Simulation – For Us and For the Pros

Just as a pilot needs to undergo a rigorous test in simulation for hours, F1 driver has been taking that step too in this modern times. With test severely limited, driver training and experience have become expensive commodity. Nowadays, with the limited test, teams would want to optimize scarcely available track time by developing the car and spent less time on driver development. Hence, only race driver will get the seat time these days. As a result, there is not much room for young talent to breach F1. If any race driver is injured, the standby driver is not optimized to replace the seat. Looking at this factor, safety of the new and the rest competing drivers are at risk. So let’s look at solutions teams are beginning to adopt.

Mark Blundell driving the official Williams Simulator

Rumours in the paddock suggested that McLaren has the best full scale dynamics F1 simulator. However McLaren are incredibly secretive about the technology they are using. McLaren wouldn’t confirm the existence of this facility. But if anything as Alonso suggested is true, their simulators are definitely poles apart from that of Renault. Alonso testified to that.

Ferrari meanwhile is believed to be working on a similar technology to that of McLaren. We are talking along the lines of what you see in the real flight simulator of NASA. A full scale dynamic simulators, which have the entire pod moving around to recreate the sensation of real motion.

With simulators drivers can be put under similar race scenario. Here, the strategy can be rehearse and problematic scenarios can be experienced by the driver. This way, a driver like a pilot when under certain circumstances they will know what to do as if they have experience it many times before. It’s a cheap solution to buy those kind of experience. There is no need getting to the track.

The impact of simulators have been very successful and proven in many instances in real life. Dale Earnhard Jnr is one of many drivers who have perfected his race strategy using simulators. He have won many and dedicated his victory to his time spent in simulators.

Cruden Hexatech F1 Simulator is not a video game, this is one of the best simulator for PC you can get. It’s a serious racing tool if you can afford the $193,000 price.

For us mortals, the technology of simulators have now been ported to Personal Computers. Of course with lack of motion sophistication and physics computation compared to that of F1 team. However, the software is enough to recreate almost exact feel of real race car. Importantly, the scenarios of race weekend that is being recreated is almost similar thanks to the online play.

A track geometry and object comparison of Circuit Park Zandvoort from iRacing and real life. Audio is from the simulation and real world video as well .

At the moment, there are few simulators currently on Personal Computers. With a decent wheel (a Logitech G25 perhaps) you are good to go. My suggestion is to go for iRacing , currently the best simulators out there. It’s being used by many real life drivers out there including former F1 driver Justin Wilson. iRacing provides servers on which to race and practice and a sanctioning body to organize and oversee competition within the service. I have tried it, and believe me if you think you know how to drive a car, think again. You must have similar mentality and techniques as real life driver to drive this car at a decent pace. If Need for Speed is as real as it gets for you, then trust me, you will not even survive one corner.

Editorial : Mu’az Zakaria

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