Get in the driver's seat for a virtual lap at Oliver's Area 27 | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Get in the driver's seat for a virtual lap at Oliver's Area 27

Although Area 27 Motorsports Track is closed to the publc due to the COVID-19 pandemic, racing enthusiasts now have online access to the racing simulation program that helped build the track.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED /Area 27 Motorsports Track
April 11, 2020 - 2:30 PM

The racing simulator used to help design the Area 27 Motorsports track near Oliver is now available for the public as part of the track’s efforts to respond to new business realities created by the pandemic.

Factor is a computer racing simulator designed to run any vehicle with four wheels and used by track designer Jacques Villeneuve and president Bill Drossos in the early days of the track’s construction.

“The graphics aren’t that glitzy but the physics are close to reality,” Drossos says.

Before the track was built, the two men used the simulator to drive the track in different vehicles, making adjustments to the simulator before exporting the track from the game to construction engineers.

“The intent was to see how well the track ‘flowed,’" Drossos says. “It was a useful tool. The two of us probably did 350 to 400 laps each before construction of the track started."

Now it’s available online.

“We weren’t using it anymore, and with people shut in their homes, we thought it might be of interest,” he says. “It doesn’t have the greatest graphics, but the physics of the track is pretty close. It’s kind of a primitive system that came out in the 1990s.".

Drossos says he hopes to get the track laser scanned later this spring, once the landscape has greened up. That will provide data for a more modern gaming platform that would bring the game’s graphics up to date.

The dropbox link to the track simulation in rFactor can be found here but you'll need some technical experience to make it work, as well as equipment to play like a steering wheel. 

In the meantime, Area 27 has been adapting to cope with the social isolation protocols brought on by the COVID-19 crisis.

Drossos says the track is closed to the public at this time, with all corporate and driving school events closed.

He says the track has a five acre paddock where enough space can be allocated to allow members to come to the track to run laps, however.

“Each member has two-tenths of an acre of asphalt where they can self-quarantine. They can come out, by appointment, sign an electronic waiver, stay in their assigned pit, do a few laps and go home,” Drossos says.

The track is large enough it’s easy to maintain little or no contact with other members, and most of the facilities are outdoors.

“The clubhouse is closed. We figured we could operate with strict protocols. There is no racing, and we’ve done everything we can to mitigate anyone getting into trouble on the track,” he says.

He says the track is now operating at a higher standard as it continues to work to find a way to allow people to enjoy it, keep staff on hand and be ready to go when business returns to normal again.

“it’s really important for any business to be inventive right now, to keep your employees and be in a better position when things change,” he says.

Area 27 track simulation video. The track simulation is available in rFactor1 and track president Bill Drossos says Area 27 is looking into additional platforms.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Steve Arstad or call 250-488-3065 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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