The IMSA GTO Pack

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A title once relegated to the depths of a sim racer’s Steam Library, the team over at Sector 3 Studios have been tirelessly working away to improve their flagship Free to Play simulator in an effort to rejuvenate what was a disastrous initial launch back in 2013. While we’ve neglected to review the game’s most recent update, as well as the laser-scanned Nurburgring Nordschleife which earned the highest of praise from many virtual drivers around the world, we can’t exactly ignore the newest addition to the game – the IMSA GTO bundle. Light on content but heavy on boost, the Audi Quattro, Nissan 300ZX, and Ford Mustang clearly display the fine craftsmanship sim racers have come to expect from Sector 3, however there are still a few aspects of this purchase you’ll need to be aware of.

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I didn’t get to try these cars until a few days after launch, as I had been busy rolling around town with a fellow sim racer, so the only preview of these vehicles I received beforehand was from the InsideSimRacing demonstration video featuring Sprint Car driver Billy Strange behind the wheel. As he struggled to put the power to the ground in a controlled manner, corner after corner, the impression I received was one of frustration and dismay – Strange couldn’t keep the car in a straight line on corner exit because the turbo boost would basically try and kill him. Going into my time spent with the three cars tonight, I expected to be met with a similar fate; the cars would be too powerful, I’d struggle to get around the track, and limp around wondering how the IMSA drivers of the late 1980’s and early 1990’s drove these beasts at locations such as Long Beach.

Instead, I bring only good news – if you see someone struggling with these cars, they’ve either neglected to touch the setup at all, or they’re just really bad and shouldn’t be talking about these cars to begin with. Yes, these engines send an absolutely insane amount of power to the rear wheels, and it can get kind of hectic on corner exit. I won’t deny that. However, you can dial this out almost completely in the garage menu with a super stiff front anti-roll bar setting, and a super soft rear anti-roll bar value. Pretty much everything else from our universal R3E tuning guide applies to these cars as well. The end result is a car that drives like a cross between a McLaren Mp4-12C GT3 entry, and a V8 Supercar. They’re a couple seconds slower than a GT3 car, and there’s just a teeny bit more concentration required in regards to throttle management, but they sound cool as fuck, and aren’t as difficult as the engine specifications make them out to be.

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Ford Mustang
Laguna Seca – 1:24.014

The slowest of the bunch is the Ford Mustang, a car I initially took to Mid-Ohio before messing around with at Laguna Seca. In terms of cockpit visibility, the Mustang is the best choice for newcomers, as you’ve got this massive cabin with no intrusive roll cage elements or windshield banners. Messing with the anti-roll bars to ensure a neutral-handling ride, it felt like I was driving a V8 Supercar that had lightning-quick acceleration. However, unlike a V8 Supercar, and something that’s been magnified by the changes to R3E’s physics over the past few months, if you’re wrong on the timing of your braking and throttle points, you’ll basically understeer off the track. There isn’t as much mechanical grip compared to what you’d find in modern race cars. I prefer the feel of this one the best, it’s just… slow…

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Nissan 300ZX
Norisring – 50.315

The Nissan 300ZX sits in the middle of the field, a vehicle that has fallen prey to the minimum downforce exploit which plagued GT3 cars in the previous build of Race Room Racing Experience. Even when you drop the rear wing setting to the minimum value, the car’s handling isn’t affected at all, and you’re instantly gifted a free 17 km/h. The cockpit view is extremely restricted thanks to the rising hood and massive windshield banner, but if you can configure your shit in a way where you can see out the slit of a front windshield, this car is no more difficult than a front engine GT3 entry. The turbo lag is minimal, and although the brakes are definitely from the 1980’s, if you’re going to buy this pack, start here.

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Audi 90 Quattro
Mid Ohio – 1:23.061

Of course, the Audi 90 Quattro eventually comes along and breaks the whole goddamn game. This car dominated the real world IMSA GTO series, so obviously it’s realistic to be decimating current leaderboard times by almost a full second, but I genuinely wonder how competitive rooms will play out once the IMSA pack gains traction, as this car is basically in a league of it’s own. Driving the Quattro requires a much different approach to each track’s unique driving line, as the four-wheel-drive system exhibits simultaneous oversteer and understeer characteristics. You can throw the car into a corner like a genuine idiot who’s being silly with braking points, roll on the throttle to kick the back end out ever so slightly, and then mash the accelerator to the floor to generate understeer as if you’re in a touring car. In short, if you get loose under power on corner exit, the solution is to apply more power.

