Laurens Vanthoor credits his D-BOX enabled Vesaro simulator with helping him learn the tracks before he gets there
Laurens Vanthoor has his dream job. At 23, he’s a professional racecar driver. Racing is his job. And he does his job well. He drives for Audi, competing mostly at the international level.
Like most drivers, Vanthoor got his start in Go Karts. Starting at age 12, he progressed gradually from regional to national to international competitions before graduating to Formula 3 racing. He mostly races in the GT category behind the wheel of an Audi R8.
Like any sport, training is crucial. “But it’s not like football, where you can spend the whole day training,” he says. “A day of proper training with Audi can cost up to $30k.” On top of that, a driver has to prepare mentally and emotionally for the challenges they’ll face on the course.
In order to give himself a competitive edge, Vanthoor started using a basic simulator back in 2012. In 2014, he upgraded to a D-BOX enabled simulator, and he says it’s brought his training to a whole new level. He uses it up to 4 times per week.
People who compare it to a video game don’t know what they’re talking about,” he says. “After training on my Vesaro simulator for a few weeks, I went to a friend’s house and we were playing a driving videogame. I couldn’t get over the difference. One has nothing to do with the other.”
“It was like mountain biking, but using a 10 year old city bike,” he said. “Once you get used to the equipment I’m using, you really feel the difference when you use anything else.
Before adopting D-BOX Motion Systems as part of his training, Vanthoor admits he was skeptical. But he became a believer the first time he used it to test-drive a track he’d never been on.
“When I finally got onto the track afterwards, I was really surprised at how accurate it was. Everything felt so familiar. The feedback from D-BOX Motion Systems has been incredibly realistic.”
Vanthoor now uses a D-BOX enabled simulator by Vesaro as part of his training regimen. Simulators are starting to really catch on in the racing community, but according to Vanthoor, the simulators that don’t have motion cues are just “toys.” A real simulator, he says, requires proper software and proper feedback.
Going forward, Vanthoor plans to incorporate his simulator as part of his endurance training. “You have to get your body used to the conditions, but you also have to train your mind,” he says. “You can be the best driver out there, but if you’re not mentally prepared, you’re not going to be prepared to respond to unexpected obstacles and challenges.” And that, it seems, is what makes a champion driver.
“I still hold the all-time lap record on Bathurst, which I trained for with my Vesaro simulator. Maybe it’s a coincidence, but I don’t think so.”