The Flare Path Grand Prix

Vaguely aware that we’re living in a race sim golden age? Not sure which of the ‘Big Six’ you should invest your precious time and money in? Me too! Hopefully, by the time the inaugural Flare Path GP is over (Oct 14) little of that bewilderment will remain. Guided by the preferences and observations of that section of the RPS community that knows and loves realistic Cars Wot Go Fast games, it shouldn’t be hard to find a high-quality race sim that suits you and me to a GT.

The Flare Path Grand Prix is a comment-driven popularity contest in which, over the coming week, reader votes will propel sim-representing car counters around a plan of my local circuit, Tupwell Park.

Next Friday at 1300hrs, the counter/car/sim that has travelled the furthest will be placed atop a podium, tossed a life preserver made of laurel leaves, and encouraged to spray a magnum of ASDA Spumante (£12.99. “Fabulous with strawberries and cream or a fruity cheesecake.”) over the cheering crowds below.

The Rules

All the major sims field two cars in the race (one representing the singleplayer side, the other the multiplayer) and every commenter gets to move two SP and two MP cars.

Let’s say reader ThePewterCommuter’s two favourite solo race sims are, in order of preference, Assetto Corsa and Automobilista, but for multiplayer he prefers iRacing and rFactor. At the end of the day when I go to update car positions on this map, I’d note his comment and move Assetto Corsa’s SP and iRacing’s MP counter two sections forward, and advance Automobilita’s SP and rFactor’s MP counter one section (the circuit consists of 21 sections).

If you’d rather only vote in one category (SP or MP) or can’t decide on a second choice in either or both categories, that’s fine, but please make clear which aspect of the game you are recommending when you vote (a bald “Project CARS!” doesn’t tell me which pCars counter to move).

Votes that are accompanied by a few sentences of explanation are especially welcome. If mods are at the root of your SP rFactor love affair, or community warmth keeps you coming back to iRacing, then it would be splendid if you’d point that out.

Occupying the grid at the start of the race are the half-dozen sims currently jockeying for market share, but if older titles like Grand Prix Legends and the original rFactor crop up often enough in the voting, I’ll add them to the field. In order to keep things simple and comparable, rally cars and motorbikes have been excluded from the GP. Sorry Dirt Rally, if things had been different I suspect you’d have been amongst the pace setters.

The Circuit

Before I introduce the teams, let me tell you a bit about the venue. Regularly snubbed by the snobs and safety nazis at the FIA, Tupwell Park is, to my knowledge, the only motorsport circuit in the world built around a fully functioning sewage treatment plant. Other striking features of this quirky-yet-thrilling British track are the disused quarry to the south (where Wham! star Andrew Ridgeley tragically lost his life twice in ’91) the neighbouring abattoir to the SW (who can forget the harrowing scenes in 2001 when a mass pig escape happened to coincide with a World Championship sidecar event) and the crematorium in the north (the source of the infamous ‘Tupwell Mist’).

1. Werthers Curve
2. Crematorium Corner
3. Canal Corner
4. Diabolika
5. Crammonds
6. Steradent Straight
7. Kaemmer Straight
8. Hangmans
9. Pillbox
10. Pits and paddock
11. Scrumpy Jack Straight
12. Stinkside
13. Francis Rossi Hairpin
14. Screwfix Straight
15. Hedgehogs
16. Lonely Oak
17. Abattoir Corner
18. Wisteria Lodge
19. Quarry Corner
20. Tena Curve

The map will be updated at least once a day, numbers under each counter indicating a car’s current lap total.

The Teams

rFactor 2 (team colour ORANGE)

A recently announced partnership between Image Space Incorporated and Luminis, bodes well for the future of this 2013 release. New combi-concern Studio 397 plan, over coming months and years, to energetically address some of the weaker aspects of a sim often praised for its persuasive tyre and suspension physics, sophisticated weather simulation, and plausible AI. DX11 and VR support are on the way along with a friendlier front end, better matchmaking system and more officially licenced content. Whether rF2’s MP will ever be available without a separate annual or lifetime subscription, or its mod scene will ever flourish in quite the way its forerunner’s did (the community have struggled to get to grips with the complexities of the improved tyre model) remains to be seen.

