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Le Mans in Toyota’s Simulator – Video

Le Mans rookie Kazuki Nakajima experiences the Circuit de la Sarthe in Toyota’s simulator.

Back in last January, I posted a story about Autosport’s visit to Toyota Motorsport’s factory in Cologne that houses a high-tech simulator alongside everything else needed to get a large-scale motorsports program going.

Back then, the company was in between projects as Toyota had pulled out of Formula One in early 2010 and was looking to rent out their facilities so none of the expensive kit would gather dust. Times have changed a lot since then as Toyota has announced their return to World Endurance Championship racing using their new Hybrid-powered TS030 Le Mans Prototype.

The new car will be driven by Alex Wurz, Nicolas Lapierre & Kazuki Nakajima and while the Austrian & the Frenchman have vast Le Mans experience, former F1 driver Nakajima will be a rookie coming to La Sarthe next June. To help the young driver with the transition, Toyota has equipped their simulator with a virtual version of the iconic French circuit, allowing Nakajima to familiarize himself with the unique high-speed track that incorporates lots of bumpy public roads.

Even though the simulator still uses a Formula One monocoque as part of the hardware, the simulator will allow the drivers to virtually test drive the closed-top Le Mans Prototype in preparation for the 2012 24 Hour and World Endurance Championship seasons, you can see the simulator in action below.

  • Markus Ott

    Wow, a professional racing driver who didn’t know anything about the Le Mans track? Never saw videos, cockpit camer footage or has driven it in a sim?
    TMG hopefully knows what they are doing to let a complete Le Mans newb competing there, after the withdrawal of Peugeot there are some fine and experienced Prototype drivers availbe for TMG.

    • Anonymous

      His goal was in single seaters and in F1 for a long time. Single-seaters don’t race on La Sarthe. Why should he know it?

      Also I think when a racing driver says “I don’t know the track” it has a slightly different meaning compared to when a somebody else says so.

      • Chris Considine

        Actually, the Bugatti Circuit did host the Formula 3000 championship for a while 🙂

        But, yes, you are correct; Single seaters have never run on the big circuit.

      • Theroro29

        Bugatti circuit also hosted World series by Renault in 2008 and 2009.

      • Theroro29

        Bugatti circuit also hosted World series by Renault in 2008 and 2009.

      • Anonymous

        Exactly, when I say I don’t know a circuit, it means I haven’t done a single lap there… when a professional says the same he might mean he doesn’t remember every single bump and corner yet and done “only” 500 laps there 🙂

      • Wesley M

        I think Markus Ott describes it pretty clearly. I will quote it; ‘Never saw videos, cockpit camera footage or has driven it in a sim?’. That you as professional racing driver neve rhave seen anything like it is just stupid. If his goal was f1 or not, everyone knows the 24h.

      • Anonymous

        Actually, what he says in the video is misleading…. In Autosport interview ( he says watching it a lot on tv and also his dad raced there.

    • Klaas van Houten

      His teammate, Alex Wurz, won the race in his first attempt. So did record Le Mans winner Tom Kristensen.

      • Theroro29

        24H Lemans track is quite easy to learn, only indianapolis, Le Tertre rouge and porsche corners are more difficult to learn and you have to do many laps to take correctly these corners.

      • Tomas Beha

        And exit-speed from each of them, makes huge difference in laptimes… So easy to learn, hard to master – as they say.

  • Paul aD
  • Richard Hessels

    Spend a fortune on a simulator, but putting some textures on the inside of the cockpit was to much to ask.

    Can anybody at TMG leak the LeMans we where seeing?

    • gt3rsr

      Hah, exactly! We need that mesh! btw what platform does this simulator run on? I suppose it’s not the rF Pro…

      • Anonymous

        it’s available if you know where to find it! btw laser scanned so the talk about scanning street circuits not possible is BS!

      • Markus Ott

        we are speaking about TMG who gets a laser scanned track. Their posibilities and money is some leagues above than what a game company can put in.

      • Anonymous

        Anyone who was saying street circuit scans were impossible wasn’t paying attention when iRacing scanned Long Beach years ago 😉 As for not expecting them to happen due to cost, that’s another story.

        For reference, Williams has a laser scanned version of Monaco. They used a mobile scanner with a cruise missile guidance system for accuracy!

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