Sim racing is starting to be recognised as a genuine way to practice racing and learn new circuits. F1 and endurance racing teams have been using them for years.
I think that the majority of what I know about driving cars and racing on circuits has been learned from racing simulators, from the original Gran Tourismo on the first Playstation to iracing and Project Cars on a gaming PC, and everything in between.
I have always taken racing sims quite seriously and looked at them more as a training aid than a game, and I have always been quite good at them. Time will tell if the skills learned on a sim are really transferable to real life racing, but as it's the only experience I have, it's the only thing I can attribute any success to.