Epson chosen to deliver Grand Finale at the Silverstone Experience

The Silverstone Experience is an education centre for British motor sport located at Silverstone Circuit,...

Bringing racing heritage to life

The Silverstone Experience, which opened in October 2019, is an education centre for British motor sport located at Silverstone Circuit, and is designed to showcase different artefacts, archives and collections of historic and educational value to the public. Converted from a 4000-meter RAF hangar from the Second World War, the £20 million invested into the Silverstone Experience has not only preserved this historic building but has created a new means of exciting future generations about British motor sport.

The journey through the Silverstone Experience takes visitors back in time and gives them an up-and-close look at the excitement and evolution of motorsport over the decades. The journey is concluded with ‘The Ultimate Lap’, a special format grand finale designed to take visitors through some of Silverstone circuit’s most iconic and dramatic moments in history.

The makings of an immersive experience

Figment Productions were responsible for developing the concept, footage and production of ‘The Ultimate Lap’, and they decided to work with AV and lighting integrator Fusion LX to install the required equipment, thanks to their 20-year experience in fixed installations and a proven portfolio in the UK and abroad working with successful visitor attractions.

Mark Wootton, Head of technical delivery at Figment, said: “We’ve worked with Fusion on countless AV and Lighting projects over the last 10 years across different sectors including Heritage, Visitor Attractions and Corporate environments. From system design and consultation through to hardware installation and ongoing support we have a great relationship and enjoy the benefits of their reliability, attention to detail and technical expertise. In the case of the Silverstone Experience there were numerous hurdles to overcome regarding the physical build of the dome structure and experience as a whole so it was great to have Fusion a known quantity that we could trust to get on and deliver the audio visual experience that had been promised. We always aim to create hi-tech yet low maintenance installations and in this case the reliability and flexible feature set of the Epson projectors was the perfect fit.”

 The concept of The Ultimate Lap that was designed by Figment comprises 2 main areas: the loading zone (pre-show), located at the entrance to the experience, and the main show, a dome-shaped theatre seating 49 visitors, the maximum capacity for this grand finale experience. Guests are first grouped together and immersed in the loading zone, an F1-themed virtual garage complete with different props, wall graphics, and a 6-meter-wide projection wall simulating mechanics and engineers working on their final preparations for the forthcoming race, all accompanied by the sound of crowds cheering through the walls.

After this, guests are then invited into the main show, a four-minute 4D cinema experience based in a 10-meter wide, 9-meter high, upwards-tilted semi-dome featuring projection mapped content across the surface, all designed to immerse visitors into the sensation of driving (and flying) around the circuit. This 4-minute journey showcases some of the most famous incidents and racing drivers to have taken the spotlight at Silverstone Circuit over the years. The 4D experience comes to life with ceiling-fixed fans to simulate streams of air as, in one instance, the infamous Red Arrows fly right overhead the visitors, a transducer bass shaker to simulate movement as visitors do a virtual lap of the circuit, and 30 surround sound speakers. The running of the main show allows the next group of visitors to assemble in the loading zone, ensuring a streamlined passage for visitors coming in and out of the experience while maximising footfall. For this project, Fusion LX were tasked with procuring and installing high-impact, low-maintenance AV equipment, complete with a 12-month service warranty.

Ian Carling, project manager and engineer at Fusion LX, said: “We’ve worked on fixed instalment projects for 20 years now and we became quickly aware of the brightness, lens throw ratio, reliability and cost that would be optimal for us in delivering an outstanding result for this project. We’ve worked with Epson for around three years and not only has the failure rate been minimal, but the Epson UK team has been among the most available and supportive in dealing with enquiries that we’ve ever worked with, making them an ideal choice for delivering the right visual equipment for this project.”

Fusion LX installed one Epson EB-L1405U laser projector with an Epson ELPLX01 ultra-short throw lens, rear projected onto the wall in the loading zone, and six EB-L1105U projectors with Epson ELPLU04 short throw lenses for the dome, all edge-blended with a customised PC built in-house.

“The end result from a visual perspective had to be clear, rich and vivid and these are what we’ve come to expect from Epson’s 3LCD projection technology”, continues Carling. “Epson describes its equipment as a ‘fit-and-forget’ solution which is exactly what we need for fixed-installation projects.”

Sally Reynolds, Chief Executive Officer at Silverstone Experience, said: “Since the Silverstone Experience opened on 25th October, the Ultimate Lap has provided the perfect grand finale for guests on an already invigorating journey through the Silverstone Experience, and each day guests have all left with huge smiles on their faces. The support, reliability and results delivered by Figment, Fusion LX and the Epson equipment in this exciting immersive experience have met the standards we’ve aspired to at every stage since first embarking on this journey in 2012.”