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This Week in VR Sport: Formula E Driving Experience, PGA Tour Expands Coverage and 360 Video at Singapore F1 Grand Prix

It may be a busy week for videogame events, with the Tokyo Games Show (TGS) 2017 going on in Japan, the VRDC expo taking place in California and EGX 2017 being held in Birmingham, UK, but that doesn’t mean to say VRFocus’ weekly roundup of news relating to sport and virtual reality (VR) has gone wanting. This week features Red Bull and Virtually Live with a Formula E driving experience, 360-degree coverage being tested at the recent Singapore F1, and if you missed it, the PGA Tour and Intel will be expanding their immersive coverage of golf.

Virtually Live Launches Formula E VR Driving Experience at Red Bull Media World

If you’re heading to Red Bull Media World at the Verkehrshaus der Schweiz, Luzern, anytime soon then you’ll be able to check out a new VR experience by Virtually Live which place guests in the drivers seat of a Formula E race car.

The company has partnered with the FIA Formula E Championship to recreate races in VR using last Season’s Paris ePrix race track, allowing them to compete over 2 laps to beat Renault eDams driver Sébastien Buemi’s fastest time.

“We are delighted to collaborate with Red Bull Media World to provide visitors to the Verkehrshaus der Schweiz with a cutting edge VR driving experience, showcasing our relationship with Formula E,” said Oliver Weingarten, Director of Motorsport at Virtually Live in a statement. “Virtually Live has been recreating Formula E ePrixs live in immersive VR by ingesting the live telemetry from the drivers’ cars. This has enabled us to give fans a unique opportunity to compete in VR against Sébastien Buemi’s fastest lap at last Season’s Paris ePrix. We look forward to seeing who comes out on top early next year.”

“The level of detail and realism in the “Virtually Live Driving Experience” is incredible,” commented Sébastien Buemi. “This is a really innovative experience, which allows me to engage with my fans, at the same time as giving them the experience of driving my Formula E car in VR around the Paris ePrix track.“

The driving experience will be available until 31st January 2017. For those unable to attend download the Virtually Live Formula E VR App, and experience Season 3 ePrixs in VR with complete freedom of movement, where you can go anywhere on the track during the ePrixs; including the perspective from inside any driver’s car, but also have the chance to drive and set your own lap time.

sebastien-buemi-at-red-bull-media-world

Tata Communications Trials Live 360 Video at the Singapore F1 Grand Prix

Last weekend the 2017 Formula 1 Singapore Airlines Singapore Grand Prix took place with Tata Communications and Formula 1 trialling a live 360-degree video feed and TV broadcast in complete sync.

It’s quite common for there to be a 30-second delay between the 360-degree video and live TV feeds which in a fast paced sport like F1 can mean all the difference.

Tata placed two 360 cameras at the Marina Bay Street Circuit in Singapore, one trackside and one in the paddock. Via the Official F1 App fans could use their tablet to access a live 360º video feed from the paddock and see the biggest names in the sport. Or, during a race, as a driver pulls into the pits for a tyre change, fans could complement the action on TV with a 360º view of everything that is happening in the pit lane in real-time.

“We’ve done this test to show how a fan could watch Lewis, Sebastian or any other drivers coming into the pits on TV, grab their tablet and get a second, completely in sync 360º view of everything going on around him while he is there – not 30 seconds after he has driven off!,” said John Morrison, Chief Technical Officer, Formula 1. “In a sport like F1 where every millisecond matters, there are huge opportunities to empower fans to take control of key Grand Prix moments and create their unique, personalised race experiences through the powerful combination of live TV and 360º video.”

“This proof of concept shows the potential of live 360º video to augment the F1 TV viewing experience and bring VR mainstream in live sports and entertainment,” said Mehul Kapadia, Managing Director of Tata Communications’ F1 Business. “Eliminating the delay in 360º video means that, for the first time, it’s possible to offer fans truly live 360º video experiences on a global scale. This will enable sports and entertainment organisations to engage with their audiences in new ways and generate new revenue streams – helping the 360º video and VR market achieve its USD $60 billion potential.”

Singapore F1 Grand Prix

PGA TOUR And Intel Expand Immersive Golf Coverage

And just in case you missed VRFocus’ coverage earlier this week, the PGA Tour and Intel are continuing thier partnership by bring golf fans more immersive coverage over 2017/18.

The expansion will see six PGA Tour events being broadcast in 360-degrees, beginning with the TOUR Championship at East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta this month, followed by the Presidents Cup at Liberty National Golf Club from 28th Sept. – 1st October, then the Waste Management Phoenix Open and THE PLAYERS, both in 2018.

All the action can be viewed through the PGA TOUR VR Live app available for free on Samsung Gear VR. If you happen to miss the live broadcast the content will also be available on demand following each event. Live and on-demand VR and 360 video coverage of the TOUR Championship will showcase holes 1, 15 and 18, beginning 21st September 2017.