Racing simulators—freedom indoors, the feeling of being in a race car without the training requirements or risk—we all want one. Advanced units are used by real racing drivers to sharpen their skills, develop components, and stay ahead of the curve without expensive (or restricted) track days. Now, there's a new player in the field, as Cranfield Simulation's announced a full-motion F1 simulator primarily designed for home use.
The Cranfield F1 Simulator looks like the cockpit of a Formula 1 car on blocks, though without wheels or front wing. In fact, the manufacturer claims that it's built using a real F1 car mold. Climbing inside this simulator puts you in the exact seating position as a real F1 racer, and the professional-grade dash, steering wheel, and pedals have been adapted to work with simulator software to feel as realistic as possible. This high-tech simulator allows users to select any car, built it to a specification, and race it on any laser-scanned circuit in the world, as former F1 racer Timo Glock shows in the video below.
Using the same patented technology from military simulators to train fighter jet pilots, as well as software found in professional F1 and NASCAR sims, Cranfield's unit is able to recreate G forces for the driver, therefore adding another layer of realism and challenge.
Some of the technology incorporated in the F1 simulator includes a yaw-platform. This is placed at the base of the machine and can simulate lateral movements in the car's rear-end. So you can feel the car break traction, or perhaps lack of aero grip in a different setting.
The seat even has built-in airbags to simulate the sensation of being pushed around by gravity while in entering a corner or going flat-out down a straight. Actuators are featured in all corners to simulate suspension and shock absorbers. These actuators can work independently or simultaneously with the software to move according to the laser-scanned race track to provide the most accurate road surface sensation. If there's a bump around the Parabolica at Monza, you're definitely going to feel it.
How much does all of this magic cost? According to Cranfield, the F1 simulator retails at $153,548. But that includes a 55-inch screen, and VR headset, along with everything you need to prove to yourself that you could be a racing car driver if you just had the sponsors—right?. Those looking for a more modestly priced simulator can opt for Cranfield's entry-level GFQ-1 simulator, which retails at $14,284.
Racing isn't cheap, even in the virtual world. And in case you're curious, yes, it's a Cranfield sim that was featured in the very weird Chemical Brothers video used as F1's theme song.