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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
Sadly, Michael Schumacher will not return to Formula 1 this weekend, although there is a possibility that the 7 time World Champion will be back in 2010. Schumacher today posted on his personal website that he could not return to the sport after recent testing at Ferrari’s private track in Mugello revealed fractures in his neck from a motorcycle crash earlier this year.
“I am disappointed to the core,” wrote Schumacher. “I am awfully sorry for the guys of Ferrari and for all the fans which crossed fingers for me. I can only repeat that I tried everything that was within my power. All I can do now is to keep my fingers crossed for the whole team for the coming races.”
So with Schumacher out of the running to replace the injured Felipe Massa for this weekend’s race in Valencia, Spain, Ferrari was left to choose between two less than ideal candidates, Marc Gene or Luca Badoer. Gene hasn’t raced an F1 car since 2004, and it’s been a decade since Badoer last did. Still, today Badoer got the call from Ferrari head Luca di Montezemolo that his services were needed back in the big leagues.
Schumacher’s announcement, however, does not mean that a comeback is impossible; at least according to di Montezemolo who is pushing for a rule change that would allow Ferrari to run three cars in 2010, one of which would be piloted (at least in part) by Schumacher.
[Photo Credit: Kappakstur]