Ian Callum on the Prodrive sim: 'most racing simulators are ugly' | Top Gear
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Ian Callum on the Prodrive sim: 'most racing simulators are ugly'

One of the prettiest sims out there also happens to be a proper racing tool

Published: 05 Sep 2022
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If one day in the future your toaster is built out of carbon fibre and boasts the structural rigidity of an F1 car, it’s probably because Prodrive happened. The British motorsport and engineering titan is responsible not only for successfully campaigning in all of the top tier motorsport series – including F1 – it even built stuff like active aero, e-fuel pumps and bikes.

No surprise then, to discover it has deployed its considerable skill and expertise into crafting one of the finest looking racing simulators out there. Boss David Richards – who started Prodrive back in 1983 – told TopGear.com why.

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“We’ve witnessed a huge growth in e-sports, especially in the wake of lockdowns. But it’s much more than that. It’s democratising motorsport, making it more accessible to new and younger audiences.” Quite how many younger audiences can afford the £39k+ VAT entry price remains to be seen, but the pedigree is there.

Richards was adamant the new sim bearing his company’s name boasts the same level of functionality that a pro racing driver needs. The sim features a mechanical pedal box and steering wheel complete with motor feedback. “I’ll be using it myself ahead of a few historic events I participate in,” Richards told TG.

Inside the carbon monocoque sits a curved 49in 5K screen and Cobra ‘Nogaro Street’ seat, plus Assetto Corsa pre-installed, while outside... well, as a statement piece of furniture, it's quite something. It's been finished with 16 layers of birch 'steamed' together and then treated to a gloss black lacquer finish. Thank Ian Callum for that silhouette.

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“Most of the simulators out there are just functional units, an assembly of parts in a rudimentary style,” he told TG. “In a word, ugly.” Callum’s brief was to create something that wouldn’t look out of place in your living room, assuming you had one big enough to show it off properly and not shove it next to the vacuum cleaner.

“We took inspiration from the grand piano that sits in David Richards’ home. It’s a good analogy as it too is an instrument yet elegant. I’d like to think we’ve taken simulators from the arcade hall to the Albert Hall.”

At £39,000 excluding VAT/local taxes, it's less than what Aston Martin's simulator costs, but then is still a hefty outlay considering £5k will get you a decent sim setup. Still, won’t look as cool as this, and just think of the technology drip feed that your FutureToaster will get…

Photography: Prodrive/Nick Dungan

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