World premieres at BMW SIM Live: Technology transfer from real and virtual motor racing.

BMW:World premieres at BMW SIM Live: Technology transfer from real and virtual motor racing.

Munich. BMW Motorsport SIM Racing presented three spectacular
world premieres at its digital BMW SIM Live event, each of which
take the transfer of technology between real and virtual racing to a
totally new level. The BMW M4 GT3, which is set to become the new
flagship in the BMW M Customer Racing range of race cars from 2022,
made its debut on the iRacing sim racing platform as a prototype
ahead of its first real race outing. The steering wheel in the BMW
M4 GT3 has been developed in cooperation with Fanatec and is the
first of its kind to work in both a race car and a race simulator.
The third global innovation is the concept study of the “Fusion SL”
sim lounge furniture. In just a few simple steps, it can be
converted from a designer table into a fully-fledged race simulator.
With these developments, BMW Motorsport is underlining its
aspirations not only to use the event characteristics of sim racing,
but also to actively promote the industry through such innovations
as the hardware that forms part of its holistic involvement.


“With BMW Motorsport SIM Racing, we are following a 360-degree
approach. This means that we have our eye on the big picture,” said
Rudolf Dittrich, Head of BMW Motorsport SIM Racing. “We have achieved
an awful lot in the first year of our involvement. At the same time,
we have also identified great potential and, based on that, have
decided to continue to focus strongly on hardware developments in
2021, with which we can promote technical innovations and develop new
product categories and markets. With this alignment, we are
positioning ourselves in our competitor’s environment in a totally
unique way. We really enjoy developing creative solutions and seeing
fast results with our process partners, with whom we are developing
the world firsts of today and tomorrow.”

BMW M4 GT3 steering wheel, the first of its kind for race car
and simulator.

BMW Motorsport has collaborated with sim racing hardware producer,
Fanatec, to develop a steering wheel for the BMW M4 GT3 that can be
used in both a race car and a race simulator – a technology transfer,
the likes of which has never been seen before in motor racing.
Absolutely no modifications are required for it to be used in the race
car. The carbon steering wheel is a motorsport design, with
illuminated buttons and magnetic, dual-action shift paddles also made
of carbon. The fact that the hybrid steering wheel perfectly fulfils
both roles was demonstrated emphatically by BMW works driver Philipp
Eng (AUT) at BMW SIM Live. He entered the stage in the real BMW M4
GT3, emerged holding the steering wheel, inserted it into the
simulator, and promptly completed a number of laps in the car’s
virtual counterpart. Extensive tests allow the BMW Motorsport
engineers to constantly monitor the durability of the steering wheel
in real racing situations. It will be available from Fanatec in the
first half of 2021.

“The first time I heard of the idea to design the BMW M4 GT3 steering
wheel to be compatible with a simulator, I was flabbergasted – because
I was thrilled by the concept from the word go,” said Eng. “You have
to take your hat off to the pioneering role that BMW Motorsport and
Fanatec have taken on here, and to the courage to implement a project
of this kind. I know the people who were involved in the development
at BMW Motorsport and at Fanatec, and never doubted that they would
design a superb steering wheel. Compared to the steering wheel in the
BMW M6 GT3, for example, the new wheel has extremely good ergonomics.
It is very comfortable to hold. You can tell that real professionals
have been at work in every area.”


The BMW M4 GT3 as a prototype on iRacing.

As with the BMW M8 GTE and BMW M4 GT4 before it, BMW Motorsport has
worked very closely with popular sim racing platform iRacing over the
past few months, in order to integrate the BMW M4 GT3 as faithfully as
possible in the simulation. The difference this time is that the car
is being used as a test car on iRacing even as it is being developed.
As such, the sim racers can follow the development together with BMW
Motorsport, and can help drive the development forward until the final
version is available on iRacing and to real motor racing customers
later in 2021. At the same time as the real car is being developed,
BMW Motorsport engineers have provided their colleagues at iRacing
with CAD data and photos as a reference, which they can then use as a
basis when programming and designing the virtual BMW M4 GT3. In an
additional data package, iRacing received all the information on the
driving dynamics of the BMW M4 GT3. BMW Motorsport engineers use the
same set of data to operate the BMW Motorsport simulator, for example.
In total, over 70 GB of data has already been exchanged. The common
goal: to recreate the actual driving dynamics as realistically as possible.

Philipp Eng was impressed by how successfully this had been achieved
when he took the virtual BMW M4 GT3 for a spin for the first time on
the simulator at BMW SIM Live. “I find it extremely cool that the BMW
M4 GT3 has been introduced on iRacing parallel to its actual
development. After all, I am not only a thoroughbred racing driver,
but also a thoroughbred sim racer,” said Eng, who, as an alpha tester
for iRacing, plays a role in ensuring that the handling of the BMW M4
GT3 is as close as possible to reality. “iRacing is doing a fabulous
job when it comes to being realistic. Just a few years ago, I would
never have believed that something like this was possible. iRacing has
achieved an incredibly high standard in cooperation with BMW
Motorsport. I am very excited to see how good the digital BMW M4 GT3
will be in the end.”

BMW Motorsport, BMW Designworks and Sedus combine
functionality and home design in the “Fusion SL” concept furniture


Sim racing is growing in popularity all over the world. As such, the
number of users building comprehensively-equipped rigs at home is also
growing. At BMW Motorsport, this raised the question of how to
integrate these rigs in everyday life. Together with BMW Designworks
and furniture manufacturer Sedus, they have come up with a solution.
The concept study is called “Fusion SL” – a unique combination of sim
racing rig and lounge furniture. The idea was to develop a piece of
furniture that would save space and could be aesthetically integrated
into a modern living environment. It can be converted into a rig in
just a few simple steps, but which is otherwise folded down to serve
as a desk, coffee table or seat, thus making “boost” and “ease”
concepts that can be experienced not only in the car, but also in the
living room.

To implement the project, the engineering quality of BMW Motorsport,
design expertise of Michael Scully and his BMW Designworks team, and
the production performance of Sedus – one of the leading full-service
providers for office furnishings and workplace concepts – were brought
together. “The ‘Fusion SL’ concept combines the best of two worlds,”
said Scully. “It is not necessarily intended to replace the high-end
sim rigs used by professionals. Our goal was rather to make sim racing
and the hardware required attractive for new target groups – and, to
be honest, their fellow occupants. It is not easy to strike the right
balance between the necessary stability, portability, flat profile,
torsional rigidity and a visual impression that will bring the piece
of furniture out of the cellar and into the living room, as many of
these aspects contradict each other. However, design is all about
overcoming these challenges.” Ernst Holzapfel, Head of Marketing at
Sedus Stoll AG, added: “The ‘Fusion SL’ concept is the perfect home
office for sim racers. The Wooom chair is its perfect partner. One
minute you can be relaxing comfortably in it, the next it offers you
everything you would expect from a good racing seat, with its sporty
seating position and good lateral support, thanks to the padding provided.”

Original Press Release