John Parvin and Aidan Bowen met at school in Brighton. In 1992 they set up an independent tech firm selling Apple products. In 2015, they came up with the concept Vrroom which is a virtual race room. Three weeks ago they opened their doors at Brighton Marina and have already had hundreds of people through the door. They bring semi-professional level driver training equipment that’s affordable to the citizens of Brighton and Hove and beyond.
Mr Parvin said: “This is not an arcade.” They have 46 professional racing tracks from around the world such as Silverstone, Monza, Spa, Barcelona and Redbull Ring. Last week they featured the Barcelona track to coincide with the Grand Prix taking place there.
When asked why Vrroom was unique, Mr Parvin said they have the best equipment and the best environment to showcase it. Many in the industry feel that sim racing helps them once they enter the real tracks.
Current F1 World Champion Max Verstappen competes in sim racing and many in the industry feel that sim racing helps them once they enter the real tracks. This is semi-professional driving training rather than an arcade game and can be used for a training ground as a transition into real racing.
He said there is a similar venue near St Paul’s in London but it’s an arcade. He explained the difference: “In an arcade, you drive against the computer. All the other cars are driven by a computer. We are fundamentally different from an arcade.
“Here (at Vrroom), you drive against real people. People don’t come to race, they come to set the fastest lap which is a time attack… We don’t try to make it easy, we try to make it real. It’s very hard to start with. In the game, they are telling you, you are brilliant. In the game, you start at the back and finish first. At Vrroom, if you start at the back, you usually finish at the back.”
I drove a Fiat 595 which is a racing version of a Fiat 500 on the Vallelunga track in Rome. The first lap was all about learning to steer a very light wheel and navigate the bends in the track. I got the hang of it after a few laps and then Mr Parvin joined me on the track.
The track is scanned using lasers and helps racing drivers prepare for races and get them used to both the track and the car they are driving. Mr Parvin said: “Vrroom is affordable and your life is not in danger.”
Accessibility to motorsport is only available to those people who have multi million pound parents who can afford it. It is a minimum £35K year to race in motorsport. However, virtual motorsport is accessible to anyone. It breaks down all these barriers and makes the enjoyment of this sport accessible to anyone. In excess of 100,000 play every minute of every day.
Brighton Marina Vrroom is one of its kind. Drivers can experience a huge variety of cars such as Mazda MX5 to F1 F2, F3 and F4, single seater F1 cars to endurance sports cars such as Porsche,Lambo, Mercedes benz, & McClaren.
The simulators have forged carbon fibre gears, pro esport pedals, a motion platform and the expression on the screen is 55’display offering 180-degree display of visual immersion.
It is also a great training ground for young adults wanting to learn to drive.
Tickets cost £18.50 for 20 minutes driving in a simulator from www.vrroom.com. You can race with 12 other people at the same time in 12 simulators on a variety of tracks and there is coffee and a fully licensed bar to relax in after the event. You can follow Vrroom on Instagram and Facebook.
Vrroom is not recommended for children under 12 years old because the driving is challenging they might not be able to reach the pedals.
You can follow Vrroom on Instagram: @Vroom_Brighton or Facebook at Vrroom virtual race room.