In front of a large audience at gamescom in Cologne, Germany, a new Audi R8 LMS simulator made its world debut in the PlayStation booth at the world’s leading trade fair for interactive games.
By climbing inside the Audi R8 LMS Racing Simulator, players can experience Gran Turismo 5 as if they were in a real-world racecar. Sony PlayStation and Audi went to great lengths to provide fans with a true motorsport feeling in the new Audi R8 LMS Racing Simulator. Rather than convert a production vehicle or existing racecar, quattro GmbH purpose-built this vehicle to be a simulator.
When fans climb into the carbon-black racecar with PlayStation graphics, they feel as if they were on the starting grid. They sit in a bucket seat identical to that found in the real GT3 racecar. A co-driver can also share the experience because a second seat was installed in the cockpit. The rollcage was also simplified to make it easier for players to get in and out.
Once the simulator has been started the experience begins with the instruments showing the relevant game data on the racing display. The authentic steering wheel is connected to the PlayStation 3 system so when the driver turns the wheel, impulses are transmitted by steering angle sensors in real-time. The paddle shifters in the steering wheel also address the microprocessor and issue shift commands to the computer. The same applies to the pedals. Acoustically, a sophisticated Dolby Surround system transmits the sounds of the game into the cockpit.
Vehicle dynamics are perhaps the highlight of the Audi R8 LMS simulator as it by no means rests on its wheels. Instead of the springs and dampers, the suspension is controlled by pneumatic cylinders, allowing body movements of up to 6” to be simulated. The physics of driving are felt in the cockpit and the player has the feeling of actually driving a race, sensing the centrifugal forces while cornering, braking and accelerating.
"We built the base vehicle for the simulator in six weeks," explained Jürgen Zürn, Head of Test and Production of quattro GmbH. "Playing a game that is as advanced as Gran Turismo 5 in our racecar will undoubtedly be a unique experience."
For Germany’s video-gaming community, the Audi R8 LMS Racing Simulator will be featured at many public events. The previous Abt-Audi TT-R was deployed about 60 times a year between 2005-09. These events resulted in 15,000 simulated drives, with more than one million people having the opportunity to see the simulator.