Crash course in race car driving

NICCI MCDOUGALL
Last updated 21:36 10/01/2014
Rik Kasius
MARK BAKER
GIRL RACER: Driver performance coach Rik Kasius shows The Southland Times reporter Nicci McDougall how to use the new ETEC motorsport race simulator for the Toyota Racing Series.

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I'm flooring it down the Teretonga Park straight at 237kmh with 215hp under the hood.

I can see the corner (or loop) approaching quickly, too quickly. My mind races. I change gears and hit the heavy brake hard, but it's not enough and I hit the wall.

I have potentially caused thousands of dollars of damage to the 1.8L Toyota FT40.

In fact, I could have even written the car off. But, fortunately, I'm just playing the gaming enthusiast's ultimate dream race car video game.

I'm the first reporter in the country to give the new ETEC Motorsport race simulator for the Toyota Racing Series a go.

It's the first time in New Zealand a simulator has been used at a track during a racing series.

I was given the opportunity to test it and experience exactly how the drivers prepare to race on an unfamiliar track.

I arrived at the track yesterday afternoon during testing for the New Zealand premier motor racing championship at Teretonga circuit this weekend and I met driver performance coach Rik Kasius and ETEC motorsport team owner Trevor Sheumack.

Mr Sheumack bought the simulator because most of the drivers who came to TRS were rookies and had never been on the track. The team was trying to create an edge over the other teams.

I jump into the race car body, complete with steering wheel and foot pedals and surrounded by three screens. Mr Kasius instructs me on how to use the machine and away I go.

Foot flat down the straight, 237kmh, brake for the corner, crash into a wall. Start again. The wheel shudders and the brakes are heavy but, once I have a feel for it, I'm on a roll.

Cruising around the track is an uncanny feeling and the closest way to actually race around the track without driving it.

While I was told I had learnt fast, I don't think I will be jumping in to race any time soon.

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- The Southland Times

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