If you’re a fan of Formula 1 or high-speed thrills, you might want to check out the F1 Arcade near St. Paul’s Cathedral in London. Unveiled just in time for the 2023 season, this bustling arcade offers an immersive racing experience that goes beyond a simple spin on a simulator.
With 60 full-motion car racing simulators, the F1 Arcade is not just a playground for petrolheads but a social hub for enthusiasts. Big screen TVs casting races in real-time, mini reaction games, and a cocktail bar and kitchen make it a full-fledged entertainment destination. The simulators can be booked for team racing experiences or head-to-head battles for smaller groups at a cost of £15.75.
For those who question the value of the price tag, consider this: one booking grants you approximately 20-30 minutes of racing, which equates to around four races. These aren’t just any races, they take place on fan-favourite tracks such as Bahrain, Monza, and Spa. The experience is designed to cater to all skill levels, offering four modes ranging from rookie to pro, adjusting the difficulty of the simulated race accordingly.
What’s more, the racing isn’t simply about crossing the finish line first. Throughout the races, players gain points for numerous feats other than gaining podium positions. For instance, having the quickest average speed could give your score a significant boost. The player with the most points at the end of the simulation wins ‘arcadians’, a virtual currency that can be spent on tickets for the mini games, lottery entries for Sunday tickets to the Silverstone British GP, or put towards your food and drinks.
For a quick detour from the main racing experience, two mini games named ‘Lights Out’ and ‘React’ are available at the cost of 50 arcadians each. These games may seem different but have the same premise of clicking buttons as quickly as you can to score high on the leaderboard, testing your reaction times in a fun and engaging way.
After the adrenaline rush of racing and quick-fire mini games, the cocktail bar serves as the perfect pit stop. It boasts a broad list of cocktails and alcohol, from the tequila-based ‘Heat Cycle’ to the whiskey-based ‘Slipstreamer’, along with a selection of non-alcoholic drinks.
The F1 Arcade goes beyond being a simple entertainment venue by also hosting watch parties of the races throughout the season. These events offer the ultimate fan zone experience with a general admission ticket costing £39.
However, while the F1 Arcade undeniably provides something unique for F1 fans, there is still room for improvement. The mini-games, lasting around a minute in length, are essentially the same game marketed differently. A more diversified gaming experience and a greater reward factor could make these more appealing.
Additionally, the price point of £15.75 may seem a tad steep for the time limit on the simulations, especially considering that Oxford St’s Selfridges offers a similar interactive F1 driving simulator by Smartech at no cost to customers.
In conclusion, the F1 Arcade in London is a thrilling destination for Formula 1 fans and those looking for an exciting and unique experience. However, keep in mind the cost and evaluate whether the experience offers enough bang for your buck. With a few tweaks, F1 Arcade could easily take pole position in the realm of interactive sports entertainment.