Simraceway, an online racing simulator, has achieved a gaming first: It will feature high-detail virtual models of every McLaren car ever made, giving gamers the chance to, yes, test drive the entire McLaren back catalogue.
The McLaren name, of course, is iconic in racing and high performance cars. The McLaren racing team was first founded in the early 1960s. Today, the McLaren Group not only collaborates with the likes of Mercedes-Benz, but also creates its own supercars.
This is the first time McLaren has licensed its entire catalogue of legendary racing and sports cars, including the 800hp, turbocharged MP4/4 F1 car driven by the legendary Ayrton Senna and his teammate Alain Prost as well as the F1 cars driven by Emerson Fittipaldi and James Hunt.
All 36 McLaren F1 cars, save for the 2011 Vodafone McLaren Mercedes MP4-26, are exclusive to Simraceway. McLaren's roadcars, such as the F1 and the MP4-12C, will also be available.
As with so many curent racing sims, Simraceway developer Ignite Game Technologies strives to offer the most realistic racing experience possible. "We are incredibly fortunate to be able to call on a talented physics team that includes world-class professional drivers," Ignite CEO Jonathan Haswel told Kotaku. "Not only have we been able to benefit from the expertise of IndyCar Champion Dario Franchitti and the late Dan Wheldon, who we will all greatly miss, we also have a soon-to-be-announced ex-Formula One driver helping to shake down our physics models."
Simraceway, however, is also the only racing game to have its own real-world racing facility, the Simraceway Performance Driving Center at Infineon Raceway. These guys live and breathe racing, something that no doubt made the McLaren deal possible. "The genesis of the McLaren deal came about thanks to the fact that Ayrton Senna's manager worked with us on Simraceway," said Haswel. "After a great deal of pleading on my part, he kindly introduced us to the company and the rest, as they say, is history. We were so pleased that McLaren really seemed to 'get' what we were doing with the game and they were as excited as we were about the scope and depth of the project."
To develop the digital recreations, Ignite was given access to McLaren's CAD data that was used to produce the make cars. "For older cars there is of course no CAD data to work from so we have to create our own by laser scanning the actual cars, which McLaren have very kindly allowed us access to," Haswel said. "Due to the logistics involved, this process is yet to begin but we plan to complete all the necessary scanning and sound recordings in the next few months."
The scanning will be carried out on a test track in the UK. Each car will take two hours to completely scan and photograph. Two more hours will be required for each car's sound recording. "We capture the sounds of each car using microphones mounted in multiple locations, both inside and outside of the cabin," said Haswel. "This provides us with a 'sonic model' which we can use to authentically recreate the unique sound of each car in Simraceway."
In total, Simraceway will feature 60 McLarens with a number of them being available at launch, and the rest will become available in 2012. Some of the cars available at launch were recreated using models. However, after they are laser scanned at a later date, they will be replaced in-game.
For more on Simraceway, check out the game's official site. Check out some of the digital McLarens below.