by Jennifer Deauville

The competition is heating up as sim racers battle for NVIDIA schwag over the next few months.

It goes without saying that NVIDIA GeForce GPUs and 3D Vision enhance the experience of sim racing. That makes us a natural partner for iRacing, the world’s leading on-line, race simulation service featuring the most exciting cars and tracks. The tracks are modeled on real race courses and are so realistic that professional drivers (Dale Earnhardt, Jr., and others) use them to keep their skills sharp or to prep for new races.

From now through July 26, we’re sponsoring the NVIDIA Cup at, the premiere destination for online motorsports simulation.  From the first pole position to the last checkered flag, top racers from around the web are competing in 6 four-week seasons for bragging rights – and some awesome prizes to soup up their racing rigs.

Whether it’s oval or road courses that get your adrenaline going, go check iRacing out.

While the cup is on, all of iRacing’s Mazda MX-5 race cars will sport the green NVIDIA logo. Compete against other racers to win great gear, like a GeForce GTX 570 or GTX 580 graphics cards, or an ASUS 3D monitor and NVIDIA 3D Vision Wireless Glasses kit, for the ultimate stereoscopic 3D racing experience.

And, you don’t have to be Jimmie Johnson to take home a prize.  Simply race with the NVIDIA logo on your car for at least 20 races and you’ll be entered in a drawing. will randomly pick two winners to receive a prize package, which includes: a GTX 580 graphics card, ASUS 3D monitor and NVIDIA 3D Vision Wireless Glasses kit.  More Details here.

So, how real is it? We talked to one of the NVIDIA Cup competitors, longtime sim racer Tony LaGrene, to find out. The answer: “Aside from the G-force and the smell, it’s just like being there.”

LaGrene takes his sim racing seriously — from his ECCI force-feedback wheel to his two GeForce GTX 480s-equipped PC with 3D Vision.

“3D is the missing link,” says LaGrene. “It’s absolutely the closest thing to doing it for real. With 2D you know it’s a simulator. In 3D, the dash and instruments are so much closer. The window net looks like you could reach over and touch it. The 3D is all-encompassing, and the adrenaline gets pumping just like when it’s real.”

Not only does 3D make the sim feel more lifelike, it can also help improve performance. When LaGrene switched over to 3D from 2D, he beat his best time at Laguna Seca while racing a Mazda MX-5. For now, LaGrene is looking forward to competing in the cup and seeing how his skills stack up against some old friends and rivals.