Sim Racing is Wonderful: A Tribute to CrowbCat

Outside of sim racing, everyone’s got their own external interests, and yours truly is no different. I stumbled upon CrowbCat’s work browsing 4Chan one evening, and was promptly led down a literal rabbit hole of YouTube content, in which lengthy montages of video clips from other sources conveyed pretty elaborate story arcs that outlined botch video game releases, or pieces of technology that received elaborate marketing pushes, only to fall flat on their respective faces. As someone who runs a very basic WordPress blog and nothing more – I’m probably the only guy in this whole sim racing media gig to not have an accompanying “official YouTube channel” and a steady stream of videos to support his written content – I was captivated at how someone speaking no words at all, and following no hastily edited script throughout his videos, could convey the same kind of abrasive realities as what we’ve been doing here for just under three years now at PRC.

So rather than give you another weekly tirade explaining why the hobby of sim racing is often more disappointing and confusing than it is rewarding and engaging, instead I embarked upon a small personal art project this afternoon to convey that message through what are otherwise non-traditional means for us. Under the title of Sim Racing is Wonderful, I have provided a montage of short clips in rapid succession from prominent sim racing YouTube channels, as well as the occasional mainstream-oriented gaming outlets, to showcase through the community’s own words and actions why there are a cluster of rogue sim racers who call places like PRC home, and openly voice their disdain for their favorite hobby.

The video, which is three minutes in length, begins with a bite-sized recap of InsideSimRacing’s review of Formula One 2017, yanking key lines from the thirty minute affair. Both John Sabol and Billy Strange Jr. shower the Codemasters game with praise in what is easily ISR’s most positive review of any video game or simulator in the ten year history of the online show, only for Strange to questionably double back and recommend the “hardcore sim racers” – who would otherwise be salivating at the sheer volume of positive elements and quotes from the review of this year’s Formula One game to wait for the title to go on sale before purchasing the game, almost to appease viewers who may become agitated at a mass-market racing game usurping the already established PC sim racing hierarchy.

Following the intro frame, choice quotes from spokespersons for the three biggest simulators on the market – iRacing, Project CARS, and Assetto Corsa – are presented to the viewer, followed by some of my own personal favorite issues with the respective pieces of software that I’ve found on YouTube over the years, such as iRacing stock cars being able to drive and pass opponents while hanging nearly upside-down off of the catch fence. This is to show the very stark contrast between the egos of developers in talking about their game to the general public, and the crafty marketing department tricks which rope real world racers into openly boasting about the authenticity of the software, versus what is actually occurring when the average sim racer starts diving deep into these games.

The montage then transitions into a personal selection of some of my favorite public sim racing outbursts over the years from both media personalities and everyday sim racers, displaying how the level of respect between virtual racers seen in most online sessions, is simply nowhere near what the community tries to imply to the outsiders looking to get in on the action. Instead, we see things for what they really are: middle-aged men with shitty tempers. This is not uncommon out on the physical race track, in fact in many instances it’s actually quite justified, but to see it manifest so quickly over virtual circumstances is a bit much for what’s at stake, and it’s a bit embarrassing.

Next, I’ve included a few choice examples of how the YouTube personalities in our hobby – those who provide highly in-depth reviews on pieces of software and hardware in advance of the scheduled release date, or conduct small driving/racecraft seminars for budding sim racers – are often poor drivers themselves. I’ve tried not to go too far into this territory, as the two personalities I’ve used in my montage are exceptionally nice people behind the scenes and deserve every last click they receive on their respective websites, but it just goes to show that in many occasions, personalities a large part of the sim racing community trusts for highly informative reviews, at the end of the day aren’t very good at the games they play, and that’s kind of a strange dynamic for a hobby primarily centered around enthusiast websites and pushing virtual cars to the absolute limit.

