It all starts with a dream and it happens really early in life. You may get hooked the first time you fire up a go cart or a dirt bike. It happened to me with my first mini-bike. It didn't bother me that the chain kept falling off or that the centrifugal clutch cut my ankle. The exhilaration of going fast on my own mini-bike led to a lifelong interest in motors, machines and racing. The limiting factors became time and money.
Today the time and money involved in pursuit of any regional or national title in racing anything is really significant. The cost of machines, track time, training, coaching, transport, etc. adds up fast. And without a method of tracking progress, your training time can be wasted. Bad habits turn into major limitations.
I'd dreamed about building a realistic racing simulator for many years. As all of the technology started to fall in place (high speed processors, high speed GPU's, cheap massive amounts of RAM and SSD's, affordable low latency positional sensors, reliable and affordable high speed Internet connections and finally the emergence of VR) I realized the time was right to pursue the dream of building a high performance racing simulator. When John Carmack (creator of Doom and Quake) and Michael Abrash joined Oculus, I knew that they would get VR right this time and that VR was going to offer the ability to bring a totally immersive racing simulation experience. The biggest question in my mind had to do with latency. I wanted to build a realistic motion simulator, using a VR headset for all graphics. But I knew that if the physical motion is not perfectly synchronized with the VR graphics and head motion tracking, you'd be sick almost instantly.
It took some time and a lot of experimentation but with the new 3DOF VR Motion Labs Prototype #2, I think I got it right. This simulator includes pitch, roll and traction loss, which in my mind, is the minimum requirement for a realistic racing simulator. I know my lap times are significantly better with the 3DOF motion simulator when compared to the earlier 2DOF prototype. You now become one with the car and it feels right.
With realistic car and tire physics and laser scanned track surfaces, it's now possible to get a true sense of presence in a VR racing motion simulator when coupled with a software simulation package like iRacing, Assetto Corsa or Project Cars. The next generation of championship drivers will definitely be using these in-house simulators to learn the race lines, experiment with car setups and continuous driver training and coaching.
At VR Motion Labs, we are committed to building the best possible VR race simulators for the next generation of championship racers. Stay tuned for continuing developments.