CXC Simulations is often called upon to do custom installations of the state-of-the-art Motion Pro II racing simulator. Most are relatively simple, such as personalized livery design and other cosmetic changes, or adapting different bits of hardware for enthusiastic car collectors or vintage racers, like mounting a classic wooden Nardi wheel on the simulator from a 50s or a 60s Ferrari, or a matching dash and instruments.
Other special simulator builds for professional race teams are more challenging. These are comprehensive, complex, purpose-built projects that require new or unique parts and assemblies to be designed, tested, and manufactured. As one might expect, those simulator assignments are highly confidential and covered by strict non-disclosure agreements.
One such custom CXC racing project that can be talked about, however, is the CXC Motion Pro II Simulator ordered by stock car champion Scott Rueschenberg, who specified that it be configured exactly like the front office of his NASCAR Southwest Tour racecar.
Among the items on professional driver Rueschenberg’s simulator punch list were an engine-turned dash surface, a working version of his car’s analogue tachometer, the actual four-speed shifter he uses, a larger-diameter stock car-style, quick-release steering wheel (including the button switch for radio communications) and an exact physical duplication of his car’s pedals, right down to their shape, positions, and pressures.
Rueschenberg’s custom-built stock car Motion Pro II racing simulator was completed in late June, and after CXC’s standard burn-in and testing regime, it was rolled (just like a race car) into the team’s transporter for the trip to his Mesa, Arizona headquarters.
CXC technicians install every simulator and provide basic operating instructions and driver training for every customer, but because of the special-order work done on his MP II racing simulator, there was particular interest in the driver/owner’s first impressions and feedback. On July 1 CXC Simulations founder Chris Considine himself traveled to Arizona to oversee the install.
“We’d done custom sports car road racing and open-wheel oval track setups prior to this one, but we really wanted to get our first NASCAR effort right. We were fairly sure of our design and adaptation calculations, but I wanted to see it working for myself and of course, hear what Scott thought,” said the young engineer.
The CXC team set the new custom Motion Pro II driving simulator up in one corner of Rueschenberg’s spotless race shop, which is decorated with banners, trophies, racing suits and other mementos from the professional driver’s impressive career behind the wheel. Fittingly, the racing simulator took a place of honor right next to his #25 Desert Mountain Medical-sponsored road course car.
Rueshenberg, who is built more like a linebacker than a typical racer, immediately appreciated the detachable stock car steering wheel adapted to the simulator.
“I’m a little bit bigger than most of the Indy guys, so getting in and out without banging my body and hands makes it nice, he said, settling into the seat, I can pop the wheel on, and it also allows me to make my adjustments before I get going.”
As specified, the same MVE shifter box used in his road racecar was adapted to the MP II racing simulator, a first for CXC. The aim, of course, was to make the feeling of changing simulation gears as close as possible to the real thing.
Once the quick-change wheel was on and the steering and pedals adjusted, Scott found his right thumb directly over the communications button – exactly as it is on his car’s wheel. “Yeah, that works great, it’s right there so I can even practice communicating with my spotter under full race conditions.”
Of course, the critical test would be actually driving the simulator. As confident as Considine and his CXC Simulations staff are about the quality of their work, there’s always the question: Will it please the customer?
Like any real racer in a new car, at a new track, Rueshenberg felt his way around deliberately at first, then began to push and test the limits of the simulator controls. Soon, as his comfort level increased, his steering input lessened, throttle and braking became sure and steady and his shifting hand seemed to find the car simulator’s gear lever like an old friend, effortlessly snapping off lighting-fast gear changes.
“It feels really good,” he said, beaming after his first drive. “This thing’s amazing the way you guys have set it up. Ergonomically, it works perfect for what I needed in the shifter. You did see, I missed a few shifts there. That’s why we’re practicing. I can go to a place now that I’ve never been before, load it up with some setups. And because everything’s familiar – the wheel, the shifter, my pedals are exactly where they are on my racecar and, you know, everything feels the same as far as inertia, the loads we’re seeing in the seat, and the G’s. I mean, this thing is awesome.”
For the CXC crew, enthusiastic comments like that from a customer are about as good as it gets. Every customer and every simulator is important to CXC Simulations, but the first-time challenge of tailoring a Motion Pro II racing simulator to professional driver Scott Rueschenberg’s stock car-specific needs made his reaction all the more special. They’d nailed it.
CXC Simulations is headquartered in Marina del Rey, California and was established specifically to manufacture a professional-level racing simulator that was not only suited to pro drivers and race teams, but one that was practical for home use as well. Developed with the expertise and experience of professional drivers and engineers over a two-year period, the result was the CXC Motion Pro II, about which AutoWeek said, “might just be the best racing simulator in the world.”
Powered by a purpose-built rack-mounted simulation computer, the Motion Pro II is meticulously assembled from the same materials as racecars: aluminum, laser-cut steel and carbon fiber. It is compatible with all major commercial and online software options and users may choose from a practically limitless and ever-increasing list of modern or vintage cars to drive, including F1, GT, NASCAR, sports cars, off-road, open-wheel and rally (even race boats) and tracks around the world to race on. Yet what separates the MP II from other simulators is the implementation and interpretation of that software; the precise timing, intensity and accuracy of its proprietary full-motion system, tactile transducers and force-feedback controls, together with 5.1 surround sound and a 1080p high-definition panorama video display. The MP II realistically reproduces the sensation of racing, making it the ultimate driving simulator for both racing professionals and recreational enthusiasts alike.