Blurring the Line with Dustin Lengert

10498282_698077343591931_6547662291601746614_oIf you’ve ever been aimlessly cruising around YouTube, finding yourself spectating a live iRacing event out of sheer boredom, and bearing witness to a single driver at the front of the pack utterly decimating the competition – such as Ryan Luza in his recent iRacing Pro Series efforts – there’s a good chance their performance isn’t entirely down to skill; most of the time, these sim racers are making good use of a specialty car setup developed by a guy named Dustin Lengert. Listed as one-third of the core PretendRaceCars.net writing staff, Lengert serves as our resident iRacing expert and general car setup guru, an individual who has propelled virtually every major sim racer – including none other than Ray Alfalla on select occasions – to a victory they desperately needed, while also supplying us with a steady stream of information to ensure the pieces we publish about iRacing are as factual as possible.

And yes, that includes some of the more ludicrous entries.

Though his current role in the world of sim racing is largely spent lurking in the shadows of numerous Teamspeak servers, allocating most of his free time to picking apart iRacing’s physics engine in pursuit of an extra tenth here or there for the sim racers under his guidance, Lengert hasn’t achieved his status in the underground iRacing community by the process of trial and error. The eldest son of a former heavy hitter whom regularly competed at Evergreen Speedway among drivers that eventually made it into the NASCAR Winston Cup Series, and an accomplished late model pilot in his own right, whose statistics sometimes surpass those of his fellow competitors you may see participating in the glamorous ARCA Re/Max Series events broadcasted on Fox Sports, Lengert’s vast library of knowledge is the result of several decades spent knee-deep in the motorsports community both as a driver, and as a crew chief.

14993510_949868395157330_8199230581054922749_nCurrently turning the wrenches and calling the shots for his father’s late model team as they tour throughout British Columbia, there’s a certain irony in assigning a real world stock car crew chief – an individual who has spent many evenings calling specialty performance shops and ordering expensive roll center simulation software onlineto review the lighthearted automotive sandbox game My Summer Car for the readers of PretendRaceCars.net, but that’s the exact kind of personality we need on our side to pick apart modern racing simulators on a regular basis. As if you created an alternate reality version of the late Alan Kulwicki, and raised him on a steady diet of snowboard videos and Xbox Live, Lengert’s no-nonsense approach to discussing some of the more sensitive topics we cover has raised many eyebrows around the sim racing community, with the same people who once praised him for his entry-level car setup guides currently turning around and blasting him for his extremely cynical review of Assetto Corsa’s new Porsche-themed downloadable content.

The mysterious occasional contributor to PretendRaceCars.net now has a face and a name; our third entry in the on-going series of interviews dedicated to profiling sim racing community members with real-world racing experience centers around none other than our very own Dustin Lengert.

3815a880-82a7-4e80-865b-dfded1cbe51PRC: Your father was a regular face at Washington’s Evergreen Speedway in the 1980’s, competing against many talented late model drivers who eventually landed spots on the NASCAR Winston Cup series grid, so it’s safe to say you’ve been a race car pilot yourself not long after you could walk. Growing up as a kid in the 1990’s and watching video games evolve from 2D sprites to the hardcore NASCAR simulators we see today, at what point did you first realize all the time you put into dominating kids on Xbox Live was actually paying off on the race track?

Lengert: The first racing game I can remember that really had a profound impact on me was Mario Kart 64, and looking back on it, I might have picked it up on the day of release, as opposed to some Nintendo 64 kids who most likely got the game used from their local Blockbuster a few years later. I dabbled in a little-known EA Sports title by the name of Andretti Racing prior to the age of eight, and afterwards jumped on the NASCAR 99 bandwagon. It’s funny, right now it’s almost the cool thing to hate Electronic Arts, but back in the day it was genuinely exciting whenever a new EA Sports racing game came out, even with the console limitations of the 1990’s severely restricting the experience. EA couldn’t always get the rights to every track on the schedule, and systems at the time could only handle around twenty AI cars or so, but it was a simpler time where we were just happy to have something that recreated what we saw on TV to a partial extent. My family had been one of the first to really embrace the concept of a home computer as well, so I have some pretty fond memories of turning laps in Sierra’s NASCAR Racing 2 with the basic keyboard layout – something that would be considered almost a sin if you were to mention it now.

