Virtual racing at real tracks | Full Send Sims brings high-end sim racing trackside

By J.G. Pasterjak
Sep 28, 2021 | Sim Racing, Full Send Sims | Posted in News and Notes | Never miss an article

Photography by J.G. Pasterjak

Usually when a trailer shows up at a race track, the tailgate drops down to reveal the actual race car inside. Not so for Cort Schmidt’s toy hauler. Schmidt meets his arrive-and-drive Spec Miata at the track, but when his trailer opens, it’s full of virtual race cars, ready to turn laps in cyberspace.

As the owner of Full Send Sims, Schmidt is finding a way to blend his love of real racing with his love of sim racing, and his sincere belief that it’s one of the best training and development tools available to modern sports car racers.

[Can virtual coaching turn into real-world winning?]

Schmidt’s background in producing and transporting cutting-edge simulator gear for the military and civilian contractors set him on this path, but like so many in the racing community, the pandemic sealed the deal. Although his story was a bit more hardcore.

I was in the Middle East when things started getting bad,” he recalls, “and we were on lockdown for about nine months. Like, full lockdown. Can’t-leave-you-house-or-you-get-fined-a-lot-of-money-by-you-employer kind of lockdown. I had a lot of time for sim racing.”

So, when he got back stateside, he took what he had learned from his professional and personal involvement in simulation technology and loaded it up and took it to the race track, where he was already spending a lot of weekends as a Spec Miata competitor.

I’m not sure I really had a goal or a firm business plan,” he says. “I just knew that a lot of my friends were sim racing. It’s a great tool to develop real-world skills, and my knowledge centered around making excellent versions of these setups transportable and accessible.”

[Is sim racing real racing?]

So he constructed a sim-racing facility in the back of a toy hauler, complete with two high-end competition stations, instructor and race control stations, and external monitors for watching the action. There’s also a remote lounge that can be used for training or larger debriefing sessions.

Customers can rent chunks of time in the sim rigs to maybe learn the track they’re at for the first time, get some tips from an instructor, or maybe just try out a new line or braking point in a zero-risk environment before trying it on track.

So far it’s been a mix of needs,” Schmidt says. “We’ve gotten people who weren’t familiar with the track we were at and needed to do some recon laps, and folks who have brought their coaches over so they could more precisely analyze lines and techniques. And a lot of folks who have been thinking about trying sim racing for themselves but wanted to sample quality hardware before making the financial investment on their own. And for those folks we’re happy to build them their own rig as well.”

[Virtual racing: Get off the couch and onto the track (Which is also your couch)]

Schmidt and his Full Send Sims setup will be at Sebring October 1-3 for the Fanatec GT World Challenge weekend, then Homestead Miami Raceway for the FARA season finale the following weekend. He already has some end-of-year meetings for various clubs booked on his schedule.

We always knew there was a place for sim racing within the world of real sports car racing, we just didn’t know one of those places was at actual race tracks.

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