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BluePrint Simulator Racing review

BluePrint Simulator RacingNow, I love a bit of gaming as much as the next person! I can hold my own at Sonic the Hedgehog, play a bit of FIFA16 and even win a few rounds at Super Mario Cart, so it was with quite a bit of excitement that I headed with a colleague to try out BluePrint Simulator Racing, how difficult could it be?

The simulator room is located at Formula Fast Karting, which helps as you already have the smell of engine oil in the air which gets you in the mood. What I wasn’t prepared for was the amount of tech involved. You step into the blacked out room to see six ‘pods’, each has their own wrap around screen, bucket racing seat, state-of-the-art looking steering wheel and a very fancy looking pedal system.

Our instructor took us through the basics of what the system can do and it totally blew both our minds! Multiple tracks, different types of cars, you can change the weather, have pit stops, even change the tyre wear and the car’s own set up. I was beginning to think that my Mario Cart experience was going to let me down.

But once you sit in the car, sorry, seat (it looks so real!) they explain the different controls, so even a novice can understand what you’ve got to do in order to just pull out of the imaginary garage.

We were set the challenge of driving a few laps of the Indy circuit at Brands Hatch (from the comfort of a warehouse in Bletchley) and we were on the track at the same time, as all the six pods are linked, allowing for real time racing. First get to grips with a paddle shift (yep, just call me Lewis Hamilton) which took a few minutes but was actually very easy, they should put them on all road cars.

Now at this point, I should point out that neither of us had any idea of the track layout, so it was a relatively slow voyage of discovery for the first few laps. You’re wearing a head set and the instructor can talk to all racers or just you at any point to give tips or to tell you to try and avoid the grass :-)

Once out on track, after a few slow laps, the instructor came over the radio and said the fatal words “You need to go faster, really push those revs!” and that was when I realised I had been going no more than about 40mph the whole time! Time to put the hammer down, and so it began – 10 minutes of pure adrenalin fuelled fun…

Yes, you hit the grass, yes, you spin it and put it in the wall and yes, you even take great pleasure in putting a passing move on your colleague that Jenson himself would have been proud of…but most of all you enjoy the realism of the whole thing. The seat vibrates, as do the pedals, the steering wheel pulls against you when you try to take a corner too fast or put a wheel on the gravel. The realism is just stunning.

We only drove for 10 minutes but it seemed like an hour in my head. When we finished I stepped out of the seat and my hands were actually shaking, what a rush! I want to go back again, and again – try out more cars, more circuits and maybe even a real gearstick (that might just push my concentration levels over the edge)!

The whole experience really surprised us both, BluePrint talk of ‘unrivalled realism’ on their website and boy, do they deliver. Give it a try, I bet you won’t be disappointed.