SimRacing Expo 2016

We are back to tell you everything about what we could see at the expo. For anyone who doesn’t know Nürburgring track, it is a huge complex with many different places and activities spread over thousand of square meters. Expo was only occupying hundreds of meters under the main BMW tribune. A clear space with ton of natural light and ideal spot to accommodate this kind of events. There were many of the main European simracing companies and a few from overseas. Also great absences like Thrustmaster leaving Fanatec as the only commercial base wheel developer company at the expo.

A rough list of the companies present there:  Benq, Fanatec, Rseat, iRacing, HE Engineering, Vesaro, JCL, Microsoft, Evotek, Codemasters, RFactor2 and some other local and neighboring countries.

Saturday was the ADAC SimRacing Trophy day. During the whole session many rounds took place leaving 16 finalist for the main event at the end of the day. ADAC provided an spectacular installation using Fanatec, RSeat and Benq gear, using iRacing as the simulator to show how the powerful the competition was. Driving level was awesome and also awful by moments with the people enjoying all the action. All of these guys were alien racers but many nerves and mistakes on track. Every big simracing team had representation in the final rounds. Core, Pure, JIM, IRT and many others raced for the final prize; a good 1000 € paycheck and all the used simrig stuff. Audi and german drivers were dominant in the final round and 7 first cars were from Ingolstadt brand. Angelo Michel was the winner at only 16.

Sunday was a more quiet day, with many people enjoying real Blancpain Endurance series, testing simulators and cockpits or watching support competitions like Formula Renault 2.0, Lamborghini and Seat Leon cups. Some lucky guys went to the old Nordschleife for first time.

During these two days I could personally meet and talk with very important persons of the simracing environment like Kevin Bobbitt, Martin Ascher, Niels Heusinkveld and Svend van der Vlugt, Thomas Jackermeier, Phillip Jasen van Rensburg (aka Beano), Tero Kontkanen and Alex Riesco.

Pictures courtesy by Beano

Few new developments to show at the expo. Fanatec showed new CSL line of products, CSL Wheel Base, which we already tested here, and new CSL pedals with a very good finishing and materials. Brake pedal is totally customizable, travel and strength, and it should be working for anyone who wish to upgrade from a lower hardware set. My feeling about these, they are similar to V3 CSP pedals, but with only some minutes to test them, it is very hard to say. Thomas also told me they are studying Direct Drive wheels to using this technology in their new developments, but at the moment, the priorities are with preorders of these new CSL products. Shipping will take place at the first week of November.

I could test HE Engineering’s new cockpit and I must to say it is easily customizable to sizes and different highs. It feels solid and sturdy set and along with pedals, shifter and handbrake, a very high profile cockpit. Niels also did a session about his works on physics for Reiza guys in Automobilista simracing title.

With all their hardware and topping with GSync 144 hz screens and SimSteering V2 wheel, was for me one of the best sets at the expo. I was with Svend talking about how this year planning was an improvement allowing them to supply every order they had. He told me they already finishing a H shifter for the beginning of the coming year.

Martin Ascher was showing his button plates and paddles to significant participants at the event and I was able to share a while with him. Beano and Tero Kontkanen joined us later. FFB big guys was there talking about last developments and how the next coming months should be even a bigger step forward with the MMOS replacement which Granite Devices are working on. Tero explained how simracing was an unexpected use of his products and everybody agreed with the key first API development by Bernhard Berger. Without this, probably OSW it wouldn’t be possible, but it is awesome to think how many pieces fall into place to allow this community project to reach its current status.

edfo_fr-nec_16_20160918-1105-_d2_1511-fr-nec-nurburgring-722x481We made use of these two days to walk the paddock among the teams and drivers, and to see and touch cars and formulas. We compared some of ours mental pictures with the real life ones, like Formula Renault and GT3 cars. I liked to see Lando Norris winning the Sunday race and being in Saturday’s podio, a well known iRacer showing his skills on a real life track. GT3 cars were impressive with a wonderful sound and Lamborghini series was not far behind. Many contact and entertainment in these Lambo and Seat Leon series.

I barely could see old Nordschleife and strangely my only vision was leaving the area, when I stopped to take some picture of the famous corner where everybody used to wreck. Guess what? two cars wrecked with police and officers taking notes. I hope to be driving it in a future next visit.

A nice weekend, a good chance to meet personally many online contacts, great simracers surrounding by a wonderful motorsport environment and with an outstanding fellowship.

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