We then travel to both the 2016 iRacing World Grand Prix Series, as well as the 2017 Formula E VISA Vegas eRace, two events that were intended to showcase the absolute best drivers within the sim racing community, both fields competing for a substantial cash prize – both of which providing a purse exponentially higher than some American IndyCar events. Without taking the video on a tangent, both races descend into chaos; iRacing’s best sim racers are subjected to a comical first corner crash no better or worse than the “public lobbies” they’re trying to avoid, whereas the eRace showcases three greedy drivers making a beeline for one position, only to cripple their vehicles in a laughably bad wreck which showcased to a live audience how technologically inferior this hobby is compared to other video game genres. In both instances, they are two shining examples that show off how even at the very top of the ladder, online races are immature crashfests.

No sooner do the cars stop rolling do we travel to the world of over-priced hardware, as clips of a man in his late twenties confessing to building a simulator by means of multiple credit cars and payday loans are intertwined with YouTube personalities revealing the cost of high end toy steering wheels, and explaining how these computer toys are made up of industrial strength equipment – which to any reasonable adult is pretty absurd for a computer toy. Taking place after a montage of the disastrous games and generally unwelcoming community, the selection of clips are meant for the viewer to question the motives behind willingly investing well beyond one’s means in such a toxic and anti-consumer hobby.

We are then presented with an interview featuring iRacing’s mastermind David Kaemmer circa 2008, in which he reveals iRacing to the mainstream masses at GameSpot, proudly telling the team of scenarios in which real drivers had used the brand new iRacing software to practice for upcoming events, and it actually made them faster out on the real racing surface. Fast-forwarding about eight years, we are then brought to a livestream featuring Aston Martin factory driver and 2016 World Endurance Championship GTE class winner Nicki Thiim, who after conversing with a friend about real world setup tricks that don’t work in iRacing, declares iRacing’s physics to be shit, contradicting the preceding interview with Kaemmer completely.

With the montage winding down, Marco Massarutto of Kunos Simulazioni appears once again to explain how he took great pride in gaming journalists labeling his team’s flagship work, Assetto Corsa, to be the “Gran Turismo of the PC.” This exchange is interrupted by footage of the Xbox One version of Assetto Corsa, in which a user merely restarting the race causes his race car to explode into the stratosphere from his pit stall – a far cry from the polish and classy feel we’ve come to known from the Gran Turismo games. The viewer is left to decide whether his comments in regards to the status of his game are egotistical or delusional.

Lastly, we are presented with none other than Dale Earnhardt Jr. describing how gamers should appreciate the authenticity of what racing simulators have achieved on a technical level, and the sim racing scene altogether. Revisiting the clips featured over the previous three minutes, these closing comments seem farcical in hindsight.

Is it an ugly three minutes, and will people proceed to call for my head? Absolutely.

But unlike past PRC articles, I didn’t even have to write anything to get my point across. It was already on YouTube for the world to see; I just compiled it.

 

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75 thoughts on “Sim Racing is Wonderful: A Tribute to CrowbCat

  1. You probably would’ve been best off just showing the video and not “explaining the joke”, but at minimum, I applaud your choice of music. I am deeply tempted to burrow through my CD collection and get back to losing to Veronica Voltage post-haste.

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  2. are you covering the setup “expert” david o’reilly, taking other people’s words and making his setup book for sale, speaking with such flair while being a king slowpoke himself?

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  3. Hahaha now that is the fuckn funniest 😂 thing I have seen all week haha ha Fuckn hell I have tears in my eyes ,
    Fuck that is some good shit right there …. haha .

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      1. A few questions:

        Why would you sully a Les Paul with a Fender strap?

        Why do you run your multi effects board through a Mustang? I thought about this but ended up giving my Mustang to my son and just going to a twin reverb with no effects.

        How do you like your multi-effects pedal? I got one, as mentioned above, but returned it quickly thereafter as it took longer to get the effects I wanted than if I just fiddled with the Mustang.

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    1. When you crank up lock fast for a slow hairpin the in-game wheel is so slow that you can’t create understeer on purpose even if you want to. Utter rubbish.

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      1. You need to decrease your wheel’s degrees of rotation until you eliminate the dead spot in the FFB.

