The evolution of motor sport has created a path for an aspiring driver to reach the pinnacle of the sport has always been through slower machinery through years of training, development, mistakes and cost. The more complex the machine the higher the costs. At some point these costs became prohibitive and technology came to the rescue producing ever more accurate simulations of the conditions and cars, saving costs a�� this was the evolution of the commercial level simulator. At the same time, enthusiasts and fans of the sport started from the other end, wanting to have a similar experience to the drivers, consumer level simulators began as games and through time have become more and more complex.
While there is still clearly a large gap between the professional F1 full motion simulators and living room level simulators, more and more this gap has been closed. Today many of the best consumer level simulators are offering competitions which take a person from the living room to a car, but this path is far from commonplace.
Nonetheless, there is no argument that simulators are vital in todaya��s motor sport industry. There are three key elements in my point of view:
- Costs – for me this is the main reason for simulators to exist, the ability to save on costs (tyres and fuel alone for one session will easily buy most hardware needed for years of use, let alone the cost of an accident!) will keep on driving development and progress of simulators. While this development will increase overall running costs, simulators will always be cheaper than the reality they aim to reproduce.
- Training for the team and drivers – consistency, discipline and practice. These are the elements which will take any person and team to success. However, motor sport is expensive and the opportunities to train are expensive and far between, thus why the lower cost, simpler machines play such a vital role at the base of the sport. Especially the consumer level simulators have been designed with the driver in mind. Simulators can provide endless hours to train, at a fraction of the costs.
- Exploration (an extension on both points above) – As a sub point to both points above, anything can be tried in simulators, even things which on the limited track time cannot, allowing for new discoveries and building of experiences to best cope with the real machines.
What does this mean?
When taking a step back one of the conclusions we may make is that soon we will see a new path into motor sport: from the living room to the cockpit. This will come in stark contrast to the traditional approach of driver development of years driving slower, simpler cars and building the skills from the ground up. This development will open the door for thousands more potential drivers who do not have the financial resources to follow the traditional path. It will undoubtedly create a new market. Many companies are already positioning themselves to be ideal path and it will be very interesting how this develops.
Text: Fabio Martins – DeRose Method TriBeCa