My Review of 2008

This 2008 year in review covers some of the aspects that made 2008 significant, memorable, poignant, or otherwise for me. I trust that you find some aspects meaningful to you as well.

First is the passing of Paul Newman at the age of 83yrs. I grew up with Paul, he was one cool cowboy in the early western movies I would watch. But it would seem we both grew to have a love of motorsports, howbeit from two completely different directions, and yet exactly the same.

This 7 minute video tribute, remembers a man with compassion, committement, and a vision. Rest in Peace Paul.

The last 4 months has been a busy time for SimDeck bringing alive the race experience in world famous cars.

A rare opportunity to pose alongside the winning Indy 500 car that made a brief appearance in NZ, and below the PET250 where we set it up to simulate the virtual version of the car.

A rare opportunity to pose alongside the winning Indy 500 car that made a brief appearance in NZ, and below the PET250 where we set it up to simulate the virtual version of the car.

It started at the Speed Show expo here in Auckland, followed with the winning Scott Dixon car from Indy 500 on display at Honda’s Newmarket Branch where we set the PET250 to replicate the Indy car on the Indianapolis circuit. The irony was not lost on some as we used a real race car, to simulate another real car in the showroom, in a virtual world where we raced the virtual version of the car … kinda like a Matrix experience.

SimDeck Sim Car to feature at Pukekohe Circuit with McLaren F5000 and the A1GP Black Beauty – 4 Jan 09

The PET250 Simulator is not only a virtual reality car but an on road capable racer that will be setup to simulate the Pukekohe circuit.

The PET250 Simulator is not only a virtual reality car but an on road capable racer.

Three era’s of motorsports will be on display at the Kid’s In Cars event at the Pukekohe Circuit Jan 4 2009. The McLaren 1972 M22 F5000 race car, A1 Black Beauty (NZ’s entry in the A1GP) and the futuristic PET250 race car / simulator from SimDeck will be present to capture the attention of the visitors. Whilst the F5000 and A1GP Black Beauty will be static displays, the PET250 will be configured to allow racing on the virtual Pukekohe Circuit.

The three race cars will be set up adjacent to the over bridge near the starting grid. So make sure you drop in to see the fastest race car ever present in NZ and also try your hand at driving the fastest full featured race car simulator.

Just past the Grandstand at the Puke circuit saw the largest pile up in years with cars jumping the fence in the V8 series. A bad day for many teams. During the KIC day there will be both virtual racing and actual hot laps.

Just past the Grandsand at the Puke circuit saw the largest pile up in years with cars jumping the fence in the V8 series. A bad day for many teams. During the KIC day there will be both virtual racing and actual hot laps.

A must do 2009 Family Event for all ages

In 2006 the parents had complained that they weren’t invited.
The 2007 event was a massive event – with children’s parents and siblings present. In 2007 over 2000 people attend the event – and the real cream on the cake was over $10.000 was raised for Camp Quality.

The McLaren F5000 race car will be display courtesy of Tony Roberts who is one of the developers with Hampton Downs Raceway

The McLaren F5000 race car will be display courtesy of Tony Roberts who is one of the developers with Hampton Downs Raceway

In 2009 there are going to be numerous attactions for the Camp Quality campers. The event is open to members of the public at a low Gate price.

Shane Van Gisbergen – a young and talented KIWI race car driver with the Stone Brothers Racing V8 Supercar. Shane will be track side to chat with the kids and to be apart of the drive rides.

Hamish Patterson is supplying his Targa Manaro which will be driven this year by Ray Williams – Hot laps will be available for sale in this car.
Phil Kerr, former Joint MD of MacLaren Racing, McLaren Formula One Team and Jack Brabham Racing will be on hand to talk about his career, as well to autograph his book that will be available to purchase.
Police car rides, fire engines, speed laps, truck rides, simulation rides, merry go round rides are some of the features for the day.

Checking out the competition, Black Beauty might just be the fastest car this season, whilst Kevin is confident that the PET250 will be the fastest in the virtual world.

Checking out the competition, Black Beauty might just be the fastest car this season, whilst Kevin is confident that the PET250 will be the fastest in the virtual world.

A world record for the longest and largest truck convoy in the world is being attempted for Jan 2009.

Camp Quality is a non-profit organisation that supports and helps young children and their families who are living with cancer.

The founder of KIC is Nigel Karl, who received a chance fund raising call on behalf of Camp Quality. Little did he know that the birth of a unique concept to “wow” children suffering from cancer had commenced.

