VISA Vegas eRace Descends Into Chaos *UPDATED*

feetEditor’s Note: Despite a VirtualR article stating MAK-Corp had been contacted to build a virtual representation of the Formula E vehicle for a commercial project, the team have came out on Facebook and announced they had no part in the festivities, which were instead handled by CloudSport. The article has been updated to place the blame on the correct individuals and/or entities, and my apologies go out to MAK-Corp for the blame I originally placed on them.

We all knew it was going to be a disaster from the announcement alone, but Nero did play the fiddle as Rome burned, and there’s a sort schadenfreude in watching absurdity of this magnitude unfold on live television – or Twitch, if you’d like us to get technical. The Formula E backed Visa Vegas eRace was billed as the biggest sim racing event of all time, and intended to be used as definitive proof that virtual race cars have a legitimate home in the eSports ecosystem alongside much more popular titles, but in execution, the whole thing just didn’t manifest into a product that has the potential to get people excited about what’s otherwise a relatively obscure hobby. An event that shouldn’t have left the napkin it was drawn up on, the Visa Vegas eRace instead left the eSports kingdom almost as quickly as it entered; all flash, and no substance.

Sure, ten of the world’s best sim racers are currently walking off the set with enough money to justify spending entire years of their lives in front of a computer screen, but the eRace was supposed to be far more than a celebratory payday for select drivers. Despite declining spectator counts for live motorsports events due to millennial’s complete lack of interest in motor racing – or cars, for that matter – Formula E believed a virtual counterpart was the way of the future, and used the Vegas event as a trial run for a full series powered by rFactor 2. Obviously, hardcore sim racers knew how this would play out. Falling flat among curious viewers who were willing to give the concept a shot, and suffering from massive technical glitches that compromised the integrity of the competition, it now appears figureheads within Formula E simply threw money at the whole eSports fad, and just sort of hoped for the best.

That wasn’t the smartest idea. The Visa Vegas eRace was a complete and utter joke from start to finish. Don’t do this again.

grid-girlWithin thirty seconds of jumping into the Twitch feed just in time for the main event, I was greeted by a generic grid girl walking across the front of the set, and the camera panned back to reveal an elaborate production graced by Dario Franchitti’s presence as a color commentator. Knowing how sim racing isn’t exactly a glamorous activity to begin with – the majority of drivers logging laps while sporting a comfy set of pajamas in their bedroom – it was a bit silly to see such an elaborate setup that rivaled most ESPN nightly news sessions, especially as this was an unproven eSport event with no following to validate this sort of ridiculous setup to begin with.

The absurdity factor got cranked up to eleven when close-up shots of the drivers unveiled they had all been sporting custom made firesuits for the one-off event; presumably to avoid the consequences of nVidia GPU’s spontaneously bursting into flames. Readers of know full well I’m not cool with sim racers who immerse themselves in their delusions and truly believe they’re just as relevant as real race car drivers, but in this instance I can forgive them for merely being forced to play along with Formula E’s ludicrous bullshit considering how much prize money was on the line.

What I can’t forgive, however, is how little personality each of the drivers exhibited on camera. While I understand that Finnish residents are known all over the planet for their lack of emotion, it was hard as a viewer to find a sim racer to get behind for this event due to how unexciting each of the drivers were. They all looked like they’d been yanked straight out of an IT job and placed into an elaborate sim rig for some sort of promo event. Aside from the guy who took his pedostache in stride (major props on that one), and the commentators repeatedly mentioning Greger Huttu as ,“the greatest sim racer ever” without once elaborating upon his previous accomplishments, it was very difficult as an audience member to say “I want driver X to win.” The race hadn’t even started yet, and I already didn’t care about the results. There are entry level college courses that teach you the basics of story telling – such as introducing your characters and letting the audience know why this event was important to them – and yet a company as large as Formula E had failed at conveying these simple concepts on a goddamn Twitch broadcast.

This problem was magnified by the fact that the race wouldn’t start for quite some time, and generic promotional material was used as filler during the unscheduled delay. The broadcast was met with a twenty minute stoppage right as the main event was about to commence, and tech officials could be seen kneeling next to the drivers trying to rectify problems with the software. It was very amateurish for such a mammoth presentation that acted as the bastion of sim racing to the eSports community.

firefox-2017-01-07-17-23-17-60Once rectified, the trio of commentators were not made aware the software gremlins had been ironed out by Formula E technical staff members, meaning the first few corners were accompanied by bland pre-race babble rather than genuine enthusiasm over the start of the competition, and it quickly set in that this would most certainly not be the launch of a new era in sim racing. Polesitter Bono Huis checked out from the rest of the field almost immediately, and the complete lack of any on-track excitement made the shortcomings of the endeavor even more apparent than they would have been otherwise

firefox-2017-01-07-17-42-58-12Powered by Studio 397’s rFactor 2 software, using a car model developed by the almighty MAK-Corp – a team known within the sim racing community for inaccurate cars lapping several seconds faster than their real life counterparts – and with physics handled by Cloudsport (not exactly a major player in the rFactor 2 world) the raw gameplay looked atrocious, to put it nicely. With poor lighting and blocky trackside objects stealing the show, the quality of rFactor 2’s thermodynamic tire model was simply not conveyed in the slightest through the Twitch broadcast. It looked more like a PlayStation 2 game, and that’s not going to win over an audience a decade after the PlayStation 3 launched.

A few minutes into the race, Dario Franchitti mentioned that all of the cars on the grid had been using a fixed setup, which is absolutely nonsensical considering the qualifying rounds allowed sim racers to dial in their car based on their own driving preferences, and the default setup pre-packaged with most simulator cars is literally a random batch of numbers placed somewhere between the minimum and maximum value of each specific setting. Formula E essentially wanted to hold a massive sim racing competition for the best sim racers in the world, but wouldn’t even let their participants treat it as the racing simulator they had qualified with.

Just think about how absolutely fucking retarded that is.simulator-damageLap ten saw multiple front-running cars involved in a massive wreck in turn one, which should have ended the races of all involved, but viewers were instead shocked when these vehicles warped back through the barriers they flew over, and continued on as if nothing had happened. According to sim racing YouTube personality EmptyBox, the word “carnage” was promptly banned in the accompanying chat box, as Formula E struggle to control what was becoming an all-out shitshow.

