World first at Castrol Edge Winternationals

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Darren Morgan Racing has launched a world first Top Fuel Simulator at the Castrol EDGE Winternationals today in conjunction with Castrol EDGE.

The unique aspect of the simulator is that it’s a full-blown Top Fuel car. If need be, the computer inputs are removed and Morgan can take it down the 400 metre racetrack in its racing trim at over 500 kilometres per hour in 4.5 seconds.

With the connection of two cables, it can be converted back to a simulator quickly after it has been down the circuit.

The simulator has been designed as a promotional vehicle for Top Fuel and drag racing in general.

“We haven’t developed it as a one off, it’s been built with a specific purpose of giving our sponsors additional exposure right around the country and giving the general public the rare opportunity to take the wheel of a real Top Fuel dragster,” Morgan said.

“To be a Top Fuel drag racer is an incredibly select club. There are less licensed Top Fuel racers than there are astronauts.

“It will be taken to many events around the country and provides a real opportunity for ANDRA to get behind it and utilise it as the vehicle to promote the sport,” Morgan said.

“The simulator also gives us the opportunity to take the car on the road for corporate partners or to other public events, let people feel the full force of nitro drag racing and then step behind the wheel to get an understanding of the buzz of Top Fuel racing.”

The conversion has been completed by Melbourne simulator company, Hyper Stimulator. The company has been in charge of many high end simulator projects – including training simulators for Formula 1 and IndyCar teams.

The Top Fuel simulator presented a new challenge.

“The idea was to create a simulator project that replicated Top Fuel drag racing for the public,” Hyper Stimulator project leader, Shaun Trounson said. “To add a further degree of difficulty, the brief dictated that the car had to take the track if the team needed it.

“We’ve developed a system whereby the actual inputs of the car react in the same way as the real racecar.

“Three 40 inch monitors on a custom fabricated stand give the feeling of tearing down the Willowbank quarter mile at over 500 kilometres an hour,” Trounson continued. “There are huge speakers that provide vibration and the steering inputs required – they tell me – is exactly the same as a real Top Fuel run.

“To our knowledge this is a world first – there are other simulators – but none that we are aware of that can be placed on the quarter mile in no time if need be.”

As for sitting behind the wheel – aside from feeling as though you are sinking into hell itself – so low is the seating position, the claustrophobia of the cockpit is the first thing that strikes the driver.

The ‘tunnel vision’ created by the windscreen and surround screens is the next element that gets one’s attention. This combined with the nitro soundtrack leaves the driver thinking they are actually approaching the Castrol EDGE Winternationals Christmas Tree.

It feels like an eternity for the lights to switch from amber to green – reaction time being critical as in real drag racing.

Hitting the throttle as the lights go green, one is transported into every drag racing fan’s fantasy – 0-160kph in 0.8 of a second.

However, there’s no time to dwell on the adrenalin rush, keeping the four wheels pointing straight ahead, avoiding crossing the centre lane and hitting the concrete wall takes every ounce of concentration.

Before you know it, the run is over and you’re reaching for the parachute handle. Strangely enough, although over quickly, so much happens within the run, it feels like an eternity. It’s true what racers say about time slowing down when you’re behind the wheel…

Racefans at the Castrol EDGE Winternationals will have the first opportunity to drive this world first Darren Morgan Racing Top Fuel simulator. And if Morgan strikes misfortune in the AEG Powertools machine – it could well find itself being sent down the track at warp speed!

The 44th Castrol EDGE Winternationals is a four day entertainment extravaganza that will run right throughout this Queen’s Birthday Long Weekend at the Willowbank Raceway, Holiday Monday inclusive for the first time in 2011.

On track – it represents the culmination of the 2011 ANDRA Pro Series, whilst off-track the Darren Morgan Racing Simulator is just one part of the off-track entertainment, which includes Showtime FMX, presented by Castrol EDGE, plenty of giveaways, competitions and prizes right throughout the weekend.


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