Congratulations one and all on surviving another week and making it to the weekend. Of course Saturday means our weekly look at all manner of things sport and virtual reality (VR) related returns, and this weekend there are a number of sport-linked VR items including a sport we very rarely talk about – horse racing. So let’s start with that as things are, potentially, time sensitive for you.
The UK’s Most Famous Horse Race Heads To VR
In just two and a half hours from the time of posting will come The Grand National, being held (as always) at Aintree racecourse in the Merseyside area of Liverpool. A (at the time of writing at least) field of forty runners are scheduled to brave the thirty fences over the course of two laps to join the likes of Red Rum, Hedgehunter, Miinnehoma and last year’s victor Rule The World as winners of one of the world’s most famous steeplechase races. 360-degree footage from the day, captured from multiple cameras around the course will be stitched together by broadcaster ITV and made available YouTube channel and Facebook page tomorrow Sunday 9th April, the day after.
“One of the aims of ITV Racing’s on-air coverage is to give viewers ‘the best seat in the house’, and this exciting VR highlights package will immerse consumers in the unique live event atmosphere The Randox Health Grand National creates.” Explained Ed Ross, ITV’s Head of Marketing and Media. “We’re delighted to be working with VR City and Goodstuff once again to bring this experience to Racing fans.”
It’s not the first time that VR is being added to a British horse racing event however, as Laura Moorcraft, Business Director at Goodstuff explained: “The popularity of the VR highlights package for Cheltenham Races demonstrates how brilliant VR is as a way of giving viewers an entirely new perspective on their favourite sport.”
Project CARS 2 Gets Rallycross, And A Driver Reveal
If you’ve never seen Rallycross you’re missing out. A staple of the UK’s sports coverage in the 1970’s to the late 80’s (because Grandstand was brilliant that way), for those who have never seen it Rallycross has cars race around a track which is a combination of surfaces and also splits partway into two different routes each of which must be taken at some point. It’s quick, exciting, and relatively inexpensive. Making it attractive to both amateurs and professionals alike. It’s also seen something of a resurgence in recent years from both sides of the racing divide.
Rallycross is also being included in Project CARS 2, which had a special preview event this week in Los Angeles based around the sport and VR is very much a part of the package. As a matter of fact VRFocus is hoping to get hands-on with it very soon.
However Honda turned up to the event to make a very important announcement as well: the reveal of their 2017 Honda Global Rallycross driver line-up. The trio of Sebastian Eriksson, Oliver Eriksson and Mitchell DeJong will be driving 2017 Honda Civic Coupes in the event next season – and you can be just like them in Project CARS 2.
“Coming off Honda’s maiden campaign in Global Rallycross in 2016, we are ramping up for the 2017 season with a great blend of skill and experience, in addition to talented newcomers,” said Susie Rossick, Assistant Vice President of Honda Automobile Marketing. “The Honda Red Bull OMSE Civic team is excited to be back on the track and is committed to increasing its time on the podium.”
An Augmented Fundraiser
Tha mount of funding that goes into College and University sport in America is, to many on the outside looking in, mind boggling. We’ve already discussed how various education establishments are looking to VR or have already added it to their training regimes – particularly in American Football – but what about raising funds in the first place? It takes a lot of money to run these various athletic endeavours and West Virginia University has looked not to VR but to augmented reality (AR) in order to accrue what it needs.
As reported by SportTechie.com, the university added AR elements to its recent Mountaineer Athletic Club Membership Handbook, shown below.
— Ryan Schulman (@r_Schulman) February 17, 2017
Ryan Schulman, West Virginia’s Associate Director of Annual Giving, explained the move. “Long-term it was a pilot and a test for our membership to see if it made sense. The opportunities are endless for it. For us it was a neat opportunity to get our student athletes out in front. For the majority of our fans the only time they’re seeing our student athletes is when they’re playing in a game. They’re not seeing them in a humanised role, as student, so that was really our goal more than anything else.”
And that’s all for another week. VRFocus will be back of course next Saturday at the usual time with another round-up of all the week’s sporting action involving VR. Be sure to check back throughout the weekend for more AR and VR news.