Galvin Alliance Announces VR Driving Experience

A harness racing fan testing the Drive To Win VR Harness Racing Experience on Industry Day
Published: August 9, 2023 02:20 pm EDT

On Wednesday, Aug. 9, the Bill Galvin Racing Alliance (BGRA) announced the launch of the “Drive To Win” VR (Virtual Reality) Harness Driving Experience, sponsored by the Central Ontario Standardbred Association (COSA).

The 360-degree virtual reality experience allows fans and anyone from the public to sit in the sulky and experience the adrenaline and excitement of driving a Standardbred in a race.

"COSA is proud to endorse and support the Drive To Win VR Harness Racing Experience,” said Bill O’Donnell, President of COSA. “With the VR Simulator, we offer fans and the public an unparalleled opportunity to experience the thrill of harness racing from the driver’s seat! Having witnessed the positive reception of similar VR Simulators in other racing jurisdictions, we are confident that this immersive experience will be a great way to promote and share the excitement of harness racing with a broader audience.”

Over the long weekend, the BGRA took the “Drive To Win” to Hanover Raceway for Dream of Glory night and Grand River Raceway for Industry Day to test the VR experience.  A steady stream of racing fans lined up to have their chance to sit in a race bike and put on a set of VR goggles to be able to feel what it’s like to be in the driver’s seat.

“We are very pleased to have COSA’s support for the VR Harness Racing Experience,” said Karen Hauver, founding Director of the BGRA.  “Drive To Win was extremely well received during our soft launch over the weekend and we look forward to taking it on the road to other racetracks and agricultural events. We wouldn’t be able to do this without COSA’s support. Our sponsors and partnerships are very important in furthering the mission and the work of the Alliance.”

The videos used in the Drive To Win VR Harness Racing Experience were filmed during actual Ontario Standardbred races and participants wearing the VR goggles can look left, right and behind to keep an eye on the field of competitors around them. They can see and feel what harness drivers experience while hearing the thundering hooves of the horses and the announcer’s call of the race.

In addition to taking the Drive To Win Experience to Ontario’s racetracks, the BGRA will take the display to equine or agricultural related events that are not necessarily Standardbred events – Can Am, Erin Horse Day, etc. Upcoming “Drive To Win” events will be posted under "Events" on the BGRA website when available.

(With files from BGRA)

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