        After that, it feels great. You’ll be able to feel understeer again, and it’s beautiful how you can balance the car on the throttle at corner exit. If you try to use 360-450 degrees steering (like you would with most simulated F1 cars), you will hate F1 2017. Give it another try.

        I would also like to correct something. We just detonated a boosted fission design, not a true two-stage thermonuclear device. That’s next month, after we get some additional tritium. Then, you’ll see some real yields from our Teller–Ulam.

        Also: Try to avoid the LA area for a while. Smog, 91 octane gas and pretentious liberals are about to be the least of their concerns.

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        1. Tried everything, still feels like shit. The long sweeping corners feel semi decent in terms of knowing what the car is doing (even if what it does is bullshit). The short radius point and shoot stuff is guesswork. The driving in this game is poor beyond salvation, and the “classic” (1998-2010) cars I was looking foorward to feel like re-skinned F1 2016 cars on corner exit when you come back on the power. They slide all the time (unrealistic) and they do it in slow motion (unrealistic).

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            1. T500. The game wants me to keep the wheel itself at 1080° in order to get my wheel to match 1:1 what I see on screen. I get a 360° wheel for practical purposes with a soft lock avoiding me to go over that which is pretty much perfect. If I try lower lock values on the T500 I get a steering far too jumpy and sensitive, I turn under 90° and I get full F1 lock on the screen. It’s set up perfectly, just feels like shit because it’s how the game feels. Wheel weight is 85.

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              1. Set you DOR to 250-270. That wheel weight is way too high, especially for a T500. Set weight to 50 and FFB to 100. Turn down the other in-game settings (curbs, etc) into the 15-30 range. Set everything to 100% in your TM control panel.

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    2. Yeah, I don’t think the game is an overall bad package, but the input lag is hysterically bad (distracting to the point of unplayability for me = refund!)

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    1. Less complex calculations or amount of things trying to be simulated. Too many dynamic aspects. All these complex variables also give room to some extreme situations or behaviors.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Can’t wait for the PC2 flaw vids. Oh thats right, they won’t show up here….
    And using the Vegas race when it was not supported by ISI/S397 was dodgy, why nothing in regards to WFG. Because it was actually really good racing.

    Might be time to stick with simcade James.

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    1. pCars 2 isn’t even out yet. If the game is good upon release it gets a good review. If not, it gets a bad review.

      Love how you throw around simcade like it’s an insult. This video was created to make fun of losers like you. Pathetic old men who are eight seconds off pace and cling to their own personal interpretation of a “hardcore sim” to pretend they are somehow above the thousands of teenagers playing Forza.

      Liked by 3 people

  5. Quick reply, did I hit a nerve?

    “pCars 2 isn’t even out yet. If the game is good upon release it gets a good review. If not, it gets a bad review.” – And until then you will negatively criticize any other game that will compete with it.

    I’m the loser, hey. I am not the one that puts my name out there as the god of sim racing without actually knowing what it takes to create a game engine that can simulate as much as possible. You don’t understand that a small change in code for one bug could create more bugs.

    Take the VISA eRace as an example, you passed off poorly modded content as being the overall quality of rF2, when ISI/S397 had nothing to do with it.

    Take the iRacing assymmetric issue….you do realise that to fix something like this would most likely require a complete code rewrite, which would effectively make it a new game, that may or may not have consequences for licensing conditions.

    Anyway I would rather be the “pathetic old man who is 8 seconds off the pace” enjoying myself, than a self-entitled millennial fool who thinks that because he is quick that he is better than anybody else.

    Ian Bell, you have made a massive mistake involving yourself with this idiot.

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    1. So, in the name of laziness it’s ok to create shit experiences like that you mentioned in superduper advertising campaigns just to have fun?

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      1. > If he’s quick, then that does make him “better” than people who are slower.

        We are all special in our own way. Who’s to say the fastest should be the winner? Maybe some other driver was more tolerant toward trannies, therefore more deserving of a prize. Have you thought about that?

