Have you ever wanted to know what it’s like to be in the driver’s seat of an IndyCar? Verizon’s Full Throttle created by Los Angeles based Two Bit Circus gives you just that opportunity to race down a Grand Prix track in virtual reality.
I’m no racecar driver, but as a former resident of Long Beach, CA (aka home of the Long Beach Grand Pix) I am guilty of driving down Shoreline Drive and pretending to be like one. At this year’s VRLA Summer Expo, Two Bit Circus showed off their first VR demo, and I finally got a chance to know what it’s like to jump in the driver’s seat.
Full Throttle is a VR experience that was recorded from the driver’s point-of-view during the Long Beach Grand Prix and features one of the races from the Verizon IndyCar series. Knowing that these turbo charged cars can hit up to hundreds of miles per hour I was totally in for trying it out! They sat me down in a bucket-racing seat, attached a Gear VR headset and headphones, and said “Enjoy!” Giddy at the thought of being on a real Grand Prix course, a Verizon logo pops up on the screen, and immediately I knew I was being dropped into the Verizon IndyCar series.
The live action began with the racing team finishing their pit stop check and giving me the green light to go. The car punches it out of the pit as massive winds blow through my face and hair to give me the effects of the 175+ mph speed. The custom experience has a haptic rig that moves and rumbles the chair, making me feel like I was really dropping into the turns on the course. Because Two Bit Circus added accelerometers to the IndyCar during the filming of the race, they were able to capture the actual movements and replicate them perfectly for the actuated VR chair. This explains why the downshifts and accelerations around every turn felt so natural and real.
Throughout the course, I made a couple of head turns to the side to catch glimpses of the crowd in the stands and smiled in amusement. Granted, a real IndyCar racer would most likely be focusing on the course, I however felt safe in this situation. Enjoying the high speed, turns, and stuck in a daze of excitement, the course began to slow down and the racing team greeted me as the VR experience came to an end.
The guys at Two Bit Circus asked me how it was and I told them it was a blast and I could do this all day!
Full Throttle has been setup for fans at the Indianapolis 500 with an actual demo IndyCar frame built around the rig for the full immersive VR experience. Finally my dream of slamming the turns of Shoreline Drive in the Long Beach Grand Prix have been realized and my casual drives in my normal car will never be the same.