Rallying looks to virtual reality to challenge F1

THE Formula One group of companies has been more interested in recent years on clamping down on new technology rather than embracing it - at least that is how it appears from the outside. In fact considerable research and development has gone on into a variety of electronic possibilities but some of the ideas have been rather more advanced than the technology available. F1's television coverage, however, remains the most advanced in the world and as broadband networks spread in the years ahead some of these ideas should eventually become reality.

Rallying, however, reckons that it can catch up with F1 using new technologies which will allow viewers to drive virtual cars on rally stages, using real-time data.

David Richards, who owns the commercial rights to the World Rally Championship, says that the technology to do this is "only three years away."

Richards says that rallying has to change its views to become successful.

"It has got to be more than just a sport," he says. "It should be a crossover between sport and light entertainment."

Rallying is in the spotlight at the moment as the World Championship comes to a climax on the Network Q Rally Great Britain which begins tonight in Cardiff with Tommi Makinen, Richard Burns and Colin McRae all in with a chance of the title.

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