Guest Blogger – Nick Fontana

Want to become a faster race car driver?  Sim racing is the answer.

 

The debate should be over – sim racing works.  Professional drivers use it to get faster.  Professional teams use it to find new drivers. Even Pure sim racers have gone on to become successful racers. They even made a TV show about it!

 

The benefits are clearly apparent at the professional level, so what about every serious trackday junkie, amateur driver, or HPDE weekend warrior? Can they use sim racing to advance their skills? Many have homemade rigs with varying levels of sophistication, but very few actually use them to their full advantage.

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Understanding Weight Transfer

Last year's season was left off with many thoughts about braking and weight transfer. As a beginner at the start of the season, I would finish braking much earlier than the turn-in point or sometimes misjudge the braking zone and have to double brake before turn-in. Sometimes I even braked mid-corner, sending the car in an unintentional trail braking that was nowhere close to the real thing.

 

 

'Brake in a straight line THEN turn in' was the mantra to live by.

 

Towards the end of the year, however, I had nailed the elusive heel-toe and was also fairly consistent with braking at the end of straights. The progression is natural with seat time and a desire to learn, so this wasn't a surprise. The next logical step was trail braking, which most drivers at my (Intermediate) level had heard about but not experienced.

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POLOLO Instruments – Porsche 919 LMP Hybrid replica wheel

POLOLO Instruments – Porsche 919 LMP Hybrid replica wheel

POLOLO Instruments aka master wheel rim designer Leopoldo Ramirez is working on a new masterpiece custom sim racing steering rim.

This time, Leopoldo is building a high-quality replica of the Porsche 919 LMP Hybrid endurance steering wheel. From what we can see in the video, the wheel features an LCD screen, 16 (probably multi-Colour) LED’s. Furthermore, the unit is fitted with no less than 15 industry grade push buttons, 5 rotary encoders, and a magnetic snap action paddle shifter and clutch assembly. Usually, the POLOLO wheel electronics are connected to the PC via an industrial-grade DIN connector/USB  cable with a twist lock. 

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Assetto Corsa Competizione – The First Week By The Numbers

Assetto Corsa Competizione – The First Week By The Numbers

It is safe to say that last month’s release of the first part of the Assetto Corsa Competizione racing simulator Early Access version was a huge success, as it instantly topped the Steam Sales Chart.

While Kunos Simulazioni is getting ready to deploy part two of the ACC Early Access, they have published a new trailer video showing us the first week of Assetto Corsa Competizione by the numbers.

  • 1.0289.234 driven
  • 85% valid laps
  • 5,298,496 km distance traveled
  • 1st user on track 4 min after release
  • 11k + sessions under 1:57.000

On Wednesday 10 October, the new ACC update will bring us a new car and a new track in the form of the Bentley Continental GT3 and the Misano World Circuit. Furthermore, we can expect new features such as a Super Pole mode, basic pitstop, and the first implementation of VR support. Last but not least, the update will also introduce the performance and safety rating features.

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DiRT Rally 2.0 Rally Consultant Interview & Gameplay (Team VVV)

DiRT Rally 2.0 Rally Consultant Interview & Gameplay (Team VVV)

As you probably all know by now, Codemasters are working on DiRT Rally 2.0 which will become available worldwide on PS4, Xbox One and PC on Tuesday 26th February 2019.

Yesterday, Alan Boiston of Team VVV posted new gameplay footage of the upcoming DiRT 2.0 Rally title and also interviewed DiRT Rally 2.0 Chief Game Designer Ross Gowing. Today, Alan continues with part 2 of his DiRT Rally 2.0 video series chatting to real-world rally driver and Codemasters rally consultant Jon Armstrong.

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DiRT Rally 2.0 Developer Interview & Gameplay (Team VVV)

DiRT Rally 2.0 Developer Interview & Gameplay (Team VVV)

A week ago, Codemasters announced that they are working on DiRT Rally 2.0 which will become available worldwide on PS4, Xbox One and PC on Tuesday 26th February 2019.

