Classic open wheel seasons have been a staple of rFactor’s third party modification scene since the title’s initial release in the summer of 2006, and that trend is set to continue well over a decade later with the Historic Sim Racing Organization’s upcoming project, centered around the 1988 PPG CART World Series. Turning back the clock to Danny Sullivan’s championship season, and a calendar which saw 270 km/h purpose-built race cars hit the streets of New Jersey, Long Beach, Toronto, and even Tamiami Park, the mod aims to be an extremely comprehensive package – every single car that took the green flag at each of the fifteen stops on the schedule will be included in the mod, allowing the most hardcore of sim racers to replicate the very same performance improvements and equipment changes made by each team throughout the season.
Though the mod’s primary use is to serve as the platform for HSO’s own online series, which will mirror the real-world 1988 schedule as closely as possible and be contested over full-length races from March 26th to December 10th, there are rumors that CART 88 will also be brought over to Reiza Studios’ Automobilista platform in some manner, showing off to the greater sim racing community what the hole-in-the-wall website can produce after years spent refining their craft. Typically keeping their releases constrained to the original rFactor title, the HSO group are extremely proud of what they’ve created with CART 88, and are looking to push this one out to as many people as possible.
We’ve been privileged enough to blast around in a preseason testing version of the mod intended for league members to become acquainted with, select a car for the upcoming season, as well as report any minor bugs, and all of us are blown away by the quality of HSO’s work. It’s incredible to see major sim developers completely miss the mark with their tire models or liberal interpretations of classic open wheel cars, only for a passionate group of modders existing on their own corner of the internet to get it so bloody right, immediately out of the box. These cars are absolutely insane at the limit, often exhibiting bipolar tendencies which glue them to the track in one section with the precision of a modern race car, yet throwing you into the barrier just a few seconds later to remind you this is all still late 1980’s technology.
CART 88 will launch for ISI’s original rFactor in roughly a week, while the Automobilista version is said to come later down the line.