It’s all sorts of fucked up, and you’ll realize just how unbalanced things are about to be online when you look in your mirror and see your previous ghost a full second behind you. When you’ve got your foot to the floor during the majority of the corner, and every other car in the class is forced to feather the throttle, it’s one of those deals where you almost don’t want realism because it’s straight up unfair. I know Sector 3 have attempted to balance the Daytona Prototype with the traditional open-cockpit vehicles in the P2 class, so maybe this is another area where things will be artificially tweaked to prevent the Audi from running away with things.

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Am I happy with these cars? I think it’s tough to answer that. On a personal level, I’ve already found balance issues that are going to severely mess things up online – which means I’ll be running the Audi online whether I want to or not. The poor default setup will also cause some problems, as these cars require a bit of tweaking by feel rather than us throwing a picture of the setup screen at our readers and saying “here’s or magic setup that fixes this car.” So I think the online following for these cars will mirror the Group 5 pack released last year; everyone wants to drive them for a day, realize they can’t handle the turbo lag without being four seconds off pace, and never touch them again.

Personal opinions pushed off to the side, the IMSA GTO pack is definitely a great example of Sector 3’s new development ideology, which is to simply build quality sim racing content and hope people come check it out. If you’ve been satisfied with previous content releases, you’ll probably be satisfied with this one as well.

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38 thoughts on “The IMSA GTO Pack

  1. if this game had proper triple screen support it would be my go to sim. The ffb is great, the sounds are amazing, the graphics quite natural, and the physics believable enough to enjoy. Combine that with some unique cars and tracks and we have a winner here….IF i could use my 3 screens normally that is….

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  2. The game HAS GOT tipple screen support – select 48:9 as aspect ration, if you are using 3×16:9 monitors. Then select your resolution.

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    1. No it does not. Its working on three screens but the side ones are stretched. That means this game does not have PROPER triple screen support like AC, iRacing on even rFactor 1. PCars and Dirt Rally also have this same problem

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Tried your setup with the Mustang at Nordschleife and seems to work (6:57,5). Reminds me of the low-downforce tweak in F1 201x and that´s where i would put this titles in terms of simulation. It´s more simcade, but i like it.

    But don´t hit Billy for pushing the pedal a bit to early with a 115 AI driving on rails in front of you. Better hit S3S for making this cars much more easy to drive by shifting sequential. In a competitive environment i would never use the H-shifter in Raceroom. It´s just pain in the ass and even without the clutch you get way to many miss-shifts.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. However, if they will ever manage to release GTR3 i would immediately jump on that train no matter what. Did not like all this raceroom thing right from the start, they were in desperate need of money as the simbin studios broke down and that´s why they choose this shitty business model at that point. GTR2 remains still the sim i had the most fun in multiplayer, VPN LAN sessions… with so many good mods, tracks and RF1/2 portations still desperately waiting for GTR3 to come out, guys if you read this please dont let us down, is GTR3 still going to happen?

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    1. No sign of floatyness in any class/car after last big update….. Game is playable again.. And with one of best ffb out there

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  5. It really annoys the hell out of me that a sim I’m not paricularly fond of is consistently beating the crap out of everyone else content-wise. At this point I wouldn’t be surprised if the next R3E addon had the Nissan GTP ZX-T and Eagle MkIII in it because why the hell not.

    Other developers (I’m looking at you Kunos) should really look at the way R3E licenses groups of cars that actually race(d) against each other and puts them together as packages. I’m sick of these survey sims that have a pile of great cars with nothing to race against, which ultimately just turns them into GT3 simulators.

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    1. Also “This car dominated the real world IMSA GTO series”. Kinda. Ford won the driver and constructor championships in the only year the Audi raced (1989) and both the Nissan and Ford (rebadged as a Mercury Cougar for some godawful reason) were generally faster on a dry track. The biggest advantage the Audi had was reliability, as Ford/Nissan were constantly shooting themselves in the foot with mechanical problems and poor pitwork.

      Assuming the physics are relatively realistic, the Nissan should have the highest top speed, the Audi should have the best handling, and the Ford should strike a balance between the two.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Tried the Audi 90 Quattro and it´s not faster than the Mustang at Nordschleife. I would take the Mustang there and yes, the Audi was superior in the class because it was much faster in the rain, had less rear tire wear and could drive more different lines to overtake according to Hans Stuck. But it was rarely winning the pole, maybe never.

