The Beauty of Time Travel in Sim Racing

The Beauty of Time Travel in Sim Racing.jpg
Going back to the good old days has to be one of the most prevalent notions in racing. Back then, everything was better after all, says almost every motorsports fan ever. While this is often not even the case if things are looked at somewhat subjectively, feelings of nostalgia can evoke strong emotions, and sim racing is in a unique position regarding these feelings - it can be a great way to travel back in time a little and experience long-gone periods in the history of the sport once again.

This mostly means being able to drive historic cars that would never be driven in anger in real life again, or to race at tracks that no longer exist - just immersing oneself in the sport's past. I recently wrote an article over at SimRacing Unlimited about this type of time travel, having raced a Maserati 250F at the spectacular Bremgarten by Fat Alfie.

It was in the following days and weeks that I found out about another way sim racing allows you to go back in time. The catalyst: Finally driving the RSS GT pack cars in Assetto Corsa for the first time.

I know, I was late to the party. The pack was finished in 2018, yet I never got around to trying them as I was racing on console for quite a while. I had seen videos on the cars however, and sometimes you just get that itch to drive a certain car or track. So I did. And it was amazing.

The quality of the cars is astounding, which makes for a very pleasant experience. The time travel aspect is a result of the choice of car class, however: The RSS GT pack features six GT1 vehicles from circa 2004 - the same ones that were the main focus in GTR2 back in the day.

Screenshot_rss_gtn_ferruccio_36_monza_3-7-121-14-46-3_MIN.jpg


A very popular title in sim racing after its release in 2006, GTR2 was a substantial part of my sim racing career for years. A full day/night cycle, changeable weather, full FIA GT endurance rules and even the ability to drive a full 24-hour race including mid-session saves made the sim truly special and ahead of its time.

A Teenage Sim Racer Again​


Firing up the RSS cars in AC for the first time immediately took me back to being a teenager and playing GTR2 for hours on end - on a gamepad no less, because being able to afford a wheel was a long way off back then. Memories of countless attempts at the 24 Hours of Spa and trying to complete a full season came back, as did the seemingly endless number of mods I had installed. It was an unexpected journey, but very much one I appreciated.

Thinking about it, being taken back to an older sim via another sim is a bit of a curious case. It does show the unique capabilities of sim racing if you want to go back in time, though.

Would playing GTR2 today have the same effect? I am honestly not sure. While the sim has aged relatively well, there is no denying that it is 15 years old at the time of writing - at least visually. The driving and its physics are still up to par today, though, which speaks volumes about the quality of the sim. Meanwhile, AC works wonders for bringing back the same joy of those days when GTR2 was the sim to race in. And now, if you will excuse me, I will be busy trying to thread a Lister Storm through the insane chicanes at Enna Pergusa for a bit while listening to its glorious V12 soundtrack.
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

Apparently there are several of us nostalgic this month, I just bought a PS3 just to play the Gran Turismo titles that I had never tried as a PC user, but my G923 is not recognized by the console, so I looked at the virtual store most important in Argentina and to my surprise I got a brand new Logitech Driving Force GT without use.
Now before reading this note I just installed GTR2 to feel it with this steering wheel and reminisce about those old and tasty times. All the best!!
 
Bram
Staff
Premium
I miss GTR 2, I miss GT Legends but when I am getting really nostalgic I am even missing Indy 500 on the Amiga. I think it shows what a great time I've had with those titles back in the days. I hope the feel the same about the current titles in ten to twenty years from now.
 
NASCAR2 on PC, one could already "paint" the cars with an editor easily, so I put my whole family on the grid, also one could save games at any given point in the race (unlike the old lemans 24h game where one could only save at pit stop, lol) so i did full length daytona 500 games in small bits and pieces very family friendly it all was :)
 
Raymond Racing
Premium
I think the first Sim I ever played was the demo of Evolution Studios' WRC II Extreme on the PlayStation 2 via one of the PS2 Demo Discs; I wasn't very good at it because I was very young at the time but I always loved racking up the damage with either one of the two cars in that demo (you only had the Peugeot 206 or Skoda Octavia 1U WRC to choose from). And even now the two main themes from that game (Come With Us for the intro FMV and Star Guitar for the main menus, both by the Chemical Brothers) stick with me.

