Ferrari, this isn’t a Magazine Competition

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No more than five hours ago, we here at ran a Reader Submission regarding allegations of manufacturers dictating how their cars performed within Assetto Corsa. While both the anonymous user submitting the information is a trustworthy forum member (I can obviously see who’s sent what in), and it’s not the first time I’ve heard of this exact issue occurring behind the scenes at Kunos Simulazioni, this was the first time our site confronted the issue head on in public.

For those who haven’t taken the time to read through the previous submission, the summary is actually quite simple. Ferrari, and to a lesser extent McLaren, both asked Kunos to make alterations to the performance of their cars in-game to appear more desirable. The Mclaren 12c was notorious for being a less-than-stellar package, and Ferrari’s track record of protecting their brand within a virtual environment can be seen throughout the past decade: Forza Motorsport titles struggled to include visceral damage, and Test Drive Unlimited 2 restricted players from even installing simple performance upgrades.

The submission claimed McLaren asked Kunos to rectify the real life handling woes of the 12C within Assetto Corsa, and Ferrari demanded their new hypercar, the La Ferrari, to be faster than McLaren’s P1 on certain tracks as per the detailed licensing agreement signed with Kunos. The submission went on to say that these scenarios in which Kunos was forced to go against what their simulation stands for caused many headaches for the Italian developer team.

I understand the amount of bragging rights involved in a real-life showdown; for the hour-long Chris Harris on Cars special, both McLaren and Ferrari sent out a fleet of engineers and mechanics to ensure both the P1 and LaFerrari were performing at an optimal standard. But does this historic automobile manufacturer rivalry extend to the world of sim racing, and does it really include such silly licensing agreements forcing developers to restrict the performance of a competitor’s car within the virtual world?

It sure looks like it.

To summarize the hour long video above, automotive guru Chris Harris took the McLaren’s P1, Ferrari’s La Ferrari, and Porsche’s 918 to the Portugese circuit of Portimao.

I’ll spoil it for you: The P1 is quickest overall by 0.68 seconds. To ensure total dominance of the episode, McLaren asked Chris Harris to run a few laps with the P1 in complete race configuration – soft compound tires, maximum downforce, and a much lower ride height among other, smaller tweaks made by on-site McLaren mechanics. The P1 in race trim with Chris Harris behind the wheel obliterated the other two cars by 2.47 seconds.

Also, if you haven’t heard of it, Portimao is a fucking awesome track with tons of crazy elevation changes and Circuit of the Americas-like corner complexes.

With Harris establishing the P1 as the quickest of the bunch, period, and the private rumblings among beta testers saying changes had been made behind the scenes of Assetto Corsa to ensure the La Ferrari was superior, there was only one way to find out.

Drive the shit out of both cars.

The rules were pretty simple to establish. Two tracks would be used, the International Layout of Silverstone to establish which car had the better overall handling, and the Grand Prix Layout of Monza to establish which car could hit the big top end speed numbers without throwing it all away in the braking zones. Track temperature would be set to a balmy 31 degrees celsius – a hot summer day – and track grip would be set to Green, a realistic setting for a private practice session during an amateur race weekend.

Anything to make the car go as fast as possible was fair game, although I kept both cars on Trofeo Slicks, and loaded them with 30 liters of Fuel. No TC or ABS settings were off limits, and if the DRS on the McLaren warranted a major advantage, that one’s on Ferrari for not implementing a DRS system as well.

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The McLaren P1 was almost a bit more than I could handle, though comparing it to cars I’ve driven in other sims is relatively easy. It’s a late 1990’s FIA GT1 entry – the cars that look like prototypes but totally aren’t prototypes I swear – with low downforce, and excessive body roll. It’s like the Infernus from Grand Theft Auto IV and the 1998 Toyota GT-One had a drunken one night stand in the sand traps of Vallelunga, but the resulting offspring forced the two lovers to stick together for the kids. It’s a weird sort of hybrid between the bad qualities of two very good cars, but it works.

