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Drive Oulton Park in your own living room with iRacing!

Wednesday, November 16 2011

Cheshire's Oulton Park has become the latest track to join the world's best circuits available to players of iRacing.com. The online racing service is renowned as the most lifelike there is, and users can compete against players across the globe.

Such accuracy demands an intensive modelling process to virtualise the circuit and translate the challenge of lapping north-west England's premier motorsport venue to the simulated world. Despite the same team having created digital versions of Brands Hatch, Zandvoort, Indianapolis and Suzuka, Oulton Park presented an even bigger task.

"When it comes to building the track surface, we like to start with a level, straight surface as a baseline," explained Kevin Iannarelli, Associate Producer at iRacing.com. "However there's almost no place at Oulton Park where the race track is level and straight for any appreciable distance, and that extends to the run-offs and gravel traps. That just gave us a chance to show how good we are!"

OP iRacing 1As with any race track iRacing builds, the process of creating a digital Oulton Park began when a crew headed by award-winning photographer David Moulthrop conducted a laser scan of the race track. Using a Leica GeoMatic surveying laser that can rotate 360 degrees atop a 10 foot tall tripod, the crew digitally recorded not just the turns and straights but every seam, bump, crack and gouge in the Oulton Park pavement. 

The attention to detail extends beyond the track itself, as Moulthrop captured virtually every nook and cranny of the facility.  The pit buildings, advertising billboards, spectator bridges and enclosures were documented in over 5,000 photographs, which also incorporated the facility's truly unique features, including the former Egerton Estate's entrance gates, lodges and the monument, honouring John Francis Egerton of the Bengal Horse Regiment.

OP iRacing 2The team spent eight months creating the virtual rendition of Oulton Park, which includes the most configurations of any track iRacing have created. Greg Hill, Vice President of Art and Production explains: "iRacing members requested that we include all of them in the build, including Knickerbrook without the chicane," he said. "That's one of the most enjoyable elements of motorsports simulation - you can include some of the really high speed sections that may not be used much in real life because, of course, with simulated racing the element of danger is removed."

iRacing's Director of Partner Relations is no stranger to the world of racing. Divina Galicia is one of a very exclusive group of female F1 drivers, having switched sporting disciplines from Olympic Skiing in the 1970s. "When we originally made our agreement, we had the choice of two of MSV's tracks including Brands Hatch, Oulton Park, Snetterton, Cadwell Park and Bedford Autodrome," she explained.  "Brands Hatch used to host the British Grand Prix, of course, so that was an obvious choice and, while Oulton Park is a very challenging track, very technical, it has such a rich history of its own.  Really it's on par with Brands and Silverstone from a historical sense. Plus I have a lot of personal connections with Oulton - my first race ever was a celebrity race there in 1974. So it's fair to say Oulton Park changed my life dramatically!"

All you need to drive the virtual Oulton Park is a PC and a subscription to iRacing. To find out more, click here.