For the third time, professional Indycar driver Townsend Bell will contend for the biggest prize in motor racing, a victory at the Indianapolis 500 in the No. 99 Herbalife Ganassi/Schmidt Racing entry. What’s more, once again he’ll jump into a 230 mph Indycar with no prior races and no testing this year other than an occasional karting session – and regular seat time in a Motion Pro II simulator.
In the same circumstances in 2009, Bell impressed from the moment he arrived at the Speedway and finished a strong fourth in the 500. With a CXC sticker on his helmet, it’s no wonder that he gets questions about his training regimen on his CXC simulator, the MP II.
“Yeah,” says Bell, “There’s so much about simulators now with the dearth of testing. I get a lot of questions about it. ‘What does it do for you? How do you use it? What’s the difference between simulators?’
“Obviously, with iRacing.com, the great software that’s available now, simulation enables us to practice on an accurate and realistic model of racetracks. But it’s more than just learning the tracks. Frankly, that you can do with a steering wheel and pedals. But with a sophisticated simulator like the Motion Pro II, the experience is much more immersive and realistic.
“The side-load cornering motions and those for braking and acceleration are there, of course, but it’s the combination of these with other multiple tactile sensations and strong feedback from the steering wheel and brake pedal that transmit the feeling of driving with all its subtleties. I can actually feel the car moving around on the contact patches at the edge of adhesion. And that’s where we live in a racecar. I can feel the difference between threshold braking at the limit and wheel lockup through the brake pedal, and every bump, every change of pavement through the steering wheel.
“I’ve tried all kinds of sims, even some that throw you all around, this way and that. But it’s not about how far you’re moved; it’s how fast the transitions are and how they are combined with the other tactile sensations of driving. For me, no other sim I’ve tried does this as well as the Motion Pro II. And that’s why I chose it. Simple as that.
“Athletes talk about muscle memory, but it’s more than that. When a golfer or a baseball or tennis player hits ball after ball, sure, there’s muscle memory being trained, but there’s a mental component, too. The mind has to focus and get into a zone. That’s when it all comes together. That’s what I do on a simulator. I’m wringing wet after a training session. That’s how intense it is.
“Would I rather be testing all the time in my racecar? Sure, but these days that’s not happening, so what I can do is get as close as possible to the real thing and zone in. Testing or no testing, I’ll be ready when the green flag drops at Indy.”
Watch CXC Simulations client Townsend Bell in the Indy 500 live on TV stations across the globe and live timing and scoring on Indycar.com.
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 MP 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.