The Renault Formula One team has decided to go virtual by opening up a space in Second Life. They idea is to give people a behind the scenes look at the workings of a modern Formula One team, and includes a factory that replicates the actual team facility in England.

When I first heard about Second Life about a year ago, I checked it out and the appeal was somewhat lost on me. Having a 3D graphical environment where you could chat seemed rather pointless. Visitors to the Renault F1 space can also try out the team fitness center, though, and test themselves at the driver's training program. It's not clear what the point is of taking a virtual fitness test would be, but the race track at the facility could be fun. Second Lifers can grab a go-kart and race against others for the opportunity to spray virtual champagne from the podium. The Renault Second Life space opens on May 25th. A press release and teaser videos are included after the jump.

[Source: Renault]

ING Renault F1 Team reveals Second Life® experience

The ING Renault F1 Team today announced that it will make its entry into the Second Life® virtual world on May 25th with an event offering media and a select group of fans the opportunity to participate in a live press conference within Second Life® featuring Finnish star Heikki Kovalainen.

The virtual world of Second Life® presents a unique opportunity for enthusiasts and people new to Formula 1 across the globe to join a single, virtual community in which they can share their passion and enthusiasm for the sport. Not only will the ING Renault F1 Team island offer visitors unique interactive experiences, it also aims to be a space in which enthusiasts can debate freely, while also taking advantage of the opportunity to interact with team members from a front-running F1 team during regular, post-race events.

The ING Renault F1 Team island has been designed a simple goal: to offer a unique, behind-the-scenes experience to enthusiasts and non-enthusiasts alike. Formula 1 is a sport where success requires dedication, passion and teamwork, and the Island will aim to educate visitors about the sport's demands, while also allowing them to relax together – or challenge each other in a number of fun, racing activities.

Constructed around a challenging racetrack, the ING Renault F1 Team island is split into 9 zones, each offering visitors a number of activities designed to increase their understanding of Formula 1 whilst providing a unique interactive experience:

• Race Track. Visitors can buy their race overall and helmet, then step into go-karts, whose design has been inspired by Renault's 2007 F1 car, the R27. Visitors will be able to invite a group of friends and organise a race to see who really is the fastest out on track – and then experience the thrill of stepping onto the winner's podium and spraying the champagne!
• Press Conference. F1 fans visitors will feel what it's like to step into the spotlight as you face the TV cameras and flash bulbs, just like the drivers they admire. This area will allow visitors to download the latest press materials in order to keep up-to-date with team news, and will include a Message Centre, where team fans can send questions to the team – which may be used in the regular post-race podcasts, or answered during the post-race meetings that will be held with the team after each Grand Prix.
• Garage and Pit-lane. For any F1 team, the garage is the real heart of the matter. Explore a realistic recreation of the team's facilities when they are at the track, and learn about the jobs involved in one of the pressure points of any Grand Prix, the pit-stop. Team members will explain what their jobs involve, and visitors can simulate the roles involved in servicing an F1 car – such as changing a tyre, or operating the jack. This interactive area is designed to allow visitors to improve their understanding of the work involved behind-thescenes every time a Formula 1 car turns a wheel. Visitors can then relax in the 'chill-out area' behind the team's garage, complete with the ever-present tea and coffee machine.
• F1 Factory and Race Shop. The ING Renault F1 Team island features a factory setting inspired by the team's Technical Centre in Enstone, UK. This factor space will offer the opportunity to take a closer look at the R27 race-car, as well as learning more about the design and construction processes of the car. Visitors can pause for the obligatory photo opportunity at the wheel of an F1 racer. The Enstone area will also be the venue for press and public meetings to be held on the island.
• Johnson Human Performance Centre. Physical fitness is a crucial part of any F1 driver's armoury, and it's no different on Second Life®. Test your fitness by undergoing an F1 driver training programme in the gym, or see if you can match their agility on the 'reaction wall' – and compete against other Second Lifers for the best score.

• Remote control car game. Remote-controlled cars can be obtained from the team's official merchandise store, and provide an instant, fun activity for visitors to the island. Four people can race each other on the model track, as they compete to see who can make it to the finish line in first place.
• Grandstands. Dotted around the race track, the three main grandstands – each named after one of the three Renault brothers Marcel, Louis and Fernand – offer visitors the chance to meet and chat, as well as watching the go-kart action out on track.
• Merchandise Store. Every visitor to the ING Renault F1 Team island will be offered a number of free merchandise items to take away, and these can be collected from the merchandise store. Then, they can spend their Linden dollars on goodies such as remote-controlled cars, or a driver helmet, which can then be customised to provide a distinctive presence out on track!
• Corporate Hospitality Area. An essential part of modern Formula 1, the corporate hospitality space offers visitors the opportunity to relax, while providing information about the history and products of both Renault Group and ING Group.

About Second Life®

A guide to the basics of Second Life® is now available on-line to read. Please paste the following link into your web browser:

About ING Renault F1 Team

Since launching the unique Race Control' live telemetry module on-line in 2004, the ING Renault F1 Team has been a pioneer in on-line Formula 1 activities. The team's official website now offers a unique bilingual behind-the-scenes blog about team life, as well as exclusive team podcasts and daily, standard-setting news content.

2007 marks the thirtieth anniversary of Renault's Formula 1 debut, since which time the company has powered its way to seven world drivers' championships, eight constructors' titles and 113 race wins including consecutive double world championships in 2005 and 2006. For the 2007 season, the team is proud to welcome ING Group as its new title partner. ING provides banking, insurance and asset management services to some 60 million clients over 50 countries around the globe.

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