So throughout the lifespan of Project CARS, sim racing message boards far and wide have been sprinkled with rumors of exploits, inaccuracies, and general stupidity on behalf of the team at Slightly Mad Studios, and to be honest, I’ve always sort of taken them at face value. During my own free time with the game, I’ve known that it was good for a laugh, or an introduction into the world of sim racing – but not much else – and I can’t say I’ve ever done my homework on the numerous issues within the simulator. Yep, you caught me. If someone sent us in a Reader Submission discussing something that was absolutely broken inside Project CARS, and backed it up with a video or another user reporting the same problems on the official forums, I pretty much accepted it as fact.
And after a while, it became increasingly apparent that Project CARS was not as advertised – a game slapped together with the remaining assets of Shift 2 Unleashed, some freelance work when it was required, and fueled by a marketing campaign placing sales figures well above customer satisfaction. The only sim racers praising this game weren’t really sim racers at all, but rather recent converts, temporarily yanked away from Need for Speed and convinced Project CARS was Jesus on Blu-Ray due to the fact that no other worthwhile racing game was available on their console of choice. As the glitches and bug reports piled up, you could practically invent a problem out of thin air to troll the developers on their own forums, and another user would report that same problem within a day or so – completely serious.
But the more I see Project CARS shills continue to pop up in our comments section, hell-bent on defending this broken piece of software for reasons only our Lord and Savior understands, I figured it was time to dive into the game myself and put one of the most popular exploits to the test; an exploit that would never work in the real world because you’d destroy the four pieces of rubber which connect the car to planet earth. I’m talking about the Zero Camber Exploit, a setup glitch where setting your camber values to the absolute minimum allowed is the be-all, end-all way to improve your car’s performance. Said to eradicate up to two seconds off your lap times, driving a top level race car on racing slicks using little to no camber would basically be an easy way to end your weekend in real life, yet in Project CARS, it supposedly acts as free speed at no additional cost. If this exploit is still present in the current build of the game, not only does it completely shoot down the idea that Project CARS has any simulation value whatsoever, it also proves Slightly Mad Studios simply doesn’t care about what their game allegedly represents – people have been reporting this bug since the game’s release, and instead, they’ve continued to release packs of downloadable content, as well as announce the sequel to Project CARS.
I obviously need a way to test this in a fair and legitimate environment, to ensure the readers of PRC.net are subjected to nothing but the most accurate of results from my hot-lapping sessions.
I’ll be using the Ford Falcon FG from the Game of the Year Edition package, a vehicle most of our Australian readers will recognize from its time spent on the V8 SuperCars circuit. The reason I’m using such a difficult car for this experiment, is because I’m comfortable driving V8 SuperCars across a wide variety of modern simulators, and in theory, any handling oddities an exploit setup produces should be magnified in an already unstable car. Open Wheel cars, even with shitty setup values, can be driven through their issues thanks to their light weight and crazy amounts of downforce. A 600+ horsepower sedan should struggle if you don’t get the setup right, or throw ridiculous numbers into the mix. So basically, I’m trying to let Project CARS win in this situation, and prove that camber ISN’T broken as frustrated sim racers claim it is.
For the first run at each of the three tracks I intend to make laps at – Silverstone International, Brands Hatch, and Imola, all tracks I’m familiar with from Assetto Corsa – I’ll be using the bone stock setup bundled with the Ford Falcon FG. The only tweak made will be to the steering ratio, ensuring I’m as comfortable with the car as possible at any given time. Personally, I use 18:1 across every single simulator I’ve currently got installed, but this setting is a user preference thing, and has absolutely no effect on how the car performs. Aspects of the setup that do, such as the tires, fuel, and even weather, will remain uniform. Soft compound slicks will be used in every session, I’ll ensure the weather doesn’t change, and to make sure I’m not bending over backwards to purposely beat the default setup with the exploit setup, all of the sessions using the default setup will be driven first.
The Ford Falcon FG is a vehicle I find to be quite decent compared to the rest of the offerings available in Project CARS. This is actually common in this game; some cars are good, others are awful, and I’m happy to report that the Falcon FG falls into the good category. It doesn’t have the top end torque, nor is it as darty as the Holden Commodore found in Reiza’s Automobilista, but those jumping from the Commodore to the Falcon will feel a sense of familiarity with both cars. The same amount of throttle control is required on corner exit, the same amount of body roll is exhibited, and the same overall driving techniques can be carried from one simulator, to the other. I personally believe the Falcon FG accelerates a bit quicker, yet doesn’t take kerbs as well as the Commodore, but this is a car many sim fans would be happy with if you could yank it right out of Project CARS, and shove it into a competitor’s title such as Assetto Corsa or rFactor 2. Prior to the experiment taking off, I ran some shakedown laps at Zolder and Donnington to familiarize myself with the default setup, and it was basically like I’d fired up the Super V8 in Stock Car Extreme, and was subjected to driving somebody else’s setup other than my own.
Oh, and it sounded almost the same.
Er… Let’s not get into that.
The International layout of Silverstone kicks all sorts of ass, and that was my first stop on this mini-tour of Assetto Corsa tracks in Project CARS. The sixty three second circuit throws all sorts of corners and braking zones at you, segments which the Falcon FG handled fairly well with the default setup, but on exit could really bite you if you weren’t careful with the throttle. The final three corners in particular, the car really suffered, and I felt like I couldn’t get everything out of the Falcon that I needed to. The default camber values made the first sector an absolute breeze; giving me a neutral car that was a pleasure to drive.
