Touted as the UKs only ‘full motion’ F1 simulator, Lets Race near Gatwick Airport, UK, make some big claims about their simulator packages – MSF went to see what all the fuss was about. It’s a well-known fact that the world’s top race drivers use simulators to hone their skills – with advanced physics models and life-like graphics, race teams can save the huge expense of travelling across the globe and running a racecar with equally measurable results from a relatively simple simulator setup.
We can’t all be race drivers, so the advanced simulators offer a great chance for us mere mortals to get as close as possible to Formula 1 driving as humanly possible without the need for terrifying expenses or near-impossible insurance efforts. Lets Race offers the full simulator experience, with up to 10 simulators running at any one time, making it perfect for petrolhead parties and single-minded efforts alike. Who wouldn’t want to have a play with £1m worth of race sims?
One Million Pounds Of Race Sims
Before jumping in the sims a full driver briefing is given, covering the basics (including health and safety), as well as giving you the opportunity to choose your desired track. The full F1 calendar is on offer, along with a few other extras. It’s also worth noting that various other single seater, sports car and GT car simulator models are available. Once a track is chosen, a quick introduction is given, including covering key corners and suggested braking points. All quite serious so far…
Jumping in the simulators it’s immediately clear that this isn’t just your average Playstation or Xbox game on steroids. The seating position is very low and laid back in the car, with the wheel offering a close resemblance to a real F1 wheel, albeit with a lot less buttons and complication. The session started with 15 minutes of qualifying, allowing valuable time to learn the track and try to hook together a fast lap. The movement and feedback from the sim take a while to get used to, particularly the force feedback on the steering wheel which is brilliantly physical.
Once you get acclimatised to it, however, it’s simply sublime. It’s almost uncanny, with subtle changes in the car’s balance being detectable throughout the corner; it’s easy to become immersed and forget you’re in a simulator. After qualifying a feedback/telemetry session is given, which highlights areas where you’re losing time and can look to improve. After qualifying it’s the main race, which was another 15 minute timed session.
While qualifying had been a great chance to get used to the car and build up to a sensible pace, the pressure of a race is as present in the simulator room as it is on the racetrack. A single mistake can ruin your race and it’s not easy – safe to say, our efforts were far from perfect. However, the rewarding nature of a challenge such as Lets Race is enormous.
Post-race everyone is given a telemetry read-out for their lap-by-lap efforts including sector times, track position and so on. As if the racing isn’t enough, Lets Race also has great food and drink on offer and there are also golfing simulators available if you fancy something a bit different.
Lets Race has established itself as a great petrolhead party central and makes for a fantastic day or evening out – it certainly comes highly recommended by MSF.
- Website: www.letsrace.co.uk
- Address: 59-61 Brighton Rd, Horley RH6 7HJ, UK
- Phone: +44 1293 826800