Prodrive’s new racing simulator is shaped by Callum to be in front of the grid
The racing simulator takes shape – this new design from Prodrive and Callum is perfected for the high-end game room
Simulators are a relatively new addition to the rarefied world of collecting, restoring, and racing high-end cars. With an almost endless variety of cars and tracks to discover, whether through mainstream mainstream games or much more specialized software, the dedicated digital driver can race with friends or complete strangers, as well as take part in world championships from the comfort of his home.
Founded by rally driver and racing car specialist David Richards in 1984, Prodrive is now seen as an integral part of the global motorsport industry, helping to design, test and build machines for all types of competition, creating the infrastructure to service cars wherever they are. worldwide, as well as overseeing training, product development, branding and countless other services for the automotive industry.
Ian Callum, a former design director at Jaguar, set up his own consultancy, Callum in 2019. Callum has an eclectic list of projects, ranging from traditional car design to reimagined recognized classics and bottle shaping. of whiskey and supercars.
The studio has previously worked with Prodrive, helping to create the provocative Hunter hypercar, derived from the company’s Dakar rally machine.
The simulator is a much more elegant proposition, despite its size and scale. “It all happened during lockdown,” Richards recalled. “We had a team committed to virtual racing at Le Mans and already had high-end simulators which we tended to use to familiarize the drivers with the circuits. I use them myself during a support race for the fun – I’ll go to the simulator a few hours before and learn. Richards considered getting a specialist simulator for a new family home he was building in Cornwall. “We have a cinema, a pool table, so why not just buy a simulator for the playroom? Our kids and grandkids would love that,” he says. “I told my wife about it, and she said, ‘over my dead body,’ these things seem so tied together. Of course, I was wondering if there was a better way to do it.
Richards phoned Callum and offered the challenge. Prodrive handled the technical side, while Callum was responsible for creating something as striking and imposing as a grand piano. “I totally understood what David was looking for,” Callum says. “Simulators tend to look more like toys and not something you could seriously put next to your favorite furniture. The analogy with a grand piano is very relevant, because it is an instrument, but also something elegant and beautiful.
After creating a huge range of design proposals, the studio narrowed them down to eight and ultimately opted for a very graphic and simple approach. “It’s my way of working, creating something that can be absorbed into one eye,” Callum says.
The simulator looks like a conceptual piece of technology. A dart-shaped pleated enclosure, finished in gloss piano black, embraces the “floating” driver’s seat, with the curved display screen and steering yoke the only hint of the technology contained within. The bent ply needs to be meticulously sprayed for a perfect finish, creating a clear link to the grand piano, while the ply is a nod to the work of the Eames.
“It was for me the most outstanding design, although dealing with natural materials and getting the perfect seams and fit was quite complicated,” says Richards, who was effectively the primary client for the project.
“My wife actually said she would accept it in the living room, not the playroom,” he adds, “because it’s such an interesting and iconic shape.”
Richards adds that the market for these simulators is growing rapidly. “We didn’t compromise on the technology – it’s the same thing any professional racing driver would use to train with.” It has the latest graphics systems, a pedal set and a steering wheel,” he says. “We have a number of customers with high-end race cars who will eventually have one too.” Prodrive is preparing to produce approximately one per week and to set up the delivery and installation logistics.
“I wanted to create something that people would buy almost just to have the object itself,” Callum explains. “It’s a technology and design partnership here, with us being the tech guys and Ian’s styling and design team,” says Richards, “I think it’s like a modern sculpture and whoever sees her stop dead. .’ §