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        1. Those are great points.

          McLaren should award that “World’s Fastest Gamer” prize to a non-binary, genderqueer person with purple hair, if only to drive home the point that “fastest” is simply code for “toxic masculinity”.

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    2. “Take the iRacing assymmetric issue….you do realise that to fix something like this would most likely require a complete code rewrite, which would effectively make it a new game, that may or may not have consequences for licensing conditions.”

      How incredibly sim-cade would it be to NOT fix the issue? This is game breaking territory. Might as well play Forza.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. It’s funny… Two days and only thirty comments? That’s odd. It’s usually much higher.

    Because when someone has a wall of text on a shady looking website plastered with fake porn ads, it’s easy to jump in the comments section and write their musings off as the “Alex Jones of Sim Racing.” I’ve heard it all on here. Lies. Blown out of proportion. Misinterpreted to fit a narrative. Delusional. Pushing an agenda. Slander. Defamation. Autistic. Vindictive. Obsessed. I’ve saved some of my favorites over the years.

    But yet it’s strangely quiet on this one.

    Is it because you’ve grown bored of PRC?

    Well no, the numbers I’m privy to as an admin of the site certainly don’t support that theory.

    Maybe it’s because this time, I didn’t tell sim racers that the hobby is going down the shitter and allow the anti-PRC crowd to dismiss it as the ramblings of a madman.

    Instead, I used their own content against them. This is not my footage, it is THEIR footage, created by avid hobbyists originally intended to spread the joy of sim racing.

    And yet by merely arranging their clips in a certain way, suddenly the entire premise behind PRC makes sense, and can’t be refuted.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. What? Most of the comments in your articles are down to two or more users engaging each other in long “rap battles”. Another good chunk are the alt-right autist copy paste.

      The only difference is that these guys are on a strike and only actual comments are left.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. It’s embarrassing. These old men won’t give F1 2017 a second look because the cars are actually enjoyable to drive and yet the onboards look nearly identical to actual qualifying sessions, and the laptimes are spot-on.

      Yes, the cars are “easy” until you really to start to push. But that’s the point. These middle-aged slowpokes never get around to pushing anything except all the buttons on their superfluous button-boxes and obsessing over whether their buttkickers are supported properly.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. F1 2017 has the best physics of any official F1 title to date. Elitist sim racers have preconceived notions of what is and is not a “sim” and are missing out on a fantastic experience. I’m not saying it’s a perfect representation of these cars (I’d like to see ERS management implemented), but the truth is no commercially available video game (including iracing, rfactor, etc) can provide anything close to what it’s really like to drive a race car in anger. The fact that sim racers act like it is shows how out of touch with reality they are, and it’s also funny you get them bitching about how a car they’ve probably never even seen in person, much less actually driven, behaves.

        Liked by 1 person

          1. The way you have to balance the throttle just so as you exit corners – this one facet alone – makes F1 2017 highly relevant in terms of developing real-world car control skills. I’ve never driven a lightweight high-downforce vehicle, but the skill you develop in terms of rolling on the throttle and the way it feels through the wheel is highly similar to real-world 500+ hp vehicles I’ve driven on track. That really surprised me. I thought it would be total arcade shit, but it’s not.

            It’s hard to explain unless you’ve done it. All I can say is that F1 2017 gets a lot of things right. Don’t dismiss it just because it’s not as treacherous as in AMS. A real car isn’t as tail-happy or as difficult to “catch” as you think.

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            1. The formula cars in R3E are not snappy at all, for example, but they also don’t have that lazy yaw effect. It’s great that they’re improving, but if CM continues using the same platform, there’s just so much they can do. For someone who doesn’t need all the official stuff to be content, F1 seems like a waste of time.

              And the mouse problem, bad AA, inaccurate circuits… bleh.

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              1. That lazy yaw thing is due to having your wheel set with too high degrees of rotation.