The KIC event reminds me of the first time I ever rode in an open top sports car when I was around 9 years old down Raymond Street in Timaru. It was a short experience that had a life long impression and is part of the SimDeck philosophy and DNA of creating the same compelling experience in a life like open cockpit race car simulator. As one older visitor said tonight, “that is fantastic Kevin what you have created. It’s almost like the real experience”. So hearing that from a person who has raced cars, I think the DNA we have embedded into the SimDeck PET250 has captured my childhood experience and come 4 Jan we hope many children will feel the excitement of high speed racing.

Event Details
When: Sunday, 4 January 2009


Time: 9:00am – 4:30pm
Where: Pukekohe Park Raceway: 222-250 Manukau Rd, Pukekohe
Cost : entry per car general public $10.00
Entry to the Mothers car show’n’shine $20.00
Entry to the Mothers Truck Show $20.00
Track rides start from $10.00
Amusement rides start from $2.50
Vehicles for track Rides $50.00*
* cost includes convoy & show’n’shine
Petrol Head Heaven

Petrol Head Heaven

Well what a beautiful day at the Pukekohe Circuit. Who would have believed it that in the South Island they had hail storm, a tramper is feared lost in the mountains in atrocious conditions. Police cars, Lamborginis, my Mum, fire engines, freight trucks, Targa Ralley cars, V8 drivers, Ariel Atom, Kids with cancer….all screaming around the Puke Circuit at very dangerous speeds. Thankfully there were no accidents and everyone had a great experience, both on the track and the SimDeck Simulator. However we did have many crashes in the simulator, burnt out gear boxes and extensive body damage during the day …from both children and adults who should have known better 🙂

Enjoy the following photos from today’s activities to raise funds for the Camp Quality organisation.

Shane Van Ginsberg for the Stones V8 Race team doing burnouts along the main straight.

Shane Van Ginsberg for the Stones V8 Race team doing burnouts along the main straight.


Despite no fires there was a large contingent of fire trucks on display. They would not have had to go far if there was a crash on the day!

Despite no fires there was a large contingent of fire trucks on display. They would not have had to go far if there was a crash on the day!


Kevin, SimDeck's founder takes a break between coaching the young drivers in the race car.

Kevin, SimDeck's founder takes a break between coaching the young drivers in the race car.


This young driver has his parents to convince before he was given the keys to drive home!

This young driver has his parents to convince before he was given the keys to drive home!


One of the many cars that were put thru there paces, this one driven by Shane Van Gisenberg.

One of the many cars that were put thru there paces, this one driven by Shane Van Gisenberg.


One of the many keen yound drivers who went for a virtual race around the Pukekohe track. This young girl quickly took control without too much damage of her firtual Toyota Open wheeler.

One of the many keen yound drivers who went for a virtual race around the Pukekohe track. This young girl quickly took control without too much damage of her firtual Toyota Open wheeler.


A race car and Lamborgini about to share some circuit space at Pukekohe.

A race car and Lamborgini about to share some circuit space at Pukekohe.


The A1GP on static display allowed visitors to get up close to the NZ entry in the A1GP series.

The A1GP on static display allowed visitors to get up close to the NZ entry in the A1GP series.


Rookie navigator, Pit Babe Gran, SimDeck Staffer and my mum, all strapped in for some high speed hot laps on the Puke Circuit in the Targa Race car.

Rookie navigator, Pit Babe Gran, SimDeck Staffer and my mum, all strapped in for some high speed hot laps on the Puke Circuit in the Targa Race car.


My mother having the fastest ride of her life!

My mother having the fastest ride of her life!


Mum is all smiles after two high speed laps on the Puke circuit in the Targa Rally Car. Her first experience around an actual race circuit at high speed.

Mum is all smiles after two high speed laps on the Puke circuit in the Targa Rally Car. Her first experience around an actual race circuit at high speed.


The Atom Ariel made an impression with its open style frame work.

The Atom Ariel made an impression with its open style frame work.


The big slide adjacent to the Pet250 Sim Car was popular during the day.

The big slide adjacent to the Pet250 Sim Car was popular during the day.


The home straight at Pukekohe

The home straight at Pukekohe

If you need an attraction for your event, family day, corporate day, fund raiser we have a range of rates for various functions. Interested in establishing your own Formula One Simulation business? Contact us for further details.

