Said to be the world’s first VR sim racing helmet, the HelmetVR is perhaps the ultimate in VR sim racing excess, combining a real Arai racing helmet with an Oculus Rift headset. The custom headset comes from FormulaVR, a Netherlands-based, high-end sim rig manufacturer.

It is sometimes claimed that VR headsets provide a similar field of view to a racing helmet. This is inaccurate, as the peripheral vision specification for a helmet that complies with the Snell SA2015 standard (as required by the FIA) has a horizontal clearance of “at least 180 degrees”, far wider than the 100 degrees-or-lower FOV offered by current-generation VR headsets. That said, integrating a Rift into a real helmet has some benefits – obviously providing the realistic sensation of wearing a helmet, but also balancing the weight of the headset more evenly across the head. Combined with a surround sound system, the simulation’s audio output would also be filtered realistically before it reached the driver’s ears.

The HelmetVR is “handmade to order in a limited series”, starting at €2459. According to the HelmetVR website, “using a helmet provides an extra dimension and specific sensations to a driver’s head, adding reality to any simulation”. Used in combination with FormulaVR’s F-VR1 motion rig, as demonstrated in the video, there is undoubtedly some truth to the statement, as it would complete the package – wearing a full race suit, sitting in a realistically-shaped cockpit with the correct driving position, operating high-end sim hardware. If you’re going that far, why not?

For the average home user with a wheel and pedal sim setup however, this is rather unnecessary, and using a VR headset alone is more practical. Using a full helmet might balance the weight better, but it would also be much hotter during long sessions, and the design appears to make it far more difficult to quickly glance at something in the real world. The price you pay for realism…

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The trial version of Microsoft’s Monster Truck Madness probably had something to do with it. And certainly the original Super Mario Kart and Gran Turismo. A car nut from an early age, Dominic was always drawn to racing games above all other genres. Now a seasoned driving simulation enthusiast, and former editor of Sim Racer magazine, Dominic has followed virtual reality developments with keen interest, as cockpit-based simulation is a perfect match for the technology. Conditions could hardly be more ideal, a scientist once said. Writing about simulators lead him to Road to VR, whose broad coverage of the industry revealed the bigger picture and limitless potential of the medium. Passionate about technology and a lifelong PC gamer, Dominic suffers from the ‘tweak for days’ PC gaming condition, where he plays the same section over and over at every possible combination of visual settings to find the right balance between fidelity and performance. Based within The Fens of Lincolnshire (it’s very flat), Dominic can sometimes be found marvelling at the real world’s ‘draw distance’, wishing virtual technologies would catch up.
  • Mermado 1936

    They are using Oculus? Shit

    • George Vieira IV

      Why is that surprising?

    • Alexisms

      Hang on folks the industry expert has spoken.

      • Gus Bisbal

        Alexisms, when you talk to the “audience” giving people shit, what your doing is asking for the lowest common denominator to agree with you because your point of view is that weak that just on your own you look like a dick. Let me guess, you’re an oculus owner and and someone dised your stuff. Horrible world isn’t it. Try to recover. I believe in you.

    • Mei Ling

      Found another hipster.

    • nebošlo

      ROLF @ VR fanboyism!

    • J.C.

      For a seated experience, which this helmet is 100% about, Rift has no disadvantages. Personally I use a Vive but with the exception of Roomscale (and even that’s apparently mostly working), there’s little difference.

  • AnnoyedAnonymous

    Fairplay to them but this isn’t new. I saw an outfit at an exhibition last year with a racing replica car on a full motion platform with a prototype VR racing helmet. A lot more motion as well to help eliminate the feeling of motion sickness.

  • I wouldn’t exactly say “world’s first VR sim racing helmet”… I have been doing it for almost a year… Much cheaper too ($11 on eBay) plus the rift price of course…

  • Strawb77

    starting at €2459

  • Kevin Williams

    Has RTVR checked with Oculus VR if this is a supported product?

  • Iliad

    That is by far, the most idiotic way to spend 2459 euros. “The added benefit of distributing the weight?” by adding a kilo to the mix? Sure, makes perfect sense.
    I am sure there are one or two idiots who will buy this.. for them, I have a bridge I would like to sell.

  • Jenkins

    Price at 3,000 American burgers? Holy mother of god. Pass.