I grew up in Langley, British Columbia, and being the outdoorsy type who loved extreme sports, I had a bunch of close friends on the regional BMX circuit – boththe racing kind and the freestyle kind – so I discovered my competitive nature quite quickly with them, and started out racing bicycles at a lower level because it was something easy and fairly accessible, before venturing into kart racing and taking after my father. To his credit, my dad was really the first one to notice, possibly out of the entire older generation of race car drivers, that video games were helping my overall driving skills. Even in entry level karting, when we were campaigning as an underfunded team just sort of messing around with it as a hobby, my dad always commented that my choice of racing lines were really beyond someone who had as little track time as I did. Thinking back fifteen years ago, it’s not like vehicle dynamics in Xbox games I sunk time into – such as the phenomenal Rallisport Challenge – were anything to write home about, but the concept of going fast and conserving the momentum of your vehicle based on the track geometry was still extremely relevant.

7d678872-f40b-4ecb-96b4-94cb5424818The first two Forza games, however, that stuff really opened my eyes to the feeling we all know of rushing home after high school and burning through your homework, just to turn a few extra laps. In both of the original Forza releases, I was constantly finding myself in the top ten of the U-Class car leaderboards, which were the unlimited cars you could create after upgrading everything on your vehicle to the fullest extent.deba2eb7-ebb5-46da-bf1e-a41fb4a10ceThough I eventually put in enough hours to temporarily achieve the number one rank in Forza Motorsport 2 during its heyday on Xbox Live, I ended up getting sucked into the drifting community because it presented a really unique driving challenge to me, and I wanted to challenge myself rather than sit back and rest on my newly acquired internet fame. Although in my opinion the physics of Forza Motorsport were never the greatest, especially as we look back at these older games from a simulation value standpoint in 2016, at the time they truly taught me a lot about general car control techniques.

15435750_969770836500419_2069494496_nIn the weeks leading up to my transition from karts to full-bodied stock cars, I was extremely cocky and told everyone that I would most likely win my first start, exhibiting the same kind of behavior we occasionally mock on here when we talk about sim racers trying to make the jump to reality (and failing), but this time it was actually my family doing their best to bring me back down to earth rather than forum trolls – and that I was instead in for a very real wake-up call that real life is nothing like an Xbox game. To their surprise, I went out swept the entire event – both heat races, and the main at the end of the evening – thanks to the time I spent preparing on Forza Motorsport. I had absolutely zero fear of running door-to-door with people, which is something that regularly scares the ever-loving piss out of new drivers, and drove around the leader at Motoplex Speedway in Vernon for my first victory, less than an hour after making my debut in an entry level stock car.

It turned a lot of heads, and at least in our circle opened peoples eyes to just how relevant video games are in the grand scheme of things.

nascar-screen-1My stock car career took off at roughly the same time I was really going hard on NASCAR 07, as this was during an era where both the original Xbox and the brand new Xbox 360, existed simultaneously, and not all of the established franchises on the older console had made the transition to the new one. Transitioning back and forth from NASCAR 07 to the real thing on weekends, I completely dominated the hardcore NASCAR guys online, achieving the number one spot on the game’s ranked leaderboards for a good three or four months, though in this case I feel it was more about how much time I spent on the game compared to everyone else. Unlike iRacing, where it does some funky math to calculate the total points you’ve earned each week based on the top twenty five percent of your starts, NASCAR 07 had a basic ELO system that benefited those like myself who would grind out several evenings in a row.

Once I made the jump to the late model class – the highest level of amateur stock car racing before you start talking about the NASCAR K&N Series and other high profile touring championships – I was a bit older and started exploring the hardcore racing simulator scene, which was really starting to take off on the PC thanks to games like GTR 2, rFactor, and eventually Race 07 being thrust into the spotlight. Hopefully the watermark on this picture gives people an understanding of the time frame we’re operating on right here.

fullAs one of the drivers who saw the value of video games in my real world racing career right from the start, I can safely say that virtually everything transfers over onto the physical racing surface. It begins with your line choice; you understand how to approach unique corners and explore setting the car up for different positions on the track, but then it extends to being smooth with your control inputs, navigating through the pack of cars around you, and staying calm in situations where other drivers would be prone to let their adrenaline get the best of them. It’s like showing up to a mid-term exam where you can recite every page of the text book as if it’s the lyrics to your favorite Tool song, while the rest of your classmates are trying to fake sick or writing formulas on the bottom of their shoes in a last-ditch act of desperation.