Nothing says “serious online competition” like censoring your own audience for literally talking about what was occurring on screen among other viewers. We were reaching critical mass in terms of how poorly “the biggest event in sim racing” could go, and it was only the halfway point. Bono Huis was blowing everybody out, creating an absolute snoozer of a race for those who cared about the actual racing portion, none of the ten thousand viewers could stomach the ancient visuals, and moderators finally had to censor the chat box because they’d had enough of people ripping on the driving standards. Visa and Formula E were about to give away a million dollars in prize money, on top of spending hundreds of thousands to host this event, only for it to be a complete and utter shitshow.

pit-lelAs the mandatory pit stop rolled around and drivers flew into pit lane for a car swap – which certainly wasn’t a car swap on screen, but a generic rFactor 2 stop for tires and fuel – fans lit up the chat and began openly mocking the poor quality of the simulator. Hell, some fans didn’t even know there was a pit stop occurring, because there was no goddamn pit crew to imply that’s what was going on. Real world Formula E racer Felix Rosenqvist was in the process of reeling in Bono Huis to challenge for the top spot, but nobody was sure if this attack would amount to anything, as there had been very little noteworthy on-track action to speak of, and the layout of the fictitious Vegas circuit offered very few – if any – legitimate overtaking zones. Provided Huis didn’t shout Allahu Akbar  and smash head-on into a wall for comedic relief from this dreadful event, he had the thing wrapped up.

Then Olli Pahkala started posting lap times two seconds faster than anyone had registered over the course of the entire weekend.

fan-boostFormula E’s most controversial gimmick is undoubtedly the Fan Boost promotion, where those following the series can literally visit a website prior to each round of the championship and vote on a driver who will be granted a five-second, single use turbo boost for the upcoming event. Virtually everyone shit on the concept when it was first announced, yet it still remains in the rule book to this day – even more proof that the brass within the FIA just don’t understand their own audience in the slightest.

fuck-you-fiaThis gimmick was implemented into the Visa Vegas eRace as well, with Olli Pahkala one of the three drivers receiving an extra shot of power undoubtedly thanks to his close friends on iRacing going hard in the paint on Twitter. However, instead of the Fan Boost functionality giving Olli six seconds of additional engine power, CloudSport presumably fucked up when building the rFactor 2 mod used for the event, and Olli was able to keep mashing the boost button, over and over again. There were no third party injections involved, nor was there a phantom USB stick plugged into the rear of his PC, just a sim racer exploiting a shitty mod built by a team who have demonstrated time and time again that their rFactor 2 releases are junk.

Pahkala decimated the other eighteen participants, posting six laps in a row, two seconds faster than any other time registered through the weekend, blowing out Bono Huis’ track record qualifying lap in the middle of a fuel run, and pulling away to a cool $200,000 USD that royally pissed off all ten thousand viewers spectating the event. The biggest event in the history of sim racing, one which was initially meant to establish this little genre as a genuine eSport (complete with a full series planned in the future), had instead been decided by people voting in a poll on Twitter. Compared to the other drivers, the fan boost produced such a massive increase in power, the rest of the competitors were sitting ducks.

Viewers were furious, and these weren’t just assmad fanboys upset that it wasn’t iRacing or Assetto Corsa used for the competition. Formula E provided live timing during the event, and long before Pahkala had crossed the finish line & been declared the victor, avid sim racers realized the integrity of the competition had been jeopardized.

six-lapsOlli Pahkala was awarded the top spot on the podium despite never being in contention for a large portion of the race, and clearly benefiting from an issues with the software brought on by a meaningless Twitter gimmick that should have never been implemented in a test of driving skill in the first place, with shots straight out of Las Vegas Nevada depicting an obviously frustrated Bono Huis. I’m sure his mom will probably give him shit for looking like a mad cunt in these photos and not acting like a professional regardless of the circumstances, but the dude has every right to be pissed the fuck off.

Formula E hosted what was supposed to be the biggest competition in the history of sim racing, yet the outcome was determined by a popularity contest on Twitter, and some guy taking advantage of flaws in a car built by a shitty rFactor 2 mod team, clearly demonstrating Formula E and Visa had no idea what the fuck they were doing at any point during this endeavor.

c1nhxzfxcaqqkpp-jpg-largeThis gets worse.

Huis threw a completely justifiable hissy fit at the stewards, begging them to review the software – as well as the lap times – because all ten thousand viewers watching at home knew precisely what had happened. A Twitter poll won Olli Pahkala the race, and the increase in horsepower didn’t even work as it was supposed to. To rectify the problem, the FIA stewards promptly issued a twelve second penalty to race winner Pahkala, handing the win to Huis.

penaltyNow the FIA stewards were in even deeper shit. On top of using an outdated piece of software none of the viewers found compelling in the slightest, and determining the winner of the competition with a Twitter poll, they penalized a guy who wasn’t actually cheating, but in a fantastic display of heads-up driving realized CloudSport royally fucked something with ten laps left in the biggest sim race of his life, and abused Formula E’s own incompetence in choosing a content creator to dominate the competition. On what planet do you penalize a driver for merely making the most out of the organizer’s incompetence?

Olli Pahkala won the race because Formula E couldn’t do half an hour’s worth of research when it came to holding an online sim racing competition, and had a six figure payday taken away from him because CloudSport are shit and the FIA stewards were outright embarrassed at how things had gone. Studio 397 said so.

mak-corp-sucksBono Huis was officially confirmed to be the event champion roughly an hour later by event organizers, with their social media pages conveniently leaving why the guy in third on the broadcast was suddenly awarded first prize. Obviously he’s all smiles now given how much $200,000 USD can do for any single person on the planet, but how we got to that point, and what this was all supposed to do for sim racing in the long run, will warrant a much different response than Bono’s happy mug.

c1nswpjxcae2vqiLet’s start with the obvious; Formula E and Visa have more money than brains. That much is apparent. Despite all of the message board chatter painting CloudSport out to be an incompetent mod team, two giant entities threw a mountain of money at amateur rFactor 2 modders to create pieces of content that would be used in a competition with one million dollars in prize money handed out to the participants. These guys can’t even get the right people to conduct a virtual racing event without everything going awry, so it makes you wonder how many boneheaded decisions are made behind closed doors when it comes to the real thing, whether it be Formula E, or Formula One? You know, the biggest racing series in the world.

maxresdefaultBut onto the core topic of discussion, this event was supposed to launch sim racing into the eSports scene in a pretty profound way. There were vague hints at plans to conduct a full season of competition alongside the real Formula E championship in the future, marking the first time sim racing would be in the spotlight and listed among titles such as League of Legends in terms of legitimate eSports parterned with major corporations. Judging by the audience reaction to this clusterfuck of an event, Formula E would be foolish to continue with these plans, regardless of what deals have already been made behind the scenes. Viewers laughed at the awful graphics, poked fun at unexciting personalities during the trophy presentations, and aggressively berated the overall production, forcing moderators to begin censoring discussion of the event while it was still underway, before users launched into an all-out assault when the champion was determined by a Twitter poll and an improperly constructed virtual car.

