- Aston Martin introduces its first own-brand racing simulator, the AMR-C01, built in collaboration with high-end maker Curv.
- Users willing to pony up the equivalent of $74,000 can virtually drive various Aston Martins of their dreams, or choose such rides as a Ferrari SF-15T Formula 1 car.
- Racing against rivals and participating in e-motorsports are also possible, Aston says.
For automakers, the gap between real and pretend is shrinking to the point of near-invisibility. Car and Driver got to experience Aston Martin's forthcoming Valkyrie beyond-hypercar in the Red Bull Racing F1 team's simulator last year—with several wrecks that would have cost several million to fix in the real world canceled by judicious use of the reset button. Now the British sports-car maker is collaborating with high-end sim maker Curv to give affluent buyers the chance to have their own not-quite-Aston experience.
Or, indeed, to virtually drive any other car whose performance parameters have been captured by the Assetto Corsa V-racing platform, because the AMR-C01 is hardware rather than software: a console that incorporates seat, pedals, steering wheel, and a monitor to help put users in the pretend cockpit. Appropriately, Curv boss Darren Turner is also an Aston Martin works GT racer who has taken three class wins at the Le Mans 24 Hours with the brand.
Designed, as the official release puts it, to be "a stylish addition to any luxury games room," the AMR-CO1 is built around a beautiful-looking carbon-fiber tub with a front end that has been "shaped to invoke the signature Aston Martin racing grille." Its driving position is based on the one that buyers of the Valkyrie will get to experience, with the pedal box positioned high and facing a steering wheel that incorporates a central display screen.
Running Assetto Corsa software means the simulator will be able to simulate everything from the modest performance of an 160-hp Abarth 500 esseesse to a Ferrari SF-15T Formula 1 car, although the expectation is that buyers will prefer to concentrate on the various carefully modeled Aston Martin models. They will also be able to race against rivals online. Where, based on our experience of semi-professional e-motorsports, they will quickly learn that they are unlikely to be able to match the pace of the ultra-skilled Finnish forklift truck drivers and Dutch students who dominate the online formulas.
Aston's beautiful racing rig doesn't come cheap, of course; at the equivalent of $74,000, it's more expensive than many real-world Aston Martins. But you can't crash those with impunity, or punt rivals into gravel traps without serious real-world consequences.