Assetto Corsa (team colour RED)

Surely one of the favourites in the Flare Path GP, Assetto Corsa has a striking knack for communicating automotive character. The 95 or so badged production, GT, GTR, supercar, open wheel and track day driveables that now throng the DLC-bolstered garage, assert their individuality and authenticity in every corner and on every straight. Until Kunos grasp the precipitation nettle, users aren’t able to enjoy the sim’s exceptionally evocative physics and audio in wet conditions (night driving is also impossible at present) but currently the absence of moonlight and raindrops seems to be causing far less community consternation than the price of Porsches.

iRacing (team colour BLUE)

Will iRacing’s singleplayer car have managed to crawl past Canal Corner by this time next week? I doubt it. Focused solely on providing subscribers with realistic, well-patronised online racing, the sim lacks the AI drivers necessary for serious solo enjoyment. You iRace because you hanker for human opponents, human opponents that understand that the car in front is not a brake augmentation device and that the car behind may actually have a perfectly valid claim to the racing line. You iRace because you crave close, grief-free competition, reality-aping career progression, laser-scanned tarmac, and convincing handling models, and are prepared to pay toppish dollar to get hold of them. The 8.4 mile Circuit des 24 Heures du Mans has just been added to the extensive DLC list, and dirt tracks and their denizens are on their way.

Automobilista (team colour GREEN)

Horses don’t come much darker than Reiza Studios’ follow-up to expanded and improved version of Stock Car Extreme. Built around the same ageing isiMotor engine that propelled greats like GTR2, GT Legends, and rFactor, Automobilista lacks the ravishing visuals, swish licences, and high public profile necessary to compete with the Assetto Corsas and iRacings of this world. Whether it stays in touch with the leaders in the FPGP, depends largely on how many of its legion of loyal, physics-trumpeting, AI-lionising fans read RPS. Brazilian race series form the core of the unusually diverse AMS but a hunk of payware British content including Brands Hatch, Oulton Park and Caterhams is imminent.

RaceRoom Racing Experience (team colour CYAN)

Light on content in its unembellished Free To Play form, RaceRoom doesn’t seem to have been bosom-clutched in quite the same way its predecessor Race 07 was. If you’re one of those who feel that Sector3’s chosen business model and decision to emphasise MP in publicity (offline racing against the AI is possible) has inadvertently damaged the prospects of a cracking driving recreation with top-notch tracks and awesome audio, then use your precious votes to push the little cyan marker a little further round Tupwell Park. If, on the other hand, you yearn for the days when Sector3 were SimBin and a straightforward sequel to GTR2 seemed possible, then take heart from this recent announcement.

Project CARS (team colour PURPLE)

Vote for me! I look like several million dollars. I’m extremely well-endowed both geographically and automotively. I feature a “class leading suspension & tyre model” and an “unrivalled variety of motorsports”. I am the mostly proud recipient of 6325 mostly positive Steam user reviews and I’ve been cruelly neglected by the writer of Flare Path for years!

* * * *

This way to the foxer


  1. Arathorn says:

    Are that first screen shot and the Ferrari from the side from Grand Prix Circuit? It was one of the few games we had as a kid, but on a monochrome screen so it looked a little different.

    • Tim Stone says:

      They are indeed. Have a Flare Path flair point.

    • 8086 says:

      Grand Prix Circuit! my first race game on PC. The Ferrari was the fastest in a straight line of the three cars available.

      • DEspresso says:

        Are you sure? I seem to recall the McLaren was the fastest in straights while the Ferrari was the overall slowest but fastest in curves? It been a while though ;)

    • rustybroomhandle says:

      Also, the title banner is Chequered Flag on ZX Spectrum. It was pretty bad even for 1982, but didn’t stop us playing the living ‘eck out of it.

      • phlebas says:

        Pretty bad? It was amazing – you even got to choose from several different cars!

      • JB says:

        I believe I still have Chequered Flag in the loft!

        Man, I wish I played racing sims, so I could get involved. Good work once again, Tim.

    • Velko says:

      What a blast from the past. I still see vividly in my mind the L-shaped Italian track.

  2. Laurentius says:

    Accolade’s Grand Prix Circuit screens ! My mind is blown, my mind is blown. I played this forgotten game religously for months, racing against clock to beat my own top times back in the day.
    Probably my first racing game and most loved I guess. Technicaly game played on my own computer I guess, first was of course Pole Position on my friends Atari.

  3. AFKAMC says:

    C7 – LACEY (Ginger)

    Ignore me, I meant to post in the Foxer thread, sorry!

