Those of you who have been with us for the long haul can most likely recall a Reader Submission from last fall going into detail about the strange licensing agreements Kunos Simulazioni have had to put up with since Assetto Corsa exploded in popularity. Claiming both McLaren and Ferrari forced the Italian developer to manipulate the performance of certain cars within Assetto Corsa to appear more proficient than their real life counterparts – and therefore legitimately reducing the title’s almighty simulation value – the anonymous author heavily implied that these bizarre deals were just one of the ways a small team like Kunos Simulazioni were able to acquire such big brands in a hurry. If the performance of the La Ferrari hypercar had to be artificially manipulated beyond real world data to appease the overlords at Ferrari, Kunos complied. If McLaren requested the handling characteristics of the god-awful McLaren 12c road car to be dialed out, again, Kunos bit the bullet and crossed their fingers in the hopes that not too many people would notice.
Obviously, some did, and we were tipped off about these backroom modifications thanks to the open-ended nature of PRC.net’s Reader Submissions, but unfortunately, there wasn’t much proof that all of this was going on behind the scenes aside from, well, hearsay. So I was forced to conduct my own tests to investigate the rumor of the Mclaren P1 being nerfed at Italian tracks, and I indeed discovered the McLaren P1 wasn’t allowed to use the DRS system at Monza – though it was fine at Silverstone. Yet as always, the rabid Assetto Corsa fanboys raced into action, again trying to claim we had this irrational vendetta for one of the most popular modern racing sims on the market.
Today, the Reader Submission published over six months ago now sounds a lot more credible than I think anyone was prepared for. Dropping today was the highly anticipated Red Pack, featuring the Grand Prix Circuit formerly know as the A-1 Ring, as well as a handful of performance cars from reputable Italian brands such as Ferrari, Maseratti, and Lamborghini. I’m not going to list each car individually, as other sites have already done that for you, so I’ll get right to what you need to know for this article – the pack contained two modern Ferrari Formula One entries. That’s basically why people were excited for this pack.
And when they tried to race them with other Formula One cars that they’ve picked up from around the incredibly active Assetto Corsa modding scene, they were instead greeted with this message.
The Assetto Corsa subbeddit has predictably exploded over this. Before we could even get our hands on the newest DLC pack and put it through its paces, Assetto Corsa fans across the globe discovered that Ferrari had put incredibly ridiculous restrictions on the two Formula One cars available in the downloadable content bundle. Across what appears to be all modes of gameplay, both in single player races as well as online sessions, Kunos and Ferrari will explicitly not let you race the Ferrari F1 cars against any other car in the game.
Now on the outset, this isn’t exactly a big problem for Assetto Corsa fans strictly sticking with official Kunos Simulazioni DLC packages, as there aren’t any other Grand Prix cars in the game, and it’s not like you’re going to run a multi-class race between the Ferrari SF15-T against a bunch of Fiat 500’s. However, members of the extremely dedicated modding community are obviously in the process of creating entire Formula One seasons for Assetto Corsa, and this effectively prevents people from trying to hold a realistic Formula One event within Assetto Corsa, as the official Ferrari Grand Prix cars will be restricted from participating in those races by the game itself. So not only is Formula One running around and forcing modders to take down modern Formula One modifications for other racing simulators across the internet, now individual racing teams teams are literally working with the developers of the games themselves to prevent users from playing the game in their desired fashion.
Regardless of whether this garbage is due to Formula One Management stepping into the fray behind the scenes, or Ferrari themselves – who have notoriously specific requests concerning the depiction of any of their products in a virtual environment, this is equivalent to that kid from primary school throwing a literal tantrum in his living room because you put a Matchbox car on his Hot Wheels track. The fact that Kunos willingly agreed to this deal, and in this case specifically did not mention this would occur to potential customers, is just insult to injury. All parties involved are guilty of being absolutely fucking retarded.
Now is it possible to circumvent the soft-DRM on the two Ferrari Grand Prix cars?
Of course. Welcome to PC gaming.