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Racing Unleashed: Frentzen celebrates comeback in the Formula 1 cockpit

The beautiful, new and, above all, virtual world of racing makes it possible: Ex-Sauber team boss Monisha Kaltenborn (50) has reunited the former Mercedes junior team. At least in parts. At the official opening of the “Racing Unleashed” Racing Lounge at Motorworld Munich, ex-Formula 1 star Heinz-Harald Frentzen (54) and Austrian Karl Wendlinger (52) raced against each other in the simulators in the racing lounge.
Kaltenborn has been managing director of the Swiss company that offers sim racing in high-tech simulators for two years. 46-inch screens with a panorama-like view and true-to-original F1 carbon fiber cockpits with an integrated movement system make the test drive an almost real Formula 1 experience. The basis of the computer model: a virtual F1 car from 2020. The software: Assetto Corsa Pro.

“Simulators like ours make motorsport sustainable, safer and cheaper,” says Kaltenborn, who wants to bring the sim racers from their living rooms to the high-end machines from Racing Unleashed.

At Frentzen and Wendlinger she has already done it. Both were part of the legendary Mercedes junior team alongside Michael Schumacher in 1990, and now they are fighting for honors in the simulators.

Ex-Formula 1 star Heinz-Harald Frentzen (54)

“It was almost like the old days,” says Frentzen happily, who is currently working on the development of electric karts, among other things. “My Formula 1 knowledge ends in 2003. It is exciting to be able to drive an almost current car now – even if only virtually.”

The 1997 vice world champion stepped on the gas on the virtual Ardennes circuit in Spa-Francorchamps: “At that time, Spa only allowed lap times of over 1.50 minutes. Now I drove just over 1.46 minutes. You can feel the state of the art with more horsepower. The simulators can actually simulate the cars very realistically. “

However, according to the Mönchengladbach resident, there is one crucial difference: “You are not afraid in the simulator. If you fly there, in real life you hope that the car will stop. Here you can fully concentrate on the car and be as fast as possible. It’s a safe way to do motorsport without having to take out life insurance. “

Conclusion Frentzen: “If I had something like that in the living room, I couldn’t get out. I still have the motivation to improve from curve to curve and lap to lap. “

Ex-colleague Karl Wendlinger is often present as a brand ambassador and race steward at the sim racing events of the “Racing Unleashed Competition”. “Driving is actually very realistic,” explains the Austrian: “Movements, curbs and bumps are transmitted, you sit in the cockpit like in Formula 1. And you have to play with the accelerator, you can’t just slip on the brakes without feeling . “

Fabian Vettel last finished fourth in the ADAC GT4 Germany at the Hockenheimring.

One thing is certain: the event at Motorworld Munich made people want more – including other racing drivers. In addition to Frentzen and Wendlinger, DTM professional Lucas Auer and Fabian Vettel also tested the simulators. “It’s difficult to simulate centrifugal forces,” admits Vettel, “but with regard to the feedback on the steering wheel and the pedals, it comes very close to real driving.”

Curious: The brother of Formula 1 star Sebastian Vettel was able to experience the feeling that his brother had in the premier class in 2020 for the first time. “Formula 1 driving is always something special,” said Fabian Vettel, who last came fourth in the ADAC GT4 Germany at the Hockenheimring.

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