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Sims Within Sims – Extra Driving Modes To Try Within Your Favourite Racing Title

Most of us use our favourite racing titles for a few specific things, but there are additional modes in many sims that you should check out.

Game developers have to strike a balance between loading enough features into a game release to keep us interested and adding features that will go unnoticed. In the latter case, often the features lose out in popularity to the main mode of the game.

Below are some racing sim features that you may not have tried yet, or modes that you have simply forgotten. None of these are hidden within the title, they’re just not discussed as much as the main modes of play.

Drag Racing in Assetto Corsa
Assetto Corsa is arguably the best racing sim for driving supercars. Ferrari, Lamborghini McLaren, Pagani and countless other exotic car manufacturers feature prominently in AC. While most users choose to rip these cars around tracks like Nordschleife, Spa, and Monza, there’s another way to test the wild performance of them: drag racing.

Quarter mile times are still a common data point auto manufacturers use to brag about their newest models. And AC lets you test those figures for yourself. And not only can you drag race exotic road cars, you can also see how your favourite supercar stacks up against race cars in straight line acceleration. Bonus tip: use the AccelTest app to record your 0-100, 0-200 etc. times.

How to access it: Simply choose one of the five drag tracks (under Italy if you sort by country) and add one AI car

Hotlapping in BeamNG
When you think of BeamNG, odds are that you think of a scenario like a pickup truck rolling down a hill with pieces flying off, or a generic performance car splitting nearly in two after hitting a pole at highway speeds. But the same level of attention to detail in the physics makes the time trial mode a pleasant surprise.

BeamNG doesn’t come stock with any major auto brand names or world class tracks, but the generic version of either that’s included with BNG are well designed. Combined with the wheel and pedal sets many of us have, this becomes a rewarding and realistic hotlapping / hotstint sim.

How to access it: From the main menu, choose Drive and then Time Trial, then choose a car and track and number of laps.

Extra Modes in Racing Sims 02.jpg


Rallycross in Project CARS 2
Project CARS 2 tried to cover many bases with its stock content, including both race cars and road cars. Mixed among the many race cars were several Rallycross cars. And Slightly Mad Studios wisely thought to add rallycross tracks as well, which made full RX races possible.

Tossing each of the Rallycross cars around the short, tight, off-road race circuits is surprising fun. PC2 has a mixed legacy for many in the sim community, but the Rallycross experience holds up nicely.

How to access it: Choose a car by sorting by class first, then choosing an RX car. Then choose a track with Rallycross in the title.

Rally and Drift in Automobilista
Reiza Studios’ first Automobilista title was a hardcore sim racer’s dream and is still well-loved to this day. It has become synonymous with the South American track racing scene, but there are some additional driving modes to check out.

Automobilista includes two modes that are less publicized than the circuit racing. Reiza has included dirt and drift cars and tracks for us to enjoy. Not unlike BeamNG, the underlying physics in AMS mean that it’s going to feel awesome in almost any driving scenario.

How to access it: Choose a DIRT or DRIFT class car from the main menu. Your track selection screen will be filtered in kind.

Have you tried any of these additional driving modes? Let us know your thoughts on them, or share your own way to enjoy a racing title that people might not be currently familiar with.
About author
Mike Smith
I have been obsessed with sim racing and racing games since the 1980's. My first taste of live auto racing was in 1988, and I couldn't get enough ever since. Lead writer for RaceDepartment, and owner of SimRacing604 and its YouTube channel. Favourite sims include Assetto Corsa Competizione, Assetto Corsa, rFactor 2, Automobilista 2, DiRT Rally 2 - On Twitter as @simracing604

Comments

I've tried drifting and drag racing in Assetto Corsa, but I'm not really interested in those.
I do like the rallycross and rally stages in AC though, they can be surprisingly good with a good gravel spec car and a good track mod.
 
@Mike Smith
How do you leave iRacing out of this conversation?
IMO it's why I pay the money as I find it offers the most "sims within the sim "modes under one roof with official content.

Road racing
Oval
Dirt oval
Dirt Road Rallycross & Off Road trucks, along with loose surface physics which the only other game that offers it is Pcars and soon AMS2
Mount Washington point to point
hot lapping
time trials
AI
League Racing
Season Racing
 
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I play AC just by driving alone on big tracks like Nordschelife, High Force and Los Angeles Canyons. Usually with road cars. Not the ideal way according to most people, and some might even consider it a "waste", but I don't care. Without a wheel there's not much racing I can do. My hands give up after certain time at the controller, and the intermitent twitching of my right thumb doesn't help.

EDIT - And of course, the elitism of this site already showed itself... I wonder why I keep bothering with this forum at all. I should just restrict myself to the downloads here. Thank you guys for the support.
 
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Live for speed also has rallycross. Lfs also has autocross and it even allows you to make your own autocross layouts inside the game. You can even make layouts for the tracks so not just car parks and parking lots.