 
You need at least to try gtr2 again with the amazing work that the iron wolf put into it to support VR and many more things like the recent gearbox Simulation. I was really suprised how goot it still is especially in VR its a blast with todays hardware. And dont forget the great P&G mod which brings a great motorsport era to live.
 
GTR233
Premium
For people who want to play GTR2 with all the fixes/updates I have made during 6 years with some friends then look at GTR2 HQ Anniversary PATCH (3.5 Go of data, more than 10 000 files updated)

part-1 : https://www.racedepartment.com/downloads/gtr2-hq-anniversary-patch-part-1.21415/

part-2 : https://www.racedepartment.com/downloads/gtr2-hq-anniversary-patch-part-2.32658/

Hotfix :

DOWNLOAD AND EXTRACT THE 2 PARTS OF THIS PATCH IN YOUR GTR2 INSTALL, apply HOTFIX and run GTR2_SETUP.CMD to set 40 pages of options : you will have 2 games in 1, base game is quite untouched, and HQ cars&tracks (with HQ tag in menu) with all updates like working wipers and hundreds of bug fixes :)
 
You need at least to try gtr2 again with the amazing work that the iron wolf put into it to support VR and many more things like the recent gearbox Simulation. I was really suprised how goot it still is especially in VR its a blast with todays hardware. And dont forget the great P&G mod which brings a great motorsport era to live.
Will have to try it. GTR blew me away when I first ran it. I'd never heard cars sound that good before.
 
The irony is, objectively as a sim and a game, GTR2 is still much better and more complete than the original AC. So the sad reality is, excluding graphics and maybe sound, the past was indeed better.

And it keeps getting better with Iron Wolf's improvements.
 
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The irony is, objectively as a sim and a game, GTR2 is still much better and more complete than the original AC. So the sad reality is, excluding graphics and maybe sound, the past was indeed better.
Maybe you can argue the game aspect, but I welcome you to develop car models for both GTR2 and AC like I have then still have the opinion that GTR2 is a better sim. Seeing as you said objectively, I'm sure you've done telemetry correlation of models in GTR2 and AC and came to that conclusion that way.
 
Maybe you can argue the game aspect, but I welcome you to develop car models for both GTR2 and AC like I have then still have the opinion that GTR2 is a better sim. Seeing as you said objectively, I'm sure you've done telemetry correlation of models in GTR2 and AC and came to that conclusion that way.
You again? I dont even need telemetry. AC1 has nowhere near the same number of aero and suspension variables and features simulated. Yes, this is OBJECTIVELY speaking.
 
You again? I dont even need telemetry. AC1 has nowhere near the same number of aero and suspension variables and features simulated. Yes, this is OBJECTIVELY speaking.
I don't know who you are, but it's good you recognize me at least.

Have you confirmed how many of those features and variables actually result in more accurate behavior? Are you sure that the implementations in gMotor/ISI sims are even correct? You said objectively so I'm gonna need some hard proof.

Do you know all the formulas behind the tire behavior in gMotor? Have you done telemetry correlation to determine they're all correct? On the AC side there *are* people who have, and due to that modded AC has been able to fix most of the bad implementations. How about gMotor? Do you even know how your models of choice work?

Honestly speaking the only things gMotor does significantly better than vanilla AC is that the internal suspension forces are less buggy in DWB (IIRC, I haven't confirmed this in years), the slipcurves can be split up by default and there is support for aeromaps.

The slipcurve stuff is quite important I admit, although aeromaps are irrelevant for almost all cars barring actual aero cars. Cphys in AC does add a proper implementation for all of that stuff including fixing the internal forces, so I guess modded AC is "objectively" superior.

The rest of the gMotor stuff is generally just an alternate implementation for literally the same thing. Very much of that is just different hygiene, but for the exact same end result. AC and gMotor both have their own stupidity in this regard in some things, but it's nothing you can't work around. Well except the heating models which are just bad in both, apart from modded AC.

Not to mention AC has more suspension types supported than the gMotor sims do, if amount of features is all you care about. Hell, I'm even going to be honest with you and admit that STRUT and ML are not bug-free and ideally implemented in AC, but still; amount of features. ;)
 
Durge Driven
Premium
2014....

rFactor2 had driver swapa 2 years before that announcement, iracing gets " incredible ! " " new era of racing ! "
while at the same time rfactor2 gets nothing " incredible ! "

typical ! lol ;)
 
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Robin_NL
Premium
Enna Pergusa, Oh I remember that in the Ferrari 550...
I'm now driving the RSS Saleen and Lister again. The Saleen is so almost perfect.
The Lister only has a '7000' redline, I remember playing with that sound a few years ago, but beyond 7000 it fades away to zero sound...

