A couple of very interesting blog postings from Kunos Simulazioni have been released, giving attention to both the Audi R8 LMS GT3 and race weekend management in ACC.
Assetto Corsa Competizione hit the long awaiting 'Version 1' release status on Steam last week, and following what has been a flurry of activity both within the community and back at Kunos HQ, physics designer @Aristotelis has taken the time out to write a couple of very interesting and always enlightening new blog postings about the title.
Assetto Corsa Competizione: Version 1 First Thoughts - Check it out HERE.
The subject of his attention this time is two distinctly different topics. I'll start with one that's probably the most useful to players in order to maximise some of the realism settings with ACC... race weekend management.
What do we mean by race weekend management? Well unlike AC 1, the new title has a wide range of rules and restrictions that match the real world Blancpain GT Series - adding some interesting decision points for the gamer during a simulated race weekend. You've probably already noticed these options within the game but haven't been quite sure what they mean. Fear not, Aris to the rescue!
Blancpain GT3 endurance races have obligatory stints limited to 65 minutes per driver at maximum. Drivers have to do a pitstop and swap with another driver while the mechanics refuel the car and change tyres. By nature, ACC simulates this aspect of the rules, and it indeed pays to have the correct strategy already predetermined in order to lose the minimum possible time during a pitstop and find the car with the correct fuel load and optimum tyre pressures. To do so, the setup screen “Fuel & Strategy” now has a dedicated “PitStop Strategy” box.
You can select different fuel loads, tyre sets, tyre compounds and tyre pressures for each of the 4 tyres, for every single pitstop you intend to perform during your race. For example, you can select 100 litres of fuel, tyre set 2, and various pressures to put on your 1st pitstop. So the first time you go to the pit, the mechanics will perform those changes to your car, automatically. You can select a different amount of fuel load for your 2nd pitstop, and so on for every single pitstop.
In your MFD (Multi Functional Display) in the pitstop page, you will find the pistop strategy slider that will permit you to change between the various pitstop presets you have created, and you will be also able to review the values and change them on the fly, if needed.
Speaking of race strategy, new in the setup aero page is the “Fuel Load Test” slider that permits you to test your car with different fuel loads without the automatic system re-adjusting your ride heights and alignments. For example, you can set your car with full fuel load for a long stint.
After you’re happy with the car handling, you can go to the aero page and set a low fuel load at the Fuel Load Test slider.
The automatic setup adjustments will stop and the ride heights and alignments will not auto-adjust. So you can hit drive and drive your car lighter and higher and see how it reacts at the end of a long stint. Of course you can also do the opposite. When you touch the ride heights, the fuel load test automatically disables again.
NOTE: The system is only available during free practice sessions. It is disabled during qualifying and race sessions so that the user won’t exploit it to make the car lower than the ride height that rules dictate at session start.
Speaking of race weekends, one of the most important aspects of the Blancpain GT3 sprint and endurance series is the limitation of tyre sets. According to the rules, teams have a predefined number of tyres sets for the entire race weekend, which includes free practice sessions, qualifying sessions and race(s). The teams have to cycle through all the tyre sets, obviously trying to use them as efficiently as possible. The number of available tyre sets is different in sprint races, 3-hour endurance races, 6-hour endurance races and the 24 hours of Spa.
Assetto Corsa Competizione simulates this rule effectively. The feature is available in version 1.0 for single player gameplay and will be implemented for multiplayer races soon.
ACC assigns the following number of tyre sets for each different race type:
- Sprint race weekend: 5 sets
- 3-hour Endurance race weekend: 6 sets
- 6-hour Endurance race weekend: 9 sets
- 24-hour Endurance race weekend: no limit.
- There is also no limit for wet tyre sets.
Let’s take for example a sprint race weekend. It consists of:
2 practice sessions each with 60 minutes duration.
2 qualifying sessions, each with a 15 minutes duration.
2 races, each with a duration of 1 hour.