  4. DEspresso says:

    Sadly the last racing game I played was Interstate 76, so I guess I’m disqualified ;)

    • Unsheep says:

      Hell no ! Interstate ’76 still beats all other racing games, blowing them into smithereens with really powerful rockets.

  5. beikul says:

    I’m not much of a sim racer but I’ve played a few racing games over the years and the one that stands out for me Assetto Corsa. Played with a force feedback wheel and Track IR, it’s quite an experience. It could probably benefit from a more interesting career mode but I still found great satisfaction slowly getting better on each new car I tried.

    Don’t really have a second that stands out in my mind – of the ones listed above I’ve also got Project Cars but it left me a bit underwhelmed after AC. I’m not qualified to comment on the accuracy of either simulation but AC certainly felt more real for me.

    As for multiplayer, the only experience I’ve had is Stunt Car Racer on 2 Amigas via a NULL modem cable, which was great at the time so that gets my vote!

  6. Capt. Bumchum McMerryweather says:

    As far as SP experiences go, I think my vote goes for Assetto Corsa in first and Project Carz for second place. I’ll qualify the above by saying that I don’t believe Project Cars has any meaningful advantages over a ‘proper’ sim, since its designed to be an accessible ‘Simcade’, for a large audience to play and enjoy. However, it is a lot of FUN, which I find is important in games. I realise that neither of these are a patch on rFactor or iRacing in terms of simmage, but I find both to be immensely fun.

    As for multiplayer I can’t really vote on that, as I’m shit at wheel games and don’t play it

    • iainl says:

      Oddly enough, my choices are the same – single-player AC in first with pCARS in second, and no votes for multiplayer because I don’t have the knowledge to comment there.

      I’m not particularly good at driving games, so it’s all about the driving rather than the racing for me, and Assetto Corsa’s models just feel gloriously responsive and unique to each car.

      Project CARS isn’t quite as good at that, but it does have a great set of places to go driving in, better than any other game I’ve played with a ‘sim’ handling model on PC (I do adore DriveClub on PS4).

  7. phlebas says:

    I haven’t played any of the recent games, but spent many hours with Chequered Flag so appreciate the header image at least!

  8. Premium User Badge

    Arnvidr says:

    Ooh, should be interesting to see what the Flare Path followers think of all of these. Would be nice to get a complement to the excellent Dirt Rally, which I have really loved.

  9. AMacdonald says:

    MP number one for me is iRacing. No question, no argument, nothing else comes close. I’m split between GPL and Race07 for number two, simply because of the number of hours I spent on both, but neither is in the list. What the hell, go for GPL anyway.

    As for SP, probably Assetto Corsa first then Project Cars although I can’t honestly say either is great that way. Who wants to race SP anyway? Dirt Rally is the most SP fun I’ve had in ages.

  10. the_magma says:

    indianapolis 500. amiga. there is no other

  11. Retzinsky says:

    1. Assetto Corsa – The challenges are fun, and throwing an F40 around the Nordschleife is a good time.
    2. Codemasters F1 20xx Series – Obviously lands a bit more on the arcadey side, but they’re a good gateway drug to the harder stuff and I always found them pretty fun.

    1. – Is there any way back once you “play” this? iRacing is basically all I play in terms of racing sims these days. Currently driving the Nissan GTP ZX-T. Hurrah for huge turbos! Also playing it exclusively in the Rift. I’ve been unimpressed by most VR apps, but in iRacing it’s so face-melting off-the-hook ridiculous that if it were the only program you could use the Rift with I’d still say it was worth the £500.
    2. Assetto Corsa – It’s functional!

    • Unsheep says:

      To me that’s a good summary of all Codemasters’ games: ‘ .. a bit more on the arcadey side, but they’re a good gateway drug to the harder stuff and I always found them pretty fun.’

      They DO make fun games, a racing game doesn’t have to be a hardcore sim in order to be fun and enjoyable.

      • Capt. Bumchum McMerryweather says:

        I think it would be unfair to lump Dirt Rally in with the rest of CM’s library – I appreciate there are a lot of mechanical aspects and faults which aren’t simulated, but the driving model especially with a wheel is spot on.

        I live on the Isle of Man, and motorsport is a huge part of our culture here; it’s hard not to get into driving something, so I’ve got a lot of experience with driving in a low traction environment at high speeds and CM have got it absolutely right. the sensation of your wheel being tugged around in ruts, the constant shifting of weight, the feeling that you’re basically just aquaplaning through goo, the force feedback in general – it’s all bang on.