However, I will say that nothing beats seat time in the real thing as far as speed goes. Hitting some of the speeds we do in a late model stock car isn’t for everyone; this isn’t something you can replicate in your buddy’s Mustang when merging onto the freeway. You find out real quick if you’re cut out for this stuff or not.

stevesbabiesbigPRC: One Canadian auto racing journalist dubbed you to be “Canada’s answer to Jeff Gordon” during the height of your late model racing career; a career which saw you compete and win against a stout lineup of incredibly talented drivers – one of which is currently paraded around as a minority figure in the ARCA Re/Max series. Is there a sense of community and accomplishment felt when you see some of your old fellow competitors on Fox Sports 1, or does it light a fire under your ass knowing you were the statistically better driver?

Lengert: It was extremely flattering at the time to be used as an advertisement for what was arguably the biggest auto racing facility in British Columbia. Sadly, I never had the funding to pursue a full-time racing career, but seeing people I used to race with move up in the racing world, and knowing just how much they had to spend to do so, I can’t say I envy the financial risks associated with their endeavors. If anything, I’m salty over the fact that auto racing as a sport has become more about advertising and how much money you can bring to an operation rather than raw talent, as I think the way a lot of drivers in the 1970’s and 1980’s made it into the show based on raw talent simply don’t exist anymore. Unless you have a good $40,000+ to campaign a late model around the entire country and can demonstrate there’s more where that came from, racing will never be more than an expensive weekend hobby akin to organized sports in your teens.

crooksFor example, Crooks Racing are hosting a competition in the United States where the “winner” – if you could even call it that – has the pleasure of paying over $15,000 per race to run their in-house late model, and they’re forced to pay their own travel expenses on top of that. How is this a prize? Yet this is what the racing world has come to; greed is placed above every other legitimate value, and the only people in it to genuinely enjoy the thrill of auto racing are the gentlemen barely scraping the funds together to run a limited schedule.15402992_969774089833427_802288467_nSarah Cornett-Ching is someone I know personally who worked her ass off to get where she is in the ARCA Re/Max series, saved a ton of money to do so, and every chance she had to put more work in to try and live out her dream, she damn well did. I was under the belief that raw talent alone would help me move up through the ladder, and though I wasn’t entirely wrong, I was merely a decade too late. The auto racing climate had changed; you now need to channel your inner Billy Mays at some point, rather than rely on the Cole Trickle route.

It also didn’t help that I was still quite young during what many would consider to be the peak of my late model career, so the extremely difficult part of growing up which we’ve all gone through in our late teens and early twenties – some a little rockier than others – when that happens during the prime of your racing career, it’s really not a good thing. Seeing guys like Chase Elliott and Ryan Blaney out there in the Monster Cup Series at an age where many of us were merely happy to get along with our bosses at some minimum wage job, I really hope they’ve got individuals around them who can help them grow and mature as people, rather than just race car drivers. It’s every bit as important that Chase can get through a nasty break-up or fight with his parents as it is for him to master the downhill rhythm section at Sears Point.

15409851_969774289833407_345175932_oPRC: The previous three or four years, you’ve actually taken a step back from driving altogether and have embraced the role of crew chief for your father’s team, essentially bringing the operation full circle and eschewing from the norm of a father/son racing program, where traditionally it’s the son in the driver’s seat. What was it that attracted you to the science project element of auto racing?

Lengert: Honestly, it’s all because of my grandfather Gene. He was a regular at Langley Speedway back when it was a NASCAR sanctioned track, he was the genius behind my dad’s rise through the ranks in the 1980’s, and he did his part to make sure I grew up inside the race shop to the point where I knew every detail of the cars we raced, and rebuilt my first engine when I was only ten years old. So the base set of knowledge was just sort of there for me to consume at an extremely young age and build on fundamentals most people don’t fully comprehend until their twenties, like growing up in a family where your dad coaches high school football, or your mom is heavy into baseball, that sort of thing.

