Automobilista 2 Racin' USA Pt 2 Review.jpg
Even though CART cars of the late 1990s are very popular among motorsports fans and sim racers alike, the turbocharged rocketships have never been part of any modern simulation. The newest DLC pack of Reiza Studios for Automobilista 2, which is called “Racin’ USA Pt. 2” changes that – and it was only the beginning!

While the first part of Racin’ USA focused on the IMSA series, it is all about the country’s open-wheel history this time around. Three CART vehicles of the 1998 class – the Reynard 98i, the Swift 009 and the Lola T98/00 – are now available in AMS2 and make up the F-USA Gen 2 class. The cars come in four variations in the Reynard’s case, which differ in the engine configuration and offer the choice between Ford, Honda, Mercedes and Toyota to the player. The other two cars are powered by Ford, as they were in the real 1998 season. Only Goodyear as the second tire manufacturer is missing, all cars use Firestone rubber.

With this, Reiza follows in the footsteps of the almost legendary CART Fator (rFactor) and CART Extreme (Game Stock Car Extreme/Automobilista) mods, which are considered among the best ever created in sim racing. The developer has created a worthy successor to them – the CART cars feel extremely good to drive! It is immediately obvious that you are sitting in a single-seater with horsepower numbers far beyond the 800 mark, meaning a careful throttle foot is mandatory. The cars have a lot of downforce thanks to their big wings, but understeer considerably in slower corners at the same time. The right amount of throttle does get them to rotate though – the cars are the epitome of “slow in, fast out”.

Mastering these cars takes a lot of practice because of this, especially since their transmission uses a sequential stick that likes some blipping on downshifts. Pushing the new cars in AMS2 to the limit is an intense but rewarding experience, which the sound of the turbo V8 only adds to – as soon as other drivers were flying past me while I was sitting in the pits, I noticed goosebumps.

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Meanwhile, there are two new tracks that are part of the update as well: Watkins Glen is now on board, even though the cars never raced there, as well as the Burke Lakefront Airport course in Cleveland – which has never been recreated in a modern sim either. Its layout may be simple, but the width of the runways as well as their bumpiness make hitting the apexes correctly or powering out of corners without losing the rear end a true challenge. The Glen is relatively smooth compared to Cleveland, but is an instant classic in AMS2 that is incredibly fun in any sort of car as well.

In short: The CART cars are unbelievably fun. It is a great challenge to use all of their potential, which is sure to make sim racers sweat. Just like the cars were considered as very demanding in real motorsports – without ABS, traction control or even power steering.

With the release of the two tracks and the 98 cars, Reiza is not finished with the DLC pack, however: Cars from the 1995 season – the final year before the series split into CART and IRL – and 2000 are set to join the vehicle roster in December, while the third track of the pack has been revealed to be Road America – a legend in IndyCar and CART history. In addition to this, the cars are going to get their oval configurations added at a later date, too. This strongly hints at the addition of oval tracks and the racing discipline as a whole. Reiza knows how to make open wheel fans happy.

Have you given the new DLC a try yet? Let us know what you think about the cars and tracks 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

BillyBobSenna
Premium
Wow. The CART cars are great to drive. I just finished upgrading my computer including a fresh install of the system drive. The only sim I have loaded in AMS2. The only car I have driven is the new CART cars on Cleveland and Long Beach. What a blast. The Hp is really amazing. It may be a while before I install the next sim.
 
The cars are really fun. Cleveland is awesome. I know its a simple layout, but its an emotionally charged track for me. From CART to Trans-am to IROC. Its more challenging than it looks and will take a while to learn.

My beefs are why have all the MUSCO lighting around Cleveland if the lights don't work (judging by videos I've seen). And Watkins is authentic when it comes to track surface but is missing some obvious visual things around the track. The Toyota tower on the back straight, the empty billboard in the last corner that faces the main grandstand, and the bridge that crosses before start finish? Why such obvious omissions? I used all of those as some sort of signal when I raced there this summer. Also the look back button doesn't work in the CART cars.
 
I completely agree with this review. The 1998 CARTs are soooo much fun. Nothing I can add except they really *feel* real and « alive ». The new tracks are also great. Watkins Glen is famous for its fast and fun layout. Cleveland takes some time to get used to and the ideal line driving aid really allowed me to learn the track, but once I was able to establish my braking points, I was hooked.

I can’t wait for Road America, my favorite American circuit.
 
Because its very hit and miss.

Agree. They released some really good content this time around, but still it feels half baked. Needs more polish.

They also released with so much content that just did not need to carry over into AMS2. Does anyone drive the hot hatches and the Brazilian club racing cars?

At times I wish early access wasn't a thing and devs would be forced to set scope, and do it right before asking your beta testers to pay you for the privilege.
 
BillyBobSenna
Premium
I completely agree with this review. The 1998 CARTs are soooo much fun. Nothing I can add except they really *feel* real and « alive ». The new tracks are also great. Watkins Glen is famous for its fast and fun layout. Cleveland takes some time to get used to and the ideal line driving aid really allowed me to learn the track, but once I was able to establish my braking points, I was hooked.

I can’t wait for Road America, my favorite American circuit.
The first time I tried Cleveland, I became lost on the runways and ended up going the wrong direction on the track. Ha, ha.

Its definitely a different type of track. Great to have the diversity of track types. Just need the ovals now.
 
Why most of sim-racers still don't play AMS2?
Because many people think this game is PCARS 2.5, although that has long been the case.

They also released with so much content that just did not need to carry over into AMS2. Does anyone drive the hot hatches and the Brazilian club racing cars?