  12. granger44 says:

    I too haven’t played any of these sims. I have played some of the SimBin titles, as well as Shift 2 and a couple of the Race Driver series. And Grand Prix Circuit takes me back. My dad and I used to take alternate turns racing each others times and while he was busy I would race an F1 championship series.

  13. Faldrath says:

    SP: Automobilista and Raceroom, easily. Automobilista has excellent physics and FFB, and the AI is very decent – the improvements compared to Stock Car Extreme are rather impressive. Raceroom has lots of fun series to drive, although the AI is quite a bit dumber than AMS’s. Assetto Corsa is a good *driving* game, but it’s a pretty bad *racing* game. I haven’t played much of rF2, and I don’t own PCars.

    MP: I haven’t played iRacing, so my vote goes to Automobilista as well. Smooth connection, works well, great fun when you’re in a decent racing club like RaceDepartment. I don’t have meaningful recent MP experiences in the other games to compare.

    • Unsheep says:

      I feel they simplified Assetto Corsa after they switched engines and started becoming successful. Initially AC was as challenging as rFactor and RaceRoom, but after the switch it felt closer to Forza and Gran Turismo (which is fine if that is what you want, not judging anyone .. I like those games too). However they definitely changed the feel of the game.

  14. melerski says:

    LFS (Live for Speed) is still my fav but I’m not sure why.

  15. Mr Bismarck says:

    I’m a little sad not to see Dirt Rally in the list of options, because it’s something different among all the track racers and it does a really nice job of showing the differences between front, rear and all wheel drive cars on mixed surfaces. AND it has a full Pike’s Peak in two flavours!

    On to the games I will vote for though and for singleplayer my choices are Automobilista, (AMS), and RaceRoom Racing Experience, (RRE).

    I run mostly offline, (singleplayer), and Automobilista is easily my most-played racing sim right now. The AI has solid racecraft and the different generations of Formula 1 cars available, alongside the Formula Vee – easily my favourite sim race car for the past year – makes it a must-have for fans of open-wheel racing.

    The default game focuses on Brazilian tracks which aren’t immediately available with other games, but it’s also comfortable to mod, meaning the community has filled it out with the usual European suspects.

    The vote for RRE could be contentious and it’s not a game for people who don’t have disposable income, thanks to its Rise of Flight-style a la carte purchase model. However, it has something other offline sims struggle with – an AI that actually overtakes.

    I think rFactor2’s AI is probably the best to race alongside, but it still suffers from the widespread issue that once you’ve overtaken a particular AI car you can mostly forget about them.

    The RRE AI will hit you a little more often than its counterparts in rF2 or AMS, but it’ll also provide more “did it really do that?” moments.

    Also, the sound in RRE is fantastic.

    For multiplayer I have only one vote and it’s for iRacing.

    If we take league-based online racing out of the equation and focus only on public lobbies, I’d give both MP votes to iRacing.

    The problem with online racing is always other people and only iRacing has a consistent method for dealing with this. Everyone who has played public lobby sim racing has a Turn One Horror Story, where three hours of practice are wiped out in the first corner by someone who doesn’t appear to know where their brake pedal is and although other sims have tried, the only place where I’ve consistently been able to avoid this is at iRacing, (once you get out of Rookie).

    The service is expensive, (although participation credits can mitigate the cost a little), and I think it desperately lacks a panel-banging car that’s outright fun to race, but if you run consistently in one series so that you start to recognise the names around you, it becomes something above what you find anywhere else.

  16. ikehaiku says:

    1 – Assetto Corsa. Despite a few shortcoming feature-wise, that’s where the community is. Including our own fun league.
    2- iRacing I guess. Because when you do not have a League…there’s only iRacing left!

    1- R3E. Those sounds. Oh boy those sounds. And the IA is actually decent. I really, really like the game. Too bad not enough people play it.
    2- Automobilista. But I admit I still have to play it a bit more.

  17. Unsheep says:

    For single-player:

    1. Automobilista – a big selection of cars, you won’t find the majority of the tracks in any other racing game apart from Reiza’s stuff.

    2. RaceRoomExperience – you can make custom championships for any class of vehicle you have = a tonne of single-player content. Plus they a good selection of Experience campaigns for motorsport enthusiasts.

    3. MotoGP 16 – massive content for single-player

    4. Formula Truck 2013 – for something completely different

    5. Project Cars – great customization options and weather effects, lots of content.

    6. rFactor 2 rally mods + Richard Burns Rally mods – still the best options for rally sim on PC.

