RJ Johnson slides a Legends...
RJ Johnson slides a Legends car up out of the turn at South Boston Speedway. RJ was one of eight drivers who gave high marks to the BlueTiger. They liked the diversity of cars and tracks available as well as the fact that the cars and tracks would go through changes as the lap counts would climb.
Last month we delved into the BlueTiger Motion Simulator from the technical and racing application perspective. We discovered that this is a tool that has serious racing applications way beyond being just accessory to a video game system.
The next step in our discovery process is to give a broad section of drivers from various forms of racing a chance to try out the motion simulator. We have selected eight drivers with extensive experience in circle track racing, both dirt and pavement; along with some others with road racing experience-and from various levels of the sport, from the pure hobby racer all the way through semi-professional. These guys gave us further understanding and insight to the driving process and the potential uses of the BlueTiger. Impressions of four of the eight appear here. For all eight drivers' takes on the BlueTiger visit www.circletrack.com.
We gave our racers enough time to immerse themselves in the experience. Then we asked them a series of questions that will be the same for all the drivers. The intent is to try to understand just how the value of this simulator would be to a driver at various stages of his or her career, both past and present. The first question will revolve around the experience as a whole. Was it real? The key to that point was not just if it was real, but was it real enough?
We will also be asking about the value to the new racer and as a tool for developing communication and or chemistry.
Dr. Robert Childress explains...
Dr. Robert Childress explains the finer points of how a motion simulator replicates the movement and feelings of a race car. It's these movements that immerse the driver into the simulation. By generating movements that your mind expects based on what your eyes see is how the BlueTiger motion simulator convinces your mind that you're in a race car.
The experiment started by taking our drivers back to school with a lecture in basic physics and motion simulation thought processes given by Dr. Robert Childress-one of the principals of BlueTiger. The content of the lecture talked about both the physical and mental aspects of motion simulation. The trick is to make your mind believe that you are driving a moving car and the motions and sensations your body is experiencing are linked to the visuals that you're seeing on the monitors. The idea is to immerse the driver into a very physical and visual situation that has all of the components of driving a race car-the feeling, the sights, and the tactile inputs-all of the cues that are really involved with the driving experience. The fact is, that a driver will see a visual that shows him entering a lefthand corner, at a very high rate of speed with several other cars. This is a difficult situation to simulate, especially when your mind knows you're sitting in a warehouse on a Thursday evening. But as we'll come to find out, the BlueTiger accomplishes this with ease.
Once the drivers had completed the basic introduction to motion simulation, we let them start driving.
We used a variety of different racetracks-from short ovals, to medium-sized and tri-ovals, we even tossed in a road course or two. It was interesting to watch the drivers as they progressed from just having fun to serious; it was like flipping a light switch. It was very clear that all of the drivers selected were experiencing cycles of learning with each session as they learned the tracks and started to get a bit braver and more familiar with the various tracks.