Alan Boiston of Team VVV had the opportunity to get some hands-on time with the sequel of the hugely successful 2016 DiRT Rally title, and also interviewed DiRT Rally 2.0 Chief Game Designer Ross Gowing who shares some more DiRT Rally 2.0 development details.

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Newport Car Museum

Last weekend we visited the Newport Car Museum with the Ferrari Club of America, New England Region. We started off with a coffee social where we saw some familiar faces from the FCA event we hosted a few weeks ago, and met a bunch of new members from all over New England. It's in groups like this that you can really feel the love for cars, especially Ferrari's. Almost every member had a cool story (or ten) about owning, racing, and showing some of the best cars to have existed. 

 

On that note, if you haven't visited the Newport Car Museum then do yourself a favor and get down there ASAP. The massive, climate-controlled building contains dozens of cars with popular and historic significance. From the fin cars of the 50s to the all new Shelby GT350, this collection has something to impress almost anyone interested in cars and automotive design. Most notably, they had a few of our personal favorites such as the GT40, XJ 220, 300SL, Viper ACR, and almost every Corvette and Mustang/Shelby model ever made. 

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Adding a 5 point seat harness to our VR racing simulator for enhanced sensory immersion when braking and cornering

After some great feedback from numerous members of the Boston BMW CCA and the PCA Northeast Region, we've added a 5 point racing harness to our 3DOF VR Racing Motion Simulator for enhanced sensory feedback when braking and cornering. 

 

The 5 point harness firmly secures the driver in the simulator seat so that all movement is felt and minor movements are enhanced.  As you apply hard braking, the shoulder belts tighten and you feel the sensation of the g-force associated with deacceleration. This feedback is what your mind expects and this additional sensory input is critical to providing the driver with realistic feedback.

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Racing Telemetry Data Analysis

Documenting and tracking the impact of minor adjustments made to a cars setup: camber, caster and toe angle, tire type and pressure, fuel load, spring rates, suspension compression and dampening, brake bias, ride height, etc. is critical to achieving maximum performance for the car and driver on any given race day. There's an awful lot to consider here, weather and track surface condition also play a big role. 

 

With the ability to capture the car's telemetry generated in Assetto Corsa,  iRacing and rFactor2 using tools like McLaren's Atlas or MoTeC's i2 Pro, a serious sim racer can now easily document and track the impact of changes to any car's setup at a specific track in specific weather conditions.  It's also easy to compare your performance as compared to another racer if the telemetry log files are shared.

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Prototype #2, A high performance 3DOF VR Racing Motion Simulator

 

I'm very pleased to present Prototype #2, a high performance 3DOF VR Racing motion simulator that has been in the works for the past 10 months.

 

This simulator will make its public debut on January 17th and January 18th at ARinAction at the MIT Media Lab.

 

The 3DOF motion includes pitch, roll and yaw, which simulates acceleration, de-acceleration, cornering g-force, road surface and suspension characteristics, and vehicle traction loss.

 

I've always felt that traction loss was essential to any race simulator, yet I never had experienced traction loss in a racing simulator until I built this motion platform. It turns out, my intuition was absolutely correct.

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VR Racing Motion Simulation will help train the next generation of championship racers

It all starts with a dream and it happens really early in life. You may get hooked the first time you fire up a go cart or a dirt bike. It happened to me with my first mini-bike. It didn't bother me that the chain kept falling off or that the centrifugal clutch cut my ankle. The exhilaration of going fast on my own mini-bike led to a lifelong  interest in motors, machines and racing. The limiting factors became time and money.

 

Today the time and money involved in pursuit of any regional or national title in racing anything is really significant. The cost of machines, track time, training, coaching, transport, etc. adds up fast. And without a method of tracking progress, your training time can be wasted. Bad habits turn into major limitations.

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