Too much power delivered to the rear wheels at any given time forced me to activate traction control just a single notch above “off”, and within a few laps I was flying around the short layout of Silverstone. I still prefer my bland, boring GT cars compared this space-aged toy reserved for millionaires, but I can’t say the hotlap session wasn’t fun. It definitely had the twitchy factor of a Lotus 49, but without the whole it’s a bathtub with wheels thing that the old school open wheel cars have going on.

The best time I could post around Silverstone was a 1:05.81 in the P1.


For a car that’s allegedly in the same class as the McLaren P1, what initially struck me as odd about the La Ferrari was the lack of traction control as a necessity. A similar power plant, a similar overall weight, and even the same tires, but the LF was totally planted to the race track and wasn’t trying to kill me. In fact, pushing hard into the flat, technical corners of Silverstone, the car had a really nasty tendency to understeer. It was as if I’d gotten the setup in a GT3 car brutally wrong and desperately needed to remove the front anti-roll bar entirely.

The only difference between a shitty GT3 setup and the La Ferrari, was that I could cook the front tires of the hypercar without being punished one bit. I mean, despite the P1’s active aero and all kinds of funky electronic shit McLaren had done with their entrance into the hypercar war, the Ferrari LF was so incomprehensibly better in almost every way. Less twitchy on corner exit, non-detrimental understeer, and a beast of a powerplant.

Oh yeah, while the P1 struggled to hit 270 kmh on the longest stretch of the alternate Silverstone configuration, the LF approached 290 kmh with ease.

The end result of a lap ridden with understeer in the La Ferrari was a stout 1:05.85, less than a tenth off the McLaren P1, and in no way indicative of the real life lap gap at Portimao of 0.7 seconds. As someone who knows their shit when it comes to racing sims, the only reason I was faster in the P1 was because I as a driver prefer a loose race car. Had this been a competitive online league and I was tasked with managing a two-driver race team, I’d already be designing our livery for the La Ferrari. No way in hell would it be wise to run the P1 competitively. It’s just not comfortable like the LF.

The next stop? Monza. This is where shit got interesting, and we found something we shouldn’t have.

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There isn’t exactly a need for all but the most rudimentary of handling characteristics at Monza. The modern layout of the classic Italian race track is simply three massive stretches, chopped up with first gear chicanes forcing you to come to an almost complete stop, and finally there are three specific throttle management corners relying more on your steady right foot than a proper alignment and suspension setup.

The La Ferrari was clocked at 328km/h in front of the main grandstands, which wasn’t a surprise to me as the car feels as if it cranks out more horsepower between the two within Assetto Corsa. However, even with the DRS activated in the McLaren P1, eclipsing 300km/h at all was a challenge. With Monza being a track primarily focused around big triple-digit speeds, the La Ferrari predictably destroyed my satisfactory P1 lap, going over a second quicker.


But I wanted to make things close, so after a session in both cars at Monza, I took the Mclaren P1 back to the track. Maybe I’d missed something that could close the gap with the P1, and as someone who’s enjoyed fighting with a couple of the heavy hitters on the RaceRoom Racing Experience leaderboards, a gap of 1.2 seconds is relatively small in my books. I’d figure something out within five or six laps.

And as the track was loading, I thought I had the answer already: Aside from activating the DRS system in the Mclaren on the exit of Parabolica, the final corner leading to the start/finish line, there were two other giant stretches of open tarmac that I’d totally neglected to hit the Triangle button on my toy steering wheel. A couple extra DRS hits, a balls-out corner or two, and I’d be a respectable three tenths down on the La Ferrari – enough to write a controversial PRC article about.

I ended up finding something much more hilarious.

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The blue bar on the LCD display represents my rear wing’s angle of attack. A full blue bar means DRS hasn’t been activated, and the wing is currently in the “generate downforce for the rear end” position. Approaching 240 km/h in fifth gear with tons of open road ahead of me, the logical plan of action for anyone would be to mash Triangle and lower the rear wing to pick up the speed I was desperately needing.

I couldn’t. The game wouldn’t let me activate DRS at 240km/h in fifth gear.

