VIRTUAL REALITY TO DREAM DRIVE
As an early career yet accomplished professional race car driver, Nick McMillen had a bucket list opportunity: To drive at the famed Le Mans circuit.
But before Nick could even hope to put tread to asphalt at Le Mans, he first had to pass a stringent test in the Le Mans governing body’s official simulator in Paris to prove he was ready for the real course.
Nick was no stranger to simulation. In fact his path to becoming a professional driver for Nissan took a very non-traditional and virtual route. While in college, he entered and won a special contest that brought together Nissan and the makers of the virtual driving game, Gran Turismo. This contest established a pathway for virtual gamers to become real racing drivers. Nick was selected as one of the winners of the contest for being the top virtual driver in Gran Turismo and was then enrolled in Nissan’s GT Academy where he learned valuable racing skills, obtained a real racing license, as well as a professional driving contract with Nissan.
Fast forward to 2015, and Nick now had the chance to pilot Nissan’s LMP3 (Le Mans Prototype Group 3) car during a test day around the course used for the world’s most famous endurance race that has been run continually since 1923. Nick could not just show up at Le Mans, however, and start driving. Due to the intricacies of the track and safety procedures, the governing body of Le Mans requires all first-time drivers, as well as those drivers who have not driven at Le Mans within five consecutive years, to pass a rigorous test in their official simulator in Paris. Not wanting to fall short of this dream opportunity, Nick knew he needed some serious seat time in a high-performance racing simulator well before departing on his flight to France.
Nick contacted VR Motion Corp, a leader in developing ultra-realistic race training simulation services, to not only help him learn the course at Le Mans but also to prepare for his simulator certification test which would dictate whether he would be allowed on-track or not. VR Motion Corp provided Nick with a life-like representation of the Le Mans circuit by using advanced data analytics and motion simulation techniques that provided real corner G-force sensations, wheel and pedal feedback, and comparable degrees of grip, braking, and throttle response to that of the actual car that Nick would be driving.
After compiling seat time in the ultra-realistic race training simulator from VR Motion Corp, Nick traveled to Paris and successfully passed his simulator test from the Le Mans governing body. He continued onto the real course at Le Mans and benefited greatly from the track knowledge and car handling awareness gained through his experience with VR Motion Corp race training simulation services.
As Nick noted,
“Simulation services from VR Motion Corp are a very inexpensive way to get seat time and hone my skills behind the wheel. I make sure I get a couple hours worth of lapping a track on a simulator before I ever even show up to a race. The benefit of this is I can show up knowing the racing line, relative braking points, etc. and be up to speed far quicker than if I just showed up without any practice.”
Nick is a young professional driver who has benefited from his adeptness and comfort in using simulation services to help make him a better driver on the track. These are not games but rather real tools he can use to get an advantage when literally every tenth of a second counts,
“It allows me as a driver to realize how a certain braking technique or even taking an early apex or late apex through a corner could gain or lose me a few tenths of a second. These are just a couple examples of how simulation services from VR Motion Corp can benefit racers like myself.”
With real benefits like these, there is no doubt in Nick’s mind that race training simulation services from VR Motion Corp will remain an important component of his racing routine. For those who know, like Nick, you’ve got to SIM TO WIN!