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Simcraft Racing Simulator

Discussion in 'Tracking & Driver Education' started by Thecadster, Dec 23, 2018.

  1. Thecadster

    Thecadster Karting
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    Apr 27, 2017
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    I am thinking about getting a Simcraft APEX5 for home use. Interested in gathering feedback and opinions from anyone who might have had any seat time in one. Recently, I completed an extended demo at the Simcraft HQ in Atlanta and was blown away. My goals are to thoroughly explore my interest in auto racing, learn various tracks around the world, fully develop my novice driving skills, and, most importantly, have fun.

    This was born out of attending beginner Corso Pilota at Road Atlanta last summer. It was my first time on a racetrack and I was hooked. Now I want to continue from beginner last summer, to advanced this summer, and beyond. Depending on how my skill and interest progresses, maybe I end up doing real racing. I thought this home simulator might hasten the learning curve.

    Anxious to hear some feedback from others with more experience than me.

    Here is the link of the unit I am looking at:

    https://www.simcraft.com/modules/content/index.php?id=286

    Here is quick video showcasing the APEX4, which has everything the APEX5 has except sway:

     
  2. DougDish

    DougDish Karting
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    Jul 13, 2010
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    Doug
    Just my opinion - take the money, buy a $10k bmw with low horsepower or equivalent and pay for track time. Nothing replaces real world seat time with an HPDE instructor sitting to your right. Learn how to drive well in a low horsepower car and everything else will make sense. Some drivers advance quickly 10-15 tracks days, others need 60+ tracks days, and yet others just never get it. Be safe, have fun, and learn at your own pace.
     
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  3. Thecadster

    Thecadster Karting
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    Thanks a ton Doug for the feedback. It’s worth mentioning that my disposable time is extremely compressed. Like many people on FChat, time is harder to come by than money. The thought of having a professional training application that I could jump into from midnight to 2am a couple nights a week is nearly irresistible. When I did Road Atlanta last summer with Ferrari, several of the guys had already used simulators to familiarize themselves with the braking zones and driving lines. I spent the first day learning the track. It made me think that with a high end training tool I could get a ton of extra work in. For the next 6 years, I will only have time for maybe 4-6 total track days. Having two kids who are multi-sport athletes takes up nearly every free minute I have.
     
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  4. Dogdish

    Dogdish Formula Junior

    Dec 27, 2005
    346
    Denver
    I do iRacing in the winter here. A PC with a good graphics card, Fanatec wheel and pedals. It lets me learn new tracks and keep "thinking" racing. I'll do 20 minutes in the morning, and 20 in the evening to learn new tracks. As quoted above, no substitute for a real car on a real track. The iRacing isn't racing a car, but it keeps me in the loop so I don't get too far away mentally. My cost was about $2500 for my little setup. Friends and I do Spec Miata and WRL endurance racing.
     
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  5. J. Salmon

    J. Salmon F1 Rookie
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    Aug 27, 2005
    4,085
    VA
    Personally, I believe there is no better way for a regular person with real world time constraints to learn to drive well than with a sim like iRacing. I don't think you need a full-motion rig, but you do want a very fast monitor and decent controls, particularly the brake pedal. Here is something else that many don't like to admit: it's super fun! OK, so it's not the same as a real car, but it is also vastly more accessible, and the mental challenge is just as compelling. I can plop in the seat and do a race with 25 other people from all over the world before work or right after dinner. Or get on a team and do a 24 hour endurance race. And then when I do get to the track, that experience is vastly more enjoyable, safe, and satisfying. Best value for dollar for any auto enthusiast, anywhere.
     
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  6. Automoblog

    Automoblog Karting

    Jun 21, 2017
    88
    Michigan
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    Gino
    I have to agree with the above posts. I do sim racing too and highly recommend iRacing if not Asseto Corsa and rFactor2. Nothing beats real time on track but if you have a time crunch and want to just fire something up and have a quality simulator, you can achieve what you want without spending $16k. All while having TONS of fun.
     
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  7. Thecadster

    Thecadster Karting
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    Thanks for the feedback. Part of me wants to start slow and run a setup similar to yours, the other part of me (and the one the always prevails) wants to “buy once, cry one” and get the top of the line motion simulator. I have been trying to talk myself out of it...
     