Automobilista 1 has ralycross too irc, at least one or couple of tracks and a 4wd rallycar to go with it.

A lot of sims also allow you to make skins. That can be fun variety if you want to do simracingsystem races in ac for example, you can se your own skins and the game automatically shares your and other's skin. For free. Making skins can be really fun and good variety if you feel a bit burned out from simracing.

All games almost offer some kind of ranked online play nowadays. Ac has multiple such offerings, srs being the most popular. Then you have raceu and world simseries and I'm forgetting one more. Raceroom has ranked servers which usually provide as good racing as any other ranked or scheduled racing systems but raceroom has more forgiving netcode. Rf2 has scheduled races as well alhough I don't know how popular those are. So if you want ranked racing there is more out there than just iracing.

There are also hotlapping events and leaderboards in some sims. While hotlapping has a bit negative taste to it I think it is really useful to sometimes really take the time and focus on just single car/track combo and learning it. It'll always make you overall little faster and some games even have ghosts and telemetry that can tell inside the game where you are losing or gaining time. It can be frustrating but I think that is also valuable as a learning tool.
 
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And of course, the elitism of this site already showed itself
Where exactly? Personally I loved your comment as I do pretty much the same. Before I had a wheel I’d spend a lot of time just trying cars and tracks not trying to master anything just having fun.
 
Not really a sim within a sim but something I love to do is find tracks with exterior roads and go explore.

some mod tracks have quite extensive maps that allow you to drive from the garage out onto public roads. Personally I love this kind of extra detail.
 
Not really a sim within a sim but something I love to do is find tracks with exterior roads and go explore.

some mod tracks have quite extensive maps that allow you to drive from the garage out onto public roads. Personally I love this kind of extra detail.
never done that on purpose but sometimes you spin off the track and realize it's a game because you hit one of these invisible walls where the game just ends. In Race07 this was a common problem in modded tracks: you could just drop off the cliff at certain points (I remember one particlular case in the otherwiese excellent Portimao mod) and you would then be suspended in midair sort of under the track but with a view to the virtual clouds.
 
Assetto Corsa's drift challenges can be surprisingly fun to me, chasing the right combos and scoring enough points to earn the gold medal gave me some good old "arcade" vibes ! Even though I suck at it.
 
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AC, the sandbox sim where you can do whatever you want. LMP Endurance at LeMans, F1 at Istanbul, streetcars on Union Island or illegal night races at Shutoko. I love it!
 
Where exactly? Personally I loved your comment as I do pretty much the same. Before I had a wheel I’d spend a lot of time just trying cars and tracks not trying to master anything just having fun.
Sorry, I overreacted a bit to the very first reaction to my comment which was a laughing emoji (by someone who never even posted himself, I should have checked that earlier). After that I got nothing but likes. I probably care too much about this.
 
Sorry, I overreacted a bit to the very first reaction to my comment which was a laughing emoji (by someone who never even posted himself, I should have checked that earlier). After that I got nothing but likes. I probably care too much about this.
Yeah I think it's easy for text to be interpreted in different ways, especially when you don't know the individual personalities of the people posting. But your latest edit to your original post is great to see.

And yeah, I totally get where you were coming from with the controller fatigue, I remember it all too well.
 
In that case I reckon I'm not a part of the subset "most of us".
When I acquire a new sim/game, the first thing on my todo list is to test and try all options in the standard GUI even before entering a proper race, and before mingling with files and so on. So a bit dissapointed, expecting a "hidden gems" Pandora Box, but the mentioned are all standard GUI options.
Sorry, don't ment to be harsh to the OP.
But speaking std. GUI options, try the GTR2 Driving School. Complete the full school more times, competing with yourself. Speaking another tread on "how to improve race performance", this is quite effective, competing yourself in this school format and your improvements can be converted to other sims.

Btw, speaking "hidden gems" for AC I can strongly advice surfing around possibilities in Content Manager. E.g. a simple thing as Track Day option, usefull for cruising in traffic mods, open test day lobby, e.g.
 
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BeamNG also has some decent drag strip mods. Kind of a pain to recycle into your next run though. I bring this up not to duplicate Mike’s suggestion of drag racing in AC, but because it’s BeamNG and you can do the obligatory BeamNG thing of…you know…put a JATO on it.

Now I of course did this with nothing more than silly fun as intentions. I forgot which car I first put a JATO on at a drag strip, but it resulted in the expected “OMFG that’s absurdly stupidly fast!!!” experience. So why do I bring up the seemingly obvious here? Because when I looked at the numbers what seemed like utter lunacy was in fact in line with what Top Fuel cars actually run in real life.
 
The reason Pcars2 is still on my PC is because of the Rallycross content, SMS did a really good job of this IMO.
Indeed, and the track selection, although short, is really good. The RC brands hatch, I had been expecting this one in modern sims since I drove it in toca race driver! Still amazing.
 

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