Would You Race Fictional Cars & Tracks, And Why Not?

Okay, so let me be clear from the beginning, I know the sentiment of the average sim racer. "Fictional is ew" is about on par with "no VR no buy". The main thing is trying to simulate real racing. That's sim racing, right? But with all the knowledge, creativity and imagination, so many beautiful fictional tracks and cars could come to life. Why would or would you not race them?

Famous racer and commentator Alex Brundle actually asked this question the other day. The brit tweeted the following:


And I have to say, it is a valid question.

I know from myself, though, the only race tracks I have not at all tried in RaceRoom, for example, were RaceRoom Raceway and the hill climb stage. Aka the only fictional tracks in the sim.

But why?

I don't even understand the reasoning behind it, to be honest, I just did what everyone said was the good thing to do, and that was to skip out the fictional tracks on RaceRoom.

However, as I said in the opening paragraph, with all the combined knowledge, creativity and imagination of the modding community, the greatest of tracks could become (virtual) reality. You may have never heard of them, but they could be more interesting to drive than the Nordschleife or Spa.

An Excursion Away From "Sim" Racing​

Come to think of it; it's only in the sim racing scene that such demands are being made. The much larger general racing gaming group has no such quarrels.

In most racing games, the player gets to experience something born completely out of imagination. Just take Need for Speed, one of the most successful video game franchises of all time. How many games in the Need for Speed franchise just feature real race tracks? Now, I get this is a very far stone's throw. So let's also take a look at something that hits a bit closer to home.

Gran Turismo is yet another gaming franchise among the most successful video game franchises of all time.

And what are the most revered tracks in Gran Turismo?

I have never played a GT game, yet I also know of Trial Mountain. And that is just one of the many great fictional circuits featured in the games, which I am led to believe.

Same counts for Forza. With the expected 2023 release of the new instalment, what was the first circuit they showed off in gameplay? Maple Valley Raceway. Another fictional track.

But let's get back on track because I would like to hear your opinion on the matter now.

So, tell me: Would you race fictional cars & tracks, and why not? Please, let us know in the comments down below!
About author
Julian Strasser
Motorsports and Maker-stuff enthusiast. Part time jack-of-all-trades. Owner of tracc.eu, a sim racing-related service provider and its racing community.

Comments

PD created some the best fictional tracks ever. I wish some of the Gran Turismo tracks were real. I have no problem with fiction tracks.

Fictional cars....doesn't quite hit the spot. I can go with cars that are near but not quite due to licencing but some of the completely fictional stuff I'm not interested in.
 
There's different kinds of fictional cars and tracks. The RSS Formula Hybrid cars are - strictly speaking - fictional cars, as are some other excellent modded cars out there. And some of the fictional tracks we've seen in Assetto Corsa in recent years are gold-standard, especially looking at vintage masterpieces like Fat-Alfies work.

But I'm not interested in over-the-top cars, like the Red Bull X2010 for example. They're so far out there, so far removed from actual driving, that it just doesn't appeal to me whatsoever.

The big appeal of simracing is in my opinion that it makes the elusive on-track experience more achievable for mere mortals who can't spend tens of thousands of €/£/$ on track days, entry fees, spare parts, fuel etc. I'll never get a chance to drive an F1 car around Spa-Francorchamps, or a Group C monster on the Nordschleife in the night and the rain. Simracing allows me to do that without having to worry about my health or my bank account.

As long as fictional cars and tracks replicate this realism, I see nothing wrong with that. Gran Turismo has given us fantastic fictional tracks, some of which I prefer over many modern real-world tracks. And some of the fictional cars are personal favourites (I love the Lancer Gr.3 and the modern Group B variants), but most of the Vision GT cars just don't do anything for me.

Tl;dr: Fictional cars/tracks are fine imo, as long as they feel realistic/believable.
 
I don’t have any great desire to race fictional cars, I’ve got enough “real” ones to be getting on with.

Fictional tracks I can get on board with as long as they “feel” real, something that might have been built if they had the money and planning permission.
 
In the early days of my time with rFactor 1 it was all about recreating what I couldn't do in real life that other could... So fictional circuits no matter who said it was good wouldn't even get a lap...

But over a decade later I'm open to the fictional side of sim racing... Some of the tracks people come up with are great and there's some great ones modelled off of real roads... With cars I love driving the prototypes that some people produce, even the ones that aren't modelled off of real life prototypes... Some are just plain fun to drive...

And with all these exclusive licence deals being snapped by the Electronic Arts and other low level cash cow developers of the world... Bring on fictional versions of the real life cars, I want to see fictional Indycars or formula USA cars that have hybrids and other exotic power units... Screw the licensed versions if their quality is terrible... And if the lines have to be blurred further in order to keep the legal teams at bay, I'm all for it as long as it's fun...
 
Jimlaad43
Staff
Premium
rFactor 1's modders were the absolute masters of fictional circuits.
Vitus GP, Piddy, Thermalito, La Dahesa, Troyton Raceway, Reservoir GP, Groningen, Eifel!

