Played the latest F1 2013 racing game? You'll be aware just how realistic racing games are getting then, particularly if you've been playing them long enough to remember what F1 games were like a couple of decades ago. But there's still something missing--that sense of movement, a fully immersive environment, and a cramped cockpit in which to sit. Lounging on your sofa in your pants, joypad in hand, doesn't quite fit the F1 lifestyle.

Perhaps the Motionators race simulators in Melbourne, Australia is the best way for regular Joes to get a taste of F1. According to Motoring, the experience can be found in Melbourne's dockland precinct where three Motionators F1 simulators offer a taste of racing that only the drivers themselves--or the very wealthy--will have encountered before. Wannabe F1-stars can climb aboard a realistic cockpit and stare at a 180-degree curved screen, simulating everything you'd see from the real car.

Three high-definition projectors display the images and a Bose sound system supplies the screams of a full F1 grid, while drivers grapple with a force-feedback Roso racing wheel. Hydraulic servos then tip the cockpit this way and that, replicating the effects of g-force you'd face when tackling the corners for real.

Surprisingly, the F1 sims don't use some fancy new proprietary software, but off-the-shelf copies of PC racing sim rFactor--showing just how realistic some games are getting. Telemetry from the game is accurate enough to be sent through an electronic black box, translating the game's physics engine into something a little more real.

It's even caught the attention of 1980 Formula One world champion Alan Jones, who described it as "real close" to the simulators used by modern F1 teams. The experience left him "blown away" by the realism.

It isn't cheap--a 75-minute experience currently costs about $177, but cheaper options are available for shorter drives. Rally cars, V-8 Supercars and even flight and space simulation is next on Motionators' list. The only trouble is, trying out the simulator will probably make your home F1 setup feel a bit weak...


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