The game is often generally regarded as the personal computer's first true auto racing simulation.Unlike most other racing games at the time, Indianapolis 500 attempted to simulate realistic physics and telemetry, such as its portrayal of the relationship between the four contact patches and the pavement, as well as the loss of grip when making a high-speed turn, forcing the player to adopt a proper racing line and believable throttle-to-brake interaction.
It was the first sim where cars no longer looked like boxes. Moreover, the first real online racing started with NASCAR 1 using the "Hawaii" dial-in servers and it was not uncommon for these early sim racers to have 0 to 00 phone bills.
The first racing game with simulation pretensions on a home system is believed to have been Chequered Flag, released by Psion on the 8-bit ZX Spectrum in 1983. REVS was a Formula 3 sim that delivered a semi-realistic driving experience by Geoff Crammond that ran on the Commodore 64 and BBC.
REVS had a big fan base in England, but not so much in the United States.
This was then superseded by the widely popular Hard Drivin' which was an arcade and home computing staple released in 1989, and one of the most widely played simulators up to that point.
Sim racing is generally acknowledged to have really taken off in 1989 with the introduction of Papyrus Design Group's Indianapolis 500: The Simulation, designed by David Kaemmer and Omar Khudari on 16-bit computer hardware.
However, sims such as 'NASCAR Racing 2003 Season and Richard Burns Rally have achieved worldwide fame.