As mentioned above, during the whole sprint weekend you only get 5 sets of brand new tyres to work with. It makes sense to use one tyre set for both practice sessions to finetune the setup for tyre wear and overall handling. Then, it is recommended to switch to a fresh tyre set for each qualifying session, which leaves you with 2 more fresh tyre sets for each of the 1-hour races. It might sound easy and reasonable, but you need to pay attention to your setup screen and not overdrive, spin out, flatspot or badly wear more tyres sets than that in each session.
NOTE: The software will automatically assign a new or the freshest tyre set every time to go back to the pits/setup to protect inexperienced drivers from having to deal with badly worn tyre sets. If you stop during a session to tweak your setup, you have to make sure to manually select a used tyre set if you want to keep fresh tyres for qualifying and race.
The strategy setup page has specific options for the selection of the desired tyre set, as well as a readout showing the level of wear, graining, blistering and flatspot for the selected set.
- Wear is displayed as tread depth in millimetres. Pirelli advices to swap tyres when the depth is at 1.5mm or lower. You can see the depth for Inner Mid and Outside part of the footprint of the tyre, which will also help to understand if your camber settings are correct for a long race. Pirelli tyres give massive grip in the first 2,3 laps (at correct temperature and pressure). After that they have a fast drop that stabilizes for the a long period. It's common for the drivers to do their fast laps at the start of the second half of their stint, around 30,40 minutes after the pitstop. Even though the tyres are worn, the lighter fuel load, permits the car to do fast laptimes. After that there's another drop in performance but nothing to worry-some. With a good driving style and higher TC and ABS levels, a tyre set can be used for 2 stints, but it takes skill and effort. A worn out tyre will have less grip obviously but because of the less tyre tread, will have less flex and generate less heat. You can expect almost 1psi pressure difference from the start of the stint to the end of it.
- Grain is displayed as "light", "moderate", "significant" and "severe". It will happen if you side your tyres when they are cold. Graining can alo go away if you drive smoothly and keep your tyres at their optimum temperature. Graining will make your tyres less precise and lose some load sensitivity and grip from the tyres.
- Blister is displayed as "light", "moderate", "significant" and "severe". Blistering is the appearance of air bubbles in the core of the tyre, caused by overheating. The tyre practically boils in the inside, creating bubble that provoke vibrations and less grip when severe. Blistering is a permanent damage that can't be repaired.
- Flat Spots is displayed as "light", "moderate", "significant" and "severe". Flat spotting is created when the tyre slides without rotating, effectively creating a flat spot on the footprint. Racing slicks and wet tyres are extremely soft and flat spotting is very easy to provoke and has very severe effects. A flatspotted tyre will tend to lock again on the same spot and will create massive vibrations when underload (turning, braking...). Flat spot doesn't occur only while locking tyres when braking, which GT3 cars usually avoid as they have ABS. It can occur during a spin, especially if the driver brakes hard to avoid impact. There is a reason real drivers try to avoid braking when spinning even if for the spectators seems the only way to avoid a crash. ACC properly simulates such situations and can take no more than 2 or 3 spins at high speed and braking (i.e. at the end of the long straight of Paul Ricard or at the top of Eau Rouge at Spa), to practically flat spot so bad the tyres that they will blow up. We advice to try to not brake while spinning, except if absolutely necessary.
In the pitstop strategy you can now also select the tyre set to install to during each pitstop specified. During the races, the MFD (Multi Functional Display) will show you tyre sets available to choose. It will eliminate from the list tyre sets that might have severe flatspots. If all tyre sets are in a bad shape, then it will show again all tyre sets in order from less-used/flatspotted to worse.
All in all, this is Assetto Corsa Competizione PitStop strategy, fuel load test and limited tyre set feature. We are certain it will give a whole new depth in the racing experience and a great step forward in the simulation of endurance racing against versus the traditional “hotlapping” races.
Original blog posting HERE.
So there you have it folks - that's how to best maximise the race weekend strategy in Assetto Corsa Competizione and is another really good example of the level of depth and realism that has been build into ACC as the developers move towards recreating a full racing series for the first time.
After going through all that lovely information for us, Aris wasn't finished! Next up, he speaks about the Audi R8 LMS GT3 within the game - again another interesting look at some of the content that features within Assetto Corsa Competizione:
The Audi R8 GT3 is undoubtedly one of the dominating cars of the Blancpain GT3 series.
