Following the success of collaboration between Sony and Nissan on the GT Academy, Ferrari is launching their own Virtual Academy, an F1 simulator where hopefuls will compete against times set by the F1 drivers.

Graphics are quite...good. Physics should be even better
Graphics are quite…good. Physics should be even better

Two days before Christmas 2009, the company unveiled the most advanced virtual simulator that mapped the tracks in a 1:1 ratio – in order to prepare for this year’s championship. Next week, that data is coming to life in the form of Virtual Academy 2010. Featuring what can only be explained as fantastic graphics, the desktop version of their simulator features a "great physics" model as well.

The car in question is Ferrari’s actual race car: F10, a Formula One single-seater that competes in FIA Formula One 2010 World Championship. Naturally, Ferrari did not disclose how much dumbed down the simulated physics and car behavior are, but they’re promising a very challenging experience. Ferrari requires a "powerful computer with 3D graphics", given the level of realism involved.

The idea is almost identical to GT Academy: gamers register and download the simulator, and then compete in Torneo 2010, i.e. beat the best lap time set by numerous fans all over the world. You also compete against actual Ferrari drivers: Fernando Alonso, Felipe Massa and Giancarlo Fisichella.

Five of the fastest drivers win the trip to Ferrari’s HQ in Maranello, Italy. While the trip will have some sight-seeing characteristics, peak of the event will be studying inside "the exclusive Ferrari Driver Academy course," personally headed by exceptional tutors from the Scuderia."

There is no setting up the car – Ferrari F10 is already configured "using the same set ups created by the race engineers and used by the Scuderia drivers to reach the reference lap times included in the simulator."

For the very first time, you can drive an F1 car in legendary Fiorano
For the very first time, you can drive an F1 car in legendary Fiorano…

In order to help you out a bit, you can view replay of hot laps set by Massa, Alonso and Fisichella. Now, if you’re into F1, you’ll remember the outcry F1 community had when Alonso drove the F10 prior to Valencia GP in July. Well, one of reasons for that four lap drive was also to record data of Fiorano circuit, the very first circuit that will be available for download. Fiorano will be followed by Mugello, another Ferrari-owned circuit. Last track to be made available for download is Nurburgring.

First version of the F1 simulator will become available for download on September 9, 2010. As things with Ferrari go, the price for the first version of Virtual Academy 2010 is nine Euro.