If Formula E move forward and introduce a full season of eSports competition after this landmark disaster, it’s merely definitive proof the executives in charge of making decisions for the brand have lost all touch with reality. The Visa Vegas eRace was an embarrassment both to eSports, and to sim racing; an ambitious project that at no point was a captivating viewing experience any sane person would want more of.

I do not want to extend a genuine round of applause to just Bono Huis for taking home the top prize in the Visa Vegas eRace, but to all fellow sim racers who rolled off the grid; putting up with Formula E’s never-ending series of bullshit decisions must have been infinitely more challenging than 20 laps in a shitty CloudSport mod.

What Happens in Vegas, Stays in Vegas…

cywrfodxuaedebbA lot of people have been eagerly anticipating some kind of lengthy tirade in regards to what’s being billed as “The World’s Biggest Sim Race” – otherwise known as the Visa Vegas eRace – but truthfully, I haven’t put much thought into it. In fact, I hardly care about the event to begin with, and maybe that’s a sign this whole thing probably won’t fling sim racing into the eSports spotlight as many mainstream outlets are predicting. But alas, with only a few sleeps remaining until the event kicks off, here we are. Let’s talk about this now.

If you’ve missed the countless articles discussing the matter, or immediately stopped paying attention the moment Formula E was mentioned, there’s something big about to happen in the world of sim racing. The FIA have decided right now is precisely the correct time to jump on the virtual racing eSports bandwagon despite auto racing fans losing interest in real world motorsports, and essentially commissioned MAK-Corp – yes, the same modders behind the horrendous Williams FW26 we reviewed a few weeks ago – to build a virtual rendition of the 2016 Formula E championship for rFactor 2.

With the enormous marketing push only a sanctioning body such as the FIA could muster, an online competition sponsored by the credit card company Visa was announced, and after a fairly traditional set of qualifying rounds – which were dominated by all the regular faces of top level sim racing – guys like Dom Duhan and Greger Huttu will be beating the shit out of each other in a half-assed rFactor 2 mod, live from Las Vegas, for a chance at $300,000 USD. Last place in the one-off event nets you a cool $20,000, so it’s safe to say that a Friday night coke binge with an escort named Shayla, and the subsequent seizure that will undoubtedly follow during the event itself, will at least pay for most of the participants Vegas escapades.

formula-e-road-to-vegas-638x425Goofy creative writing aside, this is indeed the biggest racing simulator competition in the history of the genre, and all ten of the talented sim racers who have qualified for the event know damn well that merely rolling off the grid is a life-changing moment; the enormous amount of time they’ve spent plugging away at their favorite simulators despite concerns from their family and friends in regards to their obsession will physically manifest itself into financial stability for the next decade at the very least.

Unfortunately, while the prize money alone may see sim racers such as Aleksi Elomaa or Enzo Bonito return to their families in Europe in posession of a small fortune, I cannot imagine a scenario in which the Visa Vegas eRace propels sim racing into the eSports spotlight. Simply put, these types of promotional races are often total shit-fests, and with the FIA filling 20 of the 30 grid slots with Formula E drivers who have displayed they seriously don’t give a fuck about virtual races nor the personalities from the sim racing world, there’s a large chance we’ll be looking to forget this ever happened as soon as it’s over.

kotaku-ausThough I’m usually against almost everything Kotaku puts out, the Australian spin-off of the publication have penned a fantastic article displaying the events which transpired when the entire field of Formula E drivers – the same people who will make up more than half of the grid on Saturday for the Visa Vegas eRace – were placed into the virtual cockpit of MAK-Corp’s rFactor 2 mod earlier this year. None of them gave any flying fucks whatsoever, with the entire field careening into barriers, spinning each other out, and generally treating the game like it was Burnout: Revenge. The write-up is as hilarious as it is sad, with author Alex Walker mentioning “it doesn’t seem like Formula E will be using rFactor 2 much in the future.” Unfortunately, they’ve done the opposite, taking note of how atrocious the presentation above ended up being in execution, and believing that hosting the exact same event all over again – but this time with ten extra sim racing nerds on the grid – will suddenly change everything.

And this is the norm for promotional events, regardless of how much money is on the line. Over on the iRacing servers, the crew traditionally hold an annual Race of Champions event each year, rounding up a fairly large set of professional drivers who publicly claim to call the service home for both legitimate training purposes and off-season leisure activities, letting the overall victory donate to the charity of their choice on iRacing’s behalf. It always descends into chaos, and as a whole is pretty embarrassing for iRacing as a company. They go through such extreme lengths to claim a whole bunch of real drivers are consistently making laps on the service, only for the complete opposite to be demonstrated – it’s a clusterfuck that isn’t worth the ninety minutes of your time.

Real drivers don’t give a shit about these stupid little sim racing events because their day job is to throw their ass in a real car and dance inches from death with every little fuck-up they make behind the wheel, not sit in front of a PC chilling out on Teamspeak and munching on a few bonbons. They have no obligation to take this seriously, and it’ll become immediately apparent on Saturday that some didn’t even practice. Mark my words.

