The Story of Virtual Eye Motorsport

Virtual Eye has been involved in the high-speed world of Motorsport since 2000 with the Race to the Sky Rally, the World Rally Championship in 2002, NASCAR Daytona in 2004-5 for Sportvision, and the Rally of New Zealand. At the start of 2009 Virtual Eye was contracted to provide the Formula 1 series graphics for broadcaster BBC. Our package at that time included detailed 3D tracks and environs, graphics showing lines the drivers took; where they accelerated; braked; their speed and gear choices. The following year our graphics were also able to show circuit upgrades between 2009 and 2010 in depth. A total of 19 circuits were supplied for the 2010 Formula 1 series, including additional tracks like Hockenheim, Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve and Yeongam.

Virtual Eye then worked alongside BSKYB from 2012-2015 to provide 3D animations for channel Sky F1 HD. By then our package also supported quick display updates of weather changes, car visibility and placement, foliage and detail placement, shadow and sun direction, track guide features and 2D overlays. Track Fly-ins were generated for every qualifying and race day. Our Track Guides supported G-force display, animated mini-maps, drive-lines (with braking and accelerating), down-force arrows, corner and car labelling, camera matching, overtaking and driver POV.

Given the technical nature of Formula 1 as a sport, Virtual Eye was a key-ingredient in educating and entertaining the viewer about it's intricacies. BSKYB producers opted to also use Virtual Eye as an analytical tool, with presenters dissecting the action with incredible detail and accuracy on the large 'Sky Pad' touch screen.

Typical scenarios Virtual Eye displayed were highlighting areas of the track where time can be made up and lost (often in tenths of seconds), identifying and showcasing signature and tricky areas of circuits, recreating historic incidents and viewing them from different angles and speeds, comparing different racing lines and styles of drivers, illustrating where time is lost and gained on laps, and car label tracking (a handy tool during busy and congested grid starts on race days). Virtual Eye provides a Motorsports broadcaster with a tangible point of difference to it's competitors, providing cutting-edge views of a sport built upon technical foundations.

Above: A montage of Virtual Eye renders displaying real race data from the 2014 F1 Season
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Virtual Eye News

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