15401416_969763246501178_1500369597_nIn the early 2000’s, when the local county made the highly unfortunate decision of building a race track right next to his house, he made sure to bring me to the track with him as much as possible, and introduce his grandson to the family’s pastime as a bit of a bonding thing, which I’ll be eternally thankful for. When my dad made the decision to get our family back into late model racing and eventually hand me the keys at fifteen, I got to the point where I just wasn’t happy with my current set of skills, and in a quest for self-improvement, I really just dove head first into consuming as much information on race car setup information as I could. Not many people my age willingly go out and read a bunch of Steve Smith chassis setup books, but I was extremely hungry for what I felt I was missing as someone who was around these cars every weekend.

My first year of campaigning a late model was plagued with mechanical issues, and when we did get the car running to a satisfactory level, I was extremely unhappy with how it drove. This is where iRacing helped me more than anything; it forced me to go out and research how to get the most out of a race car, and although most of what you learn in iRacing on the setup side doesn’t transfer over to the real thing, it put in my hands the incentive to dig for little tidbits and oddities that are floating around in the wild.

As far as choosing to be a crew chief over a driver in recent years, driving was getting a bit stale for me. After I had won on such a big stage in the Pacific Northwest, I felt like the competitive part of me died, and there wasn’t much for me to prove both to myself, as well as to the rest of the regional auto racing community. Like the transition from standard hot-lapping leaderboards to the drift community in Forza Motorsport 2, I realized I received more internal satisfaction from climbing the mountain rather than standing at the top. And I discovered I felt a really unique kind of rush watching someone else do well in a car that I had tuned and tweaked to perfection, than driving it for myself, which had almost become emotionless in a sense.

15102364_10206255833755260_1592445679_o-pngPRC: Your current role in the world of sim racing is that of a dedicated setup builder for iRacing Peak Anti-Freeze Series teams; the author of several race winning setups, not to mention the unsung hero of Ryan Luza’s squad that has been propelling him to unheard levels of dominance on the service. But it’s not all fun and games; iRacing’s constant stream of updates and continuous incompetence when it comes to both the tire model and individual vehicle patches occasionally renders your real world setup knowledge totally useless. Does it ever frustrate you to come across elementary race car engineering inaccuracies when building a setup for a team, only to hit up the forums and see the average iRacer praising the title for its alleged unprecedented realism? 

Lengert: A trend I’ve noticed that will most likely cause issues upon pointing it out, is that almost anyone who praises iRacing typically maintain an iRating of less than 3000, essentially indicating they either aren’t very fast and can’t push the cars to their limits, or haven’t been on the service for very long and are still in the honeymoon phase. I can’t care less about what the fanboys want to believe, and I’m sure they’ll read this and not give a shit about what I have to say. The part of the iRacing world I’m personally involved in is very different than what is presented on the surface, and most people will never be affected by it. As far as the inaccuracies, as I’ve said before in previous articles, the underlying goal of the car setup is the same as it is in real life – make the vehicle as low and as stable as possible. It’s all about finding the most grip, and the ways of doing that are simple: create the lowest dynamic center of gravity and aerodynamic efficiency, balance is balance, and the adjustments match up for the most part even if the numbers themselves don’t.

What does bother me, however, is the lack of updates since Eric Hudec left the service earlier this year. There have been almost zero updates to the oval cars themselves in over a year, instead we’re only graced with general track surface updates. As a dedicated setup builder, this makes everything very stale and honestly, we might as well just run fixed setups in the broadcasted championships since the innovation required is more or less non-existent at this point. Driving-wise, it has been close to real life at times, yet in its current state has some really weird interactions that I’ve never felt anything close to in real life. Certain corners in certain cars feel really lifelike, but there’s always a bad corner or a bad feeling to counter-act it.

Almost everyone is forced to under-drive the cars now, or create a setup that’s super tight so you never risk sliding the car, because iRacing’s tire model does some extremely wacky things when you lose traction. We’ve felt it in our own private NASCAR Racing 2003 Season online adventures; there’s a point where the tire model gives up in a sense, and it appears they haven’t totally eradicated this problem in iRacing. Many have created their own theories in the forums as to why this happens, but most come to the same general conclusion as I have – whatever you do, don’t get loose, because it breaks something deep within the game’s tire physics calculations.

