For the most part, the multiple premium Porsche car packs which have graced the world of Assetto Corsa over the past few weeks really managed to whip the community into a frenzy; adding the last bit of spice to the Assetto Corsa car roster that had been so desperately needed among the likes of Ferrari, McLaren, and Lamborghini. You could almost call the launch of each individual pack a miniature celebration based on the initial message board reception, a celebration which served to mark the end of EA’s reign over the rights to the popular German car manufacturer. Even though I’m not the biggest fan of Assetto Corsa by any stretch of the imagination, and Dustin’s recent review of the first Porsche pack highlighted a string of poorly conceived sets of car physics, it really is that big of a deal that Porsche found its way into a game like Assetto Corsa.
Unfortunately, the marketing buzz surrounding the trio of premium DLC packs – which can be bought separately or conjoined via special Porsche season pass – has officially eclipsed the quality of the content users receive for their purchase. In their rush to fill Assetto Corsa with as many Porsche vehicles as possible and capitalize on the inevitable whirlwind of hype created upon announcing the license, Kunos essentially lost sight of their original goal for Assetto Corsa – to accurately reproduce every single vehicle they could get their hands on in a manner which would be useful for their audience.
The Porsche 919 Hybrid was the German sports car brand’s flagship entry in the World Endurance Championship for the 2015 season, with the team of Timo Bernhard, Mark Webber, and Brendon Hartley capturing both the LMP1 manufacturers’ championship, as well as the overall driver’s championship despite starting the year off with a retirement at Silverstone. This was an absolute beast of a race car, stretching the WEC rule book to its absolute limits, and dominating the class in a fashion not seen since Jaguar’s XJR-14 was whored out to everyone in the mid 1990’s.
It’s really no surprise that many Assetto Corsa players would want to drive a virtual rendition of this car within their favorite racing simulator, and thanks to Kunos Simulazioni acquiring the license to inject a whole bunch of Porsche content into Assetto Corsa, they’d get the chance to do exactly that.
However, there was a catch. And a fairly substantial one at that.
The Porsche 919 Hybrid, as it appears in Assetto Corsa, is the low downforce configuration of the race car – only built for a single event on the 2015 World Endurance Championship schedule, the 24 Hours of Le Mans held at Circuit de la Sarthe. No matter how high you jack up the wing settings within the game’s garage menu, the underlying aerodynamic properties – hard values you can’t adjust without decrypting the physics files, manually adjusting the numbers yourself, and receiving multiple online bans for tampering – are based around a one-off version of the Porsche 919 built to go fast in a straight line.
What this means for the average Assetto Corsa owner, is that this car will always be an understeering piece of shit that isn’t very much fun to drive, aside from select sim racers who simply aren’t capable of driving fast enough for the understeer issues to pop up to begin with, and are therefore required to scale back the AI difficulty significantly. Unless you own the PC version of Assetto Corsa and have went out of your way to download a satisfactory third party version of Circuit de la Sarthe, the Porsche 919 Hybrid will quickly develop abandonment issues after you abruptly stop taking it out of the garage. Console owners who are extremely excited to turn laps this car are basically shit out of luck as well. Kunos have essentially built a one-off version of a race car for a track that isn’t even in their game. This decision is made even more preposterous by the fact that the DLC includes both high downforce and low downforce variants of Porsche’s old Prototype, the 962c.
And in typical Kunos fashion, Stefano Casillo has directly responded to the criticism by telling users he “knew they would complain about something”, and instructed them to play a different game before calling the user who brought up the subject “Ogonoski 2.0” – in reference to yours truly writing this piece. All of this, because an owner of Assetto Corsa questioned why Kunos knowingly built a premium piece of DLC that’s specifically designed to compete at a track that’s not actually featured in Assetto Corsa, and therefore the inclusion of which is sort of pointless.
Casillo then instructs the user to go lodge a complaint on the official message board, the moderators of which are known to be unable to take even the most basic forms of criticism.This is one of the dumber decisions I’ve seen Kunos Simulazioni make over the years, especially considering the high downforce version of the Porsche 962c ships alongside the Le Mans-spec 919, allowing fans of historic prototype racing to blast around Spa or the Nordschleife in a car that will faithfully re-create the performance tendencies of the exact car Stefan Bellof piloted to fame in the 1980’s at many popular European circuits, rather than cook the front tires in a vehicle built specifically for the high speed straights of Le Mans.
Update – According to some of our commenters, Porsche campaigned the Le Mans-spec variant of the 919 Hybrid throughout the early portion of the season, and only introduced the high downforce package later in the season after their victory at Le Mans. While some Assetto Corsa fans may be quick to blast us for jumping the gun on Kunos, the Italian developer commonly includes various “step” upgrades of other cars featured in the game, using the same 3D model while operating on an underlying physics file that is inherently different. The original point still stands; it’s bizarre to see Kunos not include the high downforce package that would be better suited to the majority of the tracks, when they’ve gone so far as to include multiple variants of the 962c, as well as many clones of the BMW M3 E30 and even the Ferrari 458 within the base content.