What's the best Enna Pergusa for AC? I found only one...

Cheers
Robin
 
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Apparently there are several of us nostalgic this month, I just bought a PS3 just to play the Gran Turismo titles that I had never tried as a PC user, but my G923 is not recognized by the console, so I looked at the virtual store most important in Argentina and to my surprise I got a brand new Logitech Driving Force GT without use.
Now before reading this note I just installed GTR2 to feel it with this steering wheel and reminisce about those old and tasty times. All the best!!
I totally understand your feeling. Like you, 3 weeks back even I purchased a used PS3 just to play older Gran Turismo titles and F1 Championship edition. Sure, these games are not as good as the recent ones, but boy! having missed out on these titles while I was a kid, experiencing them now is just a good feeling..
 
I don't know who you are, but it's good you recognize me at least.

Have you confirmed how many of those features and variables actually result in more accurate behavior? Are you sure that the implementations in gMotor/ISI sims are even correct? You said objectively so I'm gonna need some hard proof.

Do you know all the formulas behind the tire behavior in gMotor? Have you done telemetry correlation to determine they're all correct? On the AC side there *are* people who have, and due to that modded AC has been able to fix most of the bad implementations. How about gMotor? Do you even know how your models of choice work?

Honestly speaking the only things gMotor does significantly better than vanilla AC is that the internal suspension forces are less buggy in DWB (IIRC, I haven't confirmed this in years), the slipcurves can be split up by default and there is support for aeromaps.

The slipcurve stuff is quite important I admit, although aeromaps are irrelevant for almost all cars barring actual aero cars. Cphys in AC does add a proper implementation for all of that stuff including fixing the internal forces, so I guess modded AC is "objectively" superior.

The rest of the gMotor stuff is generally just an alternate implementation for literally the same thing. Very much of that is just different hygiene, but for the exact same end result. AC and gMotor both have their own stupidity in this regard in some things, but it's nothing you can't work around. Well except the heating models which are just bad in both, apart from modded AC.

Not to mention AC has more suspension types supported than the gMotor sims do, if amount of features is all you care about. Hell, I'm even going to be honest with you and admit that STRUT and ML are not bug-free and ideally implemented in AC, but still; amount of features. ;)
I can smell an AC fanboy when i see it.

A small list for you:

Brake heating, brake wearing, engine wear based on revs and temperature, oil and water temperature interaction together with speed heat, exponential aero effects, proper aero parts front and rear and diffuser with wayyy more parameters than AC1, (but you dismiss this is "irrelevant" lol) suspension actually based on a physical model that you can implement based on real forces (so it doesnt need to "support" more types, you can just build them), tire wear maps, tire slipcurves totally customizable, proper dampening implementation...

Yellow flag rule sets, rolling starts, safety/pace cars, proper rules implementation. Iron wolf added to GTR2 proper transmission simulation, and many other features too. gMotor can have proper corner cut penalties, rain )in GTR2), day and night cycles already in game, etc

Do you know all the formulas behind the tire behavior in gMotor? Have you done telemetry correlation to determine they're all correct? On the AC side there *are* people who have, and due to that modded AC has been able to fix most of the bad implementations. How about gMotor? Do you even know how your models of choice work?

Sure, and yet, you still can't go over kerbs in AC1. Wake me up when that is not an issue. Not that the AC userbase cares that much, AC, even with all the CSP stuff is NOT a racing game, its a cruising/drift game at this point.

Of couse, you will dismiss all this because your arrogance is immense, but be my guest, i wont turn this thread into yet another place for you to boast your ego.

Edit: Oh and tell me again how in order to simulate the GTR2 cars, aeromaps are "irrelevant". That was a very good one.
 
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@Richard Wilks

You're right about the "game" features of GTR2, I don't think there is any arguing there. AC is not super great as a "racing" sim but it's a great "driving" sim. Hence why much of the mod content is geared towards non-racecar content.

The CSP stuff isn't supposed to make it into a racing sim though, it was developed to be used (and is used now) as a pro sim in prototype racing series. I'm talking about strictly car behavior here, not rules or pitstops or whatever. If you include the total experience into the equation then maybe you are right, there are many things AC can't do well or at all.

