Leading carsales TCR Australia Series team Melbourne Performance Centre has invested in a top-line simulator to get ahead of the pack.
The MPC squad is utilising a Simworx V3 simulator that features an independent traction loss system, replicating the suspension of a race car and giving the driver the sensation of elevation changes of the road surface, cornering, acceleration and braking G forces.
Coupled with the continued advancement of the racing software, and the ability to obtain and extract real-time data from the car, the simulator is being used to fast track the drivers and engineers learnings of the cars and circuits.
And for Garth Tander, the benefits were immediately evident. The three-times Bathurst 1000 winner secured a late deal to race the brand-new Jamec Racing Audi RS 3 at Albert Park. Prior to the race meeting, Tander clocked laps on the MPC simulator, gaining valuable track time and working with his engineer on set-up.
In qualifying for the short-lived TCR Asia Pacific Cup last week, Tander qualified on pole, and he credits some of that result to the simulation work.
“The Albert Park deal was a late one, so we spent a lot of time driving the car around the Albert Park circuit on the simulator, which worked out well, because we sort out our braking points, gear markers, we even did a bit of set up work,” he said.
“Since the Albert Park weekend, we correlated the information we learn in qualifying, and we actually just did a lap time (on the simulator) of within a tenth of a second of the real time.
“The sims are evolving. I’ve never been one to use sims, but I’ve been using this one a lot.”
While he might not be a prolific ‘gamer,’ Tander says that to get the most out of the simulator, you need to treat it as the real thing.
“One of the important things is not treat it like a computer game,” he said.
“You need to drive it exactly like you drive a race car. The brake pressure, how you use the throttle, obviously not spearing off the track left, right and centre.
“If you use the sim as a race car, then when you jump in the real race car, it becomes second nature.
“When I jumped out of the real car into the simulator, it was eerily similar.
“It’s not a computer game, it’s a tool to use for weekends, and then to use after race weekend to correlate the information we get at the race track.
“So far, that’s been successful, and we’ll continue to develop it, so when we go to real world tracks, it will be like that we’ve done 100 laps before we get there.”
Melbourne Performance Centre has the simulator, see in the above video, available for hire. Contact the team on (03) 9761 7775 for more information.