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If you have listened to our Belgium review podcast, you’ll know that our own Paul Charsley has some big news coming out of Jim Russell Racing Drivers School in Sonoma California.  The facility has just teamed with Ignite to offer the first real-world driving school and Simulator experience.  The new partnership has some very unique opportunities that no other driving school is offering but if I’m honest, that doesn’t surprise me.  I’ve been to Jim Russell Racing Drivers School and it is a fabulous facility staffed with immensely talented people and trainers nestled at the start line of one of America’s most renowned circuits.

With heavy involvement from Indycar driver Dan Wheldon, the Simraceway is the next evolution in racing driver school technology and format.  Every F1 driver works on simulators to hone their skills, learn circuits and systems.  The partnership stands to offer you a more complete package dedicated to real-world systems and technology faced by every professional driver today.

We’ll keep you posted all along the way but here is the official press release for your perusal:

Simraceway™ Establishes Real World Racing Facility at Infineon Raceway

Online auto racing game becomes first to establish real-world racing location — simraceway performance driving center 

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. August 28, 2011 – Ignite Game Technologies, the online gaming company focused on building a new form of auto racing game—simraceway—today announced it has established a real world racing facility in partnership with the Jim Russell Racing Drivers School.  The driving school widely regarded as the most advanced and prestigious operation of its kind, is now the “simraceway performance driving center,” and will be fully integrated with the simraceway online racing environment in the coming months to create the most technologically advanced driver development facility in the world.  The simraceway performance driving center will be the first to fully integrate offline and online worlds into a single program.

The simraceway performance driving center’s 30,000 square-foot facility in Sonoma, Calif., boasts the largest and most varied fleet in the driving-school business, with more than 70 vehicles ranging from Karts to the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution and its crown jewel – a fleet of custom-built Lola-engineered F3 racing cars.  With 120+ track days a year, the school is the largest single user of Infineon Raceway.

The simraceway performance driving center will offer a complete driver-training program with the highest level of technology, including instruction from some of the world’s finest coaches, to equip students with the knowledge and skills they need to become the racing legends of tomorrow.

Founded in 1957, the Jim Russell Racing Drivers School has differentiated itself with diverse proprietary curriculum and abundant track practice time. From its focus on simulating real-life racing scenarios, such as skid-pad sessions with slick tires on dry pavement, to the quality and design of the facilities, it stands out as the school of choice for drivers serious about learning to race. The results speak for themselves: Successful race drivers, including Scott Speed, Tony Stewart, legendary Le Mans and Daytona multiple-time champion Derek Bell, and 2011 Indianapolis 500 champion Dan Wheldon are counted among the school’s alumni.

In establishing the driving center, simraceway will gain an unprecedented resource for the development of vehicle physics modeling as well as techniques to improve driver development within the environment. Drivers will be able to practice in simulators at simraceway performance driving center, then step outside to test and temper their skills on the world-class Infineon Raceway track.

“The creation of the simraceway performance driving center marks the first time a real-world driving school and auto racing game have united to fuse both online and real-world racing in one location.  With this we are creating a potent tool to evolve the art of vehicle physics modeling for use in racing games and an unprecedented platform to develop drivers’ skills both online and offline. This is simply a huge asset as we work to reinvent the racing game,” said Ignite CEO Jonathan Haswell. “The team at the facility, and in particular the two chief instructors, have an incredible wealth of knowledge that will be invaluable as we build simraceway the game and simraceway the performance driving center into the world’s most advanced driving development tool.”

“We fundamentally have a product mix which touches both the real world and the online world of automotive experiences. We are extremely encouraged to produce a partnership together, which will raise the bar for the industry in terms of driver training and safety. The combination will encourage people to connect online with the simraceway products and for the user to move to the experience of feeling the real effects of G-Force with our cars under the instruction of our world-class instructors,” said Mark Rayner, CEO, emotive Experiential Performance.

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An F1 fan since 1972, NC has spent over 25 years in the technology industry and as a CTO, he focuses on technology integration in commercial workspace design, AV systems integration, digital media strategies, technology planning, consulting, speaking, presenting, sales, content strategy, marketing and brand building.
  • Interestingly, Infineon has already been scanned in cm-detail by the guys at iRacing. Typically iRacing provides tracks and teams with the 3D models taken for the sim (to be reused for aero and architecture simulation) so… assuming part of the deal with Infineon was to recreate the track in Simraceway, I doubt iRacing would be happy about having their scanned data shared with a competitor (should that be what’s happening).

    If Simraceway have had to create their own track data they’ve certainly got a very high benchmark to reach!

    In any case, iRacing certainly benefits from their association with Skip Barber racing schools so anything that gets more sim racers online is a good thing in my book.

    • the drivers seat

      everyone has to do there own scanning from google to iracing to Simraceway, so no sharing is offered. We are working closley with them to make sure it is as realistic as possible, and with the amount of laps and different cars we have driven out here it should be very cool to drive the end product.

      • Matt

        Sounds cool! I signed up for the beta, I do like my racing sims.

  • I love the pensive look on Dan’s face while Charsley is laughing and handing him his backside. ;) then Dan got dialed in and laid it down…according to Paul. :)