Who needs a thousand virtual cars when you can drive your own car in a virtual world? Tag Systems is an Australian company that has been developing the Real Car Simulator since 2003. Using three massive display screens, they create a virtual world that you drive into and explore in your vehicle. First used for driver training, the company brought a system to the USA for the first time and installed it at Jay Leno’s Big Dog Garage.
Using rollers, fans and exhaust collectors, the equipment can run as long as you have gas, whether you’re challenging a drag strip, road course or other scenario. The vehicle is simply driven on to the system and is secured quickly and securely by a patented hold down system. The dynamometer sends data for power, speed, torque and braking to the TAG systems computers which project the surrounding imagery on three display screens, measuring 4 meters (13′-1″) x 2.25 (7′-4″) meters, that give the driver a 200 degree view of the world.
Tag hardware can be configured for multi-user application as well, so you could compete against another live driver (presumably just as rich and bored as you are) in a race scenario, or lead them on a merry chase as if they were driving a police car. To check it out, Leno parked his Z06 on the equipment and took a ride through several scenarios, including a drag run that he’d rather redo for publication.
As Leno explains, about the only thing you don’t feel is the G-forces when cornering. Other than that, you’ll spend some time adjusting to the total immersion experience. According to the company, it takes three exposures for you to make the transition. Both portable and built-in versions are available from Tag. See their web site for more information.