Puretech Simulators

Firm wants to use machines to help youngsters into racing

New simulator experience has opened in Horley, near Gatwick Airport. A few months ago On the Road I went to try an ex-Formula 1 simulator with Darren Turner. It was quite eye-opening how much a professional racing team can achieve with one of these machines.

However, I’ve always thought of simulators that are open to the public as being ‘just a bit of fun’. Before arriving at the new PureTech racing simulator centre in Horley, I thought it would be much the same. Apparently not.

There are 10 simulators in total and the philosophy is to get as many people as possible to experience ‘driving’ an F1 car. Fifteen minutes at the wheel costs £15, so I suspect there will be plenty of takers. The most interesting aspect is that the PTR team is keen to help young people who show natural talent aboard the simulators into the sport.

“In the past year, for instance, I’ve seen eight-year-old boys get in a simulator and be very good,” says PTR creative director Nick Ball. “It’s a great way to tell who has the raw talent. The idea of the race centre is to have a race team associated with it as well, and they can pick up these guys. What I don’t want to do is to squash real motor sport, I want to get the right guys into it and not have this big barrier between them and the sport.”

There are obvious parallels with the GT Academy, where the winner of a worldwide competition on PlayStation is given the chance to race a Nissan as a professional driver. “That’s something we’d work towards,” says Ball. “It would be based much more around real-world physics rather than a game, however.

“Further into the future I’d like to see an engineering station. Each simulator produces all the outputs you get from a real car so you could start training engineers.”

These are all plans for the future at PTR, but they’re certainly worth keeping an eye on. In the meantime, if you’re very early for a fl ight out of Gatwick, it really is just next door. For more information visit: www.brdsim.com

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achieve with one of these machines.

However I've always thought of simulators that are open to the public as being 'just a bit of fun'. Before arriving at the new PureTech racing simulator centre in Horley, I thought it would be much the same. Apparently not. There are 10 simulators in total and the philosophy is to get as many people as possible to experience 'driving' an Fl car. Fifteen minutes at the wheel costs £15, so I suspect there will be plenty of takers. The most interesting aspect is that the PTR team is keen to help young people who show natural talent aboard the simulators into the sport

"In the past year, for instance, I've seen eight-year-old boys get in a simulator and be very good," says PTR creative director Nick Ball. "It's a great way to tell who has the raw talent. The idea of the race centre is to have a race team associated with it as well, and they can pick up these guys. What I don't want to do is to squash real motor sport I want to get the right guys into it and not have this big barrier between them and the sport."

There are obvious parallels with the GT Academy, where the winner of a worldwide competition on PlayStation is given the chance to race a Nissan as a professional driver. "That's something we'd work towards," says Ball. "It would be based much more around real-world physics rather than a game, however.

"Further into the future I'd like to see an engineering station. Each simulator produces all the outputs you get from a real car so you could start training engineers." These are all plans for the future at PTR, but they're certainly worth keeping an eye on. In the meantime, if you're very early for a flight out of Gatwick, it really is just next door. For more information visit: www.brdsim.com