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Auto Show:  2012 Detroit Auto Show

Fun Activities - Racing Simulators: Detroit Auto Show

author photo by Nick Chambers January 2012
  • Get some real heart-pounding race training at the Cadillac booth's incredible high-tech simulator
  • If you're looking for something requiring a little less input, check out the Mazda full-motion racing experience as a runner-up.

At most major auto shows, driving simulators are a dime a dozen - usually little more than glorified video games. Even so, there are invariably some standouts among the crowd, and at the 2012 Detroit Auto Show the crown of racing simulator king goes to Cadillac for an incredible and immersive experience with the chance to get real coaching from actual racing school instructors.

As Cadillac reps described it, their simulators - tucked in the back of the booth - were designed from the ground up to be able to provide a true racing experience. In fact, these simulators are actually used in the classroom to allow instructors to be able judge existing skills without any danger, as well as to help develop the habits racers need to keep out of danger.

The moment you sit down in the Cadillac simulator you know it's not a toy. Real racecar pedals, steering wheel and bucket seat should be your first clue. Aside from that, the simulator is capable of recreating ultra-realistic track sensations, such as hitting a rumble strip or skidding. If you'd like, Cadillac has provided actual racing instructors to help you learn the basics of navigating corners and shifting through gears.

If that sounds like too much work and you'd rather just experience a simulator as opposed to actually learning how to race, Mazda's Laguna Seca full-motion simulator is a good runner-up. With room for two passengers, the Mazda simulator takes occupants on a lap around the legendary Laguna Seca Raceway on top of a moving platform that simulates the jarring motions a car might experience on the track. A narrator guides you through the corners, describing what's happening the entire time.

What it means to you: If you have a need for simulated speed, you can't go wrong at the Cadillac booth. If you don't want to drive such a complicated beast, however, the Mazda simulator is also a good bet.

This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
Fun Activities - Racing Simulators: Detroit Auto Show - Autotrader