And I’m not basing this off of one Kotaku article, or some hilarious little crash compilation someone made a few years ago on iRacing. Throughout the 2016-2017 Formula E season, a portion of the grid have been participating in numerous fan challenges, where a few lucky audience members get to join about eight or nine real Formula E drivers for what’s basically a private sprint session in rFactor 2, and in many cases the audience members actually fare much better than the Formula E drivers themselves.

maraI mean, it’s really fucking bad. I’ve included the titles of each clip so you can head over to YouTube and check it out for yourselves; Formula E drivers give no fucks about this stuff, and neither their attitudes nor their sim racing skill set  will change overnight. This is basically what we’re going to see in Vegas on Saturday, except people will be throwing very justifiable tantrums because it’s much more than just fifteen minutes of fame on the line.

fucking-tangNow, for the ten sim racers who did bust their asses to earn a spot on the Vegas grid – as there was indeed a lengthy qualifying procedure that properly resembled top level sim racing – I can’t imagine what’s going through their heads. Sure, even last place will leave the facility with more money than they know what to do with, but there’s still a difference between three hundred thousand dollars, and just enough to take a nice vacation with their families upon flying back to Europe. I’d hate to be Greger Huttu, leading the event with five laps to go, and get wrecked out of contention by an actual Formula E driver, three laps down, who hadn’t even made laps on the simulator for practice and was merely instructed to show up and smile for the mandatory promotional event. Because that’s probably what’s going to happen.

track-blocking-wrecksAnd if it does – which is very likely – that will be the nail in the coffin for sim racing’s chance to be a legitimate eSport. Let’s be real, some of the top level iRacing championships paraded around the sim racing community as the pinnacle in online competition have been anything but, with track blocking wrecks and RAM hacks dominating two of the service’s premier series – which typically struggle to attain more than a few hundred viewers each round compared to the millions which tune into Rocket League or League of Legends tournaments. People are barely going to real auto racing circuits, to the point where Formula E tickets were actually free at one point, so I’m a bit lost as to what’s making anybody think these same people who have seemingly lost interest in auto racing altogether will willingly want to watch a bunch of sweaty nerds bash into each other within a video game? It just doesn’t make any sense.

Sim Racing will definitely experience it’s birth as a competitive eSport on a world stage in Las Vegas this weekend, but anyone with a functioning brain can tell it’s going to crash and burn just as quickly. The Formula E drivers will show up, not give a shit, smash into each other, drastically affect the outcome of the race to the point where even people just tuning in out of boredom will get pissed off at what’s unfolding on the screen, and most will laud the event as a complete joke where racing took a back seat to carnage and confusion. Nobody will be left wanting more, some will comment on rFactor 2’s dated visuals compared to other video games on the market in 2016, and yet developers will still sit for years to come wondering why sim racing hasn’t taken off on a global scale.

EnduRacers Enthusiasm

rdlms-introI’ve been around this scene long enough to remember the launch of the first comprehensive Endurance Series mod for the original rFactor. If only I knew back then what I now know today…

After a brief hiatus in favor of other prestigious online championships hosted the popular sim racing hub, season number seven of the RaceDepartment Le Mans Series is set to commence in February of 2017, bringing the top virtual drivers from around the community to the rFactor 2 platform for several full-length endurance racing events that are sure to test the bladders and patience of everybody involved in the production. With the complete 24 Hours of Daytona highlighting a schedule that also includes half-marathon stops at Fuji Speedway, Imola, Interlagos, Silverstone, and Road America spread from February to October, RaceDepartment simply aren’t fucking around here. This is the real deal – an online racing league where you won’t be frowned upon for keeping a stash of piss jugs next to your sim rig, because it’s worth every inch of the track position you’ll save from not making an unscheduled pit stop.

Unfortunately, there’s a bit of a catch.

RaceDepartment have announced the seventh season of their Le Mans Series championship will make use of the recently-released Endurance Series mod for rFactor 2. While the benefits of the mod include an asking price of absolutely nothing compared to a similar payware offering put out by UnitedRacingDesign, and an extremely comprehensive car roster spanning four distinct classes of machinery from a multitude of late-2000’s sports car championships, there’s a very good reason why the release of this mod hasn’t generated an increase in rFactor 2’s popularity – it doesn’t drive very well.

As the organizers of a premium online racing league, in which participants are required to pay a legitimate entry fee and have every right to expect something a bit more compared to the traditional online league experience, it’s the duty of RaceDepartment to ensure the on-track product is worth the asking price. That can’t be guaranteed with what EnduRacers have put out on the Steam workshop.

enduracers-endurance-series-9While many sim racers initially flock to the Endurance Series mod due to its diverse array of sports cars and prototypes, the most common complaint people have reported across what’s now multiple racing simulators, relates to how EnduRacers have chosen to model overall tire wear and behavior. Simply put, the modern sports cars featured in the mod – which generate downforce figures in the thousands of pounds – can be driven sideways to such an extent, it’s as if you’re tearing up the back roads of Hazzard County in a bright orange Dodge Charger. Based on my own experience with EnduRacers mods, I don’t believe the car setups required to post competitive lap times are outside the realm of realism by any means, but once you’re out on the track, regardless of the class, the absurd slip angles and tire heating patterns simply do not match on-board footage of the real cars in the slightest.

As a result, a bunch of people end up being turned off by the mod; initially reeled in by the enormous list of cars, only to discover everything drives like a hovercraft that’s got a bunch of excess weight in the rear end, and no amount of setup work can dial it out. This isn’t one of those mods where you’re required to be a physics expert to spot discrepancies; when you look up in-car footage on YouTube and compare it to your own personal wheel inputs inside rFactor 2, you’re turning right while the real drivers are turning left. It’s silly, and sim racing YouTube personality Joe Nathan has put together an alright explanation on the matter here:

Now as I mentioned above, I’ve run two online seasons with EnduRacers third party content across two entirely different games, and despite winning both championships, I can’t say I was satisfied with the car physics I was forced to put up with. These stories are not to wave my dick around on PRC, but to establish the fact that I’ve pushed these cars to the absolute limit in some sort of competitive setting over a period of several months, and by the end of my time with them was simply not happy with what I drove – it never once warranted the praise these mods receive on other sim racing discussion outlets.

1200px-4wmfr6tIn early 2015, the boys over at 4Chan hosted a mixed GT2/P2 endurance racing series, consisting of eighty minute sessions at many class-appropriate racing facilities, such as Spa, Interlagos, Barcelona, Watkins Glen, and I think for the season finale we went to Shanghai of all places. From what I recall, one of the main problems the series organizer ran into (prior to falling in love with a transvestite over voice chat, because this is 4Chan after all), was that none of the cars were balanced. While we used a Simtek add-on pack to inject the field with a more relevant roster of cars, it seemed like throughout the entire season we were chasing a dragon when it came to ensuring a level playing field.

