90s Thruxton in Assetto Corsa: Throwback To BTCC’s Glory Days

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Going back to when BTCC was at the height of its popularity: 90s Thruxton for Assetto Corsa makes the glory days of British Touring Car racing come alive again, courtesy of RaceDepartment member @James Skinner.

Cars that looked like showroom versions on steroids, classic British circuits, door-to-door battles – there is little to not like about the BTCC in the 1990s. The championship even had multiple standalone racing games back then, with many sim racers looking back fondly at the TOCA series on PC and PlayStation.

In current sims, this era of touring cars is hardly part of first-party content. The cars can be found as mods on RaceDepartment (and other sources), though, such as 1999 versions of the Nissan Primera and the Volvo S40 or the 1998 BMW 320i, all created by @Patrik Marek.

Of course, the cars are one thing, but if there is one thing numerous mods for Assetto Corsa or rFactor 2 plus the extensive line-up of classic tracks in Automobilista 2 have shown, period-correct tracks to race them at are a big part of the equation as well. And luckily, such a version of the “Fastest Circuit in the UK” now exists for AC.

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Thruxton’s surroundings are about as different from those of ultra-smooth modern tracks as can be.

Thruxton’s Layout: Consistent Since 1968​

James Skinner had already released a modern version of Thruxton back in 2015, which got its last update to date in early 2022. Almost two years later, sim racers have been blessed by his 90s Thruxton for AC.

Not much has changed at Thruxton since car racing arrived properly at the Thruxton Aerodrome. The former RAF airbase had seen motorcycle racing since the 1940s, as well as a few car races until 1953. Four-wheeled competition returned in 1968, and this time, it was here to stay.

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Thruxton in its current guise, as used since 1968. Image credit: racingcircuits.info

In the following decades, Thruxton hosted anything from Touring Cars, endurance bike races, Interserie rounds (including Group C cars) and GT racing to even Formula One. The latter did not race there as part of the World Championship, but rather as the British Formula One Championship. This series ran from 1978 until 1982 and used slightly outdated F1 equipment, with cars often being second-hand examples from “proper” Formula One teams.

Sweeping Turns To Make Left-Side Tires Cry​

This all happened on the same layout that is in use to this day. First raced in 1968, this version of the circuit uses the perimeter roads of the airfield, which is still active using shortened runways. Aside from the Campbell-Cobb-Seagrave complex and the final Club chicane, Thruxton features rather fast sweepers, most of them right turns.

This means that even in 1990s BTCC cars, you will build up considerable speed. Heading through Brooklands and into club, these cars could exceed 230 kmh (143 mph). Turning right at high speeds for most of the lap is also challenging for the tires, as they are prone to excessive wear and overheating as a result, making the circuit much trickier than the layout might suggest – especially in low-downforce cars.

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The Club chicane is good to send it over the curbs – but also a prime spot for some chaos to occur.

Of course, these challenges are present in 90s Thruxton for Assetto Corsa as well. And so are the generous grass runoffs – being located at an airfield, the circuit naturally has a lot of space around it. Though rarer than usual, the odd bit of armco can be found if you are not careful, however.

90s Thruxton: From Reskin To New Project​

This still holds true today. And since no too much had changed at Thruxton compared to the 1990s, James had initially planned the 90s version to be just a reskin of the track. According to the track description, however, this soon morphed into a new project, including a new LIDAR scan.

Meanwhile, the surroundings do a splendid job to transport you back to the final decade of the old millenium. Sponsors, buildings, parked cars and more are unmistakably 90s, creating an excellent atmosphere to take the aforementioned BTCC cars out for a spin. Small details like the parked small airplanes in the infield or the working lap counter alongside the start/finish straight only add to this.

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“Positively no access” – thanks, we prefer staying on the perimeter track anyway!

The track does not portray a specific year, but is rather an amalgamation of research material available from different events. Certain sponsors may be absent in places you might expect them in as a result, depending on the event you have in mind. Overall, 90s Thruxton is a believable portrayal of the track as it could have looked like throughout the decade.

Or to put it differently: 90s Thruxton is an invitation to pick your favourite Touring Car of the era, hang on for dear life in the endless high-speed right turns, and sending it over the curbs like there is no tomorrow in the final chicane. You just know it will be a good time.

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Just like a stop at Burgerworld would be, we assume.

Have you tried 90s Thruxton in Assetto Corsa yet? Let us know your thoughts on Twitter @OverTake_gg or in the comments below!
About author
Yannik Haustein
Lifelong motorsport enthusiast and sim racing aficionado, walking racing history encyclopedia.

Sim racing editor, streamer and one half of the SimRacing Buddies podcast (warning, German!).

Heel & Toe Gang 4 life :D

Comments

Yes, I have been many times to Thruxton in BTCC cars in the past,, even have a grid all set up in my race preset.
Not been there in a while, so many interesting combos that it is hard to pay them all the respect they deserve.
Thank you so much to James Skinner for the track and Patrick Mareck for the great cars.
Thanks for the reminder, save me from having to decide, now, I have to go back to Thruxton.:D
 
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Kevin Troschinski
Premium
Sooo thats now the right place to advertise my "project" :D


Btw. Thruxton is brutal. Very unlikely to finish the race without troubles. Not my favorit among the british tracks....
 
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Ole Marius Myrvold
Staff
Premium

Fun :p
 
Medilloni
Premium
The track is a superb likeness, huge thanks to @James Skinner for that:thumbsup:

Did a racing course after karting and had one of my 1st (few!) FF races there - the sim version is so close to what I remember (was in the 80's:rolleyes:) - they've re-surfaced it over the years, but the bumps through Village and Church were a nightmare, so yeh, pleased they're not as bad in this version:roflmao:

Brian ( @Interslice ) is running a BTCC championship with the pm3dm cars, keeping tracks as close as poss to their era, some fantastic racing to be had there:inlove:
 

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