Following several years of development, British specialist Cranfield Simulation has launched the world's first bespoke Formula One simulator for the home market. More compact than the simulators found in arcades or those used by racing professionals, it nonetheless offers an opportunity to experience some of the sensations felt by Formula One drivers.
The goal of this simulator is to enable you to experience the sensation of Formula One racing like the famous twists and turns of the Eau Rouge and Raidillon combination at the Spa-Francorchamps circuit in Belgium or rapid deceleration in the Monte Carlo tunnel. Offering more than a mere visual and auditory experience, this high-end machine has also been designed to enable budding racing drivers feel the famous Gs caused by rapid acceleration and deceleration on Grand Prix circuits.
Given that each unit is custom made, the simulator can be built to accommodate drivers of all shapes and sizes, whereas in the real world anyone who is over 6-feet 2-inches tall is unlikely to fit in a Formula One racing car.
The "Formula Simulator," as it is called, is thus an F1 cockpit without wheels or an engine, but with a faithful reproduction of the pedals and steering wheel. As for the visuals, the racing environment can be displayed on a simple television, an extra-large monitor or, better still, by a virtual-reality headset.
To develop this extremely sophisticated simulator, Cranfield Simulation drew on the same technologies that are used to create military aircraft simulators for future fighter pilots. The result is a machine that offers an unprecedented immersive experience that really makes you feel that you are driving at 300 km/h in the confines of your own living room.
And as each simulator is made to order, future buyers of the machine can arrange to have it decorated with the livery of their favorite Formula One stable. However, before you rush out to buy one of these technological marvels, you might want to consider the cost, which is a very hefty 150,000 euros per unit. A prohibitive price that will put the Cranfield simulator well beyond the reach of many motor-racing fans.