                The cars in F1 2017 feel really good once you dial out the dead spot in the middle of the FFB by reducing DOR down to the 250-270 range. I compared it to the FRX-17 and the FR2, and it felt similar. The DTM cars in R3E also feel a lot like the cars in F1 2017 (which makes sense, given that they’re bespoke high-downforce single seaters dressed up like saloon cars).

                I hated the cars in F1 at first, but once I bit the bullet and decreased the DOR radically, it suddenly clicked and now I can drive the hell out of them.

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        1. (ps4 pro) I purchased f1 2017 on the weekend , spent some time tweaking FFB on my t500 …….

          From the first couple of hours of play its looking and feeling like a pretty dam good title . FFB is heaps better than last year .. e.g road feel and progressive wheel weight when turning in .

          I’m enjoying it , great improvements on last year .

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      2. They don’t give F1 2017 a second chance because it’s obvious it drives like shit after 5 minutes mate. Cars are not “enjoyable”, they are dead. They slide way too much on corner exit and they do it on slow motion. On corner entry and in the middle of long corners it’s just constant understeer… Until you are back on the power. It’s like a RWD family sedan with shitty traction under the skin of a F1.

        Only someone with no clue would say the onboards look identical, give me an onboard of a modern F1 powersliding with a huge slip angle for half a second without the driver responding,and where the spin still doesn’t happen. Give me an onboard where a car uses sausage curbs, grass and gravel at will and they yield similar grip to tarmac. The game feels shit on the tarmac, and the suspension reactions to curbs are SO bad (inexistent) that the game needs to give you penalties to keep you on the racetrack even in corners like Monza chicanes, where cars IRL avoid the high curbs at all costs.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I guess this is based on your extensive on-track experience in high-downforce single seaters. No one’s claiming it’s perfect, but again – real cars aren’t as insanely snappy and difficult to drive as, say, the Formula V10 in AMS – which you probably think is spot-on.

          Over and over again, real drivers try to tell sim racers “This is OK, but a real car has a lot more grip than this” or “My real car is much more stable than this”, but still you people judge sims only by how difficult the cars are to drive.

          The “ludicrous power slides” are something any F1 car could do, but that would be slow and cook the rears. So the drivers don’t do it. Which is why you don’t see that sort of behavior on the onboards. You’re basically comparing the driving of random amateurs vs the best drivers in the world and then saying “Look, they’re different! This sim sucks!”

          Take a look at some *skilled* people driving F1 2017 and use that as your basis of comparison.

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      3. LOOK FUCKEN CHINAMEN, WE KNOW THAT CODEMASTERS JUST MAKE SIMCADE PATCHFEST, SO WHISTLE DIXIE YOU FUCKEN ANTI AMERICAN COCKSUCKER.
        TRUMP IS A GOD AMONGST CHINAMEN.

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        1. Trump is my little bitch, let’s get that clear. When I give him the choice between abandoning Seoul vs eating a nuke headed for his precious NYC, which do you think he’ll sacrifice?

          My people are ready to perish in nuclear fire for the dream of Juche Socialism (or, alternatively, a slightly larger rice allocation per week). Meanwhile, you decadent Western Imperialists are bickering over whether you should still have “Boys” and “Girls” clothing.

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    3. Isn’t the premise behind prc to keep your ass in a racecar. You may have started this venture with loftier ideals but you can’t play superman saving racing games after cashing a cheque from lex luthor

      Like

  7. I chuckled at the video but didn’t feel the need to comment because it seemed to speak for itself. Particularly the Assetto Corsa (not working again this week on Xbox) clips were right on the money. In no other industry are the producers of poor products allowed to absolve their responsibilities .

    You probably get more comments when the subject is more controversial and the fanboys can react.

    I’m enjoying the full range of driving games more than ever this year. Horizon 3, DiRT4, F1 2017 through to the PC Sims are all good enough for me to get hours of enjoyment from. Even Forza 6 still entertains though it’s starting to show its age in terms of features like fixed weather.

