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For any true rally fan, getting behind the wheel of a WRC is the ultimate dream. To get a sense of the extreme thrills of rallying such a car, virtual reality offers infinite possibilities. Combining 360-degree 4K-resolution video and 3D sound, the film recently posted by Citroën Racing gives everyone the chance to experience the performances of the C3 WRC: https://youtu.be/3DMhSnlf3Oo

This film is the result of a partnership between Citroën Racing, Radio France and VR technology providers Firstage, 3D Sound Labs and Viaccess-Orca. It was recorded at the Versailles-Satory circuit, with Stéphane Lefebvre and Gabin Moreau playing the lead roles.

The French crew’s Citroën C3 WRC was fitted with a GoPro Omni system, which synchronised footage from six 4K cameras. Positioned on the dashboard, this system provided a panoramic view of the cockpit and the road.

The sound system featured a 5.1 microphone, installed in the centre of the cockpit to pick up the general atmosphere, a shotgun microphone pointed towards the dashboard to record noise from the engine and powertrain and two microphones placed near the rear wheels to capture longitudinal and lateral acceleration. Crew conversations were taken from the C3 WRC’s usual on-board communications system. Each element of the sound system was connected to an eight-track recorder, firmly secured inside the spare wheel.

All of the data collected added up to a hefty 909GB. But once compressed, the 4 minute 47 second file slimmed down to just 200MB.

To enjoy the final result, visit https://youtu.be/3DMhSnlf3Oo. For a fully immersive, 360° experience, you need a VR headset, or visit the C_42[1], which is equipped with Samsung Gear VR. Guests at Citroën Racing’s hospitality structure at rounds of the World Rally Championship can also experience this video in optimum conditions.

Unlike the saturated sound heard in some digital content, it is surprising to note the variety of tones offered by the sixteen Ambisonics channels depending on the angle of observation. Meanwhile, Stéphane Lefebvre is the epitome of calmness as he drives the car whilst Gabin Moreau reads out the pace notes.

[1] 42, avenue des Champs-Élysées, 75008 Paris

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