March 11, 2005 One of the star attractions at recent motor shows around Australia has been Mitsubishi’s Lancer Evolution March 10, 2005 One of the star attractions at recent motor shows around Australia has been Mitsubishi’s Lancer Evolution rally simulators, even if judged solely by the length of the queues waiting to strap into the genuine rally seats, in the genuine rally cars that simulate the rally driving experience with more authenticity than you would have thought possible. The simulators were developed for Mitsubishi by technophiles Rodney Robertson and Associates and began with two Mitsubishi Lancers and got waaaay more complex from there. The idea was to build two linked rally car replicas and have them side-by-side with the choice of two very large rear projection screens in front of the cars, or where space and circumstances dictated a lesser set-up, two large bonnet-mounted Plasma panel displays. The experience is VERY realistic. rally simulators, even if judged solely by the length of the queues waiting to strap into th genuine rally seats, in the genuine rally cars that simulate the rally driving experience with more authenticity than you would have thought possible. The simulators were developed in Australia for Mitsubishi by Below-the-line marketing company and self-confessedtechnophiles Rodney Robertson and Asssociates and began with two Mitsubishi Lancers and got waaay more complex from there. The idea was to build two linked rally car replica and have them side-by-side with the choice of two very large rear projection screens in front of the cars, or where space and circumstances dictated a lesser set-up, two large bonnet-mounted Plasma panel displays.
The cars are then able to race against each using the Sony PlayStation Grand Turismo 3 game in exactly the same seats, surroundings and even the same Momo sterring wheels used by the likes of WRC driver Harry Rovanperra in the Mitsubishi works team.
Sitting behind the driver’s wheel gives players a virtual reality experience of being on a rally stage as the seats vibrate and shake in synch with the action, and an explosive Sony sound system helps to re-create the experience of being in a real rally car as you race against a fellow competitor and the clock.
Perhaps the most impressive aspect of the entire simulation set-up, apart from the AUD$250,000 development cost is that the entire driver input is done via the existing controls in the vehicles – the same non-slip rally brake, clutch and accelerator pedals that Harry Rovanperra uses are those you’re pumping away at, the steering input and force feedback has been built into the steering column and even the handbrake works so you can back it into corners in absolutely realistic fashion.
So EVERYTHING is authentic – the cars look exactly the same a a Mitsubishi Evo 7 rally car and perform accordingly, right down to the feel and potision of the clutch and brake pedals, the take-up of the handbrake and the blast of air blown into your face so you don’t expire from overheating as you muscle the car around – that’s because all the articles are the real thing. They even have their own trailers and look the part driving from town-to-town.
Even the motors work, though they’re not used in the simulation as they produce real emmmissions and they don’t make for a pleasant experience in the confined spaces of a motor show.
As we mentioned earlier, the first project cost AUD$250,000 for the pair but the experience gained in developing the technologies for incorporating game and force-feedback controls into the real vehicles will significantly reduce the time and cost of building further race replica simulators and auto companies interested in having their own hyper-authentic show simulators using the cars of their choice should contact Rodney Robinson and Associates.
For Australian companies wishing to stage a promotional show with genuine appeal for little boiys aged 10 through 60, contact Mitsubishi as the cars are now constantly travelling the country appearing in shows, shopping centres, dealerships and fund-raisers, all the while evangelising Mitsubishi’s off-road racing heritage and performance product development cycle. Enquiries should be directed to Stuart Paxton at firstname.lastname@example.org or 0412 344 131