Throwing the exploit camber values into the mix tightened up the car in many areas of the track, which took a few laps to get used to. The first sector, a portion of the track where the car felt at its best, was no longer a breeze, and instead the Falcon plowed basically everywhere. I had to really adjust my turn-in points and steer the car by matting the throttle and violently throwing my weight around, but the car responded extremely well to this aggressive driving style – in fact, a little too well. However, I could get on the throttle with ease during the final three corners, carelessly enough to the point where on my fastest lap, I was sideways out of the final turn and able to hold it there for an extended period of time. It looked cool as fuck, but the shitty replays in Project CARS prevented me from capturing my driving in all its glory. Once I adapted to the driving style the bullshit camber values required, the car essentially had more grip everywhere, and to my surprise wasn’t chewing through the tires as quickly, either.
I gained three tenths of a second using the exploit camber setup, and felt like I wasn’t cooking the left front as much as I had been using the default setup.
So I take things to the full layout of Brands Hatch, and I’ll be honest, this track was a challenge in the Falcon FG. The crazy elevation changes, low speed corners, and blind turns were a lot for this car to handle, and I’ll give the boys at Slightly Mad Studios credit here – not only was the car fun as hell to drive with the default setup, this track is beautiful one of the best in Project CARS. However, a fun car to drive meant I was struggling to get the power down on exit out of some of the slower corners, and I really had to feather the throttle in the third sector. If I were to take the default setup into an online event, I’d immediately be deep into the garage menu working on sway bar adjustments; it was just a bit too twitchy for my liking. Oh, and my left front was suffering from major abuse.
I fucking flew with the bullshit camber setup, chopping off half a second from my previous time set with the default values. The twitchy tenancies of the Falcon had been eradicated, and if I wanted to adjust the turning radius in the middle of a corner, I simply had to stab the throttle. Tire wear was drastically reduced, as were both the oversteer and understeer I’d been fighting at various points on the track. The speeds I had been reaching in the long straight sections were enormous, and the first few laps were spent adjusting my braking points; I was coming into braking zones way too hot compared to the laps I’d run earlier in the day with the stock setup. Again, these broken camber values took a twitchy, difficult car that was manageable in the hands of an experienced driver, and neutralized it to the point where I would have both qualified and placed well in an rFactor 2 GTE race.
Yeah, that’s uh… Not right…
Our last stop is at Imola, and this is a track I’ve been extremely successful at, both in online races, as well as leaderboard hot-lapping. I own the track record here at Race2Play on the historic layout using the mid-80’s Brazilian Stock Cars, I won here a few weekends ago in modern Brazilian Touring Cars, and I once held the RSR Leaderboard record here in several different GT cars within the Assetto Corsa platform. I honestly don’t even like the track, and don’t care for it’s historical significance in Formula One, but like Interlagos, I seem to always do well here.
The stock setup in the Falcon was fucking awful at this place. It could kind of jump kerbs, but it was a dice roll on what worked, and what would loop the car. The crazy direction changes consistently caused the car to break loose, and that massive uphill section in sector two.. Yeah, it was a bit of a clusterfuck. Even with the steering ratio adjustment, and being extra careful with the throttle, it just didn’t fucking work. If a buddy of mine sent me this setup in something like Stock Car Extreme and asked me to drive it and make improvements, I’d just be like “no.” Tire wear was fine, though, and I’ll attribute that to the various types of corners thrown at me during each lap.
So the exploit setup goes in, and oh shit am I ever fucking tearing up the place. All handling issues have been rectified, it understeers a bit on exit after the first two chicanes instead of getting mad loose, and it’s actually hitting the chip before the braking zone into Tamburello. That’s right, this car was clocking out at 282 km/h with room to spare on a hotlap – speeds bigger than any GT3 car in Assetto Corsa can hit here. If I allowed myself to fuck with the final drive, I was hitting 290 km/h no problem. It was absolutely stupid how stable and planted this car was, and keep in mind – nothing has been changed aside from completely messing up the camber values to a number nobody in their right mind would ever run anywhere.
I clocked in at a 1:42.571, nearly a full second faster than my time with the default setup, and half a second faster than every single GT3 car on the RSR Leaderboards in Assetto Corsa. In real life, V8 SuperCars are about six seconds slower than GT3 entries around Bathurst. Something is definitely wrong here. Nonsensical camber values should not produce a Ford Falcon FG that would blow away a whole bunch of GT3 cars. The whole scenario reminds me of that kid in elementary who wrote on the bathroom stall “if you can piss above this line, the local fire department wants you.” Well, the Ford Falcon FG with broken camber values just went and pissed on the motherfucking roof.
Again, I come to the point in another Project CARS article where I’m supposed to summarize the tomfoolery I’ve just experienced. And all I can say is “this shit is fucking whack.” You’re retarded if you defend this game and claim it’s some sort of authentic simulator. I booted up the game, threw in the exploit setup, and was rewarded with an infinitely quicker race car, granting me anywhere from a few tenths on track, to almost an entire second, for absolutely no reason other than the game is demonstrably broken. How did guys like Rene Rast, Nic Hamilton, and Ben Collins willingly support this? Earlier in the week, I outlined how a setup adjustment in rFactor 2 produced the exact same result on the physical track, down to the exact tenth of a second I expected to pick up. Here? Absolutely random numbers produced a nonsensical advantage that no amount of studying vehicle dynamics could lead you to making on your own.
I feel bad for those trying to run legitimately organized leagues on this platform. Your entire process of building setups, testing, and fine-tuning just got blown wide open. Camber is 100% broken, and there’s probably other exploits people haven’t found yet because that’s the kind of quality you receive with games created by Slightly Mad Studios. I’d be fucking pissed if I was in any sort of proper league for Project CARS, as there is essentially no way to remain competitive by doing things the legit way.
Yes, you fucking shills, there is a serious problem with Project CARS. In fact, there are many problems with this game. This is the only one I’ve bothered to sit down and confirm. Would you like me to do more, or should I wait for the disaster that will be Project CARS 2?