Not only were the Simtek add-on cars not balanced with the default EnduRacers content, the EnduRacers cars that came with the vanilla mod weren’t balanced with each other, and it turned into a bit of a nightmare for series organizers – there wasn’t exactly a base level of performance to start with. There was a lot of testing and pre-season updates, and it was the subject of great debate for a large chunk of the calendar. I piloted the default Corvette C6R to a championship, and most of my victories came down to great pit strategy, or the leader simply choking away the lead – as the round at Okyama played out. The car fucking sucked on fuel mileage, and most races I ran in economy mode for the complete duration because turning the fuel mix up even one digit would put me at a massive disadvantage to other drivers.

And of course, this is before we talk about the floaty handling – which made no sense for cars that generate this much downforce.

Now for a free league where you just sort of show up every Saturday afternoon and race, this is an issue that eventually you’re just going to have to deal with because it’s organized by a couple of guys on 4Chan in their spare time. With a massive live stream production, and a premium entry fee, this isn’t the kind of thing hardcore sim racers are going to want to deal with. They’ll want a level playing field.

rfactor2-2016-02-06-17-48-24-14Earlier this year, I had the pleasure of competing in an online series using EnduRacers content yet again, this time making use of the Flat6 mod for rFactor 2, which if you can’t figure out from the above screenshot, is supposed to be based on the Porsche Carrera Cup Series that competes in a whole bunch of different countries. Hosted on the Race2Play platform, the championship started up almost immediately after the mod came out, capitalizing on the post-release announcement buzz and subsequent video by EmptyBox, which encouraged everybody to rush out and re-install rFactor 2 because this was the mod which showcased the potential of the otherwise dated, dying simulator.


I like Matt, but throughout the seven race championship, as well as a few one-off special events at Bathurst and Lime Rock Park, I really wanted to know what he was smoking, and if one of my friends knew a guy who sold that stuff locally. As I wrote in my review of the mod – appropriately titled “Boats on Ice” – no piece of on-board footage displayed the same kind of driving experience EnduRacers had created with their Flat6 mod for rFactor 2. Not only was I literally throwing the car into each corner and counter-steering as if I’d been driving a Dirt Late Model, someone sat down, cracked open the tire files, and realized the tires EnduRacers had composed didn’t actually wear or lose adhesion if the temperature increased. You intentionally sent the car into a slide on entry, jammed the throttle to the floor, and allowed the build up of rubber from rFactor 2’s real road technology to glue the car to the ground, because excess heat from sliding had virtually no effect on the car’s handling – completely unlike that of a real car.

As the season progressed, car counts slowly dwindled, with many drivers clearly unable to deal with such bizarre handling characteristics on a consistent basis. Though I will admit I had some epic battles for the top spot with a number of drivers whose names I can’t pronounce, there were an equal amount of drivers in the field obviously perplexed by a car that simply didn’t make sense, displaying their bewilderment via numerous catastrophic incidents which ended their races prematurely. All of this was unfolding in a competitive league, while the greater sim community claimed this was one of the best cars ever released for rFactor 2.

rfactor2-2016-02-13-18-20-25-70So in two seasons of online racing using content created by EnduRacers – and winning both of them – the most prominent thing that sticks out to me is that while these guys create phenomenal 3D models and load up each package with a library of cars to choose from, the actual driving experience is as if some sort of crazed sociopath yanked the default set of physics from Need for Speed shift, injected it into a highly anticipated rFactor mod, and called it a day. And thanks to the work of a few dedicated sim racers on 4Chan, they discovered the cars weren’t even balanced correctly – essentially having to reverse engineer a mod the rFactor community practically jizzed itself over just to conduct fair races.

enduracers-endurance-series-11Now if you’re one of those people who loves the Endurance Series mod regardless of the stuff I’ve outlined above, it’s cool, I respect your opinion, because there are a lot of fucking cars in this mod, and I still think it’s worth the download just to marvel at the car select screen and slowly go through everything. We’re certainly not in the F1 Challenge days anymore; mods this comprehensive don’t come around too often, so I can understand it’s a bit of an event when something like the Endurance Series package drops on the community.

But I respectfully object to the mod being used in some sort of premium league. Look, I’m not just talking about RaceDepartment in particular, but across the greater sim racing community there are tons of people who dismiss games like Gran Turismo, Forza, and even Project CARS as “inferior semi-simulators.” And you’ll know it when you see it; mentioning you enjoy Gran Turismo 6 instantly warrants someone claiming it’s not a true sim… We’ve all been there, and even if we haven’t participated in those threads directly, we’ve seen it shouted at someone else.

So to see a community such as RaceDepartment that’s so anti-simcade, pro-hardcore simulation, choosing to conduct the ultimate elite online championship with a mod that objectively drives worse than Gran Turismo 6, and then proceeding to delete comments in the official thread discussing it, to me it looks extremely hypocritical. I’m not saying to run the URD payware cars instead – because they suffer from their own unique problems – but for a premium online league to essentially throw realism out the window when that’s literally the whole point of the website… It’s goofy. Really goofy.

But at least EnduRacers will let RaceDepartment take their mod and make the necessary physics corrections prior to the start of the season, right?

ohOh. Guess not. Looks like we’ve got hardcore sim racers justifying sub-par, unrealistic physics just because the name of the game they’re playing is rFactor 2 instead of Forza Motorsport 6. Whoops. Can’t let anybody see that.

Rest in Peace, rFactor 2: The December Blog Post

17221765808_89fb3eb949_oYou know your game is on life support when your few remaining fans are forced to get excited over a mere blog post, rather than an actual update to the software. Studio 397 have recently published their long awaited December roadmap for rFactor 2, though what they’ve unveiled to the public still interested in seeing this game polished up to its full potential is nothing short of pathetic, especially given the simulator’s current status as a frail senior citizen permanently holed up in a local hospital’s intensive care unit. The new team, which took over the reigns of rFactor 2 from original developer Image Space Incorporated only a few short months ago, appear to have no long-term plans to rejuvenate the package into anything worthwhile, instead opting for more of the same – fucking nothing.