Camp Quality needs your help.
Sovereign Sunshine is a unique new charity website devoted to helping build a brighter future for Kiwi kids. Each month, six different children’s charities are shortlisted by Sovereign staff – and New Zealanders everywhere have the opportunity to vote for which of these charities will receive a donation of up to $15,000 from Sovereign.

Camp Quality NZ have been shortlisted for the January 2009 category; Children’s health – life threatening illness.

Here is your chance to ensure this worthwhile children’s cause continues to be able to help children suffering from cancer.
Become a Camp Quality NZ supporter simply by visiting www.sovereignsunshine.co.nz to register and vote for them before before 30 January.

Radio Network Children’s Party

Under the watchful eye of Dad and SimDeck staff, this young chap tries his skill at driving on the Pukekohe race circuit.

Under the watchful eye of Dad and SimDeck staff, this young chap tries his skill at driving on the Pukekohe race circuit.

The Radio Media Network Christmas Party has got to be one of the largest Christmas parties in New Zealand and certainly one of the noisiest!

SimDeck Formula Simulators once again supported this worthwhile 5 hour community event for many of Auckland’s disadvantage children held at the ASB Expo Centre.

High speed racing at Pukekohe, loud engines, stunning life size image had a constant line of waiting drivers for the entire party.

High speed racing at Pukekohe, loud engines, stunning life size image had a constant line of waiting drivers for the entire party.

The Special Children’s Christmas Party, in association with the Cancer Society enlists the sponsorship of local business to provide an unforgettable experience for disabled and disadvantaged children in our community. In return, businesses receive on air acknowledgement of their generosity, along with a community identity as a business that cares.

Pixes, elves all make potential race car drivers!

Pixes, elves all make potential race car drivers!

The aim of the day is provide over 2,200 Special Children with one of the best days of their lives.

The children invited to the party come from four major groups: either physically impaired, intellectually impaired, those suffering from a life threatening illness and children living in disadvantaged circumstances because of either environmental or economic reasons.

All smiles after managing a high speed race around the race track was a unique experience for this young driver

All smiles after managing a high speed race around the race track was a unique experience for this young driver


The children come via various community, charity and Government organisations who deal with these children on a daily or weekly basis.

There was a 3 and a half hour stage show featuring various celebrities and performances. During this time the children enjoy the various activities such as face painting, jumping castles, hoop shooting, pony rides, sitting in the Police cars, Army displays and merry go rounds!
With all this fun to be had, the children will need all the hot-dogs, chips, lollies, ice creams and drinks that we can provide.

High speed racing requires high speed concentration

High speed racing requires high speed concentration

Each child goes home with Christmas presents and for many, especially in the current doom and gloom might be all they receive.

SimDeck Formula Simulators has an ongoing commitement to support worthwhile community focused organisations where we can give forward and create a few local racing champions.

SimDeck Simulator used to demonstrate the affect of alcohol

Campbell Live Reporter, Tony Reid was starting to get a bit under the weather...literally!

Campbell Live Reporter, Tony Reid was starting to get a bit under the weather...literally!

NZ television station TV3, are bringing the deadly mix of alcohol and driving to life in the SimDeck simulator in the Cambell Live TV programme.

Campbell Live addresses the growing problem of driving whilst under the influence of alcohol.

Campbell Live addresses the growing problem of driving whilst under the influence of alcohol.


Many people under estimate the affect that a few drinks can have on their ability to drive. Depsite the often perceived bravado of knocking a few drinks back at the Xmas party or during the holiday season, this coming holiday season is expected to be no different with numerous people being killed because of the influence of alcohol.

Under the watchful eye of his camera crew and the  NZ Police, Tony increases his alcoholic intake to almost 3 times the legal limit!

Under the watchful eye of his camera crew and the NZ Police, Tony increases his alcoholic intake to 3 times the legal limit!

Campbell Live reporter Tony Reid, in co-operation with the North Shore Police and SimDeck Formula Simulators went out to demonstrate just how deadly the mix of driving and alcohol can be be and the direct influence on one’s ability to stay alive or not kill another. Tony first spent a period of time in the simulator driving a virtual LX6 open top sports car (1.8 lt engine) in a rural race circuit in the UK to first gain some familiarity of the simulator / car and the virtual environment. Then it was off to an actual pub down the road here in Albany where he lubricated the parched throat with a mix of alcoholic drinks.

