Words by Raj Hunjan
A new wave of racing games have been released on both the Sony Playstation and Microsoft Xbox game consoles. Gran Turismo 6 and Forza 5 both intimately replicate the racing experience for millions of players across the globe. Players are able to race each other online and even setup groups to race on a huge selection of circuits across the globe.
When Polyphony Digital, the makers of the Gran Turismo series, added the Nürburgring to their list of real circuits in the game, they mapped the circuit to within inches along the entire 12.95 mile length in order to get the detail of the track just right. Everything from the texture, the gradient, kerbs and graffiti on the surface have been mapped.
With this continual development, games have been getting closer to the reality of racing. It has reached the point where qualified racing drivers use simulators to train ahead of races in their real world championships. Of course they do not use a simple gamepad in their hands, but a static cockpit with all the driver controls from their car. Racing seats set on a hydraulic frame, with pedals, gear stick and steering wheel in front of an array of wraparound screens provide a remarkably close to reality experience that helps drivers’ practice and hone their lines before hitting the circuit for real.
Guillemot produce a selection of steering wheels, gear shifters and pedal sets. Their flagship model is the Thrustmaster T500RS, a heavy duty wheel with integrated brushed metal shifter paddles, and a separate metal pedal set (accelerator, brake and clutch). A neat addition is the TH8RS gear shifter, a high quality metal gated gearstick to complete the set. This set up can be used with both Gran Turismo 6 and PC games like IRacing. The industrial spec motor and belt drive system at the heart of the T500RS wheel will exert forces on the steering wheel to replicate the effect of driving over every bump and rumble strip. The weight of the steering will also vary depending on the amount of lock applied, the speed of the car and also braking forces. What this means is it will actually feel like you are driving a real corner on the track. The optional gearstick and use of the clutch pedal will also add to the sense of driving the real thing, you even have the option to set up the pedals to hang or be floor mounted depending on whether you want to replicate a typical road or race car. The weight of the pedals call also be adjusted to your taste.
Full story can be found in the magazine.