I’m obviously not happy with Studio 397’s latest blog post, and the tone of this short entry will reflect my complete lack of patience, though I feel at this point it’s completely justified. If you haven’t read the announcement in full, I highly suggest giving them some clicks and popping over to the official Studio 397 headquarters, but in short, this is the exact opposite of what rFactor 2 owners both wanted and needed. They desperately needed their simulator to be pulled from the depths of 2012 and injected with many new features and pieces of content to give sim racers an incentive to boot up rFactor 2, yet instead Studio 397 will provide utterly meaningless additions to the game.

ui-conceptThe user interface is being completely re-built for the second time in the game’s existence, and what you see above is listed as a concept piece, not what will eventually land in the consumer version of the software. I get that rFactor 2’s main menu isn’t the greatest, but it’s not entirely clunky or disastrous either – just aesthetically, other games do it a bit better. Apparently, this somehow justifies a portion of the team at Studio 397 wiping the interface completely clean and building something brand new. I mean, hey, it’s great that they want to put their on stylistic touch on the whole package, but there are other places that deserve the team’s attention – such as the massive differences in Force Feedback quality from car to car when it comes to the stock ISI content included with rFactor.

rFactor 2’s controversial Online Pass system will now be completely abolished, meaning those who spent $80 on a lifetime subscription to the online server browser back when the game first came out, have now seen their investment vanish into thin air. While it’s definitely a smart move on Studio 397’s part to kill the subscription concept entirely, there are now a host of sim racers among the community who are about to learn they spent $80 on absolutely nothing in the long run – because it’s not like there was a use for the subscription during the online pass days, as barely anybody jumped online to race rFactor 2. Personally, I think it would be dope if Studio 397 allowed lifetime subscription holders the ability to use their key in some online store to redeem a sweet rFactor 2 shirt and or maybe even a plush toy of that ugly grey temp car as a sort of goofy compensation for dealing with ISI’s inability to make logical decisions, but I know our boy Dustin has joked about waiting for the day his rFactor 2 lifetime subscription would finally be worth it, and that day simply isn’t coming. He wasted $80 on absolutely nothing, as did a lot of other sim racers.

But we haven’t even gotten to the good stuff yet.

c7rThe next car Studio 397 plan to work on, is the 2016 Chevrolet Corvette C7.R. No, this isn’t a joke. Even though the guys at UnitedRacingDesign have already pushed out their own version of the Corvette C7.R for rFactor 2 almost two years ago (as you can see from the shot above), and it’s a free download outside of their Endurance GT payware mod that everyone masturbates over, Studio 397 are sitting down and building their own version of the car for reasons only God understands.

This is absolutely nonsensical. There is nothing inherently wrong with URD’s version of the C7.R, everyone can go and download it for free off the Steam Workshop – meaning most rFactor 2 owners have already turned several laps in this car, and some VEC drivers have ran entire seasons in it – and yet here Studio 397 are following up yet another generic open wheel ride nobody asked for with a duplicate of a car already available for the game which people are perfectly happy with. Good fucking job Studio 397, thanks for confirming you literally haven’t even examined what mods are available for your game on the Steam workshop. This is definitely a competent developer who will surely put the eternal science project known as rFactor 2 on the right track.

16430412697_e7691ccffb_oAll this, while the Chevrolet Corvette Daytona Prototype, as well as the Super GT-spec Nissan GT-R – two cars people have been interested in as far back as 2013 when they were first announced as official content for rFactor 2 – sit unfinished on somebody’s hard drive.

nolaThe next track on the release schedule has been confirmed by Studio 397 to be NOLA Motorsports Park, a circuit which lasted exactly one year on the IndyCar schedule before being dropped due to several factors directly related to the quality of the facility, backroom financial matters, and the racing it produced. This is literally a circuit in the middle of a field, with no elevation changes or even scenery to speak of, making it a very hard sell for all but the local sportsman drivers who are obviously jacked to see their nearest track appear in a video game. Nobody in their right mind would willingly want to drive here, as aside from the facility’s lone IndyCar date – which turned into a shitshow thanks to excessive rain and flooding on portions of the circuit – this track has nothing to offer sim racers.

11_04_nola_modifications_underway_stdIn fact, as the New Orleans Advocate writes, NOLA as a facility was actually sued by multiple entities following the conclusion of the 2015 Grand Prix due to how horrible the entire weekend went, which is almost unheard of in professional auto racing. Yet Studio 397 believe a facility as pathetic as this is the perfect track to entice sim racers into re-installing rFactor 2 at the start of 2017.

nola2And that’s it. Seriously, that’s all their blog post announces. rFactor 2 owners are getting a car they already have, a track so horrendous it was actually sued by IndyCar, a reversal of the online pass system that should have been enacted years ago, and yet another interface redesign – because apparently the first one wasn’t good enough. Also, none of these are ready to go anytime soon save for the online pass reversal; you’ll be waiting a few months for the atrocious new content, and the menu redesign hasn’t even been finalized – they’re still on the concept art stage.

Do not pass go, do not collect two hundred dollars, and put this game in the trash where it belongs. rFactor 2 has passed away, and Studio 397’s December update was merely the funeral service.

Why I Removed rFactor 2 from my Hard Drive

rfactor2-2016-08-02-16-43-13-49Time for us to discuss a more serious simulator? Sounds about right.

I found myself deleting rFactor 2 for good over the weekend. While it’s one thing for a developer to ask their customers to exhibit some patience when it comes to updating their product and keeping it up to par with what else is available on the market, there comes a time where I simply can’t sit around and wait any longer for a game I purchased in 2013 to magically improve upon what’s an admittedly lackluster base. Yes, rFactor 2 does exhibit the most simulation value out of all modern racing simulators available for the PC, but it’s wrapped up in such a bland afterthought of a product, the few standout aspects – such as the refined tire model and introduction of real road technology – are basically meaningless when there are no genuinely compelling aspects which would make you want to boot up the game in the first place.

I’ve owned rFactor 2 since it was first put on the marketplace in what I recall to be the spring of 2013, though it most likely showed up a few months earlier. In something like four years of shelf life, the game still feels like an elaborate beta program with no true sense of self. I still struggle to name a single captivating car or location in rFactor 2 that can’t be found in a rival racing simulator, the core group of modding teams still trying to support the game have recently been exposed as amateurs who are merely winging it – unsure of exactly what the physics engine wants from them, online racing is non-existent aside from private leagues who do little to advertise themselves to the general public, and some of the basic gameplay fundamentals you’re exposed to outside of single car test sessions have in some cases gone backwards from the alternatives available for less on the Steam Marketplace. It’s just not a very good package, and despite Studio 397 attempting to woo customers with yet another amateur level open wheel car, I think it’s time to wave goodbye to rFactor 2. Go back to the drawing board guys, it’s not worth trying to save.

bgdxieuFirst, let’s talk about the visuals. I don’t want to mislead people here, rFactor 2 can look quite beautiful in an extremely specific set of weather conditions, but most of the time what you end up observing are instances like the shot above, where a combination of the game’s art style and lighting engine takes on a washed-out pastel look with this weird silver haze surrounding everything. While Automobilista and RaceRoom Racing Experience both receive their fair share of criticism for cartoonish graphics, rFactor 2 travels to the complete opposite end of the spectrum and produces a very depressing, lifeless atmosphere.