It’s not just that it constantly scores pole positions, fast laps and overall wins in practically every circuit. It gets these results with almost any team and any driver using it. This is the proof that the Audi R8 is a very capable car, always efficient and fast.
You’d been forgiven to think that the Audi R8 is a Lamborghini Huracan GT3 in disguise, or vice versa. After all the cars have the same chassis and the same engine. The wheelbase is also identical. But this is where the similarities end. There are differences in suspension geometry, there are differences in the engine tune and power delivery and there are many differences in the aerodynamic efficiency and performance. It is evident by the base setups of the car, that are quite different from the Huracan counterpart.
The Audi usually likes stiffer rear end, it helps it rotate it and it maintains the rear suspension movement under control. Even the rear antiroll bar is pretty stiff as it keeps under control the, lack of, camber gain when the car rolls. A good amount of negative static camber helps.
Obviously when you drive the car, some traits are similar. The power delivery, the electronics, the sound… all things that are truly very similar to the Lamborghini. But then, the differences start to come up to the surface. At turn in the car wants to oversteer like the Huracan but does gives a bit more confidence while doing it. At mid turn and exit the front end is willing to follow the steering inputs better. This means the engineer is not forced to use extreme setup to rotate the car and the driver doesn’t have to abuse the car to follow the line. All in all, where the Huracan is on the edge, the Audi seems more composed and steady. I won’t say it inspires confidence, because it really doesn’t when pushed to the limits, but you have a better idea of where the limit is, or at least that’s the impression.
Is this a better car than the Huracan? Well no, it’s different. The neutral handling in mid turn will bite hard at you when you try to ride kerbs. You can compromise, you can set the car more stable and it works, but if you really want to go fast then watch out riding the inner kerbs. The car will rotate fast and at the very best case scenario you will lose lot’s of time trying to control it. Otherwise you’ll spin out of the track with your tyres flatspotted and many places lost. It’s best to approach turns with a V line. Brake late and go for an early apex without turning it too much to keep the rear end stable. Once you’ve passed the early apex and the speed is slower, rotate the car fast, away from the kerb and point to a second late apex and a straight exit, taking advantage of the rear weight bias traction. This kind of turn approach keeps the mid engine architecture traits under control. Great agility and grip, nasty behaviour when unsettled.
The engine seems a bit less powerful than the fastest Huracan team, which is strange because it should be the same engine, but the feeling is that it is more docile at power application out of the corners at the expense of a somewhat slower acceleration. We’re talking really minimal differences though.
Audi’s great experience in the LMP1 category has paid dividends in the car’s aerodynamic efficiency. As a matter of fact the rear wing comes straight from the LMP1 car design and it has very well documented aero map so it needs less adjustments to be efficient and helps the teams by avoiding unnecessary complexity. The results are evident as the Audi is always on the top of max speed traps at high speed circuits, without losing much downforce. This is indeed a great advantage in the middle of a race. Not only the car can keep up in terms of handling and overall grip, but it can also get out of the slipstream and still keep accelerating, obtaining a great position before the braking zone. If you feel uncomfortable with the aero balance of the car, you can always add a bit of rear wing, confident that your top speed will still stay competitive with the other cars.
Another advantage of having so many cars on the grid, by so many different teams, is that there is a lot of knowledge regarding the car, its traits and the setups needed to go fast. Information does go around in the Blancpain paddock and when the “Audi armada” decides to attack, the combined knowledge does give a competitive advantage.
So is the Audi the car the car to chose if you want to win? It is a good candidate, and with the help of somewhat surprisingly favourable BoP, it can win on almost every track, but it’s not alone and if other cars push it to choose different racing lines, it might show its ugly face. Be sure that there are other cars out there that can really push it to its limits.
Full blog post HERE.
For more from the world of ACC, why not head over to our Assetto Corsa Competizione sub forum and get yourself into the thick of the action? We have a great and knowledgeable community, plus some pretty epic League and Club Racing events, if I do say so myself. Go on, treat yourself!
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