  8. Thecadster

    Thecadster Karting
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    Thanks for the feedback. You nailed it. That’s exactly why I have the interest. I made the mistake of doing an extensive demo in the top of the line full motion rig and now I can’t get it out of my head. Just on pure fun alone, the expense might well worth it (for me at least). Additionally, I figure the big money spent on track days would be better utilized with far greater familiarity in advance.
     
  9. Thecadster

    Thecadster Karting
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    Thanks for the feedback. For me, it’s definitely all about leveraging time.
     
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  10. Ingenere

    Ingenere F1 Veteran
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    Dec 11, 2001
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    Dino
    If money is no object and you have enough room, get yourself the new toy you want. I hear your justification for getting a serious sim. I understand getting hooked on the racetrack, but $75k is a lot to spend after 1 track experience, because you think you are going to be doing real racing and need a quick learn. You are already pressed for time. What are the chances you are going to have all this time down the road? Just don’t be one of those folks that come January make the exercise resolutions and buy the top of the line treadmill, only to have a really expensive clothes hanger that ends up on Craig’s List for pennies on the dollar. You can buy a hell of a lot track time, instructors, cars and go karts for $75k. Having said that, it’s a hell of a toy! If you get one and it ends up collecting clothes, call me before putting it on Craig’s List! :)


    Sent from my iPhone using FerrariChat
     
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  11. Smiles

    Smiles Moderator
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    Nov 20, 2003
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    I've been considering a racing simulator.

    From what I've learned, it's worth getting a five-axis machine that simulates sway in order to feel the rear end breaking loose.

    These seem rather expensive...

    Matt
     
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  12. Ingenere

    Ingenere F1 Veteran
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    I've .driven" one and actually got motion sickness. They are very realistic.

    I've looked at them on plenty of occasions, but at the end of the day I'm not training for Le Mans and I'd rather have a car and track time. But that's just me.
     
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  13. Thecadster

    Thecadster Karting
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    Sent my deposit today. It will be here in 6 weeks. I can’t imagine storing clothes on it, but if it comes to that point, you’ll be the first person I reach out to....!
     
  14. Thecadster

    Thecadster Karting
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    They are absurdly expensive... I ordered the APEX5 with sway, etc. What put me over the top was a good friend of mine reached out to a good friend of his who’s a famous NASCAR driver (who might even be a former Daytona 500 winner) to get his opinion and he absolutely loves his. He has the same unit and “trains” on it 1.5-3 hours daily and believes it’s freakishly close to the real thing. He even sent my friend a video of him using it that day. That was good enough for me and I sent my check. In 6 weeks, I will do a full review. Did I mention that they are absurdly expensive... Oh well, YOLO...
     
  15. Thecadster

    Thecadster Karting
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    Some day, I’ll get a dedicated race car and do tons of track days. Maybe even race...who knows? But for now, I have no time. My wife and I were talking this evening that I have not even taken a week off for a vacation in over two years. My businesses are too demanding currently.
     
  16. Ingenere

    Ingenere F1 Veteran
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    Remember....... Life is short. Work is important, but balance is more important. I love what I do, and never want to 'retire', (once I got done with school, I pretty much figured out how to maximize my time and effort and have always worked part time), but I cherish my time outside of work that I get to spend with my wife, taking a mid week blast up to the mountains or a track day. I know, when I am on my death bed the last thing I'll be thinking is, "I should have spent more time working and not with the people I love and doing the things I like to do". "I shouldn't have driven the F40 because I was putting miles on it".

    Your kids are only kids once. It's great that you have a bunch of businesses that are obviously doing well, but the memories you will create by just being there and having amazing experiences, will stay with you and them forever. Racing down the road sound great, but if you put it off and say you get sick or injured and you can't do it anymore. You will wish you did. I was hit by a car while racing in a triathlon, and my legs are 'not what they used to be'. I am so glad I bought that Indycar and raced. Daily driven all kinds of exotics over the years. Climbed mountains, done an amazing biking tour of Italy with my wife, blah, blah, blah. You never know what lays around the corner or what life is going to deal out. I know I would have regretted not doing everything I wanted to because I was 'busting it out'. It's kind of like the guys that you read about on the forums that are planning to get a Ferrari or whatever....... and they have been doing this for 20 years. They finally get one in retirement and always say, "I should have done this 20 years ago, because I am a bit too old to really enjoy it".

