I Drove The World's Greatest In-Home Race Car Simulator
Driving a high-end race car and hitting the track takes little things like, you know, years worth of training and risking potential death. Thankfully, now there's another way. CXC Simulations is making pitch-perfect race simulators that respond to virtual movement in a very real way.
Seriously. I actually sweat while driving the thing.
Started by former professional racer Chris Considine, who was frustrated he couldn't find a simulator that made it actually feel like he was on the track, CXC uses actual gear from actual cars— including pedals, steering wheels, and even harnesses—to make the chassis of its machines.
The HQ is pretty odd—hidden in an industrial park near LAX inside a nondescript warehouse. I entered the shop where it has all the chassis laid out. It looked cool, but truthfully, I didn't expect much of the ride when I eventually got in, as I've sat in dozens of racing simulators in arcades and had...fun, but wasn't ever blown away.
Well turns out I had no idea what I was thinking. Once I was in the seat, I was totally blown away. It uses precise measurements directly from manufacturers when it can get them, and when it can't, the folks there actually disassemble cars to do it. In short: I felt like I was driving a real car, on a real track, and these were real, serious bumps and jolts.
Everything moves the way it would if you were in a car, and you really feel like you're in the action. The give, the movement, and even the way the harness tightens as you take turns behaves differently from car to car. I tried two car simulators, and they both were very different. I crashed on purpose—because why not—and I thought I was in trouble. Would they roll me?
Whew; they didn't.
It has souped-up software options (all of which can be constantly updates) that allow you to choose from everything from low-end economy cars to high-end racers, and even airplanes! With the hardware responding in kind, even someone short on sight and hearing could tell the difference between a Yugo and a Ferrari.
For the hardware itself, there's virtually no limit to the options list. Dolby surround, extra screens, harness tensioners, and even digital dashboards are all available. Coming soon they'll even have a version using Oculus Rift (naturally). Costs start at around $49,000. Start saving or sell your actual car starting...now.