11947753_10205394208907154_5135084414699377131_oPRC: It’s probably something you can’t go too deep into in fear of being blacklisted, but we’ve gotta cover it in this interview. There are an abundance of real drivers and crew chiefs who invest a serious amount of time into iRacing, but many of them – such as 2015 Porsche Carrera Cup USA champion Elliott Skeer – can be seen openly complaining on Facebook that the engineers at iRacing don’t listen to any of the feedback on the simulator they willingly provide to the team. Is this merely the result of whiny millenials not understanding the process of video game development, or does iRacing truly ignore legitimate findings from qualified individuals?

Lengert: They’ve ignored us many, many times. Most of us just don’t care anymore; we go through the motions, use the simulator for the stuff it’s good for – mainly to unleash the competitive fire in all of us – and as a time waster. To most real world guys, it’s not this highly authentic training tool used to prepare for the upcoming event as the marketing campaign claims it is, they use it as just another online video game, and you can treat it like a specialized version of Facebook where you can connect with all sorts of people in the real life auto racing community who are also major computer geeks on the side.

The ignorance on part of the iRacing staff seemed to start with Shane van Gisbergen. Now for the guys reading this who don’t follow Australian V8 Supercars a whole bunch, Shane is actually one of the best drivers Australia has produced in the past decade, behind only Mark Webber and Jamie Whincup when we look at raw statistics. Shane was a regular on the iRacing service during a time when the Ford Falcon V8 Supercar was laughably bad, and he reached out for them – as a fellow computer geek – to get it right. That lasted for one build, so about three months, and the very next build it was completely changed again, much to the anger of the entire community who very much liked the car. No apologies, no explanations, just ignoring someone who is now proven to be one of the best V8 Supercar drivers ever, and we’re still not sure why. This sort of led to an internal culture of ignorance, and there’s been no effort on the part of iRacing to rectify it.

bovke2ncyaaufqsSomething very similar happened when the Super Late Model was announced. Many people on the service, myself included, obviously race late models on weekends, and had been asking for a long time for a proper super late model without the truck arm bullshit the NASCAR sanctioned late models have. Different sub-rules and such. What they tried to give us in their first scan of the car was hilariously bad; it was clearly a twenty year old car with a 90’s Chevrolet Lumina body on it, yet sported modern Ford Fusion decals, and had clearly been sitting in the garage for a season or two. This, all while people were offering iRacing their brand new Super Lates out of their own shops, some even offering to trailer the cars to Bedford, Massachusetts, so iRacing could scan the correct car. It got so bad that iRacing eventually did reluctantly back down and scan a new one, though how they believed they could pass the original scan by the hardcore iRacing late model community in the first place is beyond me. Here you have this studio claiming to be the absolute pinnacle of racing simulators, and it was like they were scanning a Firestone Indy Lights car while calling it the Dallara DW 12. Stupefying.

And this story gets worse. The Super Late Model has been in a laughably bad state for about two years, and not one physics update has been released for it during that time. The only reason the Generation 6 Sprint Cup entries received any significant updates, were because of the rules package changes in real life NASCAR, and obviously their license obligates them to keep things relevant on the service.

In my position, it’s consistently frustrating to deal with iRacing. Both the sportsman late model, as well as the super late model, are nowhere near realistic – meaning the races never have enough participants to be counted as an official session – and the top level NASCAR entries have all become a fixed setup series, where all of the people in my position as a dedicated setup builder know all the various tricks.

057422PRC: Let’s talk Assetto Corsa for a minute… Much to the surprise of our readers, you gave the Japanese themed DLC a glowing review earlier in the year, which caught a lot of people off guard given the nature of our website, but the first Porsche pack resulted in a highly critical piece accusing Kunos Simulazioni of dumbing down the vehicles for the console audience they had recently acquired. Did you feel the two packs were genuinely on polar opposite ends of the spectrum? What did Kunos get wrong with the Porsche content that they got so right with the Asian package?

