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How realistic is Project CARS?

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Project CARS is poised to blow all other racing games out of the water. It looks absolutely stunning, which is what we often talk about when it comes to the game. However, there’s some serious brains under all that beauty. So just how realistic is Project CARS when it comes to physics and driving simulation?

While this list of answers to questions specifically say it’s not a guide or an FAQ, it seems pretty damn close. There are far too many elements to list here, but I found a bunch of answers rather interesting. There’s a whole lot about tyre heat and pressure, including this answer to why you can’t do burnouts in the GT3 cars:

There are actually a number of factors. While the GT3 cars produce a lot of power, this does not mean the tyres are not up to the task of transferring all of that power to the ground and maintaining grip! The GT3 cars in Project CARS have Soft Slicks equipped in default configuration. Also, the GT3 tyres are pre-warmed in all racing sessions in game, so even starting Free Practice your tyres will be sitting at 90ºC. Another factor is the race track material itself and track temperature, which can create extra grip to help the tyres stick (look up track rubber build-up). There are a couple of other things to check or change if you really like doing burnouts rather than getting the most grip from your tyres!: Firstly, shorten the gear ratios if possible (this has a greater impact than you might think!), Check that Traction Control isn’t enabled. Set the differential to 100% accel lock. Change compound to Hard. Or just drive around a lot so your tyres either overheating or worn and slippery! Race cars are designed to get off the line quickly and run at high speed most of the time, not waste precious rubber.

There are even explanations about why cars might feel different. Time of day, location, track temperature, compound selected, assists, amount of fuel – all of these can impact on how even the same car can feel in various conditions. But it’s all done according to real world elements, including if your throttle feels laggy:

That’s because Project CARS uses a simulated volumetric throttle model. It will probably feel more ‘analogue’ than you might be used to virtually. This is real world behaviour, in contrast to the “x% throttle pedal input = x% engine RPM” physics that is common in racing simulations/games. This also means that each engine/car has a different throttle response. So all cars will feel and respond differently on the throttle, which adds a lot to the (sub-)conscious character you’d get from each car.

Real world behaviour is key in Project CARS, which is what makes it so interesting. This won’t feel like every other driving sim you’ve played and will probably appeal most to real life petrol heads. I think this explanation in response to “this car understeers too much” sort of says it all:

Some cars have much wider tyres on the rear or the aero is rear biased (i.e. big rear wing). Adjust as necessary for your style, but beware for these cars it will be the same ‘problem’ that the real drivers had to adjust to. Not all cars are created equal.

It’s not a bug, it’s a feature. Also, I am starting to wonder if I don’t need to study up about optimum tyre temperatures and telemetry before I even attempt to play this game. Here’s hoping that there’re plenty of tutorials for players like me who just want to go fast in cars I’d never get to drive otherwise.

Last Updated: April 13, 2015

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