With Christmas nearing it's time to decide what you'll get that automotive tragic in your life. You know, the bloke who'd rather run full-race-length suspension trials on his Gran Turismo simulator instead of watching Clarke and co rip the Sud Efreekens apart with his mates down the booza.
How about a life-size Formula One simulator, complete with replica F1 car? For just $140 000 plus delivery, your loungeroom Lewis Hamilton could be the envy of his -- well, he probably doesn't have many friends, does he?
Buyers get to pick out the body colour and wheel rim colour on ordering, and then wait 12-18 weeks for engineers to turn up on their doorstep to install their machine, which includes three 23-inch monitors and a speaker tower. They'll also teach you how to use the system, but they stop short of showing you the lines through Eau Rouge or the Mirabeau.
According to the manufacturer, FMCG International which has been making simulators since 1986, some clients use it as a full racing aid.
"Feedback from our clients has been amazing," said FMCG CEO Michael Harvey, "from individuals using it at home to clients in USA using it as a full race training aid. Drivers are fully absorbed into the virtual environment created from sitting in our simulator. The large screens create a precise driving experience and drivers can choose from all the current F1 teams and tracks."
As for the car itself, it's said to be indistiguishable from the real thing. It's made of carbon fibre and composites, and is fitted with Pirelli F1 tyres and AP Racing or Brembo racing brakes. So, grab an engine, ditch the screens and we'll see you on the grid in Monaco, yes?