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    2. Agreed. It’s great that you’re spoilt for choice in R3E. I don’t get the obsession with the bland GT3 cars and I hate it when a sim only has one example of a car in a given class (looking at you, Reiza). I think Kunos’ biggest weakness content-wise is that they focus too much on road cars.

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    3. I imagine Kunos thought about it and then remembered that the current method sells better. It’s not like they’re novices to the sim community, they know what people “want” and how well it actually sells.

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  6. STOP advertising this simcade full of microtransactions piece of shit, instead you shall say….

    LFS IS THE BEST SIMULATOR AND HAS ALL POSSIBLE SIMULATION VALUE !

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    1. rF2 with DLC- or Microtransactions-policy would probably in a healthier state with much more and proper licensed content, maybe even laserscanned tracks, at least GPS-accurate like in Raceroom. But even the hardcore-fans don´t have much opportunity to throw their money on ISI.

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    2. I’ll probably phone the anti-Automobilista mob and direct their graphics complaints to LFS. But no, people who cry simulation value over and over in the comments are pure pollution.

      Like

  7. I really want to play this game, looks like an awesome offline experience. But their luddite-like approach to vr stops me from ponying out the dough. Can’t go back to screens, just can’t…

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    1. I advise you suck it up because they’ve put together a great package. Don’t think the luddite slam is really fair, considering the vast majority of people are not playing these games with headsets right now.

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    2. It really is the best offline sim around and is the reason I’ve spent a fair bit on R3E. Full DTM seasons, WTCC seasons and custom championships, 2 race formats, compulsory pitstop and rather competitive AI compared to other games…. If you don’t play online it’s probably the best choice you have.

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  8. RaceRoom Racing Experience has an extremely simplified tire model, it’s in the same league with other arcade racers like Need for Speed and Assetto Corsa.

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    1. I choose Need for Speed all the time over Assetto Corsa. I really love playing it on Origin. I’m an arcade pleb, so my obvious choice is Assetto Corsa. When I want to play sims, I click play on Origin to launch Sims 4.

      Like

    2. When will you finally die of the slowest and most painfull form of cancer? I bet many of us are looking forward to that cheerfull day…

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      1. You do realize that making immature statements wishing death on people is arguably worse than what he’s doing. Be an adult dude, just ignore it.

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          1. I don’t think anyone would but you sound like a dick when you say “I wish he would die.” The only reason he does this is to bait people like you into saying something. I repeat: just ignore it.

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            1. I am a dick, i know, but i couldn`t care less. Someone has to wish for it, or it might never happen…right? If being a dick is that it takes…

              Like

    3. Your comment has no expertise value, you should shud up and say…

      LFS IS THE BEST SIM AND HAS ALL THE POSSIBLE SIMULATION VALUE!

      Like

  9. I *really* want to like this sim – good visuals, amazing sounds, fantastic content…

    It just feels too much on rails to me, though. I just have a really hard time getting into it and sticking with it – it feels like the cars are either gripping or sliding with very little sense of transition. Maybe there are some config tweaks I need to make?

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  10. Not sure why it is important that there is no fastest car and everything has to be evened out and balanced. All I hear from simracing-fans is competition, competition, competition. Did you lost your emotions and fun for just racing? It´s not just being the fastest. It´s not just “I am forced to take car X because it´s the fastest”. You should take car X because it´s what you love and like most. I was part of a big online-racing community of GT Legends several years ago and THAT community (Bierbuden is its name) is a figurehead of what a good racing community is about: “just having fun”. It wasn´t just about being the fastest, but about having fun driving together. We often took slower cars to compete against faster cars but probably less skilled drivers to get the most out of our driving style and car. And just having fun hunting the faster cars.

    So, if in real life a car was dominating and being the fastest, why shouldn´t it be the case in a game?

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  11. I came back to this article to thank you guys for this. I had driven the Audi and enjoyed it but it was a bit too hectic for me. Last night I went for a spin in the Nissan. WOW! I just lowered the car and softenened the springs, but it was manoeuvrable, as long as the boost needle was not up. Once the boost kicks in, it’s all sorts of crazy and wonderful. Sure, it does take a bit to get the hang of it, and I was happy to not finish last in a race against the AI, after restarting twice because I fucked up.

    But it’s hell of a good time and definitely a pack I’d recommend (actually I already did recommend it to one of my friends). I only have the Dekon Monza in the Group 5 pack and while it is great fun I find it really hard to drive. This is not the case with the Nissan here. Does anyone else find the GTO class cars easier to drive? (maybe not forgiving, but they seem to warn you before trying to kill you)

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