1488420000_1458229318Sure, I’ll praise Image Space Incorporated for going to town when it comes to trackside detail, as even the obscure shit like porta-potties (no pun intended) have been given high-poly models and play an integral role in adding to the vibrancy of the event, but the entire thing is coated in this very drab and dull color palette that the game can’t seem to shake. And those who try and force the game to run a specific HDR filter to counteract this awful atmosphere are taken back to the days of early Xbox 360 titles, where every racing game basically turned into a neon disco party, as demonstrated in the above on-board shot yanked from the game’s official forums.

In short, you can never get rFactor 2 looking anywhere close to pleasing on the eyes, even if it holds a steady 60 FPS. You’ll always be stuck in one of two very specific dimensions of hell; everything is either a gloomy day in England with an unnatural haze hanging over the landscape, or an Xbox 360 racing game whose sole purpose was to smear bright colors over your television. There is no happy medium.

grab_074mThe artificial intelligence is where this game starts to lose serious points. I’m aware the various rFactor 2 shills often run around to tons of different message boards boasting about the rigidity of the offline racing experience, but the reality is that rFactor 2 simply isn’t popular enough for the abundance of complaints to gain any sort of traction within the community as they did with mainstream releases such as Assetto Corsa and Project CARS.

I’m lucky enough, in a city primarily dominated by their love of Hockey and god-awful country music, that someone still started a sim racing cafe featuring the commercial variant of the rFactor 2 software, and both myself and fellow short track drivers are able to frequent the place on a weekly basis. Not only does the owner consistently notify us of other customers running into AI issues, the few private leagues which call Impulse Sim Racing home have disabled AI cars altogether, as on their best days they are downright unpredictable. I’ve actually been asked to serve as a steward for one of these private leagues, and in their rules Email they specifically state they race without AI cars because the entire event becomes an exercise in frustration when bots are placed on the grid alongside human opponents. These are people who are more or less paying to race rFactor 2 on a per-week basis, so for them to completely eradicate AI cars from the event in favor of an eight or nine car field speaks volumes about the kind of experience they were receiving in the past.

rules-capI used to take the elitist stance and chalk this up to a set of poor drivers just getting their feet wet in the world of sim racing, unsure how to conduct themselves in a pack, until I experienced these issues myself. For a developer who made a serious push to include Stock Car Racing within rFactor 2’s vanilla content – multiple car configurations, and a host of ovals inspired by real world NASCAR locations – the offline experience against the AI is downright brutal. They ignore the player’s position, run nonsensical lines even at the highest of difficulties (slower lines, at that), cause track-blocking wrecks the other AI cars are unable to maneuver around (in a similar fashion to Project CARS), and sometimes lose all composure entirely during a caution flag period. Last night we ended up backing out of a race prematurely because the AI cars merged out of pit road and sat stationary on the race track in turn one at California Speedway. Sure, some will bitch that the NASCAR content is a relatively new addition to rFactor 2, but if you’re going to put this stuff into your own game, at least make sure it sort of works.

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

Offline racing against bots is just not satisfactory in the slightest. Aside from a generic boost in aggression and a willingness to pass each other, the rFactor 2 computer opponents still disregard your existence and will fuck you over for no justifiable reason whatsoever. Again, those who frequent a sim cafe powered by rFactor 2 consistently request for them to be turned off entirely because they’re just too goddamn unpredictable and half-baked. That’s not a good sign by any means.

7622242200_1459181280The vanilla content is a weird mix of stuff that doesn’t go well together. When I jump into RaceRoom Racing Experience, I’m given entire DTM and ADAC GT Masters seasons to mess around with, and when I fire up Automobilista, I’m allowed to make laps in every major South American auto racing series, with a partial array of historical and modern Formula One seasons offered on the side as an added bonus. This is a fantastic way of doing things from a design standpoint, as it allows the average sim racer to become familiar with an entire discipline of motor racing, and gain confidence in one class of car while still exploring a sizable amount of the game’s content and remaining within their comfort zone.

rFactor 2 does the exact opposite, essentially taking single race cars from random parts of the world, and pairing them with one or two individual circuits that just barely suit that particular car. You’re given the Skip Barber Formula 2000 – a car many of you are familiar with from its status as a beginner car in iRacing – but running it anywhere outside of Lime Rock or Palm Beach is an exercise in boredom. The 60’s Grand Prix cars are a nice throwback to Grand Prix Legends, but rFactor 2 offers just Spa, Monaco, and Monza as dedicated 60’s stomping grounds – ripping around Sepang or Estoril in these beasts just doesn’t work in the slightest. There’s a GT3 car in the Chevrolet Camaro, the class-killing GT1-spec Sumo Powered Nissan GT-R, a touring car in the NGTC Honda Civic, and a Chevrolet Corvette from the ALMS GT2 class, but you’ll soon find that you end up racing every professional class category machine at either Silverstone, Bathurst, or Interlagos.

Oh, and there’s an experimental ATV thrown in as an off road physics test, but again, there’s just one track for the quad.

18563067519_0385425b81_oThere are tons of amateur open wheel rides that are quite frankly hard to tell the difference between, yet interesting announcements such as the Corvette Daytona Prototype or Super GT-spec Nissan GT-R are still yet to surface. NASCAR receives a lot of love thanks to an unlicensed knock-off series, but the pitiful AI turns oval races into a chore and invalidates a large segment of the game fairly quickly. IndyCar is represented with the Indianapolis Motor Speedway… but that’s as far as it goes.

Because ISI have attempted to pair each vehicle with one or two tracks, a lot of the location roster becomes redundant depending on the car you select. As a result, most of the time when booting up rFactor 2, you’re rotating between a core circuit group consisting of the following locations:

  • Bathurst
  • Estoril
  • Interlagos
  • Lime Rock
  • Palm Beach
  • Sepang
  • Silverstone

It all produces a scenario where despite what on the surface appears to be a very diverse array of content spanning the entire world of auto racing, all too often you find yourself turning laps at Silverstone or Interlagos because a large portion of the game either doesn’t interest you, or isn’t compatible with the car you’ve selected. As a sim racer, this is extremely boring.

