Racing Academy was created and developed by Lateral Visions to support a community of practice based not on fictional qualities, but on a real-time vehicle dynamics simulation system more advanced than anything currently being used by mainstream games developers. Capable of recreating the experience of driving any automobile, it accurately models in real-time how cars behave and react. The games engine has the capacity to allow users to manipulate over 1,000 parameters of their vehicles. This is particularly important as it will enable the students to change the vehicle parameters (such as the engine, transmission, tyres and suspension) in order to optimise the vehicle performance and get a better understanding of the system dynamics that influence behaviour. Players must engage with the underlying physics and work as a member of a community of practice where practice arises out of real physics and involves the social negotiation of understanding.
The game has three levels and a race level. The first three levels are where players race a computer controlled opponent (“the AI driver”) along a quarter mile drag strip. The races last typically between 11-15 seconds. Players can choose whether to have the computer assist them with their steering (i.e., have the computer correct any over steering to keep the player driving straight) and their gears (i.e., gear changes made automatically by the computer), or set these options to be controlled manually.