Can racing games help real life driving? Yes and no.

Hot off Lucas Ordonez's podium finish at the 24 hrs of Le Mans, Jamie Merrill, writer for the magazine "The Independent" has a story about why playing racing video games actually does translate into driving skills. It's not exactly the most in-depth story even, but it makes for a nice bit of light reading.

Fanatec announces official Forza 4 wheels

On the heels of the MadCatz announcement, Fanatec has announced their own line of licensed wheels for Forza 4. Fanatec is famous for making high-quality racing wheels, including authentic reproductions of Porsche wheels that are compatible with most 360/PS3/PC racing games. The new line is called "CSR", and will include five products:

  • Forza Motorsport CSR wheel
  • Forza Motorsport CSR Elite wheel
  • CSR shifter set
  • CSR pedals
  • CSR Elite pedals

Fanatec reports the CSR will fall in the middle between their Porsche and Clubsport products. Here are the main differences between the CSR and CSR-Elite wheels:

CSR:

  • Improved force feedback electronics and mechanics make the wheel stronger and faster
  • Metal CSR shifter set and large metal paddle shifters make shifting gears easier than ever
  • Lightweight aluminum wheel rim with Alcantara inserts allow faster, more responsive turns

CSR-Elite:

  • Wheel base fully made of metal with carbon fiber and Alcantara wheel rim
  • DirectSensor™ technology with sensor mounted directly on the steering axis. This avoids all the interference and performance loss you get from the belt/gear drive found on traditional motor-mounted sensor systems
  • Dual force feedback motors with 120Watt (silent big fan cooling) and very low cogging force to avoid “notchy” feeling

Engadget got to spend a bit of time with the CSR pedals, and found they share a number of similarities with it's Clubsport Pedal brother, including a adjustable load-cell brake sensor and the ability to mount pedals vertically (via an optional kit). A "load-cell brake sensor" essentially means means the pedal converts force applied to the brake to the strength of braking in game, so the brake pedal acts more like it would in a real car. This is great for the precise braking required to tame the most savage of automotive beasts, and is something other major wheel manufacturers have yet to adopt.

It appears players will be able to combine any wheel, pedal and shifter set they want, letting them customize their setup to suit their needs and pocketbook. Speaking of pocketbooks, no price has been set, though a Fanatec representative has stated

We will keep our fully modular ordering system so the pricing depends on the options you take. It will range between 320 and 700 for a set with pedals.

No word if this is in Euro or USD. A release date has not been set, but they expect to have it out on the market by the end of the year.

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Fanatec announcement

Turn 10 announcement

E3: Day two & three linkspam

Not much news coming out of E3, so in lieu, here are some quick Twitter links I've scrounged up:

Forza 4 has won "Best Driving Game of E3 2011" from GamePro. – http://yfrog.com/gymy2avj
Photo of a kitted-out Bentley race car, winner of the "E3 Car of Show" award, and future DLC for Forza 4. – http://yfrog.com/ehz1twnj
Need for Speed: The Run has been nominated "Best of E3" by Machinima – http://t.co/aiwueo1

Post to be updated as I run across more stuff.

Gran Turismo 5 patch 1.10 is released

Plenty of bug fixes and a couple new features, including a limited time event with triple prize money, and all cars in the Online Dealership will have zero mileage and be half price. Go hog wild, and click the read more link to get the full release notes.
 

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Mad Catz announces wireless 360 wheel

Good news for XBox 360 drivers! Mad Catz has announced a new wireless wheel, which includes force feedback! The product is currently called "Wireless Force Feedback Wheel", and is expected to be released "holiday 2011". The wheel is built on a metal chassis, and comes with a quasi-F1 style gas and brake pedals, along with both paddle and sequential shifters. In a nice touch, the sequential shifter is also able to be mounted on either the left or right side of the unit.

The wheel will come with a lap holder, can be mounted to a desk, and is also able to be connected to a computer for firmware updates. No word yet if it will have 900° of rotation or the diameter of the wheel itself.