12 Feb 2024
The world of motorsports has long been dominated by seasoned professionals who have honed their skills through years of hands-on experience on the track. However, a revolutionary shift is occurring in the racing landscape, thanks to the advent of professional racecar simulators.
The driving simulator market, valued at $585.05 million in 2021, is projected to reach $790.90 million by 2027. These sophisticated simulators have become integral to refining driver skills in a real-time artificial environment. Sim racing is no longer just a game—they are becoming instrumental in training and preparing new drivers for the challenges of real racecars.
The Rise of Professional Racecar Simulators
High-end racing simulators are equipped with advanced technology designed to make users feel like they’re sitting behind the wheel of an actual racecar. They have immersive visuals on wrap-around screens, high-end steering, and professional-grade pedals—combined, they simulate the sensory experience of being behind the wheel of a high-performance racecar.
“It’s unbelievably realistic,” says Nick Tandy on his customised FPZERO Clubsport Simulator. “The tracks have the bumps and curbs in the right place, and the steering wheel and brake pedal pressures can be set to match the real car.” The goal is not just to entertain but to prepare drivers for challenges on the track. When new drivers sit in a real racecar for the first time, they’re already one step ahead.
Learn Racetracks Ahead of Training Sessions
Simulators don’t only give an accurate representation of what it’s like to be in the hot seat—the powerful graphics bring racetracks to life with unbelievable accuracy. All details are accounted for, including changes in track texture and curbs, pitstops and tyre management positions, and the angles of the different bends drivers will be navigating.
This helps drivers learn tracks quickly and make the most out of their on-track practice. “I never have the laps at the start of the day re-training my brain for the layout of the track… all thanks to the preparation I put in on my sim,” says Porsche Carrera Cup GB driver Ryan Ratcliffe. For beginners, this means more time perfecting skills on the track and less time learning circuits.
Risk-Free Training Ground for Aspiring Drivers
Another advantage of professional racecar simulators is that they act as a risk-free training ground. Competitive racing is a dangerous sport, with many cars travelling at speeds of over 200 miles per hour. On a simulator, beginners can familiarise themselves with the dynamics of high-speed racing without the potential dangers associated with real-life tracks. They can make mistakes without reprocussions, training the brain to be able to identify corrections for mistakes made in real life.
Not only does this reduce the number of crashes and potential injuries novice drivers have, but can save them thousands. Realworld injuries and damages cost drivers anything from £2,000 to £60,000 per crash. With our FPZERO simulators costing less than a crash, it’s a no brainer to implement these powerful training tools for both safety and financial benefits.
Sims also allow drivers to experiment with various cars and race tracks, exposing them to a broader range of scenarios than they may encounter in their early careers. “I like how I can jump between different cars and work on different techniques, so when something comes up as a surprise, your subconscious already has it covered,” says Century Motorsport driver Lewis Plato, now competing in the 2024 British GT in GT3.
Making Motorsports Accessible to All
Traditional racing comes with a hefty price tag, making it inaccessible for many aspiring racers. Professional racecar simulators offer a cost-effective alternative for skill development. Instead of investing in a physical racecar, maintenance, and track time, aspiring drivers can access high-quality simulators to refine their abilities at a fraction of the cost.
For motorsports enthusiasts who aren’t located near a racetrack, simulators also remove travel limitations and associated travel costs. “Simulators have always been a valuable tool in my racing. Having my own gives me the chance to jump on and train whenever I want without having to worry about travelling or costs,” says McLaren GT3 driver Michael O’Brien.
Accelerating Prospects for Motorsports Drivers
Many professional racers credit their simulator training for giving them a competitive edge. “I've been using the FPZERO Pro range of Simulators for my training away from the track… I can attest to the value they've added to get me where I am in my career,” says Williams F1 Academy Driver and Zak O'Sullivan. However, it isn’t just the pros accelerating their careers with racecar simulators.
Many keen racers, such as our client, Mike Hilton, have successfully transitioned from virtual circuits to real-life racetracks through simulator training. “Starting at fifty with zero experience of driving a car on a race track, I entered the Caterham Academy Race Series 2020 with low expectations. Now three years on, I am driving in the Alfa Romeo championships and moving up the grid.”
Driver Training Options at FPZERO
Complementing our cutting-edge simulators are our FPZERO driver training programs. Our driver training facilitates the refinement and acquisition of driving techniques, putting new drivers through their paces to maximise their potential. They offer a hands-on approach to skill development for beginners to prepare them for the track.
We have various training options that provide complete flexibility—remote coaching at home, training at our Silverstone facility, or onsite training brought directly to you. With all training options, drivers can work solely with a simulator engineer, our professional drivers or coaches, or their existing driver coach in preparation for their first race day.
Our collaboration with Kokoro Performance makes it even more accessible to unleash your ultimate potential. Kokoro is an industry-leading driver development company, having worked with Zak O’Sullivan, David Morales, and many more. For a limited time, they’re offering a free one-on-one remote session for 1 hour to all FPZERO clients, helping you get the best results off the track.