Sidepodcast - All for F1 and F1 for all

A Sidepodcast meetup at Pure Tech Racing - Virtual racing in a group environment

Published by Scott Woodwiss

For those who know me and a few others here in the Sidepodcast community, there are some of us who enjoy racing games quite a lot. Another thing we enjoy here is meeting up with each other and generally having a good time. In the past there have been a couple of meets at places such as Goodwood, the Autosport show and the London Science Museum. Now, myself and Pat W are in the process of organising a Sidepodcast meetup which combines the two.

A full motion racing simulator offering racing action at over 1.5G.
Credit: Pure Tech Racing

This all began when myself, Pat and Chris met at the Autosport show and decided to try our hands at one of the various racing simulators located around the halls. One of them particularly caught our eye, on a stand for a company called Pure Tech Racing (PTR). This involved a large, full scale replica of a current Formula 1 car on actuators and hooked up to a simulator. The trick was that the actuators made the car move according to what was happening in the simulator. We settled on it and each had a go in turn. Not to brag, but my lap at the time was the fastest of the day at that moment – 1'09.198. Pretty awesome!

Anyway, afterwards, the guys from PTR gave us a leaflet which informed us that they would be opening a centre, located near Gatwick Airport, where there would be 10 of these simulators and you go there and race against each other. We all looked at

each other and settled that this was a strong candidate for the location of the next Sidepodcast meetup.

Fast forward to a few days ago, and I had a look on their website, which told me that the site was now open. With this in mind, I posted my findings in the comments while Pat found a video from the launch day posted by WRC presenter Neil Cole. The concensus was that this would be an ideal place for a meetup. So that's exactly what myself and Pat are organising.

At the moment, it's early days but I have enquired and PTR have suggested that we block book the simulators so that we can have more of an all day thing going on without having to fork out the thousands of pounds required to host a corporate-style event. Their event formats break down to either Training Sessions which just see you do a 15 minute session in one of the simulators, or a full Race Experience, where you get dressed up in a race suit, attend a briefing, take part in a 15 minute qualifying session, then a break with one-to-ones with some of the PTR guys to look at your telemetry, then an all-out race between you and your fellow competitors.

All for £35 per head, per session. Not bad, eh? It really is like being a racing driver!

We're looking to organise this for some time between August and October. Of course there is the Sidepocast meetup at the Belgian GP at Spa to consider as well, but this is very early days for this event. Nevertheless, the more people we can get, the better it will be. While the simulator itself is challenging, it's a hell of a lot of fun. You really do get a sense of immersion and the feeling that you're driving a real race car with the movement of the simulator, the surround sound and 3 screen set-up.

There is a wiki page for the event, so if you think this is something you'd like to try, register your interest in the comments or on the wiki. Any more info can be found on the Pure Tech Racing website, or just ask myself or Pat. If there's any questions that you want answering, we'll do are best to do that or ask the guys at PTR ourselves once we have a better idea of numbers for the event.

Oh and one more thing – there is a membership scheme which tries to help members progress from the simulator into a real race car eventually. This is something which I'm definitely interested in, and while there are no details just yet on prices for it, I'll be sure not to pass up this opportunity. If you've always wanted to be a racing driver but never quite had the budget, shall we say, then neither should you

I hope to see you all at the Gatwick Centre!