The reason AC has "types" is because it just determines the joint types. It's still a kinematic solver and not inherently worse or better than gMotor, they should both output more or less the same behavior ie: do exactly the same thing.

The suspension is a free joint system in gMotor? I admit it's been quite some time but last I checked, I wasn't able to determine if a joint is a slide-joint, ball-joint etc. and apply stiffnesses to them. You could define some joint-member relationships and spindle friction but it wasn't completely free like a professional suspension kinematics software would be. Am I wrong?

If you want you can explain fully the gMotor suspension system because I am quite curious if I somehow just didn't notice some great functionality in it. Are the joint definitions just hidden in another file or something? Why did everyone emulate struts, trailing arms, swing axles etc. with DWB if it is a completely free joint system?

How does the damping (Dampening? Like how wet it is?) implementation differ between gMotor and AC? Or the tire wear? Last I checked they do the same things with similar limitations. It basically just comes down to how you input it into the configuration files ie: hygiene. It's been almost a decade though so maybe I just didn't notice their multiple knee or blowoff system or whatever you must be referring to.
The heat and wear effects are also kind of an inaccurate "gamey" thing in all of these sims so I'm not sure why you mention them.

You are right about the slipcurves, like I said. Modded AC does fix that, but this is about GTR2 vs vanilla AC I presume. I'm not gonna go into the *rest* of the tire behavior though, it's been a bit too long so I might say some lies. Hence why if you feel like explaining why exactly the gMotor implementations are more correct than AC, go ahead. I'm just going off memory here.

You should know if having full aeromaps is a definitive necessity in relatively low-downforce racecars or not. It's a kind of "if you know you know" thing. Like I said, the ability to *have* aeromaps is an advantage.

gMotor handles bumps better because it has a kind of spike filtering going on IIRC. The bump profile on tracks is dramatically different from other sims to get similar behavior. Not sure that is better because it'll bring its own problems.

Oh, I forgot that AC has a rudimentary turbo system that gMotor didn't really have until IIRC Automobilista 1. Or maybe some version of Stock Car? I remember Niels making a video about that so it does exist now. Although for most cars this is approaching the "irrelevant" status but it does matter a lot for earlier turbo racecars with their significant lag.

I'm curious, who are you? I can't recognize you from the GTR2 and rF modders but maybe it's just my bad memory. I left GTR2 modding just on the tail-end, then hopped into rF1 for a few years until mostly migrating to AC by 2016 or so. Are you just a very old head or did you actually start modding GTR2 *after* I moved on? That'd be quite funny.

Honestly good old rF1 is probably better than vanilla AC in some contexts so I think some day I will port one of my cars and find out. Decade-old info isn't super reliable, everyone has learned a lot since then.
 
For people who want to play GTR2 with all the fixes/updates I have made during 6 years with some friends then look at GTR2 HQ Anniversary PATCH (3.5 Go of data, more than 10 000 files updated)

part-1 : https://www.racedepartment.com/downloads/gtr2-hq-anniversary-patch-part-1.21415/

part-2 : https://www.racedepartment.com/downloads/gtr2-hq-anniversary-patch-part-2.32658/

Hotfix :

DOWNLOAD AND EXTRACT THE 2 PARTS OF THIS PATCH IN YOUR GTR2 INSTALL, apply HOTFIX and run GTR2_SETUP.CMD to set 40 pages of options : you will have 2 games in 1, base game is quite untouched, and HQ cars&tracks (with HQ tag in menu) with all updates like working wipers and hundreds of bug fixes :)
the best part they release constant updates for thig gem, also work great with my g29 and load cell mod
 
I miss GTR 2, I miss GT Legends but when I am getting really nostalgic I am even missing Indy 500 on the Amiga. I think it shows what a great time I've had with those titles back in the days. I hope the feel the same about the current titles in ten to twenty years from now.
I haven't played GT Legends as a child. I don't feel nostalgic about it. I simply spent way too many hours going through its campaign and later in quick play after installing 20+ GB of mods. And I played most of it on XBOX 360 controller. I really love this game, it made me even more dissapointed with car list every modern sim/racing game. Why can't we have multiple cars per class other than GT3? Why can't we have well done vintage touring cars?
This isn't looking at the past through pink glasses. GT Legends just outclasses many modern sims in its design.
 
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