Spend any amount of time diving into the relatively shallow rFactor 2 modding scene, and you’ll find a fairly substantial amount of discussion surrounding the FIA GT3 mod created by the Apex Modding Team. Advertised as the must-have GT3 package for rFactor 2, the massive compilation of modern endurance racing entries is still yet to reach the Version 1.0 milestone – and despite several online leagues using the mod in a competitive setting, it’s blatantly obvious to any avid rFactor 2 user that the mod is nowhere near completion. Balance issues, physics oddities, and graphical glitches highlight the list of reasons some chose to ignore the several news items regarding the mod on sites such as VirtualR.net.
Thankfully, an alternative to this eternal science project exists; a modern GT3 mod that’s not only finished, it’s also balanced. The fellows over at XtremeFactor.es have converted Version 1.25 of Simtek’s 2012 Blancpain Endurance Series mod into rFactor 2. Exhibiting some characteristics of a League Edition mod while still retaining certain key attributes of all ten individuals vehicles included in the download, the 1.1 GB package is a viable alternative for those looking for a selection of modern GT cars without forking over some cash for the URD EGT release.
Earlier tonight, I put in some laps with this mod at both Bathurst and Circuit of the Americas, surprised at how well XF were able to get what’s most likely a rudimentary rFactor conversion up to par with the new ISI platform. This is a mod that obviously hasn’t been slaved over too much during the conversion process, but still performs to an acceptable standard while out on the track. On the positive side, managing your tires plays an integral role in your driving experience. My first few laps were much less frustrating when I intentionally drove well under maximum attack, and let the tires get up to temperature before pushing for quick lap times. As the track rubbered in, the tendency for the rear end to step out under acceleration was completely neutered, and I felt like this kind of behavior was what ISI tried and failed to accomplish with their own GT3 spec Camaro. The Sareni Camaro GT3 entry included with rFactor 2 as default content is reminiscent of iRacing’s Old Tire Model – almost as if the effects of cold tires were magnified to show off the real road technology – while XF’s Blancpain Series conversion is more in-line with real world behavior.
There are indeed some negative aspects, however. The default setups are absolutely atrocious, slapping wet tires on in dry conditions out of the box, and giving stiffness to the car in several areas where your goal for the setup should be to make the car as soft as possible. Once I threw in a setup consisting of more familiar values, the car really didn’t drive all that different from the original rFactor version – albeit with much more dynamic tire behavior that was instantly noticeable during the technical sections at Bathurst. The Force Feedback could also use some improvements, as the basic effects probably won’t leave a lasting impression on anybody. I think serviceable is the adjective I’m looking for here. The key thing is, even when the Force Feedback is performing in an underwhelming manner, the car itself on your PC monitor is exhibiting relatively predictable behavior. There were definitely a few sections where the XF conversion McLaren 12c drove virtually the same as the McLaren 12c in RaceRoom Racing Experience. I think the XF car is a little more challenging to drive, but that’s 100% attributed to rFactor 2’s tire model being leaps and bounds ahead of everything else in terms of detail.
If you can get past the extremely basic Force Feedback, spend some time in the garage area un-fucking the default setup, and come to terms with the fact that it’s just an original rFactor conversion at its core, the 2012 Blancpain Endurance Series for rFactor 2 was a surprisingly worthwhile download. I know the Apex Modding Team are hard at work on their own GT3 mod, but if you want one now, this is the one.
Those needing a setup to get started can find one here. Setup values appear to be uniform across all cars: