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The Beast - A triple screen experience

Discussion in 'Sim Racing Hardware' started by Nick Brooke, Sep 10, 2011.

  1. Nick Brooke

    Nick Brooke

    While some people have been driving with a 3 Monitor setup for quite some time other mere mortals have been settling for 1 screen for ages and wonder what all the fuss is about, so when I was invited to George Pilkington's home to try out his massive sim rig I thought in the interest of the sim racing community I just had to go.

    On first encounter with what I can only describe as "The Beast" I was taken aback by the sheer size of this rig, It could easily of been a mini chassis with a steering wheel and a seat, not just any seat of course a comfortable racing seat was installed into the solid frame equipped with seatbelts which I found rather cool. The frame as I said was solid and in fact I was surprised at the whole construction of the Beast. Everything was perfectly matched and fitted together very snugly. The monitors where aligned on a plinth at the front of the machine with the wheel just below in the position you would normally see your wheel in game. The perspective had been altered accordingly to show the real wheel in the sim wheels place.

    Looking around the beast I could see lots of rods and pistons around the frame and seat and I must say it reminded me of some Fairground ride and I figured I was going to be in for a treat. George's wife had even painted the background wall to incorporate a track with a large sweeping curve which really set the scene for what was to come.

    After a few pleasantries we thought we better get on with the show and George booted The Beast up, in doing so the machine bumped and jerked like a bull trying to dismount its rider at a rodeo. Wow I thought I do not know if my old body is going to hack this, but again I thought in the interests of Rd I would have to brave it out.

    I asked George to show me how it's done by a pro not wanting to look at total noob right away because I felt that could wait. So George climbed into The Beast and chose his Truck and track, and without a care in the world he fired out of the pits to the wonderful surround sound of the trucks engine roaring. George ran a few laps and to the outsider the wobbles and bumps generated by the machine seemed to be milder than I expected, of course this could be due to George knowing what he's doing but I felt my confidence growing by the second that this would not be the bumpy ride I first thought.
    After a few laps and obviously eager for me to have a go George turned into the pits and slammed the truck into neutral and beckoned me to climb in and have a thrash.

    Apprehensively I settled into the The Beast and started her up, Pulling out of the pits and slamming it into second as I normally do gave me a massive thud in the back, what the hell I thought and then the same happened into 3rd gear. Wow how awesome was this my gear changes really hurt lol, I soon learnt it was not so bad when you actually changed at the right revs but it really did make a difference to me right away. Sliding into the first corner I could feel the bumping in the track and the back end sliding away. This is due to the chair bumping and side motion which is so realistic I have to say I was taken aback once more.

    Full throttle now into the first proper lap and the rig is jumping about like popcorn in the pan, what really got me now though was the screens. Three screens allowed for a great level of realism and my first expression to George was my god I can see the side of the track. In normal racing you kind of have to guess where you are in relation to the track but now I could see I was an inch from the side wall and this was great. Pushing the car into the corner at full speed and feeling the movements of the truck was just awesome and I have to really control myself not to swear at how good it was owing to George's kid stood 4 feet away. I wanted to scream expletives and shout out just how wonderful this felt. Of course this was not without its drawbacks because it actually did take some getting used to, every touch on the break and every gear change resulted in and assault on the senses as well as my backside and back.

    After a few laps I had to get out to re-jig my senses back into line so I could really take in what had just happened. George however wanted me to try the F1 car around Lime Rock because according to him this was a real experience. After watching George do this again I felt ready and climbed in. OMG this was something else, the feel of each gear change was to send me forwards and then back into the seat and when you put the brakes on I wondered if my back would take the real thump you get. The feel of acceleration and de-acceleration was tremendous and like nothing I had felt before, Soon I was beginning to gain confidence and a momentary loss of concentration meant I put my wheel on the curb and flew into the crash barriers. The jolt as I pushed the front wing up through the footwell of the car was immense followed by the spinning and bumping over the grass was just something else. I turned to George smiled and said that the most fun I ever had crashing, in fairness it was actually fun crashing to be thrown around like a rag doll in a dogs mouth was just awesome.

    beast2.jpg We played for about 2 hours and I had just about got the hang of it all, yes it is that different to drive this way. My times on the tracks I know well with cars I know well were down because of the whole feel of it, in fact at the very start you are more interested in the way this rig works rather than what you're doing on screen. Watching George however proved to me that once you got the hang of this it was going to be a much faster way to drive. Every feel of car and track is there and you find yourself saving spins you could never hope to do on a normal setup. It is just an experience you have to have honestly and if your lucky enough to have the space and the cash then its something that any serious racer would want. George does sell these rigs in the Uk he told me so you can always ask him about the experience of a lifetime and indeed he offered any interested party could go to his home and try it out for themselves.

    What can I say about this rig in a negative way? nothing really it's just another world and a world I would love to join for good. It has certainly opened my eyes as to what I am missing in iRacing and it proves when they say they have scanned the track for every bump and put all the motions of the cars in they really have.

    George operates a Race Room at a Simulation Center not far from Bedford where can experience these very rigs together with friends for a reasonable price. Three of these machines are lined up so you can play with mates and really immerse yourself in the experience. They run iRacing on all of their machines and knowing the sim myself that is the right choise for realisim. Check out this link to see how to take part in this fun sim experience. Also on site are other simulators which can be Sky Diving to Surfing and they even have accommodation so you can make a weekend of it.

    All in all I had a wonderful 2 hours with George and it has sold me on the idea that when I am able it is a road I wish to take in sim racing. The Beast is totally brilliant and gives a feel for the racing experience I never expected to get. Thank you for your hospitality George you have made this tester a very happy man.
  2. Kris Vickers

    Kris Vickers
    Hardware Staff

    Sounds like a blast! I too wish to go the route of motion simming, but i`m just an average earner with a mortgage and 2 kids, so it`s not that high on my list of purchases. Bummer lol. Great write up too :)
  3. Hubba


  4. Dazmaniac


    An excellent read, but not something I will be looking to purchase - as not a hardcore enough sim racer to warrant the expense and also the space is also an issue. A little disappointed that whilst you wore the helmet to race you didn't bother with the gloves, lol.
  5. George Pilkington

    George Pilkington

    Thanks Nick, it was my pleasure.Simxperience!The best way to Drive!CheersGeorge
  6. Bram Hengeveld

    Bram Hengeveld
    Administrator Staff Premium

    If I am ever in the neighborhood Ill come by and visit you George. Ace stuff!
  7. Hubba