24961084243_2d47fa5718_oHorrible third party mods have done the opposite of extending rFactor 2’s lifespan. The original rFactor spawned one of the biggest third party modding communities ever seen in modern PC gaming, as basically everyone who could use a 3D modeling program to spit out something half decent were able to pair with a self-proclaimed race car physics expert and shit out something that was within the ballpark of their virtual rendition’s real-world counterpart. For many reasons we’ve discussed previously here on, such as ISI’s unwillingness (until recently) to provide extensive documentation regarding the modding component, most modders who could inject rFactor 2 with fantastic third party content, instead jumped ship for Assetto Corsa. And that’s fine, they had every right to do so.

But this left rFactor 2 fans with EnduRacers, MAK-Corp, and UnitedRacingDesign as the three teams tasked with providing rFactor 2 owners with a set of compelling content for rFactor 2 beyond the vanilla list of cars and tracks. And of the three teams mentioned, only UnitedRacingDesign pushed out pieces of content that were worth the download, providing sim racers with five modern GTE entries and three DTM cars from 2013 before fucking off to other simulators.

rfactor2-2016-12-01-22-04-19-56The other two teams, MAK-Corp and EnduRacers, proceeded to create mods that were in no way realistic – thus invalidating the purpose of the software they had been created for. As we’ve discussed earlier in the week, MAK-Corp’s rendition of a 2004 Williams FW26 broke the real life Interlagos track record by eight seconds and could pull upwards of seven G’s under heavy braking thanks to the ability to abuse rapid-fire downshifting techniques, while the Porsche Carrera Cup mod put out by EnduRacers at the start of 2016 came with a set of tires that literally didn’t wear out, and could be driven sideways as if you’d purchased a copy of Driver: San Francisco. This behavior was also present in their highly-anticipated Endurance Series release from only a few weeks back, a mod featuring many GT and Prototype machinery from the late 2000’s.

endrSo in the four years of rFactor 2’s existence, we’ve got only eight cars in total worth downloading, and this same predicament is present when it comes to additional tracks. Because we’re at a point where a lot of work is needed to create a circuit from scratch, many people are opting to just rip content from other games where the locations have been created by a team of professionals. Which is fine, I don’t have a problem with ripped content because I’m an asshole.

However, there’s a catch.

While the laser-scanned versions of Brands Hatch and the Nurburgring Nordschleife originally found in Assetto Corsa are available for rFactor 2, nobody has actually sat down and optimized them for use in rFactor 2, meaning there are a whole bunch of cool tracks floating around for this game that actually drive like shit and cause heavy performance hits to your CPU. And though the temporary street circuits of Adelaide and Lester are exceptions to the rule, some of the stuff available for rFactor 2 on the Steam Workshop is just fucking sad.

672312691_preview_grab_003For a series that once thrived on third party content, we’re at a point where none of the remaining rFactor 2 mod teams have a fucking clue as to what they’re doing, either quickly converting ancient tracks to the new platform just for something different to race on, or churning out mods with tire compounds that physically impossible for Pirelli or Falken to create in real life, all while pretending rFactor 2 is the ultimate simulation platform and that the new mod releases use an abundance of real-world data.

rfactor2-2016-01-16-17-32-31-55Lastly, we have the online component. The consumer version of rFactor 2 requires you to purchase a separate online pass just to merely access the server browser you’re accustomed to seeing in a variety of rival racing simulators – a really boneheaded move when you examine why online passes were created in the first place.

rFactor 2 initially launched in early 2013, during a time where EA Sports was bundling these little pieces of paper called Online Passes within new copies of Madden, FIFA, NHL, and other miscellaneous sports games they were releasing. When you booted up FIFA for the first time, you were asked to enter the code written on the piece of paper, and this allowed you to access the numerous online portions of the title – which if you’re not aware, has been the main draw of sports games for several years

What the online pass did for EA Sports financially, is if some kid returned Madden to EB Games, and a savvy customer picked up that same used copy for half price, they could still make money off of this transaction at some point, which was when the kid eventually wanted to play against his friends online. Game developers don’t make money off of used video game sales, but to their credit, EA Sports found a loophole where they could. It was absolutely genius, and made sense for them as a business at the time – though they eventually scrapped the concept due to widespread complaints.

Despite all of this guaranteed to never occur with the rFactor 2 software – a kid in a Tom Brady jersey is never going to return a boxed copy of rFactor 2 to GameStop – ISI adopted the online pass system regardless. And because of how little fanfare the game received to begin with due to the above four elements I’ve already mentioned, those who bought the $14 CDN online pass quickly discovered the server browser was just as empty as all other server browsers for rival racing simulators, immediately told their friends not to purchase the online pass, and online racing for rFactor 2 died almost immediately after the servers went live.

Sure, there are still private leagues here and there, operating for a dedicated group of individuals whom still call rFactor 2 home, but compared to the followings enjoyed by iRacing, Assetto Corsa, Project CARS, RaceRoom Racing Experience, or even one of the Reiza titles, you’re basically forced to sign up for one of three different endurance racing leagues if you want to play rFactor 2 online at all. We’re talking hole-in-the-wall communities with extensive background checks and shit tests to prove you’re not a random asshole going to ruin their fun, rather than a lighthearted open league for people to sign up at their leisure, regardless of skill, and race on a specific day.

In conclusion, I’ve put rFactor 2 in the trash bin and don’t expect to be taking it out anytime soon.

Visually, the game is an abomination, only producing satisfactory visuals in very specific lighting and weather conditions that almost never happen during traditional gameplay. When racing offline, the AI opponents simply do not live up to the hype in the slightest that’s been endlessly regurgitated by resident trolls and shills hell-bent on spreading the gospel of rFactor 2. The default roster of content isn’t captivating in any sense of the imagination, and of the few modding teams left trying to breathe life into the simulator, even less actually know what the fuck they’re doing to begin with. Online racing is placed behind an unnecessary paywall, and the handful of leagues worth joining who do use rFactor 2 as their platform of choice all center around ultra-hardcore endurance racing events where driver swaps are mandatory. The real-road stuff, twenty four hour day/night cycle, and dynamic weather effects are all quite nice, but there are exactly zero reasons to sit down and play rFactor 2.

It’s a piece of software whose main achievement over the past few years is merely winning arguments against Assetto Corsa fanboys, and adding yet another random amateur open wheel car to the simulator simply won’t save it from its inevitable demise.