The Perfect Racer

After spending some time on both Assetto Corsa, Project Cars 2, and iRacing, I haven’t come to a clear conclusion on what I like best.

  • Assetto Corsa offers good single player content with hotlapping, good graphics, great physics, highly moddable, and a decent (but not perfect) multiplayer component.
  • Project Cars 2 offers excellent single player content, excellent track and car selection, amazing graphics, okay multiplayer, and good physics.
  • iRacing offers only multiplayer racing, okay graphics, and great physics.

In terms of both Assetto Corsa and Project Cars 2, each one offers something the other one doesn’t. Being a new racer, I like the career mode of Project Cars 2 as it gives me an opportunity to start from simple cars or karts to more advanced cars. I can try out each series and get a feel for what series I like to focus more on (F1 or GT3).

On the other hand, Project Cars 2 performance on the Oculus Rift is quite poor, it’s not as moddable as AC, and the multiplayer component is the weakest out of the three racers. It’s also the most game-like of the three options, which on one hand increases the “fun” factor, on the other hand it’s just not as realistic as the other two games.

Assetto Corsa has great single player content, with mods. I like that I can quickly create a custom championship, but a majority of the default track selection is Italian circuits which I know little about. Fortunately I can create my own championships and custom tracks to fit each series. It’s also much more realistic than Project Cars 2.

Unfortuantly, for Assetto Corsa, it’s not easy for a new racer to just go ahead and start on an F1 or GT3 vehicle out of the get-go…and I’m not sure which is a good beginner vehicle to start a series with (MX-5?), which is why I prefer the progression of PC2 and iRacing. The multiplayer aspect is great, I love going on Track Day Nordschliefe and just trying out various cars. There’s also SRS which give you weekly series to go through for certain car classes, similar to that of iRacing.

iRacing only offers multiplayer racing. Playing with real world people (especially those serious about racing) is an experience like no other. Out of the three sims, this one is the most realistic of all, but requires the most investment out of it in terms of time and money.

You start with the Rookie class and a few beginner series (so you can’t really just go into NASCAR or GT3 from the get-go). This is similar to Project Cars career mode and SRS for Assetto Corsa, but there is a natural progression that in iRacing depends entirely on the skill of the driver. But unfortunately, unlike playing with an AI, most other players skills exceeds beyond my own personal skills.

The first few days doing practice runs on the Phoenix International Circuit in an MX-5, my best lap time is about 1:12, and I was averaging about 1:15. The average for that track is between 1:07 and 1:11.

Each day I spent about an hour practicing. Today I finally hit 1:11, not once, but several times in a row. I felt a level of accomplishment I’ve never felt in any other game.

What I don’t like is that iRacing has a monthly fee as well as costs to purchase additional cars and tracks, many of which are already included in AC or PC2.

Ultimately here’s what I think:

Project Cars 2 is great as far as single player content, it offers the best career mode and arguably the best graphics. I’m just not all that crazy about it…perhaps it’s the physics, the poor VR performance, or that it’s weak as far as multiplayer.  It’s downsides are Assetto Corsa’s strengths.

Assetto Corsa is my choice, so far for single player. I top about 90FPS in VR, have a great selection of cars and tracks (modded), great multiplayer, especially with SRS. It misses a lot of the bells and whistles that PCars2 has, namely dynamic weather and day/night cycles…but it offers the best driving out there.

iRacing comes at a close second. While Assetto Corsa provides a large amount of tracks and cars, and I’m not locked by a license system just to play the series and tracks I want…iRacing provides that feeling of sensation that I don’t get from AC. and just placing in a race feels like an accomplishment rather than a disappointment. Getting a Class D License and out of Rookie Class for example is what I’m aiming for…even if I place last, at least it counts for something.

So ultimately I like all three. If I had to choose just one, I’d go with Assetto Corsa. But with the options available I like being given the choice between driving in different racing sims.

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