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This VR Driving Simulator Is So Realistic That Pro Racers Now Use It to Train

The machine gives an uncannily realistic race experience: g-forces and crashes—ouch!—included. 

Pro racers are using the Motion Pro II VR simulator to train Alex Bellus

The most gifted of today’s sportscars offer levels of performance scarcely imagined even a decade ago. Perhaps the biggest downside to owning one of these track-ready four-wheelers with 200-plus-mph top speeds is that their capabilities simply can’t be exploited anywhere except on a closed racing circuit. And while some examples may see the occasional weekend on the tarmac, the sad fact is that most of these cars are relegated to shuffling along public roads teeming with undistinguished rolling stock.

What’s a would-be Juan Manuel Fangio to do? What if one could simulate the racing experience without ever buying a set of tires, putting on a driving suit, or suffering the indignity and expense of a shunt into the hay bales? The Southern California–based company CXC Simulations has developed machines that deliver an uncannily realistic behind-the-wheel experience, replicating all the primary race sensations, like rapid-transition g-forces, feedback of track surfaces, and—ouch!—even unplanned contact with competitors’ cars.

The CXC Motion Pro II simulator incorporates a low-mass motion system that moves the driver’s seat to replicate a specific vehicle’s acceleration, deceleration, cornering, and other tactile dynamic aspects, tricking the brain with movement, sound, and visuals presented on a panoramic wraparound screen that has the option to be as wide as 75 inches. Enhanced realism comes via the integration of virtual reality by way of the Oculus Rift headset. What makes the Motion Pro II particularly useful to owners with multiple vehicles is the library of CXC software that features numerous makes and models—new and old—and almost every racing circuit around the world. If a particular vehicle isn’t available, CXC Simulations can create it virtually.

CXC Motion Pro II simulator

AZB_4008-HDRRAW  Alex Bellus

Racer Patrick Long—a Porsche factory-team driver—uses CXC Simulations for his own training and for working with drivers that he coaches. “You can work on things like trail-braking technique, or getting a sample of a car that is on a DOT [U.S. Department of Transportation–approved] tire versus a slick. The physicality of the car can be simulated by the Motion Pro II, and you can experiment with traction control and ABS.”

The Motion Pro II is priced from $52,000. Owners are assigned a support representative who is on call and can update software and troubleshoot issues via remote control from the CXC Tech Center. Systems are designed to be completely upgradable as software advances allow, with the constant addition of new cars and tracks.

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