Don Bowden

Can a Computer Game Really Help You in the Real World?

If you are a race car driver it can.

Those who have followed my blog will know I’m an avid (more like rabid) on-line auto racing fan. Before the holidays I had the opportunity to test my virtual racing skills in the real world, I was given the opportunity to drive my personal car (an Audi A4 1.8T Quattro) around Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca as fast as I could make it go!

Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca is a famous race track located near Monterey, California, and has played host to various international racing series since 1957, I’ve been attending races there for a long time so I was really stoked to have the chance to drive the track.

I have probably turned a 1000+ laps around the virtual track in so I was very interested in seeing just how accurate the virtual track was versus the real track, and how my racing on the virtual track would help me learn my way around the real thing. I’ve linked a video showing a side by side comparison so I’ll let you be the judge, just Click Here

The opportunity to drive Mazda Raceway came through an organization call Hooked On Driving which sets up track days at various tracks around the country, people show up in all sorts of cars so the experience is not just for people with race cars.

The day starts out with a drivers meeting to familiarize everyone with the track layout and general rules of the road. For newbies like me you are paired up with a driving instructor that is there to teach you the proper racing line, braking points and where the flag stands are located (flag stands are where safety flags are displayed to drivers) and to make sure you don’t get yourself into trouble on track.

Now this is where all those virtual laps come into play, because of all my virtual racing experience at Mazda Raceway there was an immediate and direct correlation, I already knew the proper racing line, and where the braking points should be so we were able to immediately set about fine tuning my racing line to get the maximum performance out of me and my car. I now have a much better appreciation as to why many professional race car drivers use racing simulators like to learn new tracks or to just hone their skills, and this is where the 2nd Generation Intel Core i7 Extreme Edition processor comes into play. It takes some serious processing power to calculate all the physics required to properly simulate driving a race car at speed and my Core i7 powers my virtual race cars quite nicely thank you.

I could continue writing about this experience and fill up another two or three pages but I won’t subject you to that. The experience was an absolute blast and I’m hoping to get to other track days in the future, and the really cool thing… I’ll already know the fastest way around!

If you have questions or would like more information about on-line racing please post a comment.

Don Bowden

About Don Bowden

Don is a Sr. Technical Marketing Engineer in Intel’s Corporate Demos Group supporting various Intel events from executive keynotes to trades shows. His latest gig is with the Intel Extreme Masters Gaming Series where he provides general technical support. Don’s an avid gamer, mostly first person shooters, his real passion is on-line racing with which is the closest thing to driving a real race car as you’re going get. Don is also a skier, photographer and avid motorcyclist, making two cross country trips and a trek to the Arctic Circle and back from his home in San Jose, CA.

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