) settings in iRacing (or any sim, for that matter) is a thing a lot of drivers tend to avoid. Perhaps it’s because, as a beginner, iRacing field of view settings are an initially difficult topic to understand. It takes a bit of investment to learn but getting FOV right will improve your lap times. Potentially quite dramatically.
There’s a fair bit of work involved to get to a point where you’re changing your FOV and driver view settings for the better. Time spent doing the research, reading articles and watching YouTube videos is time lost to actually racing!
My guide aims to simplify the subject and provide you with a useful, step by step procedure to get your FOV sorted quickly.
So what is FOV?
Field of view or FOV in iRacing is a measure of how much of the simulated racing environment (the track, other cars, the next corner) is displayed on your monitor. Your FOV settings dictate how the view into your sim racing environment is presented as a simulation of what you would see in everyday life.
A larger FOV gives you more information, a smaller FOV gives you less. And it makes a lot of difference. Check out this example of a driver’s eye view of on a moving train. Nothing changes in this video (the speed of the train for example) except your FOV:
Look how much slower the lower FOV is! Clearly then, FOV makes a huge difference to your perception of what’s happening. So it’s fair to assume it will make a huge difference to your driving.
Getting FOV right in the sim: what’s the benefit?
Imagine you’re driving your car in real life. You instinctively know how much to brake and how much to turn your steering wheel to get around a corner.
You naturally seem to be able to put the car anywhere on a bit of road thankfully, with no mistakes.
This is because your brain is used to processing the visual information from your eyes and it has learned (since you were a baby) how to send the correct information to get you to make a physical adjustment. It all just works thanks to millennia of evolution and years of training your own body to do useful things.
The sim racing environment isn’t natural.
You’re sat in front of a monitor projecting 2D images that represent a real-world situation. But, it’s a simulation!
If something about the simulation doesn’t quite make sense to your brain when you’re processing the visual data, you can’t respond with an accurate, physical reaction.
Therefore, bad FOV settings cause problems for your driving in the simulator.
Bad FOV settings: does any of this sound familiar?
While you might have problems with your wheel or pedal settings (and check out our guide to setting up iRacing properly if you’re not sure), drivers can experience frustration with their driving in a badly configured environment.
Entering a corner, you turn in. Suddenly your entry is too much or not enough, so you make a correction. This correction unsettles the car and keeps your attention on the entry and not the exit, which costs time at best and causes a spin at worst.
You find it very hard to drive consistently and feel like no matter what you do, you can’t drive as accurately as you know you should.
What happens if I get FOV right?
If you’ve never tackled your FOV setup, you’ve probably trained yourself to get used to a very large field of view. The correction might be initially uncomfortable but stick with it!
It will feel weird at first like you have your face up against the car windshield. All of this can be fixed with the right settings. But there is a benefit. A reduced Field Of View will help you become more aware of small changes in your car’s attitude and balance. You’ll realise you’re sensing smaller slip angles in your corner entries and exits, which will give you a much earlier warning of a slide and lots of adjustability in the steering. It’s also easier to judge corner entry, clipping the apex properly and having the car turned early enough to get a good exit.
Once you’ve used the FOV setup procedure below, the FOV will be reduced and you’ll feel like everything is moving more slowly.
How to adjust your FOV in iRacing
- Calculate the mathematical FOV with a calculator
- Adjust settings in iRacing
- Go for a drive
- Adjust camera controls in replay mode
- Go for a drive and note how it feels
- Adjust horizon and driver height
- Test at a circuit you know well. Are you finding it easier to clip the apex and achieve good entry/exit cornering?
Calculate the mathematical FOV with a calculator
The FOV police might not like what I’m about to say. FOV is a mathematical calculation but in my humble opinion, the numerical calculation is at the very beginning of the process.
Getting comfortable with your visuals is based on a bit of data, a reasonable amount of understanding and a subjective approach to your own, personal comfort levels.
We’ll start with a calculator. I like this one very much by Markus Ewert. Enter your screen size, the distance to the screen from your eyes, whether you’re a single or triple monitor user and your aspect (“screen”) ratio:
The real gotcha with FOV calculators is some don’t ask for your screen’s aspect ratio. This is a mistake.
Most monitors have an aspect ratio of 16:9 but my Samsung G9 has a ratio of 32:9 – the results are quite different!
Take a note of the recommended FOV setting and, if you’re using triple screens, adjust your screen angle appropriately. Then, head to iRacing.
Adjust settings in iRacing
Start a test session in iRacing and head to the options screen:
If you’re a single screen user, you can enter the new FOV in the “Driver’s View” section. If you’re a triple screen user, you’ll need to enter the screen angle in the Graphics tab:
Go for a drive
Time to take the car out for a few laps. The best advice I can give you at this stage is go to a circuit like Okayama, where accuracy is absolutely everything. It also helps to know the circuit and car very well.
Do enough laps for a useful replay, then return to the pits and get out of your car into replay mode. The view might seem very, very different. Pay very close attention to how easy it seems to be able to clip an apex accurately, and how the car communicates movement, slides and slip angle.
Don’t worry about pumping in your fastest lap, yet. Once you’re done, return to the pits.
Adjust camera controls
iRacing’s replay feature has adjustable camera position settings. When you adjust the onboard camera it also changes your view, without modifying your FOV setting.
Get out of the car and in replay mode, set the camera to “cockpit”
Now open your camera controls. The default keyboard shortcut is CTRL-F12 but mine was mapped to CTRL-C – so check your default key mapping if you get stuck.
The important settings are at the top: “Offset: X” moves the camera backwards and forwards and “Z” moves the camera up and down.
I like my camera quite far back – here are the results of that:
At this point, it really pays to go for another test drive. You really need to be mindful of what the car is doing and whether you feel your inputs culminate in the outcome you expect. Are you hooking up on the kerbs nicely?
Go for a drive and note how it feels. You might (for instance) feel like the driver position is too low. Small adjustments at this stage are subjective. Get comfortable! Here is roughly where I end up:
Adjust horizon and driver height
Something that a lot of drivers don’t know is that driver height and horizon settings can also make a huge difference to your iRacing experience. Get in the car and use the left-right navigation on the OSD standing screen:
You’ll find graphics adjustments with options for “shift horizon” and driver height are available. These are entirely subjective settings but set up correctly, give a more natural feel when you’re looking into a corner from a long distance.
Take a look at this brief but very useful video from Sim racing SK:
By this stage, you should be feeling very natural in the car and adjusting quickly to the new settings. I’m a big fan of DaveySkills (David Kelly) who produces excellent circuit guides for the Mazda MX5.
I thought I might compare his FOV to mine, just to make sure I’m not going mad!
That looks about the same as mine, happily!
Finally, a quick check of the Porsche 911 RSR revealed the correct FOV but I needed to make an adjustment to the driver height and mirror pitch in the graphics adjustments:
That’s about it for now, hopefully, you’ll find this guide useful and, if you have any questions just drop me a line.