Yet when I took my silver P1 to the short layout of Silverstone, Assetto Corsa let me lower the rear wing almost to a minimum, whenever the hell I wanted. And I truly mean whenever the hell I wanted: under braking, slowing to a pathetic 82km/h in second gear for a hairpin corner, a quick hit of the Triangle button and the rear wing was at my command.

If I wanted to, I could actually sit on the grid and mash the DRS button thousands of times. Wing goes up. Wing goes down. Wing goes up. Wing goes down.

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There are no other cars on the track. I’m not in any formal competition with a predefined set of DRS rules (DRS zones for a street car – HAH! Good one!). I’m running private laps in a car I’ll never be able to afford. Why, at Silverstone, can I activate DRS for a speed boost whenever I want (including in sections where it would be detrimental), but on Ferrari’s home turf in Monza Italy, the exact mechanical element found in the McLaren P1 that could potentially help it to out-perform the La Ferrari, suspiciously doesn’t work when I need it to?

I honestly can’t believe it. I mean, I’m sitting there on Monza, literally hammering the DRS button as if I’m back in the second grade playing Mario Party, and nothing happens. Rip over to Silverstone, suddenly I’m downshifting from fourth… to third… to second… oh cool I have full control of the DRS right now.

And of course, this is on top of the fact that the P1 smoked the La Ferrari by 0.7 seconds out on the real track, but in Assetto Corsa there’s basically no reason why you’d ever want to drive the P1 in a competitive environment aside from being a McLaren fanboy.

Man, this is some… Like I actually can’t even. It’s not cool guys. Not cool.


97 thoughts on “Ferrari, this isn’t a Magazine Competition

  1. Man ive got to test this out now, ive never curious about that(shits getting suspicious now). Ive always been faster with the P1 but i dont think ive gone to monza yet. James would you mind asking people to submit their own times, we can then collate them together because that would get rid of my doubt thought i bet some alien is gonna come in and blow everything out of the water in terms of laptimes.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I don’t care which is faster McLaren or Ferrari, but Assetto Corsa is trash nonetheless with completely unrealistic physics and it shouldn’t even be compared to real life in any circumstances.


    1. So if AC is trash, rf2 is trash too. Am I right? If AC has completely unrealistic physics, then rf2 has completely unrealistic physics. I mean, look at the video below.. tell me why the driving is so equivalent? After all, this is a mod from your favorite modder, makcorp.


      1. Neither sim is trash, nor is either perfect.

        Watching dickhead fanboys try to one-up each other with claims “their” sim is way better than the rest using inane forum comments mixed with endless streams of horsehit has become a sport in of itself.

        I thought the console warriors were fucking stupid, the sim racing community isn’t too far behind…

        Liked by 3 people

      2. The driving isn’t equivalent. The rFactor 2 driver lost almost a second in T5 without making any visible mistakes.

        That’s because grip levels are different because physics aren’t the same in the two engines in spite of Makcorp releasing the same car in both.


      3. In terms of track width, in rF2 the grip isn’t the same while in AC is. So you will get slightly different driving experience, unless you stay within the optimum zone. But the driving in both doesn’t show much inconsistencies. Even if the physics aren’t exactly the same in both engines, or the way you input car data, doesn’t make one right and the other wrong. Because the comparison isn’t about one game in relation to the other, is about one game in relation to real life.


    2. “One other point is rF2 doesn’t have 4WD or hybrid systems simulated according to United Racing Design making their PX mod for rF2 very difficult to match that of Assetto Corsa’s simulation of both 4WD and hybrid technologies.

      This means rF2’s value as a sim is severely stunted and must be called into question.”


      1. Here is the quote: “In next days Aura will be released. Its important to get as much feedback as posibile as that physics is a pain with faked hybrid and 4wd”

        Taken from:!/page26

        Ales from URD added:”all wheels support is here but overall its best for rally or so. Hybrid is missing, planned but no idea when”.

