Ferrari has announced a virtual racing simulator, titled Ferrari Virtual Academy, that allows any enthusiast to discover what it’s like behind the wheel of a Ferrari F10 single-seat F1 car. And apparently it’s the only PC simulator to do this. Best of all, it’s available for a really cheap price, $19. That gets you access to the Fiorano Circuit. And for another $12.75 you can get access to the Mugello and Nürburgring circuits.
And while we could sit here all day and bore you with the features of the racing simulator, and how 12,000 hours of development time from 15 experts makes it so unique, we wanted to share one cooler aspect of the virtual academy. Every racer that purchases the simulator and indulges themselves in being an aspiring F1 driver are able to record their best lap times online. An international tournament awards the highest-ranked virtual drivers with all sorts of awesome Ferrari prizes weekly. And at the end of it all, the top five ranked drivers win a trip to Maranello, passing through the gates of Fiorano and taking part in an exclusive Ferrari Driver Academy course (with driving instructors of course).
So obviously they have a lot of faith into the technology put into this simulator in making it as realistic as possible. To think that five totally random people that spend a ton of time in the simulator can actually win their way behind the wheel of a Ferrari is pretty impressive. So spare yourself a few of those Big Macs and get yourself behind the wheel of the Ferrari Virtual Academy. Maybe we’ll see you in Maranello.
GALLERY: Ferrari Virtual Academy
- Developed in coordination with Fernando Alonso, Felipe Massa and Giancarlo Fisichella
- Only virtual simulator for PCs with reproduces the F10 single-seat F1 car.
- Development took over 12,000 hours.
- First track is available for download at a cost of €14.90 ($18.97 USD).
- Two more tracks will be made available at €9.90 ($12.60 USD)
The virtual simulator, developed in collaboration with Fernando Alonso, Felipe Massa and Giancarlo Fisichella, as well as its engineers, enables you to experience all the sensations of driving an F10 virtually. It allows aficionados from all over the world to compete with each other on the Fiorano circuit, for the first release, and subsequently Mugello and Nürburgring. The Ferrari Virtual Academy is the only virtual simulator for PCs which faithfully reproduces the F10, the single-seater which competes in the Formula One World Championship.
The challenge of the Ferrari Virtual Academy was to create a version of the simulator used for training Scuderia Ferrari’s drivers which everyone can use on their own PC. Starting from an analysis of authentic data from the car, the aerodynamic effects, tyre characteristics and behaviour of the chassis-suspension system and engine have been reproduced, as well as all elements of the transmission. The work of the development team – 12,000 hours, 15 experts, the use of 3D graphics technology and data processing which has been used for the first time on a product of this type – was assisted by the commitment of the same Ferrari drivers, who tested the simulator personally in order to optimise its performance. The simulator faithfully reproduces the cockpit and steering wheel of the F10, thus revealing all its controls and functionality.
By studying the videos filmed by the drivers and thanks to the helmet cam, which is fitted on the helmet and therefore responds realistically to the stresses of the track and the G forces that the driver is subjected to, this very particular perspective, as complex as it is thrilling to master, has been reproduced to recreate the tension that the neck muscles are subjected to when driving a singleseater.
The dynamic modelling of the car was followed by a comparison of the real and virtual telemetric data of the F10 on circuits reproduced through laser scanning, to ensure that they corresponded. The analysis of the simulated laps, turn after turn, enabled targeted interventions to refine the dynamic behaviour and achieve a driving experience and response to controls with the utmost realism and fidelity. This was also made possible thanks to the physics engine, which, working at a frequency of 1000 Hz, calculates all the forces that act on the car every millisecond as well as their effect on the ride.
Every aficionado will be able to record their own time online, taking part in an international tournament which will reward the highest ranking virtual drivers with Ferrari products every week. At the end of the tournament, following the regulation of the competitions, the 5 drivers ranked as fastest will win a trip to Maranello, the heart of Ferrari. They will pass through the gates of Fiorano and take part in the exclusive Ferrari Driver Academy course, personally aided by the exceptional tutors of the Racing Department.
The simulator can be purchased online from the site www.ferrarivirtualacademy.com at a price of €14.90 for the first release, the Fiorano Circuit, and €9.90 for the following releases with the Mugello and Nürburgring circuits.
Minimum compatibility requirements:
- Operating System: Windows XP, Vista, Windows 7 32/64-bit
- Processor: XP: 1.8 GHz or higher; Vista/Seven: 2.4 GHz or higher
- Memory: XP: 1 GB; Vista/Seven: 2 GB
- Video Card: GeForce 6800 GT* or higher / ATI 9800 PRO* or higher
- Space on disk: 1 GB
- DirectX: DirectX 9.0c
- Internet Connection: modem/ADSL
- Input: keyboard, mouse, joypad, joystick, steering wheel/pedals, configuration of multiple controllers with at least 2 analogue axes
- Compatible with: Nvidia 3D Vision; Track IR Enhanced; Matrox TripleHead2Go