On Your Marks, Get Set, SIMULATE!
The Chicago Auto Show is known for being the nation's largest and the most consumer friendly. You'll also find plenty concepts and hot new debuts...but there is also one more thing you'll find while walking around the showroom floor. Fun!
If you get tired of kicking the tires and slamming the doors, wander over to the Road America booth. Road America, considered the nation's best natural-terrain race track, is just three hours north of McCormick Place in the heart of Wisconsin's Kettle Moraine valley and it's operators have created a captivating experience here at the Chicago Auto Show.
The highlight of the booth is the concept race car called Delta Wing. What's so different about the Delta Wing? Glad you asked...
Rather than push the performance envelope with sheer horsepower, like so many other race cars, the Delta Wing uses ultra slippery aerodynamic tricks, a low curb weight and trick technology to cheat the wind and push the envelope past 200 mph. The front-end is slender, relying on a unique rear-differential to aid in steering. Weight is half of a traditional race car of similar size. The benefit of speed without horsepower is fuel efficiency.
Opposite the futuristic Delta Wing, I had the chance to feel what it was like to actually race in one of these bad boys. Road America's booth at the Chicago Auto Show offers a simulation of a race car on a mock-up of their actual 4.0-mile track. Weaving and winding through the turns, the steering wheel jolted whenever I ran off the intended path.
Considering I have never driven a manual-transmission car, I was clueless as to when it was necessary to gear up and down. Thankfully, the simulator was very helpful in assisting me--a guide on the track would turn green when I needed to accelerate and turn red when I needed to decelerate.
In all, it was a great experience and a fun diversion from traditional auto-show activities.
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