Lengert: Yes, I did feel they were polar opposites, but honestly I think the biggest thing wrong with the Porsche pack wasn’t the cars themselves, but the base setups that were for the most part completely stock, with only minimal adjustments. It felt dumbed down to cater to the lowest talent tier; you know, the ones who seem to spend the most money on sim equipment, but never enter the garage area nor sign up for competitive online races. Almost all of the cars in the Porsche pack which had somewhat adjustable setups for me to play with, I ended up getting to feel like a proper rear-biased car. The street cars all had zero setup options, and therefore I could never reduce the ludicrous levels of understeer that really ruined the experience. On an Xbox 360 controller, however, they felt alright. It seemed like it was designed for the steering to snap back and forth, as it would with a control stick. Read into that in whatever manner you please.

maxresdefaultPRC: Despite being heavily consumed by the iRacing community, you’re actually a massive supporter of Niels Heusinkveld, the sim racing physics guru currently employed by Brazilian developer Reiza Studios. Can you tell us how you became a fan of Niels, and why his work is so important to the evolution of sim racing?

Lengert: I first heard of Niels while I was looking for a drifting fix, since Turn 10 Studios had really neutered the private online drift lobbies which made Forza Motorsport 2 so popular on Xbox Live. I ended up on rFactor – because there’s obviously an enormous drifting scene on there – and through that found the Fredric Aasbo Supra replica that Niels had created, which was absolutely amazing and I couldn’t believe how far someone had managed to stretch the isiMotor engine. Heusinkveld followed up his excellent Supra with the 2012 Chevrolet Corvette C6, and from there I just sort of followed Niels as this closet fanboy all the way to his eventual YouTube series and employment at Reiza. Across the entire sim racing landscape, every single game, every single car, every single physics engine, his content is the only stuff I’ve driven in sims that feels one hundred percent correct, right out of the box. It’s obviously not possible to whore him out to everyone given that he’s contractually tied down to one developer, but for the future of the genre, every team really needs to sit down with him one on one at some point, and at the very least pick his brain.

hint-hintPRC: This one starts in very controversial territory, but ends with an important twist. We’ve all sat around on Teamspeak until the wee hours of the morning making jabs at the sim racers iRacing throw into real cars with no previous experience, and failing miserably because they suddenly learn their practice laps on a goofy tire model didn’t prepare them for the real thing in the slightest. Let’s pretend for just a second that it’s not a random sim racer taking part in one of these PR stunts, but a close friend whom you want to succeed. Using only hardcore racing simulators, how do you adequately prepare someone for jumping into the seat of a real race car, to the point where they’re highly competitive out of the box?

Lengert: It’s funny you bring up this topic, because I’m actually trying to put a car together right now for this exact purpose. I think the key is to point out the differences between whatever the person’s preferred sim is, and reality. So if someone spends an assload of time in rFactor 2, you have to sit them down and say, “okay man, that’s great you’re quick in the EnduRacers Porsche Cup mod, but that’s not how real tires feel or behave once they heat up, but the ZR1 is actually pretty close, so instead you should be turning laps in the Corvette ZR1, and make sure to choose only tracks where there’s a lot of low-speed corners where you’re forced to roll on the throttle, because the throttle application technique required is very similar to the car you’ll be driving.” That’s exactly how you have to approach this scenario.You simply can’t be a fanboy and refuse to play other games because you’ve already pledged your allegiance to your sim of choice

It’s also really important to point out that some of the nuances and tricks that are used in certain simulators can actually be catastrophic in reality, and part of what iRacing should be doing, or any developer dastardly enough to embark upon this marketing stunt, is hooking the sim racer up with a teacher who can train them to be fast in a simulator without those tricks. I’m under the belief that this is what has made GT Academy so successful; the engineers from Nissan understand the Gran Turismo physics engine on the same level we sit in the forums and pick apart the iRacing or Assetto Corsa physics engine, and they can sit with Jann Mardenborough, for example, and say “alright, that bullshit brake pedal modulation you use here and here, don’t you dare try that shit in one of our cars, but here’s how professional drivers attack the same corner using real world pedal inputs, and here’s why your bullshit technique works in Gran Turismo – Polyphony modeled this specific vehicle dynamic incorrectly”