Back at SimDeck HQ the Police breath tested Tony and he was exactly 400 mg….the edge of breaking the law in NZ, though still just legal, Tony was definitely now under the influence, but not legally drunk or breaking the law. Then back into the simulator car and out on the road where a noted lack of ability was becoming apparent. To test the point further, two cans of Woodstock burbon drink at 8% acoholic level was consumed, Tony was now definitely drunk with a breath tested reading of just on 1140 and as the Police described…was now a licensed potential killer on the road. With speech slurred, glazed eyes, unstable on his feet, Tony hoped back into the Simdeck car and headed off back down the road.

Breath testing a known driver under the influence. As it turned out the reading was almost three times the legal limit.

Breath testing a known driver under the influence. As it turned out the reading was almost three times the legal limit.

Thankfully it was only a virtual world where he was driving, but now every corner became a disaster zone, unable to keep to the line Tony was truely a potential killer behind the wheel and capable of creating a lifetime of misery had he been driving in the real world.

Even though this was a journalist experiencing his own story, it was observed that Tony’s demeanour had now become rather cocky, over confident and this was whilst interviewing the Police officer – all in the name of the story. His sentences and questions were not as fluent like before. The Police Officer in attendance suddenly bought home the serious reality of Tony’s condition in that he now considered Tony’s state of intoxication to be deadly. He went on to explain the life long impact this could have had if Tony had been in this state and pulled up at a road check point. A lost of license was guarranteed, notable fine, public shame and the sequence of after affects, could lead to loss of job, reliance on taxis, friends and public transport , family breakdown, loss of income.

Of course the camera crew were not going to be left out and jumped into the SimDeck Simulator for a few lamps.

Of course the camera crew were not going to be left out and jumped into the SimDeck Simulator for a few laps.

Role playing and all for the story, evenso the realisation for Tony of his real life inebriated state, suddenly brought about the grim reality that had he been out in the real world and been breath tested after a party, afternoon drinks or an evening with the boys, his career and life would have just taken a turn for the worst and that would be even without an accident….thankfully he was in the virtual world of Simdeck Simulators.

And before you ask, Tony was not driving when he left SimDeck Simulators HQ and was chauffer driven by his cameraman.

Hey folks this very life like demonstration of real booze, a real cop doing real breath testing in a very real life like virtual world, is here as a deadly warning.

IF YOU DRINK AND DRIVE YOU’RE BLOODY IDIOT. IT JUST AIN’T WORTH THE RISK AND SEQUENCE OF EVENTS.

Tony Reid driving the SimDeck PET250 simulator. Click on the image to view the video programme.

Tony Reid driving the SimDeck PET250 simulator. Click on the image to view the video programme.


If you missed the story on Campbell Live, TV3, 7pm 17 December 2008. http://www.tv3.co.nz it is available on this linked screen shot.
Here is a link to the video programme.

SimDeck Formula Simulators was pleased to be involved and supporting this message to keep our roads safe and our drivers sober.

Former Mclaren Formula One Director wanders down memory lane with SimDeck

Auckland ICT Cluster experiences high speed.

Pictured is Phil Kerr and SimDeck's Pro Sim Driver Kevin Andreassend posing for a photo and Leah Davis, Director of OE Registrations Ltd getting in some race time on the Pukekohe race circuit.

Pictured is Phil Kerr and SimDeck's Pro Sim Driver Kevin Andreassend posing for a photo and Leah Davis, Director of OE Registrations Ltd getting in some race time on the Pukekohe race circuit.


The Auckland ICT Cluster finished the year on a high note with its final meeting of the year at Massy’s e-Centre.

Guest speaker was Phil Kerr, former McLaren Motorsports Joint Managing Director and McLaren Formula One Team Manager who spoke about his 30 year career in the top echlon of Formula One, Indy and Can Am, creating one of the most successful race teams in Formula One.

Phil captivated the audience with his story of his rise as a teenager thrust into the high octane world of Formula One team and association management through his association with Brabham and McLaren race teams.

Phil captivated the audience with his story of his rise as a teenager thrust into the high octane world of Formula One team and association management through his association with Brabham and McLaren race teams.


Phil Kerr was fortunate enough to be offered the position as manager for Jack Brabham’s racing activities in the UK and later the Bruce McLaren Race team, the predecessor of today’s McLaren International F1 team. Today, Phil Kerr heads the McLaren Motorsports group, which not only deals with specialist automotive engineering, but is also involved in the IT industry with consulting services available for project management and business continuity planning.

