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!