    I was getting drawn more and more toward the sim games but this blog, the counter fanboy outrage (often paid promoters) and thinly disguised YouTube marketing tactics opened my eyes to the nonsense of the extreme end of this little gaming segment. 40k sim rigs, 3k wheels etc etc yet in truth the same fun can be had for a fraction of the price. So much marketing for such a small number of players. Maintaining balance I discount the positive messages you promote about SMS in the same way though.

    You’ve talked about post purchase justifications before so I suspect the comment section is quiet because you’ve hit a nerve no one wants to admit – sim racing gets silly quickly when you take it too seriously.

    Bring on the end of Sept so we can see the latest generation of driving games for ourselves. F1 2017 will keep me going until then.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. All anyone needs to have a great time sim-racing is a mid-price wheel (Thrustmaster T300, Logitech G29/920), a seat, stable mounting and some decent pedals with a rubber cone at the end of the brake pedal travel to simulate load. I’d get a large display, but some of the fastest guys out there have nothing but a hand-me-down 21-24″ monitor.

      With only that, and a lot of practice, you can top every leader board out there (and have a great time doing it).

      It’s definitely possible to accumulate so much sim-racing gear that you spend way more time fiddling with it (and complaining about it) than you do actually racing and having fun.

      Same thing happens when you start modding a car too much. Like someone at S2ki.com told me years ago: “Take the money you were going to spend on mods and go to a driving school instead”.

      Like

          1. I THINK IT’S TIME TO CRIMINALIZE SIMCADE PHYSICS ON GAMES DESCRIBING THEMSELVES AS SIMS.
            CHINAMEN ARE GOOD SIMCADE DRIVERS BECAUSE OF LOW WEIGHT{SMALL COCK AND BALLS}

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    2. hi simcade lover.

      You are on the right blog, since this is only pretend sim racing, in reality this blog is for simcade racing.

      Also, hi james, posting with an anonymous account, you forgot to login.

      Like

  8. Who’s up for a rap battle then?

    Because imitation is the sincerest form of flattery to Pretty Fly, The Offspring.

    Pretty Dim (for a sim guy), The Centrespring

    You know it’s kinda hard
    To pretend race today
    Sim racing isn’t cool
    But we think it anyway
    We may not be cool
    And we just can’t drift
    But we still spunked our cash
    On Raceroom and oculus Rift

    So don’t debate, the fanboys get irate
    You know they’re paid to say it anyway
    We’re gonna crash through the field, with no wheel feel
    So if you don’t iRace, just overcompensate
    Missed the apex cause you can’t trail brake
    The world needs PRCs
    Do a lap around my ‘ring

    Give it to me Marco
    Give it to me Stefano
    Give it to me Bellend
    And all the girls say I’m pretty dim (for a sim guy)

    We made some fast tunes
    Not any feel right
    Cos we don’t have a clue
    None of us are very bright
    Now cruising on Assetto, cars stuck on the grass
    Complained on the forum,
    Stefano and the fanboys ripped me a new ass

    Now he’s getting a simrig
    A really big one
    He asked for full motion, cos it makes him cum
    Friends say he’ trying too hard
    Says he’s got no grip
    But Aris says it’s right
    And you’re just a dip shit

    So don’t debate, the fanboys irate
    You know they’re paid to say it anyway
    We’re gonna crash through the field, with no wheel feel
    So if you don’t iRace, just overcompensate
    Miss the apex cause you can’t trail brake
    The world needs PRCs
    So do a lap around my ‘ring

    Like

  9. F1 2017 is REALLY good. It’s not 100% sim physics-wise but the driving dynamics are still very much relevant, you still have to know how to drive to do fast laps. Setups are quite random tho, numbers aren’t there obviously, but it feels nice.

    About Nicki Thiim, I thought it was quite funny that a guy like him would just complain that raising the rear a crap ton and taking out wing would make the car undriveable… Clearly his job is driving and not make setups lol.

    >raises rear rendering diffuser useless
    >takes out wing further reducing rear downforce
    >omg car is undriveable

    pls Nicki 😛

    Like

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