Given the relatively small size and mere handful of comments we receive here at PretendRaceCars, we’re able to devote our free time to scrutinizing every last one of the comments we receive on our articles. On our most recent iRacing post, which was devoted to comparing how iRacing’s newest UI re-design looked suspiciously like the interface in Assetto Corsa, one user blasted us for the lack of Assetto Corsa articles. And to be honest, he’s right. For every four articles we do about Project CARS, iRacing, or even Need for Speed, we struggle to pick apart Assetto Corsa. While we have torn apart the game’s multiplayer aspect on Episode 2 of 8:10 – The PretendRaceCars.com Podcast, even as RaceDepartment published an open letter to Kunos criticizing the lack of multiplayer functionality, we instead used our time to publish a lengthy document detailing what we’d hope to see from a sequel to GTR2.
But today, there was no reason not to. It’s four hours until the NASCAR race in Fontana, so SCSC, this one’s for you.
User SCSC linked us to a Reddit thread blasting the physics of the Ferrari 458 GT2 car available in Assetto Corsa:
The Reddit post by user SixBuckeye, titled “The Ferrari 458 GT2 Feels Like Cheating”, explains that he was able to run a fantastic time of 6:36 at the Nordschleife, even with many mistakes, blaming the arcade-like physics of the car for a time which seems nearly impossible on the world’s most dangerous race track. He notes that the car is “ridiculously easy to drive“, “easier to drive than any of the GT3 cars“, and “feels glued to the road at times.”
Chris, from the 8:10 Podcast, jumped in to discredit the opinions of SCSC:
However, instead of taking the high and mighty approach and claim this dude’s an idiot, we didn’t exactly have another article in the pipeline for today. It wouldn’t hurt to try this car for myself and see if SixBuckeye had a point. If the car truly was overpowered, I should be able to jump in and run low 6:30’s. See, I’m not some scrub. I’m perfectly capable of putting this car through its paces, as evidenced by…
It’s safe to say that I’d be the prime candidate to determine if this car was overpowered or not, because I can wheel pretty much anything else.
An important variable in these laps is the weather. Assetto Corsa has a pretty rudimentary dynamic track feature that allows the track to gain heat and grip as the session goes on. This can all be customized in the menu prior to hitting the track. It isn’t visually represented like in rFactor 2, but it’s definitely there and affects how the car drives. By default, the track grip is set to optimal, and the weather is set to a balmy 26 degrees Celsius.
Since the Nurburgring Nordschleife is a toll road, the chance of it properly rubbering in like a dedicated race track is slim to none, especially on an AC-like test day where you are the only car on the property. As a result, I changed the track grip to Green, and the weather to 17 degrees Celsius – these are the settings I regularly use at the Nordschleife when hotlapping, as it’s a goddamn toll road, not a NASCAR track after a few practice sessions.
Once in-game, I threw all my usual tweaks at the car in the setup menu to make it go even faster. I’d never driven this car before, and from the Reddit post, I assumed it would be a rocket ship out of the box.
And holy shit was I wrong. This car is fucking garbage.
It’s got basically next to no power. It’s a bit twitchy. It desperately needs bigger brakes, although maybe I’m just used to being a bitch and slamming my brake pedal through the wall like I do in the MP4-12C GT3. The torque curve is really sad. The aerodynamics aren’t nearly as helpful as they are in AC’s roster of GT3 cars. Cranking the rear wing up only slightly more than what I originally had it at slowed the car down too much. The four or five laps I did, I never wanted to drive the car again. It was this, except I was sitting in my boxers and a Winnipeg Jets shirt on a lawn chair holding a toy steering wheel:
The quickest time I could get out of the car was a lowly 6:52.
What’s interesting is that Chris’ comment earlier in this article…
…was almost spot-on. A 4 year old GT2 Ferrari runs the same lap times as a current GT3 car.
For the GT3 league we’re both signed up for, we’ve spent much more time building setups and testing out the McLaren MP4-12C GT3. As a result, we do indeed have a dedicated Nordschleife setup, run in the exact same conditions as the Ferrari lap above.
That four second difference in lap times is the result of days, maybe even weeks of testing, whereas the Ferrari lap was done after guessing at the setup and running the track for 30 minutes. I’m sure after a week or two of testing, we’d be able to knock it down to a 6:48 or 6:46, but ten more seconds after that? You’d need to crank up the track grip or something – which is something you can adjust right in the menu and automatically defaults to the fastest available setting – optimal.
In conclusion, the monster 6:36 lap time posted by SixBuckeye on Reddit was most likely done in what drag racers call “mineshaft conditions” – perfect weather conditions that are highly unlikely to occur during actual competition. While these conditions are common during the NHRA’s preseason testing at Palm Beach International Raceway (available in rFactor 2), teams almost never face perfect weather conditions at any other point during the year. In fact, the conditions during that time of year in Florida are so special that an entire event has been designed around it.
So for anyone to claim that Kunos potentially botched the physics on the GT2 cars and made them too easy to drive is pretty ridiculous. Of course they’re going to be easy to drive and produce ridiculous lap times if you drive them in track grip and weather settings that would never occur in real life.
As for Chris’ claim that the 458 GT2 was roughly as quick as current GT3 cars, we ended up proving that claim right. The four second difference in lap times was literally because we’d been testing the MP4-12C GT3 for weeks and already had a library of setups to pick from and adjust, including a track-specific Nurburgring setup as our league is going to run the Endurance layout at some point.
* POST-PUBLISHING EDIT *
Wanting to get even more out of the car, I went back to the Nurburgring, made even more adjustments, and ran within half a second of my McLaren MP4-12C GT3 lap time.
In conclusion, I set out to validate the claim on Reddit that the 458 GT2 was too easy to drive, and ended up proving the car’s performance in Assetto Corsa was on par with what was seen in real life – accurately mirroring it’s performance compared to a GT3 car on the same track – running within 4 tenths of my Personal Best GT3 laptime.