TESTED: CXC Simulations Motion Pro II Driving Simulator!

TESTED: CXC Simulations Motion Pro II Driving Simulator!

by Karla Pestotnik

 

You wouldn't compete in an Ironman marathon without several months (or years) of dedicated training. You wouldn't decide randomly that you are going to take the head off of your engine to do your own port job without sufficient knowledge of what you are doing and proper equipment. You wouldn't decide to design your own tire tread by making grooves that go left or right as you please, without any engineering data behind them. Likewise, if you are a serious racer, you wouldn't show up to a new circuit without any idea when the track goes left or right.

It is no surprise that a racer that has extensive experience on a given circuit will start the race weekend with an advantage over the rest of the field. Yes, the highly talented racers that are quick learners can still prevail during the actual race, however, talent to talent, knowledge of the track will always be advantageous. I think most can agree that this is particularly true with racetracks with a lot of character. Tracks like Mid Ohio, Sebring, Thunderhill, Buttonwillow, or even Pike's Peak can have at least a second per lap on the table for those who know how to best utilize the track's character over those who do not. Think about it- even in a 30-minute sprint race, that puts you 30 seconds away from the front pack by the end of the race! No one has ever won championships being that far off the pace, unless something catastrophic happened to the rest of the field.

No serious or professional racer will ever place their cards on the rest of the field not making it to the finish line because they didn't do their homework on how to be on pace for the course. Preparation is key! This is the main reason why driving simulators are heavily used in professional racing. Drivers can learn or re-learn a course long before the team uses a good chunk of change to get their big transportation rigs out for testing to a racetrack 2,000 miles away with their engineers, mechanics, pit crew, every tool known to man, multiple spares of everything for each racecar, etc. For this caliber of professional racing teams, it is better budgeting and saves a ton of money to invest in very good driving simulators. In no way do the driving simulators completely replace all testing, as unforeseen failures need to found and sorted before the race and cannot be predicted by computers or engineers. 

What do professional drivers and teams invest in when they invest in a good driving simulator? Knowledge, practice, and experience. Knowledge is powerful, and practice and experience bring advantages over the rest of the field. The more accurate the driving simulator, the more the investment exponentially pays off, as more can be learned. What contributes to higher accuracy in a simulator? Read on to find out!

 

In search of the most accurate driving simulator virtually possible, we stopped by our friends at CXC Simulations in Los Angeles to give their Motion Pro II Simulator a try. 

 

The simulator itself is an art form to racers, enthusiasts and engineers alike. Step inside my office for the day!

Before I get into my take on the simulator, let's take a closer look of certain components that not only make it really cool-looking, but also collaboratively produce the realistic driving experience.

Notice in the above photo the Corbeau racing seat, seat rail, and 4-point harness. The unit that I started driving on had a full head containment seat and 6-point harness. Pretty neat! At first glance, you may be thinking that the harnesses are a bit overkill. I'll admit that I had that thought as well. However, once you start driving, you get pretty knocked around like you would in a real racecar, especially if you are physically shaped on the slimmer side. This contributes to faster exhaustion just like it does in a real car, so I didn't mind having the harnesses sort of tight to hold me in place for this reason. Perhaps this is partially why I felt a little worn out afterwards!

 

The electric seat motion actuators are definitely attention-grabbing. They are also the first thing that you notice once you are ready to start driving and put the car in first gear giving the driver a large jolt in their seat! Goodness! It feels exactly like jamming a Quaife sequential gearbox into gear, and also the audio sounds like it as well. Not exactly what I was expecting from the first car that I drove- a relatively stock Mazda MX-5 with only a roll cage and safety equipment! Also, note the seat harness spring tensioners. This influences a realistic feel of being attached to a real car's chassis once the shocks jolt you around. It's so subtle that I didn't even notice the tensioning while driving, which makes it feel much more legitimate. 

 

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