30 members of the Ak ICT cluster listened to Phil as he reminisced about those glory years, the legends and how kiwis have risen to the top in the competitive business of motorsports internationally. To bring Phil’s experience alive, the event started with race time in the Simdeck Formula Simulator courtesy of cluster member, Kevin Andreassend. The open cockpit full-size Formula styled race car simulator allows drivers to immerse into a virtual world reminiscent of the golden years of motorsports in a growling Cosworth powered virtual race car.

Parked up outside the Massy University e-Centre where ICT Cluster members took control of a virtual McLaren race car in the SimDeck PET250 race car simulator.

Parked up outside the Massy University e-Centre where ICT Cluster members took control of a virtual McLaren race car in the SimDeck PET250 race car simulator.


Each driver was abe able to test their skills in high speed racing in a realistic life size virtual Pukekohe circuit.

The event finished with an autograph session of members purchasing Phil’s autobiography.


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Xmas Staff Function

Well the finish line is well in sight and who will take the winners flag? You still have time to book the Simdeck Race Car simulator for you end of year staff Christmas function before the final lap.

Well the finish line is well in sight and who will take the winners flag? You still have time to book the Simdeck Race Car simulator for you end of year staff Christmas function before the final lap.

Re-create the experience of Lewis Hamilton, Scott Dixon, Jack Brabham, Jackie Stewart and others!

The SimDeck PET250 Race Car converges the real world of motor sport with virtual reality in a way never before experienced and allows you to race an actual race car in a life like, life size virtual world and recreate real world race experiences.

Guaranteed to entertain and engage, as you put your skills on the line. Reputations will be challenged, egos tested and emotions run high in your Virtual Grand Prix where you discover YOUR champion driver.

SimDeck will create your unique race experience at your very own Xmas function in the full size PET250 Race car virtual reality system.

We deliver the SimDeck Simulator to your venue for a life size, 120 minute experience in high-speed virtual reality.

Our Xmas OfferSimDeck Grand Prix event 120 minutes $700.00 incl. GST(Valued at $ 787.50)

For more information please contact our Race Office(09) 414 4238 / (027) 647 2267 (Kevin) sales@simdeck.com

Special Web Site Only Bonus. Mention this winning code and receive and additional 30 minutes race time free. Code Simdeck08

Former McLaren Race Team Manager, Phil Kerr visits SimDeck

This week I was privileged to have none other than best selling author and former Joint Managing Director and Formula One Team Director at McLaren Racing, and F1 Constructor Association negotiator, Phil Kerr visit here at SimDeck HQ.

In Formula One there are typically two influential groups of people, the drivers and those who manage the companies that employ the drivers and build the cars. Phil is from the later group who in his extensive career with Formula One, along with Max Mosely and Bernie Ecclestone created the Formula Motorsports series the world knows today.

His early work along with his best friend Bruce McLaren, created the McLaren Race team, that in later years went onto be the team that saw Lewis Hamilton win the 2008 Formula One Championship.

So as you can see, this was not just any visitor, but a fellow countryman who is probably the most influential Kiwi in the history of Formula One Management.

If you are looking for a book to read this summer, you simply must get a copy of Phil’s autobiography. It is a fascinating story of enduring friendships, trust, managing adversity, wheeling and dealing at an international level, business development ….. oh and I should say, managing petty officials!

Inside the Golden Years of Motor Racing
Click on the book cover for further information.

Perfect Christmas reading for business owners, those wanting inspiration to find and follow their dreams and a fascinating story in motorsports history.

For three weeks it was the highest selling book on Amazon in the UK!!!

Once upon a time……. The departure of Phil’s best friend, Bruce McLaren on a flight to London in March 1958 from an airfield, 10 minutes from SimDeck HQ, was the beginning of a career, that neither Phil nor Bruce could imagine in their wildest dreams, or the influence they would both have in the annuals of Formula One and motorsports history.

It was Bruce McLaren’s tragic death on this Goodwood circuit in 1970 that would inhindsight be the turning point that would eventually lead to Phil’s departure from Formula One, McLaren Race Team and the UK in Dec 1975.

An era that started in the early 50’s here in Auckland drew to a close as he boarded the plane at Heathrow and reflected on an incredible successful journey and headed for the land of the long white cloud.

Phil Kerr will be guest speaker at the Auckland ICT Cluster December function, where I will have the distinquished pleasure of interviewing Phil on some poignant career moments, plus we will have the SimDeck Formula Simulators.
Thursday, 11 December 2008
Massey University, e-centre, Gate 5, Oaklands Road, Albany, Auckland.