I think most of these marketing stunts end in failures because they fail to diversify their library of simulators, and instead focus on one and fall for the marketing garbage that whatever they’re playing is the best simulator currently available. I also think most of these people simply aren’t prepared for the sense of speed that’s pretty prevalent when driving a real car, especially among iRacers due to the sense of speed in-game being non-existent. There’s also the act of finding the edge of the tire, learning how to react to that feeling, and using it to your advantage, rather than backing down from it. Because iRacing forces you to under-drive the car and prevent from sliding the car at all to avoid breaking the tire model calculations, I think it’s ingrained into some sim racers’ heads that you have to avoid this point of elation by any means necessary, when having the vehicle stretch the tires to their limit of adhesion is actually essential to driving a race car at a competitive pace.

rfactor2-2015-09-26-11-05-06-01PRC: Lastly, you were one of the early rFactor 2 adopters back in 2013 when the title first stumbled into the market. What are some of the things you thought Image Space Incorporated got right, and what do you feel went horribly awry?

Lengert: I have a fairly unique view on the whole rFactor 2 fiasco, since I was part of the rFactor drift community for a substantial amount of time. When rFactor 2 was first announced, everyone was hyped for it; the base engine is definitely much more advanced, and the level of detail we believed we would get out of the new game was going to blow everyone away. Sadly, the execution was far from acceptable. Most of the content has been third party garbage with the ISI seal of approval merely slapped on it, which at first seemed like an okay idea given how much the community drove the first game, but sadly didn’t improve the quality of the content at all. In fact, a lot of it was just hastily converted.

I think most of the blame lies on the modding community, as I saw from the drift side of things. When Assetto Corsa was announced, most modders said they were switching to the new platform out of sheer laziness. All they were required to do for Assetto Corsa was convert the rFactor mods they had spent years working on, rather than sit and learn a complicated new tire creation system, packaging format, and all the little hiccups that had turned people off of rFactor 2. Assetto Corsa essentially offered them a sense of familiarity on the modding side of things, albeit wrapped up in a much nicer visual package compared to the dated graphics of 2006. Plus, some argued that Assetto Corsa already had a built-in drift mode, but as things would play out, nobody really used this mode anyway.

Just like the original rFactor, the sequel relied heavily on a community effort to prolong the game’s lifespan, and that effort just doesn’t seem to be there aside from a few hardcore modding teams, which aren’t always putting out high quality mods given by the recent articles we’ve published. Maybe when I’m in my late thirties, my rFactor 2 lifetime subscription will pay off. Right now, it’s not looking like that will happen

15416919_969774099833426_1323737869_nDustin will be busting his ass throughout the upcoming winter months to prepare a car for the 2017 WESCAR Late Model Championship and embark on his first full season as a crew chief in British Columbia’s premiere stock car racing series, so cut him some slack if his name doesn’t pop up on PretendRaceCars.net as often as you’d like it to. Lengert will also continue to build custom car setups for prominent iRacing members such as Ryan Luza, and keep us updated on the world of iRacing from a position where he’s privy to information the average iRacer will never see publicly discussed on the official message boards.

For those who are interested in reading more of these articles, which chronicle a younger generation of race car drivers and their unique ability to transfer seamlessly from the PC monitor to the track, feel free to check out our previous pieces on fellow PRC.net staff member and resident German cultural expert Severin Austerschmidt, as well as our friend from Texas, Ryan Luza.

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34 thoughts on “Blurring the Line with Dustin Lengert

  1. Great read. iRacing’s oval side is boring becuase the “””””””””Dynamic Track”””””””””” doesn’t fucking work anymore and the cars have scripted fall off at a certain lap time. The update for this build was fixed setups for the oval side.

    The GT3 car’s now have the 3 legged chair feel ala old tire model for some reason. But hey! $130 a year!!!!

    Shane Van Gisbergen has a chance to win 3 Championships in a single year this weekend if his team wins International GT Masters (I think that’s the series) at Sepang. Yet iRacing literally stopped listening to his advice on the V8 Supercar in game.

    Super.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Ovals are just boring in themselves. Besides, how can you take seriously motorsports where the cars have stupid stickers for the headlights, the brake lights and the radiator grille? That’s just hyper moronic. Yeah, one doesn’t want the real things to shatter and become a hazard, I get that. Doesn’t explain how somebody in their right mind came to this incredibly bright idea to paint these things instead, and why nobody gave him a proper beating before it became a reality…

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        1. That’s not very common. And besides, it would be more like trying to draw the eyes, not eyebrows. On a car it looks silly, on a person it would look creepy.

