Sim Racers who have eagerly jumped on the Reiza Studios bandwagon, only to be disappointed by the very familiar list of content featured in Automobilista, finally have something to write home about. A Porsche Carrera Cup participant has been placed into a recent build of the game under the generic marquee of Boxer Cup, and I’m happy to report that this is easily the finest work ever put out by Reiza Studios. Those of you who have found the Stadium Super Trucks too challenging, the Formula One platter too damn fast, and the V8 Supercars too tail-happy, this is the almighty middle ground you’ve been desperate for. Obviously, it will still take a bit of time for the track selection to expand past the borders of South America, and Reiza have at least thrown Virginia International Raceway into the mix alongside Patrick Giranthon’s formidable conversions, but this is a car many will be happy with.
I gave this car a few shakedown laps at Campo Grande before jumping into a quick online session at Londrina, and it’s definitely the first Reiza car ever where there was no “feeling out” period. I threw values at the setup that I knew would be bound to generate a comfortable feeling ride, and instantly the car responded with highly competitive lap times. But, there are indeed some things we should go over.
It’s not the Enduracers Flat 6 mod, so you’re going to have to re-learn how to drive this car. When we came out with our highly controversial review of the Porsche Carrera Cup mod for rFactor 2, what was said in the article directly contrasted the opinions of the overall sim racing community – people loved the car, but there we were, ripping on it for being a “boat on ice.” There’s no way to put this nicely, the Porsche in Automobilista shits all over the Enduracers offering. The car doesn’t float or skate around, you’re not counter-steering on exit, nor is the rear end hanging out with a slip angle ridiculous enough to raise the inside front wheel. After studying on-board footage for the review of rFactor 2’s Porsche, the Automobilista car mirrors the real thing’s required wheel inputs almost perfectly.
The default setup is all kinds of awful. I took one look at the preset values presented in the garage menu, and promptly shook my head. There’s excessive use of camber, the default tire pressures are too high, packers weren’t needed, the horrible sway bar values were bound to cause problems in any somewhat challenging corner, and the ride height was a bit too close to Monster Truck tier. For a developer to get the physics so right, it’s surprising how off the default setup was. This was a tune that would simply not be competitive under any circumstances whatsoever, and provided some of you aren’t sure what you’re doing in the garage area, has the potential to ruin the car. Don’t even bother taking this thing to the track with whatever Reiza has built in to the car by default, just use our setup, which can be downloaded right here. I was pulling mid 1:16’s at the full layout of Londrina, if you need some kind of reference time. I’m sure someone will come along and go much faster, but the field had some difficulty staying with me in qualifying, so consider that a pace to aim for.
The rear end of the car has this massive thing called an engine in it. Those who have invested a serious amount of time into the rFactor 2 version of the car will be all too familiar with the pendulum effect on corner exit created by Porsche stuffing the motor into the boot of the car. In rFactor 2, this helped keep the car planted during a controlled slide thanks to the objectively poorly-made tires, but here, the much more accurate set of physics can make this car become a handful if you’re not careful. The rear end will step out if you’re not a smooth, consistent driver, and it can make tracks with tricky braking zones that much more excruciating to drive. If you plan to sit down and turn an unhealthy amount of laps with this thing, you’ll for sure acquire a pair of steady hands when all is said and done, but the path there will be full of frustrating spins and glorious adventures into the tire barrier. It’s not unrealistic in the slightest – you can easily dial back your pace and click off clean laps at your own discretion – but the moment you start pushing, you’re reminded that you’re driving a Porsche, and it’s doing the things a Porsche would do.
You have to be a bit careful under braking, and under power there’s a a slight amount of trajectory management required, but every characteristic of these cars you’ve both seen and read about, it’s all in Automobilista.
But you’re still playing Automobilista. Unlike Stock Car Extreme, which is a finished product with little to no bugs, the kinks of an Early Access title will occasionally pop up. As I said in the introduction, I ran a few test laps before jumping into a proper online session at Londrina. I drove the entire race with a glitched-out Heads Up Display, as the application Reiza uses for their new Dynamic HUD is clearly the work of a community member, and it’s not always working to the extent you’d hope for it to be. The tachometer was randomly moved south, beyond the limits of my monitor, while a floating P2P icon was used in place of my RPM needle. The left front tire failed to display any data, the fuel gauge was tilted sideways, a few damage status icons were placed on top of each other, and the iRacing style delta bar showed up right on the dash, permanently locked at +0.520. I couldn’t really do anything about this for the remainder of the race, but glitches like that are making me thing twice about switching from the trusty isiMotor display bundled with Automobilista as an alternative.
So now that we’ve established the fact that this car is objectively very well done, and probably the best car currently in Automobilista, it’s time to discuss the other side of this car’s existence in a Reiza Studios racing simulator: This is a Porsche. Reiza Studios does not have the license for Porsche, nor do they have a license for RUF – a very popular alternative for developers who want a Porsche in their title of choice, but can’t necessarily afford it.
As a result, this car may not be around for much longer. Earlier in the year, Formula One Management went after Reiza Studios for mere vehicle liveries that depicted a modern Formula One season, albeit with the appropriate brand logos replaced by either a Reiza or Cockpit Extreme decal. The resulting copyright infringement claim saw Automobilista completely yanked from the Steam online distribution platform for several weeks, much to the dismay of Reiza fanboys, but at no surprise for those who were fully aware of the legal ramifications involved with replicating Grand Prix cars.
Porsche has a habit of doing the exact same thing – throwing their weight around with over-zealous lawyers, who in this situation, would technically be in the right if they were to pursue Reiza in some format. Going into it, basically everyone is more than aware that this is clearly a Porsche Carrera Cup entry, just without the actual Porsche logo stuck somewhere on it. You can’t do that. Copyright infringement covers more than just blatantly putting a Ferrari-branded car in your game without the express permission of the guys from Italy. Even an obvious likeness is enough to kick things off from a legal standpoint, yet Reiza has pushed onward in spite of this and are basically crossing their fingers that Porsche won’t find out in the forseeable future.
Which is, you know, highly unlikely. We’re looking at a future where representitives from Porsche just sort of show up unannounced, guns blazing, and the overall sim community is promptly subjected to another round of Reiza fanboys straight up lying about the identity of this car to save face. It didn’t work the first time, resulting in Reiza being forced to change multiple fictional liveries, and I’m assuming the second time will be slightly uglier considering it’s an entire car we’re talking about. Again, this is clearly a Porsche, and Porsche won’t like that.
It is, for the time being, a very good sim car regardless of the incoming legal drama, and those who’ve got Automobilista installed should promptly check it out. Reiza have out done themselves. The Boxer Cup is both enjoyable and slightly challenging to drive at the same time, and a very accurate depiction of the real thing compared to other versions available for rival simulators.