There are two ways of looking at an Aston Martin branded racing simulator that costs £57,500, before VAT. The first is that you’d be mad to spend an amount of money that would buy a very nice sportscar on what is effectively a big toy. The second, which I’m veering towards after a couple of hours, is that if you did have the sort of scratch-any-itch liquidity the AMR-C01 is aimed at, that you’d be daft not to.
Because if you’re going to race virtually, this has to be the most stylish way to do so – a miniature carbon monocoque that can be painted to match your real life car, or just your soft furnishings. A significant number of customers clearly agree, with Curv racing simulators near Banbury having sold a substantial number of the 150-run already, with one of the examples in the assembly room when I visited set to be dispatched to Peru.
Curv was founded by Darren Turner, whose success as an Aston works racer – including three class wins at Le Mans – has run alongside a parallel career in the world of high-end simulators. This began back in 1998 when, as a McLaren F1 tester, he was one of the first drivers of the company’s pioneering simulator. More recently he was one of the founders of Base Performance Simulators, which makes professional grade rigs commonly used for driver training. Curv is his new company, aimed at the luxury market, and this is its first product, the AMR-C01 developed with Aston.
This was created under the personal supervision of Marek Reichmann, Aston’s creative director. It features a carbonfibre monocoque with a lightweight bucket seat and a knees-up seating position inspired by that of the Aston Martin Valkyrie. There’s an Aston style carbon grille at the front, this effectively hiding the computer hardware that does the hard work. The pedal box is motorized and the seat can also be moved on runners: Reichmann’s 6-foot-4 frame came in handy in ensuring the rig can be sized for everyone from a 10 year-old child to a 98th percentile man.