Throughout the history of racing, drivers had taken the "baptism by fire" approach to learning how to handle a car on track. That's not for any reason other than there was no other way—until now.

Racing simulators are much more than video games, and as technology has advanced, these "games" are now a viable way to train a new driver or keep a seasoned pro sharp.

It's no secret that at the Cup level, many drivers use simulators to keep sharp. And although racing simulators can get out of hand, with full-motion rigs reaching well into the six figures, the simple truth is that you can pick a couple of choice components and build yourself a nice little desktop simulator for your home or shop. If you spend a little more money, you can get a sim that much better emulates exactly what you're trying to recreate.

Fast Track Sims is a Canton, Georgia-based simulator chassis company that makes and sells sims geared specifically toward the circle track crowd. We got hooked up with Mark Lutes through a friend, and after a few conversations we decided to build a sim to show the benefits a quality simulator can provide to a driver or race team.

Fast Track Sims is building Circle Track one of its TC-R1 Pro Sim chassis. The chassis is an all-tube chassis, and there are a lot of reasons for that. First off, it offers a real race car cockpit feel, and for Fast Track Sims, it's all about a realistic experience. A bit more subtle, but probably more important is the strength the tubular design gives you.

"The precision TIG-welded chassis is built for the ever-increasing forces applied by today's driver input systems, like high-pressure brakes, high force-feedback steering wheels, sequential shifters, etc," explains Mark Lutes, owner of Fast Track Sims. "The Fast Track Sims TC-R1 Pro Sim chassis is built to withstand these forces, allowing you to feel the full benefit of evolving driver controls. When it comes down to it, just like in your race car, if your sim cockpit is flexing, you are losing feedback and some of the benefits these high-end controls have to offer. Your sim chassis is a vital component in having the best sim racing experience possible."

The chassis gives the sim it's strength, but it also helps recreate the racing experience, and much of that is based around the seat.

"Our unique design, allows for a very accurate race car seating position and the most realistic immersion available!" Lutes adds. "The TC-R1 Pro Sim chassis gives you true ergonomically correct race car seating position for oval and road race GT style racing." (Different seating options with Tillett seats are available for prototype/layback seating position.)

For our sim chassis, we are using a Kirkey full-containment circle track seat, which we got from Summit Racing. This will offer the most realistic experience for driver training and practice.

Lutes adds, "When you are a real racer and you use sim racing for training, you need your sim chassis to replicate your real racing environment as closely as possible. No other Sim Racing Chassis offers as much adjustability to help achieve the desired ergonomics as the TC-R1 Pro Sim Chassis. Your seat and seating position, monitor position, steering wheel position, shifter position and pedal position are vitally important to get the full benefit from sim racing training. Because of this, you don't want to spend hours in a sim that does not replicate your real race car environment/ergonomics."

Outside of the chassis, the rest of the components you use can make or break you sim experience—especially if you are trying to accurately recreate your race car. For this, Fast Track Sims is developing the TC-R1 Pro Hydraulic Pedals. These pedals are designed to give the driver the most accurate feel possible, using real Wilwood pedals and master and slave cylinders to actuate the brakes and clutch. Pedal pressure is easily tunable by changing springs in the slave cylinders, allowing to perfectly recreate the pedals in your race car.

The system is also nothing without racing simulation software. For this, we turned to iRacing, who is the leader in high-end racing simulation software. iRacing allows you to race everything from a Legends car to a Sprint Cup car with everything from Camping World Trucks to Street Stocks, and even asphalt Sprint Cars in between.

When our TC-R1 chassis gets closer to completion you will be able to read all about the addition parts Fast Track Sims uses to finish it. In the end, it's all about chassis stability and driver ergonomics. The TC-R1 does a great job of recreating a true race car-like experience. For the casual sim racer, or the seasoned racing professional looking to keep their skills sharp, a quality racing simulator is great investment in your racing career!

SOURCE
Summit Racing
Akron
OH
800-230-3030
330-630-0240
http://www.summitracing.com/
Capital Fabrication & Race Cars
710 Executive Ct.
Woodstock
GA  30189
770-384-8989
www.capitalfabrication.com
Wilwood Engineering
4700 Calle Bolero
Camarillo
CA  93012
805-388-1188
http://www.wilwood.com
CW Products
4100 N. Meridian Rd
Leslie
MI  49251
517-712-7343
www.cwproducts.zoomshare.com
iRacing.com Motorsport Simulations
Boston
MA
www.iracing.com
Fast Track Sims
http://www.fasttracksims.com
A&A Manufacturing
http://www.aa-mfg.com
Goley Welding Services
556 Joe Green Lane
Canton
GA  30114
770-639-1307
www.goleyweldingservices.com
Rod End Supply
1128 S. Payne
Olathe
KS  66051
800-284-2902
http://www.rodendsupply.com