Need something to do while you suffer through the endless wait for Gran Turismo 5? Ferrari has released their Ferrari Virtual Academy racing simulator and you can download it to your PC now...
...for $19 (14.90 euro). Yeah, the catch is a bummer, but you're getting a lot more than just a simple driving game. Ferrari claims that the virtual reproduction of their F10 Formula 1 car is the most accurate in the world, in part because actual telemetry from the real cars was used to design the game physics along with input from Scuderia Ferrari drivers. That means the effects of the aerodynamics, suspension, engine, transmission, tires and even g-forces acting on the driver are all accounted for in the game thanks to 12,000 hours of work from a team of 15 experts with final testing by the drivers themselves.
The game is available for download now from Ferrari at the aforementioned price and, initially, includes only the Fiorano circuit, Ferrari's private test track. Later, the Mugello circuit and the Nürburgring F1 Circuit (not the Nordshleife, sorry) will be available for an additional $12.50 (9.90 euro) each. All three tracks have been laser-scanned to create accurate reproductions for the game, which will give you a detailed analysis of your laps to help hone your skills.
Is $45 for a game with only three tracks sounding a bit pricey to you? There's an incentive to help you justify it. Your lap times can be recorded online, putting you in an international competition for the best time at each track. The fastest drivers will win free Ferrari swag every week and at the end of the final tournament (schedule to be announced), the five fastest drivers will win a trip to Maranello, Italy, and a seat at the real Ferrari Driving Academy where they'll be tutored by the Ferrari race staff.
Head over to the official site to get the scoop on the game, watch introductory videos, see more screen captures and the official leader board with the times you'll need to beat to win prizes.
Or watch the official trailer video here, a talk from the acadamy's director Luca Baldisserri here, a talk from tech chief and training head Giancarlo Fisichella here and challengers from drivers Felipe Massa and Fernando Alonso here. Download the game here.
System Requirements: * Operating System: Windows XP, Vista, Windows 7 32/64-bit * Processor: XP: 1.8 GHz or higher; Vista/Seven: 2.4 GHz or higher * Memory: XP: 1 GB; Vista/Seven: 2 GB * Video Card: GeForce 6800 GT* or higher / ATI 9800 PRO* or higher * Space on disk: 1 GB * DirectX: DirectX 9.0c * Internet Connection: modem/ADSL * Input: keyboard, mouse, joypad, joystick, steering wheel/pedals, configuration of multiple controllers with at least 2 analogue axes * Compatible with: Nvidia 3D Vision; Track IR Enhanced; Matrox TripleHead2Go
Source: Ferrari Virtual Academy