In the past, I’ve talked about the importance of people like myself and EmptyBox participating in competitive online leagues to increase our credibility as mouthpieces in the greater driving game community. Far too often, sites like InsideSimRacing, VVV Automotive, and VirtualR are run by guys who aren’t all that good at the games they’re covering, and it becomes hard to trust what they have to say about a certain game – you never know if that ten second difference on track changes a game from feeling great to absymal because the fast guys found out all the little tricks that push the physics engine to its limit. The same thing happens in yearly EA Sports games; often avid sports gamers can find glitch goals or money plays that your average review site like Gamespot and IGN miss out on.
I’ve been driving in Season 3 of RaceDepartment’s Virtual Stock Car Championship for Walk Racing. The five round season takes place in Reiza Studio’s Game Stock Car Extreme, and save for the Brazilian league that sees many real-world drivers competing, this is basically the top Stock Car V8 online league you can join.
Today, we went to Cascavel for the first round of the season.
Cascavel is one of my favorite circuits in GSCX as the insane speeds and multiple passing opportunities make it a really wild track to compete on. There are no places where you can pull away from people, as all of the corners are relatively simple. Neto Nascimento grabbed the pole with a 61.2, and I took fourth on the grid with a 61.4. I was pretty disappointed by this as I was able to run consistent 61.2‘s during practice, and was on pace for the pole one lap before one of my teammates got in the way on his outlap. Once Qualifying concluded, the first seventeen spots on the grid were separated by one second.
I threw an asymmetrical setup at the car, softening the right side to prevent the car from sliding around a lot once the tires started to break in – Cascavel features only one right-handed corner on the entire circuit.
Teammate Guus Verver and Neto Nascimento fought for the lead right from the start, and this eventually culminated in the 75 car dumping the 86. Small mistakes here and there led to the top five all being within a second of each other, as Neto gave Guus the spot back, allowing third through fifth to catch up.
The lead pack swapped positions quite frequently, and this battle I had with Fabio Assuncao illustrates quite well how intense online racing can be among a field of drivers who are all at the top of their game. Start the clip at 40:58.
Unfortunately, it just wasn’t my day when pitstops began. Despite leading a few laps, the end of the pitting cycle shuffled me back to fifth place, as teammate Guus Verver captured the victory.
The post-race discussion wasn’t without controversy, as talk of penalizing both Verver and Nascimento was quickly brought up by administration. Verver was accused of driving outside the boundaries of the track, and Nascimento’s contact with Verver (above) was described as warranting some kind of penalty. Track boundaries are often scrutinized quite extensively in RaceDepartment leagues, so it will be interesting to see where some drivers land once the official results have been released. The final corner of Cascavel saw virtually every driver in the field run wide numerous times, and in my opinion, it would be impossible to consistently police this as real Stock Car Brazil drivers use this runoff regularly. Thankfully, next week’s race at Taruma doesn’t feature any controversial track limits.
My setups are often described as twitchy and “oh god how do you drive this” by other people who try them, but HERE is what I ran for today’s race. I’ll be sharing my setups each week throughout the season to give the guys who are still learning car setups a little bit of insight as to what the fast guys are doing to their cars. A key thing to remember, however, is that setups in GSCX are heavily reliant on user preferences – there is no “magic setup” like iRacing that will make your car two seconds faster using advanced techniques by beta testers who’ve discovered glitches – you should be building your setup to suit your driving style and needs, though it helps to have a really good baseline to start with.