        So much like the current rain implementation (I do love it when rain and spray clip into the cockpit), rF2’s 4WD simulation is rudimentary at best and hybrid tech is on the “to-do” list.


  3. Maybe they need to review the DRS rules, depending on the type of session (either a session from a full weekend type, or a session from offline practice/hotlap, when is just us on the track).


  4. List of essential features missing in Assetto Corsa:

    Aerodynamics that takes proper sideslip/alpha into account
    -Properly handling stiff suspensions
    -Properly working AI
    -Properly working netcode
    -AI during multiplayer
    -Brake temperature
    -Oil temperature
    -Water temperature
    -Dynamic day/night cycles
    -Drivers swaps during multiplayer and singleplayer
    -Dynamic weather with rain
    -Proper race/flag rules
    -False starts
    -Rolling starts
    -Safety car
    -Proper damage
    -Pitstops in singleplayer
    -Visible tire deformation
    -Animated marshalls
    -Steering assist and adjustable speed sensitivity for keyboard users
    -Steering assist for gamepad users

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yet associat0r doesn’t use a third of that. And when he uses a third of that, maybe is just that one time per month. He doesn’t even play rf2 any more. For him, those are features just to fill a list.


  5. Great read… *sobs in corner*. This is powerfully uncool of Ferrari. Petty too. I’m lost on this one. Maybe I should start playing flight sims


  6. I cannot wait for AC to get released on console and for it to get panned for it’s shitty AI, paltry track selection, and lack of options.


  7. James, why did you even bother doing this test, Assetto Corsa has no simulation value nor does it correspond with real life in anyway.


      1. Since when do give a shit about evidence? Sorry, but if you don’t get it by yourself then you’re not worth explaining it to you.

        I honestly hope someday you guys find something more productive to do with your lifes and don’t end up like the sorry fucks wasting time in the comment sections like me. You’ll probably regret it someday.


      2. Yes I’m retarded. Or maybe you are? I didn’t accuse you of lying that just a waste of time. I’m saying you’re making a fool of yourselfs. And you really think anyone wants to use his time to discuss with guys like you after making comments like that? That’s funny, thanks for the laugh again. And fuck you 🙂


  8. I have known this since very first Early Access build that Assetto Corsa doesn’t have and never will have any simulation value, it’s just a simcade title for casual gamers.


  9. This website were used to be funny at least.. initially.. now it’s just a mess of spam, offenses, no-sense talking. I understand the free of speech rule (trolls including), but all this mess is the majority now, obscuring that few good thing that we were used to read in the past.
    Dunno if you’re trying to invite those not much troll-oriented people to leave or.. in any case you’re doing a good job at turning away those people. Bah.


    1. The “majority” is pretty much one little cunt, I love teh open forum no BAN BS, but this little cunt is just retarded with a capital R.


  10. Oh dear. This is quite embarrassing for Kunos. If anyone was clinging to the notion that AC was a sim, it’s time to let that go. I’ve noticed myself that the Ferrari was significantly easier to drive than the P1. I’m disappointed to learn this is the reason why.


  11. Just tried this out myself and on Silverstone you have full control of DRS whenever you want, but on Monza it seems like there are DRS zone rules in place for the P1.

    Personally I fall under the Hanlon’s Razor school of thought where to me it’s more likely that Monza just has DRS rules and they are applying to street cars even when they don’t need to. I.e., it’s probably just a bug.

    What would be interesting though, is to bring this up to Kunos and see what they say. If they really do have some contractual obligation to nerf the P1, then they’ll ignore the bug or deny it.


  12. James,

    Chris Harris was slow in LaFerrari, he said it himself, he was sliding, oversteering everythere and missing apexes. He said he should be able to be 0.4secs faster but he was not feeling the car. He had much more practice in P1 (previous videos). I am pretty sure LaFerrari is the hardest to drive fast in reality (look how tip toeing and crazy it always looks with its power).
    Also considering that the track has many fast corners (P1 race setup and aero helps a lot) I am sure LaFerrari could be faster on more simple tracks.
    So yeah your topic is pretty much debunked, these cars would are pretty much equal when both driven well, just each one faster on different tracks/conditions.