    There's an old expression, "Everyone dies, but very few truly live"! It's true.

    If you really truly want to go racing, make it happen...... now!
     
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  17. lmpdesigner

    lmpdesigner Formula 3
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    Actually not a bad price for what the systems offer.

    The pro systems (Real race car mfg's and OEM's) start at about 1 million and go up to 50 million+. So as they say-How fast do you want to go? How much money do you have?

    The system I helped on had a steering wheel motor that cost $85,000. And it was worth it!
     
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  18. Thecadster

    Thecadster Karting
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    Wow! Those systems sound heavy duty. By chance, are you familiar with Simcraft? Their HQ is in ATL. I can‘t say enough about how impressed I have been with them so far.
     
  19. lmpdesigner

    lmpdesigner Formula 3
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    A bit of knowledge on Simcraft. Seem pretty good. My experience is with fill on OEM/F1 level simulators. Really DIL (Driver in the loop) systems.

    Biggest diff of those to a Simcraft is the DIL stuff has very, very sophisticated car vehicle models that run the sim. We capture EVERYTHING on the real car and create a mathematical model of all of it. Super expensive and hard to do on "average car" for some one like Simcraft. The high end DIL can even mimic cross winds and stuff.

    Actually we design the car in the DIL before doing any hardware. In the end the real car is just a physical manifestation of the computer model. All backwards nowadays.

    But the Simcraft stuff is pretty good. Decent graphics (super important), decent enough dynamics model to replicate most basic car tweaks/tuning changes. But not super super nuanced as you need in F1, etc. Finally the hardest stuff to get right is the driver cueing. That is making the driver believe he is braking, corniering, etc. Hard to due well on a simulator. You can't corner or brake, recreate the g's as needed so you trick the brain by doing "fake" responses and motions. Fake is bad word. You exaggerate things as needed. But driver cueing is a black art. So hard to get right. Motion control, sound, vibrations all help but really critical driver has proper feeling in steering wheel and brakes to match real world. Wht we had an 85K steering wheel motor. We needed the super fast response time and super precise load force feedback to mimic the load characteristics of teh tires. YOu need super good tire data for this. Something Simcraft will not have-but then they do not need it. There tool is more fun/driver training. But I am not sure you could design/build a car on it's response characteristics. Simcraft may disagree and I should talk to them about this as they may farther along on this route than I know. But for what you are after none of this is critical at all.
     
  20. Smiles

    Smiles Moderator
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    Nov 20, 2003
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    Matt F
  21. Thecadster

    Thecadster Karting
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    That unit looks like an amazing value, albeit with a radically different approach to reproducing the effects of motion. However, I exceed the max wight capacity of 250lbs by 15 pounds. I’m 6’6” and my other family members are even bigger than me. The standard weight capacity for mine is 500lbs and they are actually slightly changing the specs to make it even larger and more robust.
     
  22. Federal man

    Federal man Rookie
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    Sep 3, 2018
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    mark higinbotham
    We were at Barrett-Jackson yesterday and stopped by their booth as my buddies are big into iRacing. We are also amateur road racers and the owner was very knowledgeable about race-craft and handling dynamics. Paul Tracy happened to walk up and climb in as he is preparing for a big race in Australia. It was cool meeting him and chatting about what he is up to nowadays.
     
  23. Thecadster

    Thecadster Karting
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    The Simcraft team is terrific. Did they have a pretty good setup? Were they attracting a decent crowd? Did you have chance to demo any of the simulators?
     
  24. Federal man

    Federal man Rookie
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    mark higinbotham
    They were demo-ing the $75,000 Apex 5 system using the iRacing application. Paul Tracy was practicing on the Bathurst track in a 488GT3 he is co-driving in the Bathurst 1000. Demo was very impressive as they were able to turn off the motion effects so Paul could learn the track before adding all the variables back in .
     
  25. Thecadster

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    That sounds amazing. How did Paul do? And what was his reaction to the simulator?
     

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