Driving Impressions: The CXC Simulator! 

by Mike Kojima

I am not a gamer, I have never liked video games and never gotten good at them.  I have always felt that I don't have the time for them.  I mean, I own a driving simulator chair with force feedback that my daughter plays with when she does Grand Turismo on our home big screen TV but I never got into it and when I have played it, I have always felt that it feels nothing like a car, not enough anyway where I could jump in and drive it.

My problem is that simulators don't give me any sensation of speed, braking, or cornering.  I always go too fast and immediately end up crashing. I have to putt around and memorize how fast I can go without crashing making the game tedious to get any good and too time consuming. 

When I can turn a decent lap, it's because I have gotten good at the game and not from getting any skills that could correlate with real driving other than learning a track layout.  At least track layout is one thing that typical games can capture well. 

A couple of weeks ago, CXC, a driving simulations company invited a few pro drivers, the media, and industry notables to an open house to demonstrate their driving sims. I thought this would be like your typical simulator and didn't really want to bother going but my buddy Rod Chong who works for CXC convinced me to go, telling me that this would be really cool. 

I thought that me trying one of these sims would be an excellent test.  if I, a decent club racer but total non-gamer could quickly turn a decent lap time immediately in a type of car that I am familiar with on a track I know well, this would mean that it is a hell of a realistic simulation.


I arrived at the event and it looked like an arcade with some motion control on the seats.  I was sort of skeptical so I went back outside to sample some excellent tacos and things to drink. Then I remembered that the drivers participating had 3D goggles on so maybe there was more to this so I went back inside to give things a closer look.
Finally, I saw someone I know.  I ran into JRod at the door, apparently, he was going to announce some races on the sims with the pro drivers that were there. 
I ran into this guy who said his name was Nads and he used to work for me.  I don't remember having such a handsome and funny guy at MotoIQ.  Surely he must be mistaken.  I pretended not to know him and moved on. 
This guy is Evan Tuerck or was it Ryan?  He was in a Go Pro commercial I saw once I think.  Maybe he drives monster trucks?
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Friday, October 21, 2016 7:28 AM
Well, for $50K, which seems to be their entry price for this rig, I think I would just go buy a real used race car and race it on real tracks. In something cheap like club racing you could maybe go 3 years or so, assuming a lower powered car that doesn't eat consumables and no crashes.
Saturday, October 22, 2016 1:43 AM
You cannot compare it to "real racing".

It is a complementary tool for pro drivers, and maybe an expensive toy for arcade owners and billionaires too. It does not replace racing, it goes hand in hand with it.
Saturday, October 22, 2016 9:56 AM
It's not meant to replace racing, it's meant mostly as a track learning tool at that low cost level. Yes, at the $50k level you are just buying a fancy toy.

The much higher level simulators (Cruden, Moog, Ansible Motion, etc.) are on a completely different planet in terms of sophistication, with motion cueing and full physics and vehicle models for actual car development. They are also exponentially more expensive, and I don't think $50k would even pay for the software licenses for the physics or vehicle models to drive the motion platform, or pay for the real-time physics servers, and certainly not the projector arrays for the wraparound screen.
Wednesday, October 26, 2016 12:42 PM
Online racing sim's like iRacing can be a great learning tool to help predict the actions of other drivers. As a new racer I have found it helpful, although I do agree with you that there is not the sense of speed that you feel in an actual car.
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