All of these were incredible models and tracks to drive. I'd absolutely love for them to be converted to the currently popular such as AC or rF2, but I can never find them.

If anyone was able to find Vitus for rFactor 2 we would be racing there on the rFactor 2 Club right away!
 
For sims, I'd prefer real tracks for official releases (+ 'semi-fictional' layouts or not entirely accurate historic versions)

For mods & simcade, go all out, as long as for the latter, it at least is based in reality (so no Mario Kart tracks for instance)

In the end, it's all personal preference. There's been great fictional tracks in numerous games.
 
I think the issue is fictional versus fantasy. Fictional tracks that are grounded in reality are often awesome, but for many less experienced creators there isn't much to keep their projects grounded in reality. Often the tracks or cars start heading into fantasy land, and for me that isn't interesting (and I would say for most people).

For example, Fat Alfie did an incredible job with Fonteny, one of my personal favorite tracks of any kind. But he modeled the track off of real roads and then also threw it back in time. This grounded the track and although it was fictional, it felt believable and awesome.

If we drove arcade games that might be different, but these are supposed to be simulators. So most of us care about realism and authenticity. Thus, the fictional tracks and cars that stray into fantasy land are just unappealing.
 
Fictional or semi-fictional content is a way for a product to distinguish itself. I think it's a bold statement if you're willing to push original creations and I don't see many developers having the confidence to do so. But it also has to do with what you are trying to achieve. Most sim titles on PC all seem to try and achieve the same thing, and anything else is seemingly besides the point. But it also makes them very similar when there are ways to distinguish oneself.

Here's one way in which this strive for realism might be failing us, sim racers: As much as I appreciate the laser-scanned recreations of modern tracks, there's no way to recreate classic tracks down to the last centimetre. It's a highly creative process with many difficult choices to make and much room for interpretation, as I am sure the people doing the fantastic classic circuit mods here would agree. The same goes for cars to some extent. Do big game developers shy away from adding "classic" content because it's not (it can't be) as accurate, as verifiable, as modern content?

Speaking of mod creators, there are great fictional tracks here that I find just as good as any "real" ones. Horsma Raceway and Ottawa Motorsport Park are two that come to mind.

I haven't played the Gran Turismo series in ages, because I don't want to commit to the PlayStation platform at present, but I've always liked their original tracks. Those track, at this point in time, have a legacy of their own, and that can't be imitated by just anyone.

When it comes to fictional cars, I like them when they have some connection to reality, when they are in some way comparable to a real life series. I have no problem with a "fictional" modern F1 car, for example. Even then, I don't like mixing fictional and real life cars.
 
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GT-Alex
Premium
Not only some fictional tracks are absolute masterpieces that are more interesting and fun to race on, but there's also a lot of potential in them for the real world that is currently unexploited. You could model a track in a game and host competitive races on it to test a layout and see how it fares in regards to safety and raceability before building it in real life.
 
F_B
Premium
If fictional tracks are well made I have no problem with them. They have to be believable for me. Kunos made a great track with Highlands for example (apart from these huge banners), I love the long config with this insane straight. Other great examples of fictional tracks are Bannochbrae in PCars 2, Mendig in AMS (hope it someday is available in AMS2), El Capitan in Gran Turismo.

Regarding fictional cars I want them at least to resemble real life counterparts.
 
I'm a believer in creativity, so I'm 100% in favour of fictional tracks and cars.
Let's not talk about Trackmania which is the most concrete example (although it's not a simulation).
Then, if only tracks with a well thought out layout, why not create them virtually, it will be more ecological and without "space" limit.

For the cars too, if we remove the stickers, the brands, we can imagine variants or new creations.
Nevertheless, to have fun with all this, it must be done by enthusiasts and not become a joyful mess as it can be in the "Arma 3" game modes.

Some will say yes but the reality, the real circuits and cars are better, maybe but I don't have the desire nor the money to move on these circuits nor to drive these cars.
Video games are first and foremost entertainment and not reality.
 
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rFactor 1's modders were the absolute masters of fictional circuits.
Vitus GP, Piddy, Thermalito, La Dahesa, Troyton Raceway, Reservoir GP, Groningen, Eifel!

All of these were incredible models and tracks to drive. I'd absolutely love for them to be converted to the currently popular such as AC or rF2, but I can never find them.

If anyone was able to find Vitus for rFactor 2 we would be racing there on the rFactor 2 Club right away!
Just a side note, Vitus does exist in Assetto Corsa :D
 
I've been sim racing since before Hawaii, back to Pole Position. I have race fictional tracks and loved it, and I would again. Why not? They're just as fun and in some cases, better looking.
 
Simracing is simracing for a reason and most people enjoy the feeling of being as close to reality as possible.

I am a big believer in fictional content personally though. Fictional content is one of the ways to make esports and the virtual racing scene it's own thing. Why try and get esports as close to reality while it's never going to get there? On top of that I think there is a big chance you will reach a new audience.
 
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