There are racing simulators – and then there’s I-WAY World. Designed by French architect Cyrille Druart and taking four years to complete, the striking concrete and glass complex in Lyon offers a restaurant, alcohol-free bar, conference and fitness rooms and a store selling merchandise from the likes of Porsche and Tag Heuer. But of course the main attraction amongst the aesthetics are the 18 fully equipped racing simulators, which on paper at least, certainly look to deliver the goods.
The 18 simulators are split into three types. Six Citroen S2 S1600 vehicles make up the Rally / Tourism section, while a further six Pescarolo cars offer the Endurance experience. Last but not least, six full scale F1 vehicles featuring simulated 850bhp and 19,000 rpm engines make up the Formula 1 section. The simulators offer two types of experiences – static, or dynamic, with the latter making full use of each simulator's 6-axis range of motion.
Each platform is positioned on power jacks with six degrees of freedom, rising to up to two meters during races, and is designed to reproduce racing sensations like skidding, tilting and braking force. After a briefing, “pilots” make their way through a few qualifying laps before taking on an actual race.
Aiming to immerse the driver as fully as possible in the experience, the simulations feature up to four screens to cover the driver’s central and lateral field of vision. Speaker-wise, all have a subwoofer behind the driver’s seat, and surround sound with up to four rear and front speakers. Simulators of this type are normally reserved for the likes of military and airline training, with an electronic interface recreating consequences based on factors including acceleration, concentration, reaction time and centrifugal force.
While I-WAY World is obviously an experience not for the faint hearted – neither is the price. Enthusiasts have the option of paying 60 euro (approx. US$73) for a single race or 630 euro (approx. US$770) for ten.