DOUBLE POST? Yeah, I went there. But hear me out!
Most of you will have seen the below video, and if you’re like me, you would have been intrigued as to just how closely these cars perform beyond the physical realm. We’ve seen Harris et all lap Portimao within a few tenths of each other, we’ve seen Pobst and gang lap Willow Springs in a similar fashion - then comes Salomondrin with a slightly different result. Clearly, there is some disparity in terms of performance but is the same true in the digital space? Probably, but let’s delve deeper still.
To my knowledge, the only title that has the holy trinity (at least 2 officially) is Assetto Corsa, and since the latest v1.3 patch (with the version 5 tires), the community has been praising increased performance from the hyper cars in question. The caveat, however, is that there is no official laser scanned model of Potimao (Algarve International Circuit) produced by Kunos themselves; leave it to the community to fill the void! You can download it over at RaceDepartment here:
On the track itself: the current version is 0.9.0, completed in 2014; most of the reference points appear to be there and judging from the onboards, it appears to be a fairly good representation of Harris’ playground. The only issue I’ve had with it so far is that there appears to be two fairly shallow bumps as you come across the crests in sector 1 and 2, which while doesn`t sound like much, is enough to unsettle a low downforce car. Additionally, the run-off areas (really anything outside of track limits) is read by the game as either hard-packed or loose dirt, rather than the paved look that the modeller gave - so if you do plan on driving the circuit, pay due diligence to keeping your line.
Oh, if you miss your braking zones, you`ll quickly find out that parts of Portimao are more active airport than they are race track.
As you can see above, The Monkey set quite a high bar. But fear not, we have the tools! For reference sake, all the laps below are done with the default Kunos setup (meaning no changes to suspension, aero, etc.) and the only variable eligible for change is the tires - hyper roads (pzero corsas) or similar (michelin pilot supersports) where applicable. I am using a Logitech G27 with a Nardi wheel add-on as my input device. The videos being provided have audio from both in the cabin (as the driver would hear it) and from the external track cameras (as the bystanders would hear it) as some cars do have a distinctly different exhaust note between the two.
McLaren P1 (1:53.835)
Okay... so I kind of spoiled the surprise right there, but as you can see we`re already off to a good start! The P1 has always been one of the few cars I`m comfortable driving at the limit right from the get go; whether it be the way that the ERS is handled in the game or the amazing Maccy aero, it always just feels planted yet never too out of control. You can see here in the video that I set the time, even while the rear end is sliding out, which goes to show you just how easy it is to recover the car if you get into trouble (actually, sometimes it`s the faster way to get around tight hairpins). Make no mistake though, push too hard and you will lose the front end - notably during the transition period around when the wing is fully up.
Ferrari LaFerrari (1:56.118)
Hang on where... what happened? Ah yes, I remember why I never particularly liked driving the Fezza. Harris mentions this in the Portimao special, and I am inclined to agree; while mindbogglingly fast and an event in itself, it’s not the easiest thing to keep in a straight line - or as he put it, it’s like driving a 1959 Lister. Compared to the P1, it definitely has better straight line acceleration but it is severely lacking in aero grip; oh, and that wing? Yeah, it feels like it doesn’t do anything when it’s up. Provided you can maintain your momentum and not lose too much speed in the braking zones (because the wheels lock up super easily), I’m confident you can do a sub 1m53s lap. I fully expect to revisit this later on.
Porsche 918 Spyder (n/a)
I did say this was a WIP, did’t I? Unfortunately, there isn`t a good (imo) 918 model in the game yet so you`ll have to take the performance in this segment with a grain of salt. The model that I have found passes the visual inspection, but isn`t the best to drive. It doesn`t handle how you`d expect an AWD car to (especially compared to the GT-R) and the brakes lock up pretty much instantly, but hopefully it`s just me not adjusting to the weight. Under power though, it understeers pretty horrendously although the rate of acceleration is on par with the P1, so I guess I’ll just keep chipping away at this one.
Pagani Huayra (n/a)
Inspired by the Salomondrin video, I decided to throw in the Huayra into the mix. And... well, I haven`t gotten around to this one yet. But expect this part to be finished tomorrow!
Nissan GT-R (R35) NISMO (2:01.623)
Technically not part of the group, but still a desirable car and fair benchmark nonetheless. In it’s final iteration, the NISMO is seemingly the best R35 to have come out of Japan, or at least from the Omori Factory, while still being somewhat streetable. As part of the v1.3 patch, Kunos finally fixed the front- and center-differential codes meaning that you could now pilot a GT-R without dying a horrible death by catastrophic understeer. Clearly audible is the car’s titanium exhaust (it has a much higher pitch than the stock units) but less noticeable is the car’s bump in power delivery and aero - take the car for a spin against cars in it’s class, and you’ll quickly see just how fast Godzilla can be. Lapped with Hyper Road tires.
Chevrolet Corvette C7.R GT-LM (1:49.486)
To finish off this post, we delve into the complete opposite end of the spectrum and away from street cars: that is, into flagship racecars designed to dominate the race track. The C7.R is probably the easiest of all the GT3/GTE(GT2) cars in the game to extract performance from, but it is also one of the most capable; the LT4 based engine makes stupid amounts of torque, easily rocketing the car out of any bend. Combined with the excellent gearbox and functional aero, and you can see why the cars are world-class on the speed front. Compared to other cars in the class, the C7.R rarely ever locks up under braking and it’s fairly hard to get the rear end to step out. Ever. Optional tires are SuperSofts and Mediums, though I opted to stick with the default Soft compound.
That being said, I’d be open to testing the other GT3 class cars if you guys really want; the SRT Viper GT3-R would have been the car I had chosen, but the model is slightly lacking in quality. The 458 and R35 GT-R were also on the short list.
All in all, I really enjoyed driving on Portimao. I can definitely see why Chris Harris loves hooning around this place, and at the same time why McLaren chose this track as the location for the 570S press drives. One thing I forgot to mention is that, like Tiff Needell, today (Friday) was my first time driving the track so hopefully future laps that are on pace can be completed with ease. Again, if you have any vehicle requests (or track requests for future posts, for that matter) definitely let me know! After driving this bunch, I’m tempted to also give the track variants a go later on (there are models for the P1 GTR and FXX K, but I haven’t evaluated them yet; 918 RSR is in the same boat as the 918 Spyder atm).
If you have any questions, feel free to leave them below! As you can probably tell from my last few posts on Digital Burnouts, PC racing is a bit of a passion of mine, and while I’m nowhere near as good as the top guys, I’m always game for a bit of competitive driving.