      1. I find P1 more stable and harder to slide when not required, the only part that is bugging me regarding P1 it’s weird electronic diff in AC.
        On the other hand it doesn’t really matter which one is faster in the game, everyone knows that AC isn’t finished and BOP isn’t accurate like in other modern sims.

        However James said that P1 should smoke LaF in RL by 0.7s which is a wrong assumption, on which whole topic is based on, that is the point I am trying to make.


      2. It’s actually confusing that he felt that way because the P1 is much more stable than LaFerrari in Assetto Corsa. In fact Chris Harris’s feelings about it perfectly mirrored mine when I drive the cars in the sim. LaFerrari is twitchier and harder to push to the limit than the P1.


  13. Man, I bought AC at full retail, AND two DLC packs (purely for completism’s sake) but every single update since around 1.04 or so has made the game worse and worse, and of less value to me even as a simple hotlap sim. I have to say that the fucking downshift protection was the last straw for me. Now I’m back to playing shitty rF1 mods like f1 1990 and couldn’t be happier. Fuck kunos.


      1. It got easier and more restrictive for my tastes, I KNOW that many cars irl have the downshift restrictor as part of their gearbox software, I just want a choice in the matter. A simple on/off toggle, if for no other reason than to have more choice in how you drive. As for the roadholding itself, it feels like a lot of the cars are more planted and have a certain leadenness to them. I’m no expert but it’s definitely less fun for me, now. Maybe I’m just entitled…


  14. All these anti AC comments I cant say for sure but is more than likely that little man boy who impersonates Associator and does the gay arse meme’s, he his a complete waste of a ejaculation, this guy has a serious hate for rf2, and clearly has some major life issues, Its a bit worrying some ppl think those are legit posts.


    1. If you gonna be a cunt at least be a funny cunt, shit you post is just lame and\or fuking retarded, ya daddy should of cummed of ya fat mama’s arse hole and spared us all.


  15. rFactor 2 is the best racing simulator on steam and that’s why it’s so extremely popular peaking over 100 players online every day.


  16. You guys seriously should ban this (those?) rFactor spammers. I seriously have enough of looking at the comments section and ’cause of that I’m also getting enough of PRC ’cause it’s accepting such spammers.

    About the topic. Why you didn’t mention Harris’ words that he could be 0.3~0.4s faster in LaFerrari?
    ‘Cause he said that.

    Also please check the “HYPER 5” video on YT where pro race driver gives those cars a go:

    1. 918 – 1:18.44
    2. LaF – 1:18.46
    3. P1 – 1:18.882

    And how about that?


  17. Numbers are pretty clear, people prefer Assetto Corsa and Project Cars and they are the most popular racing simulators on steam by a huge margin.


    1. “You guys seriously should ban this (those?) rFactor spammers. I seriously have enough of looking at the comments section and ’cause of that I’m also getting enough of PRC ’cause it’s accepting such spammers.”

      I complained about it on Twitter too. I think James said that he managed to IP ban the rFag (as I call it), but seems that he will try any proxy/VPN/anything he can do to openly shill and shitpost.

      At least he’s no longer posting the Virtua Simulazioni/MAKCorp shitposts…


  18. If Kunos is trying to nerf the P1 vs the La Ferrari, a quick glance at the RSR leaderboards would make it seem that they’re doing a really bad job of it.


  19. They have to keep chop and changing the tyres every five minutes!.just try a lap on nordschlife with the m3 gt2 on ss and they are well over 110 degrees before even getting to the half way point.before could at least put one lap down with them.this is getting ridiculous choose what you want to do kunos and stop F**KING us around with your tyre modeling extravaganza. We Get used to it then it changes again and again and again make up you minds ffs and stick with it for 5mins at least!.its also messed up the aero settings again.


  20. I hope you did your fastest laps with P1 withing 2 laps since it runs out of battery after 2 laps on tracks like Monza, because it doesn’t have kers regenerative braking system.


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