Shaun and Darins SimXperience Adventure – Part 1

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Shaun and I have got to experience some really cool things over the last six years and I think this last adventure tops the list. We were invited to just outside of Cleveland in Ohio to meet the team behind the scenes at SimXperience and test out their Stage 5 Full Motion Racing Simulator. Not only were we testing out the Stage 5, but we were testing all the incredible components that  make up a Stage 5, or should I say in the case of one item, will be part of the Stage 5 someday soon. That item was the upcoming SimXperience Accuforce wheel.

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Before I get to that, as the title says, this is just part one of our adventure. With our new website,  I’m able to share some of the things we did in writing with the attached images. We also gathered approximately two hours worth of footage of every component of the Stage 5. On top of that, we had the pleasure of meeting some really great / stand up guys in this industry and just in general. Seems that most are to be honest, but these guys all topped that list as well. Starting with the main man behind SimXperience, Berney Villers who got into this business because his father wanted something to fill the void after retiring from his racing career running a 500+ HP Dodge Viper.  Kevin Villers, Berneys younger brother, came on board about two years ago, helps with the day to day and behind the scenes stuff.  Berney Villers Sr. who I just mentioned raced the Dodge Viper and from what I heard and saw, kicked some serious ass in it was the inspiration behind the first SimXperience setup.

Last but not least, Pat Dotson the inventor of the GS-4 G-Seat. Pat is also a guy who I’ve known in sim racing and raced in the same circles with (literally with Nascar 1 & 2) since the dawn of multiplayer sim racing,back in I think 1995 on “Hawaii” with Nascar 1. We had to dial directly into the Papyrus headquarters (code named Hawaii) in Watertown Massachusetts. It was really cool to meet Pat in person after knowing him for so long in this community.

SimX Team

That being said, we have a lot of content for part 2 and beyond of our adventure. Some in video, some in writing and we hope you enjoy it all. For part one, I will touch on a few of those individual components and some brief comments on the stage 5.

If you’re not familiar, the Accuforce wheel has been in development by SimXperience for some time now. Their goal with the wheel, to make a bulletproof wheel that performs better than anything on the market. It’s going to be a wheel that competes with the ECCis, Frex and Bodnar setups you may have heard of. For part one, I’m only going to say this. I haven’t tried the Bodnar, but have tried the Frex and ECCI offerings. The Accuforce is the best wheel I have ever tried, hands down. OK, I’ll say one more thing. It’s the first time I’ve wanted to wear driving gloves, or felt I may have needed them to enhance my driving experience due to the torque of the wheel.  We will have a complete video report on the Accuforce very soon! I have a lot of details that we get to share with you on how it performs as well as some specs. For now, here’s some images.

If you’re curious about the release date, or pricing, they are still in development and the wheel we tried was a prototype. They don’t want to set a price or date until they are 100% sure they can stand by both. We will have those for you here on the site and show as soon as that information becomes available.

Next up, the GS-4 or G_Seat. Shaun got to try Pat Dotsons creation back in March at the iRace4Life Sim Racing convention held in Dallas now annually. He also interviewed Pat about the GS-4 while he was there. My brief take on the GS-4.. WOW !  It really enhances the Stage 5 experience and adds that extra something a full motion simulator needs, that seat of the pants feel. If you’re not sure what I mean by that, it’s the sensations you feel in your behind, buttocks, etc that allows you to tell how a real car is reacting to your inputs, the road, accelration and braking.. G Forces !  We’ll go more in depth on the GS-4 in our complete video recap on the Stage 5.


The Stage 5…

So I described the GS-4 as WOW !.. Multiply that by ten. Talk about the ultimate sim racing set up. This is probably the first time I have ever felt that seat of the pants kick at the right time to tell your mind and body that the car is breaking traction. I got to sit at the Stage 5 for more than an hour with Bernie dialing in every aspect of the motion platform and GS-4 seat. When I say motion, Im not just talking about the actuators attached the back of the seat, the whole rig has a yaw effect that kicks the rear end left and right as you lose traction.  In conjunction with the GS-4, I was able to dial in the simulator using their Sim Commander software to where I could feel exactly where the car was breaking traction.

20131104_174653I ran the Aussie V8 in iRacing at Brands Hatch for the profile I was dialing in using Sim Commander.  I got to the point where I was running it on the edge as you approach the start / finish line, hazing the tires in 4th gear on the edge of traction and I knew exactly how hard I could push it. I honestly don’t think I’ve ever felt that comfortable pushing that car, that hard. It’s a handful !  Due to the wheel, GS-4 and entire Stage 5 setup, I felt I could wrangle that beast of a car in, lap after lap.

I mentioned Sim Commander above and they are currently on version 3. We got to see version 4 first hand and in my opinion is the most powerful piece of software on the market for sim racing enthusiasts. Version 3 is already very powerful, 4 goes to another level.20131104_163512

Speaking of sim racing enthusiasts.. By now, you may be saying “$22,500, I can buy a car for that much”. Yes you can.. But.. The SimXperience guys have all of these components available for purchase individually (or will eventually in the case of the Accuforce wheel) .  I didn’t even mention Sim Vibe which is probably my favorite components on my personal sim racing setup currently and is also part of the Stage 5 in full chassis mode.

For now, I’m going to wrap up part one and get to work on part two and beyond. We have some great footage and great stories about us driving the heck out of the Stage 5 for an entire day. Heck, I didn’t even mention we drove the sim with Occulus Rift ! More on that from both Shaun and myself as the week progresses. I hope you’ve enjoyed part one.