Animation Research Ltd has taken the checkered flag in a race to win a contract to provide graphics for this year’s Formula One series for the BBC. Staff had been working 18-hour days to put together a graphics package for Sunday’s Formula One season-opening Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne, and yesterday CEO Ian Taylor proudly showed off the fruits of their labour to the media. That included a detailed 3-D depiction of the Melbourne track and, as the series progressed, it was hoped data from the vehicles would be used for graphics showing lines the drivers took; where they accelerated; braked; their speed; gear choices, and the G-forces they had to deal with. As well, commentators would be able to “drive” the virtual cars during analysis before or after race coverage, choosing the lines they would take into corners, and how they might have dealt with crashes.
The company heard the good news just before Christmas and seven staff had worked “flat out” since then. Once Melbourne had been completed, staff will begin work on Kuala Lumpur, then the rest of the tracks used in the series. The company will build 17 virtual tracks, as well as all the vehicles involved, their drivers, and at a high level of detail (down to bumps on the track). Staff members are already overseas photographing the tracks. The detail was important, from showing reflections on water to getting the track measured to the millimeter.