Many of these cars are great - prototypes, sprint cars, and Fusca are not bad either :)
 
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My beefs are why have all the MUSCO lighting around Cleveland if the lights don't work (judging by videos I've seen). And Watkins is authentic when it comes to track surface but is missing some obvious visual things around the track. The Toyota tower on the back straight, the empty billboard in the last corner that faces the main grandstand, and the bridge that crosses before start finish? Why such obvious omissions? I used all of those as some sort of signal when I raced there this summer.

These will probably be added as Reiza usually iterate on tracks to improve them.
 
Does anyone drive the hot hatches and the Brazilian club racing cars?
Yeah, just did a few minutes ago, Hot Cars Pas around the Nordschleife, 3 lap race. Very enjoyable, and you have time to check your emails on the Döttinger Höhe :)

Although there was always a good balance between content from Brazilian racing series and "global" stuff, I actually wish they'd focus even more on Brazilian cars and tracks, right after adding a few Alfas and the AMG 300SEL to the game.
 
Why most of sim-racers still don't play AMS2?

Good question. A few possible reasons:

- people locked 24/24 into their GT3 on Monza/Spa, thus playing ACC
- multiplayer being more developed in other sims (ACC, iRacing, R3E, ....)
- Reiza does not promote AMS2 much, thus many possibly interested simracers not reading RD may not know about it
- AC, the old sim that will never die and that will actually bury all other sims (including AC2) because of its myriad of obscure mods people enjoy on their decade old (or no so old) PC
- some simracers will never get along AMS2 physics, for some reason. Usually invoking PC2 as argument
- AMS2 is rolling software in the sense it is continuously improved as fast as Reiza can, and for years to come. Thus it will be finished the day Reiza stops working on it (which is not anytime soon). With this model, everything is not always entirely finished and polished when released (although most glaring issues fixed super fast), there might be bugs here and there... Although as a software developer I find this development model fascinating (patch ASAP, fix ASAP, for which only the PC offers this flexibility) as you witness a sim improving month after month, this may not be to the taste of other simracers preferring a more conservative model.

That being said, since patch 1.3, AMS2 has doubled its user base (looking at steamcharts) and is now at the level of rF2. This is no small thing as AMS2 was released a bit more than 1.5 years ago, compared to a lot more years for rF2 (which also has plenty of mods). So things are moving in the right direction. With future focus on easy and organized MP, plus more polish and content, things are looking good.
 
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"My beefs are why have all the MUSCO lighting around Cleveland if the lights don't work (judging by videos I've seen)."
Hey Ryan, The lighting comes on for me. Even the blue airport lighting along the apex's.
Also the look back button doesn't work in the CART cars.
I've mapped a button and it works fine in CART.

Thought I'd share my experience at Cleveland which I'm loving (CART and DPI). Reminds me a lot of Sebring.
 

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MrBraindown
Premium
The first time I tried Cleveland, I became lost on the runways and ended up going the wrong direction on the track. Ha, ha.

Its definitely a different type of track. Great to have the diversity of track types. Just need the ovals now.
Agree with this. I've never been more confused in modern sim racing as I was on my first drive around Cleveland. I had no clue where the track went in places, but I certainly wasn't following it!! Ended up completely lost as my Cart didn't seem to have a SatNav.
 
Why most of sim-racers still don't play AMS2?
I downloaded the AMS2 demo yesterday to try and get a sense of what everyone was talking about, as there seems to be a bit of a buzz recently about the game.

Now, first of all, I'm no marketing genius, but putting out a demo of a racing sim and making it so that the only cars available are two underpowered family cars, doesn't seem to me like a case of the devs putting their best foot forward. I get that it's apparently tied in with some sort of esports promotion, but still.

I'm on a CSL DD, and I used the recommended wheel & game settings supplied by Fanatec, and I have to say... the whole thing just felt very... underwhelming. I could adjust things to get a little more or less road detail, or make the overall forces heavier or lighter, but it never felt really convincing. It all felt very detached.

I immediately popped in AC with similar cars (Abarth 500) around a somewhat similar track (Cadwell Park), and it felt infinitely better. The cars felt like they had proper mass, they reacted predictably, and the FFB felt so much more communicative than what I was able to get from AMS2.

I don't know if maybe the demo is not reflective of the state of FFB in the current full game release, or maybe I just haven't dialed in my settings quite right, but if this is the best I can expect from AMS2, I think it may be a hard pass for me.
 
Why most of sim-racers still don't play AMS2?
Sim racers raved about AMS....yet hardly anyone played it consistently....its all-time peak was 460.
AMS2 has easily doubled its average player base and peak numbers so it is gaining popularity.

IMO I feel there are several reasons....
Random obscured Brazilian content that very few outside of brazil has heard of.
Quality of content is a mixed bag
Pre-patch v1.3 and current, the ffb/physics are a mixed bag....tho slightly better for some cars now.
Parts of the ffb feel good but then certain parts of a lap feel disconnected and artificial
AI is a mixed bag
The custom championship is a mixed bag
So many little bugs carried over from PC1/PC2
Lack of in-game options
Lack of information on the official forms for in-game options and what is enabled or not...ex loose surface physics...FFB recommendations are over a yr old. etc.
Marketing
Multiplayer, until the recent update multiplayer, had no real purpose outside of running some laps with buddies.
Even with the new ranked place holder from pc2 it really does nothing other than give you a rating and block users with a lower rating from joining.
ATM 80% of the servers are just disabling the ranking option.
Vr performance tanks for most with avg. systems during weather/overcast and night racing.

Overall the game is improving and I look forward to future updates but I feel it has a ways to go before it becomes my go-to title.

Regarding the recent DLC release......I'm not a cart fan.....tho I'm very interested in obtaining Watkins Glen and Road America..... does anyone know if we will be able to just purchase certain pieces of content from this DLC?
 
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