“A tough young man like you is going to want a manual, right?” asked the Nissan salesman who sold me my first car 20 years ago. I shook my head timidly and purchased an automatic Sentra at $500 a month for six years. I can’t help thinking I’d have gotten a better deal had I said yes.

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I’ve never even attempted to drive a stick shift. I’d seen them driven on television or in movies, and I imagined the exhilaration that comes from having that amount of control over a vehicle.

But I’d also been in cars with friends learning how to handle a stick. I’d heard the grinding, seen the pained looks on their parents’ faces as some sort of damage was done. I decided not to chance it.

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I’ve spent the past 23 years or so avoiding stick shifts. The pattern on the knobs could be a mystic symbol for all I am concerned. Still I feel pangs now and then when watching a movie or seeing someone else rocking their virtual racing rig.

Then Logitech sent me one of these.

It came along with the G920, the latest racing wheel for the Xbox One and PC, a lovely wheel that’s every bit the equal of the G29 I reviewed for the PC and PlayStation 4, if a bit less garish.

I finally have a racing wheel with the correct number of pedals. I have a leather-sheathed stick with a coded knob at the end. And how could I call myself a racing game fan if I didn’t know how to really race?

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So it’t time.

Over the next couple of weeks I’ll be making time with Forza Motorsport 6 on the Xbox One and Project Cars on the PC, games I regularly play automatically. Now it’s a rule—no racing without the stick. Once I feel confident enough with the stick virtually, my ultimate goal is to go drive one for real.

I’ll provide a progress update next weekend to let you all know how I am doing. In the meantime should you good people, to many of whom the idea of not being able to handle a stick shift is a strange and alien thing, have any beginner tips, I’m mostly beard but a fair amount of ears as well.

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Contact the author of this post, whose original plan was to learn to operate a lathe using video games, at fahey@kotaku.com or find him on Twitter @bunnyspatial.