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          1. You guys up north don’t see a lot of Hispanic girls do you?
            Chollas paint their eyebrows something fierce. And yes it is creepy. Sadly. It’s very Common and creepy.

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      1. Yeah it’s not like sports car racing would have fake grilles, fake windows, or headlights that aren’t actually usable for illuminating the road or anything.

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  2. Brilliant article,this was a good read with added bonus of sticking it to the fanboys,cant wait to read the twisted reality they create to try and defend lord kaemmer.

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    1. Much as you love to criticize iRacing, I still get the feeling your iR has never been north of 2K, and you’re one of those clowns that tries to race the leader for a corner or two while being lapped.

      Maple’s found legitimate flaws that 99% of use are never going to have to workaround, while you’re looking for a means to reconcile your own incompetence.

      All the while spending money, and whining about it.

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  3. Boy there are going to be some pretty pissed off Kiwi’s after this article. the GIZ is from new Zealand. yes I know the is nothing on the planet below the equator to the folks from north earth but in fact New Zealand is 2 islands near Australia
    . ps expect Daniel Ricciardo to flame you as well. all in all the best read on PRC for quite some time.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Fuck Riccardo. the guy wasn’t even in the top 200 in kart rankings in Australia. Then suddenly appears in F1. it’s a well known fact his dad dishes out 1.3 million for him to try out for an F 1 test.

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      1. So his dad only paid 1.3 mil that one time for an F1 test? If red bull only wanted him for the money then means his dad is constantly paying red bull to keep his boy in since 2009.. right? So, is his dad paying lots of money every year to red bull? If no, then those 1.3 mil he invested in his son for an F1 test was well succeeded. Most likely his dad had the confidence his son could just skip grinding in karting leaderboards and try out on F1.. but wtf matters that he wasn’t even in the top 200 kart rankings, he was trained in many lower formula series before testing for f1.

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      2. karting literally doesnt matter anymore. if you’re not dishing out $15k per race weekend for a new engine + frame there is no way of winning anything anymore in the relevant classes (ie KZ euro championship, KZ world cup etc.)

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        1. Wasn’t it supposed to be the point of karting that it’s not as expensive as running racecars? Something seems to have gone in the wrong direction.

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          1. He means in the relevant classes, not low tier amateur. But neither is expensive running a kart in those pro championships, what is expensive is having to constantly upgrade or replace with new parts, plus the team costs.

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          2. Yeah, it’s fucking ridiculous. If you want to run at the front of the Euro championship in the KZ class, be prepared to spend at least 150k€ on it per season, unless you have a chassis/tire sponsor. New tires every session -> 400€ per session, new chassis per weekend -> 5000€…then the transportation, fuel, miscellaneous parts….it adds up really quickly. It’s more worth doing F4 or so as quickly as you can, karting is only good for learning racecraft anymore.

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      3. Good tidbit there. I picked up on a picture of him partying with Nico Rosberg to celebrate his title. Must be a couple of silver spoon fed peas in a pod.

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          1. Stomped Vettel in a redbull as well 😉 Thats why seb jumped ship, writing was on the wall. As for $drives jeez who hasnt in the last 10 years apart from those already entrenched in the sport

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  4. Mario Andretti Racing on Sega Megadrive was epic. “Consistency, consistency consistency” (one of the racing tips, if I remember correctly.)

    Rallisport Challenge and Forza 2, also very epic.

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  5. Dustin! Come be my crew chief on the most accurate sim ever, F1 2016. Would ya? Your payment will be Codemasters ignoring your complaints far beyond any Van Gisbergian levels..

    Nice read though 🙂

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  6. Great piece. I wish this site would focus more on talking like this instead of the usual bullshit 🙂
    Too bad whenever you mention rF2 unecessary complexity on modding in its forums the fanboys will appear to say “I don’t see any problem” and post 1 hour videos explaining stuff you could do in 2 minutes in rF1 lol it’s like they don’t care people aren’t embracing it. Tbh it looks more like they are haters than fanboys since they want their “favourite” sim to die hmm

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  7. “all in all the best read on PRC for quite some time.”
    +2

    Specially the part where he explain that because of the flaw(s) in iRacings TM the faster drivers HAS to slow down BEFORE any sliding af the car.

    Like

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