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Classic cars enter the world of electronic sports

The Classic Car Trust commissions Pininfarina, Zagato driving simulators inspired by vintage vehicles

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Believing that a good crisis should never go to waste, Fritz Kaiser is launching in 2021 The Classic Car Trust eClassic, a club in which members will drive and race collector cars “whenever and wherever we want — securely, at no cost to the environment and with virtually all the excitement of the real thing.”

It was back in 2018 that Kaiser founded The Classic Car Trust, in part to provide a way for the collector car leaders to discuss and determine ways to “secure a bright future for classic cars.”

With the coronavirus pandemic forcing the cancelation or postponement of so many events, Kaiser commissioned Pininfarina and Zagatto to create driving simulators similar to those used by racing drivers, except these are specially designed with cockpits that reflect the architecture of older vehicles. 

Driving simulators, Classic cars enter the world of electronic sports, ClassicCars.com Journal
Zagato (red) and Pininfarina-designed driving simulators

“I now have the perfect alternative method of experiencing the most important cars of yesteryear — on a Sunday morning drive in the countryside or on a mountain road, practicing with friends on important tracks or racing in club events,” Kaiser writes in the 2020 edition of The Key, the trust’s annual publication.

Thus classic cars have entered the “eSports” realm. That in itself should increase their appeal to a younger audience. 

Acknowledging that, “The world’s great collectors and officials are themselves reaching a certain vintage, and are looking for successors as caretakers for these important and historic automobiles,” Kaiser adds that there is a flip side, “solid arguments for newcomers to look into this exciting… market.”

Already, he notes, “we are seeing more and more younger celebrities from the music, film and business scene, as well as people who made their fortune on the internet joining the classic car community. They welcome the fact that unique collectors’ items are now coming onto the market and they can sometimes benefit from ‘bargain’ sales of interesting affordable and cool cars. Today’s prices are more in line with the natural market, as fewer speculators are currently investing in the segment.”

Driving simulators, Classic cars enter the world of electronic sports, ClassicCars.com Journal
Driving simulators, Classic cars enter the world of electronic sports, ClassicCars.com Journal

“The reality of virtual,” is the headline in The Key for an article about the new eClassic effort.

“You love them more than you actually use them,” the article says of collector cars. “Yet when you do use them there’s that never-ending fear of damaging them by exposing them…

“eClassic provides the right solution, bringing together the beauty of collecting with the opportunity to drive whenever you want, with whoever you want.”

The Zagato and Pininfarina driving simulators have 30-inch Nardi wood steering wheels and 3 pedals for your driving dance steps — and a trio of 32-inch display screens to fill your field of vision. They use software developed by Racing Unleashed, a company led by Monisha Kalterborn, former chief executive of the Sauber F1 team. A smartphone app enables members to communicate to set up drives or races.

For more information, visit the eClassic club website.

Larry Edsall
A former daily newspaper sports editor, Larry Edsall spent a dozen years as an editor at AutoWeek magazine before making the transition to writing for the web and becoming the author of more than 15 automotive books. In addition to being founding editor at ClassicCars.com, Larry has written for The New York Times and The Detroit News and was an adjunct honors professor at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.

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