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How you can hit 350km/h and not get killed

Dubai: If you fancy hitting the top gear on a bright Monaco morning or in the shimmering twilight of Abu Dhabi’s Yas Marina circuit sitting right here in Dubai then Oud Metha Road is where you should go. That’s where the Xxtreme Simulators opened last month to the public.

While a Formula One simulator in itself may not be new to the UAE anymore with many having seen them at the official F1 FanZone in Abu Dhabi, there is something unique about Xxtreme Simulators. They are the UAE’s first dedicated centre for virtual Formula One racing where you can race on a circuit of your choice in a super car of your dreams. The results and timings are archived online for posterity.

“It’s the closest you can get to a real Formula 1 race here in Dubai,” says Mohit Arora, the brain behind the concept and designing of the club.

There’s a good mix of Red Bull, Mercedes McLaren, Ferrari and Force India – all models based on real cars – to chose from for a minimum 15-minute session that’s currently priced at Dh50 on weekdays and Dh65 on weekends.

A full driver’s gear and a helmet cost another Dh20 but it’s not an absolute necessity to soak in some real F1 experience, as XPRESS found out on an exclusive pre-launch tour of the dazzlingly decorated club.

From inside the narrow cockpit of the car of your choice – a Lotus replica in this case – the collective buzz of an edgy ‘crowd’ and the constant uproar of two dozen cars zipping by was palpable.

The only thing you could miss though is the smell of the burnt rubber but there is a tyre changing game (Dh5) that imitates the famous F1 pit stops in case you were beginning to feel disappointed.

Replete with a life-like viewing deck meant for waiting customers, every other base is pretty much covered at Xxtreme Simulators.

“We also offer other racing activities like go-karting, Nascar, in a virtual, simulated environment, which will give the same world class, virtual motor racing experience – all under one roof in a first-of-its kind facility in Dubai,” says Hansika Ratan, Arora’s wife and one of the directors of the company.

Joint Director Rupali Singh says, “The simulator racing is for people who want more than what their gaming consoles can offer within the an indoor arena without compromising of course on the thrill of challenging racing circuits.”

Customers can race as individuals or in a group where they can compete against another person.All records and racing history are updated real-time and archived on the club’s website.

“The only challenge is to be fit enough to get in and out of the cars and keep stepping on the gas at speeds in excess of 300 km/h,” says Rio Quezon, 40, one of the crew members. In fact, the whole exercise will make you sweat, XPRESS can confirm. After all, keeping pace with the very best on the world’s curviest and fastest by-lanes hardly comes without the rush of adrenalin.