After a long day of walking around COBO Hall shuffling between press conferences, toting all manner of camera equipment and accumulating automotive ephemera by the (sponsored) bagful... there's nothing under-rested, over-sauced journos want to do more than put up their howlin' dogs-- and go racing.

And increasingly, manufacturers are only too happy to oblige. As the space afforded exhibitors at COBO is too tight as it is, virtual reality has stepped in to sate keyboard-pilots' competitive joneses. Two years ago, to find a video racing game on the show floor was to discover something  of a novel distraction. But in 2006, they seemed to be lurking 'round every corner. From Subaru's pneumatically-suspended Gran Turismo 3 and 4 bubble baubles, to Ford's XBox 360-augmented Need For Speed display (replete with vinyl-covered GT knockoff seat), to MINI's go-cart extravaganza, automakers ponied up with the fun stuff set on 'free play.'

[more pictures after the jump]

Sadly, the few racing 'instructors' I came across indicated that once the show was open to the public, the games would only be on offer sporadically, if at all. Some guys have all the luck...


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