Labonte, Andretti, Owens on simulators

Racing Simulators a Reality in Motorsports; Drivers Discuss Their Various Uses, Advantages and Disadvantages Huntersville, N.C. (April 14, 2009) -- The world of racing simulators has clearly taken off over the past years. The days of a wheel...

Racing Simulators a Reality in Motorsports; Drivers Discuss Their Various Uses, Advantages and Disadvantages

Huntersville, N.C. (April 14, 2009) -- The world of racing simulators has clearly taken off over the past years. The days of a wheel attached to a computer desk have led way to some simulators attached with full roll cages and more. Thousands of gamers race against each other all over the world and sometimes actually race against real stars.

Bobby Labonte, John Andretti and Alli Owens comment on the use of Racing Simulators:

Bobby Labonte, Driver No. 96 Ask.com Ford and President of Breaking Limits:

"I don't do a whole lot of simulator racing. I do some, but I don't know if it helps or not. It takes your mind off things. There are a lot of guys out there that spend more time on it than I do. You know, I don't know what they are doing, but they are better than I am.

"It's really two different elements. I'm not sure if it's a deal where someone does simulator racing all day it will make them the fastest racecar driver in the world. It's just not quite the same. But, if you're a fan of racing, maybe a short track, you can pick up on a few things. If they threw you to the wolves it might help a few people. It's better than not having it like a few years ago, but I really use it for entertainment purposes."

John Andretti, Driver of the No. 34 Window World/Front Row Motorsports Chevrolet:

"I think if you're going to a new road course or a track you haven't seen before, virtual racing can be helpful. They're pretty intricate in the details. It gives you some sidelines and a variety of other things, so you're not completely surprised by anything in real life. It will help you, but there's no way virtual racing will ever be the same as actual racing although they're getting it very, very close.

"I've read articles about simulators that actually have seatbelts that pull back on you when you apply the brakes, so you feel like you're decelerating. That's cool, but there are still things that virtual racing can't duplicate, like when the grip level of a race car changes, or the sheer risk. When you drive into a corner too hard in reality, the penalty is big. When you're playing a game, you just reset the button and start over. It's not the same mentality, so virtual racing can actually have some drawbacks to it."

Alli Owens, Driver No.19 ElectrifyingCareers.com/D'Hondt Motorsports Toyota:

"I've raced an ARCA simulator before and it was helpful. The biggest benefit is that it gives you a head start on tracks you've never raced at before. The simulator is very detailed, so when you go somewhere new, you feel like you've already been there before. You know when to expect bumps in the track. You know the groove of the racetrack, basically you don't feel like you're starting from scratch.

"I don't think simulators can account for how a car handles, though. Tire wear and weather conditions are tough for a simulator to duplicate, so I think it will be a while before teams and drivers can completely rely on virtual reality.

-credit: bl

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About this article
Series ARCA , NASCAR Cup
Drivers John Andretti , Bobby Labonte , Alli Owens