    For Multiplayer:
    1.RaceRoomExerience – for being a great community
    2.iRacing – since it was designed for multiplayer only

  18. Tim Stone says:

    link to

    And they’re off!

    A storming start from both Assetto Corsa SP and iRacing MP. They’re currently rounding Lonely Oak wheel to wheel. Looking dangerous just behind the leading pair, is Automobilista SP.

    Team rFactor 2 seem to be having technical problems. Both of their cars have yet to leave the grid!

    Thanks everyone! If you’ve yet to vote, don’t be shy.

  19. Rumpelstiltskin says:

    “race sim” sounds like an extremely eyebrow raising thing to say these days

  20. ahmedabdo says:

    1. Automobilista, without any competition imo.
    1. Automobilista.
    2. R3E.

  21. -Spooky- says:

    Driving in my own car and blaze the highway .. *oh wait*

  22. The Changingman says:

    Such a shame that rFactor 2 never quite clicked with the sim-racing community in the way that the first game did. There’s a real jewel lurking in there behind a very wonky interface, some utilitarian graphics, and those bordering-on-offensive pricing and release decisions. It was the first time that a sim really made me feel like I understood and could appreciate the principles of making speedy cars go fast. There is a free demo, which is a rarity in this age, so they have at least made some attempt to meet people halfway. It’ll be interesting to see what the new developers have in store, especially with regards to putting out some updated content based on some new licences.

    In terms of single-player simming, Assetto Corsa handily took up the mantle vacated by ISI. It’s not without its faults, but would have my vote. Dirt Rally, too, has been an absolute joy, and a real surprise from a developer that seemed to have burned all of its bridges with the simulation crowd.

  23. Sigwolf says:

    Single player:
    1. RRE – I have more time in Simbin games than anything else by far, including countless hours in Race07 and GTR2. The cars just handle right, and the AI races more realistically than any other sim I’ve played. I hate the pricing model of RRE, but it just drives too well to give up.

    2. Automobilista – I’m not necessarily a fan of the Brazil-centric content, but there are plenty of quality user mods to expand the venues, and it is just plain fun to drive.

    Multiplayer: no real input.

  24. chrismox says:


    In first place for me, it can only be iRacing. I’d love to have been able to get involved in real-world racing, but a lack of money and free time means that sim racing will have to do for me. iRacing actually makes you feel like you’re competing in something vaguely meaningful. Having faith in the people you’re racing is crucial to multiplayer and nothing can come close to the discipline you find in iRacing.

    In second place comes Automobilista. Races aren’t easy to find, but worth looking for.

    Single player:

    First place for Automobilista. Good AI and great content. After years of every racing title featuring largely the same old cars and tracks, Automobilista should be applauded for going slightly off-piste and giving us content that feels fresh and fun. Like Mr Bismarck above, I find the Formula Vee a highlight and a championship against the AI in that car never fails to hit the spot.

    Second place to Raceroom. I have my reservations about Raceroom, mostly that they seem to have given up on features and are concentrating on simply adding cash-grabbing content. That said, whilst iRacing has recently poached some of their more interesting ideas, their unusual content is fantastic and the sound is spectacular.

    I’ve never managed to understand the love that Assetto Corsa gets. I return to it every few months to try to find what others see in it. I want to like it for it’s gorgeous Ferrari licence, but it never sticks to me.

    Project Cars fails in a few crucial areas. The handling of the cars never feels right to me. Just as troubling was the aggressive and cynical approach the developers took to the community that briefly tried to form around the game. Certainly the most unpleasant crowd-funding experience I’ve ever been near and one that stands out even more against the warm cuddle that came with Automobilista’s development.

  25. Gothnak says:

    My favourite will always be Geoff Crammond’s Grand Prix 3 i think, then again i was brought up with Revs on the BBC B so there is some history there :).

    I did enjoy Powerslide for a few years, used to competitive race in the office and i’ve always loved the Flatout series.

    I do have the latest F1, and i’ve played Forza (On my xbox) and the latest Dirt Rally, but i find them a bit soulless.

    My other recommendation was Demolition Derby on the PS1, such a well balanced game!

    • hoho0482 says:

      For a moment thought no one was going to mention revs… Brilliant game from Crammond.

  26. fish99 says:

    Of the current line-up of sims I’d pick iRacing for the multiplayer and Assetto Corsa for offline play. Having said that iRacing is very expensive, and when you eventually stop subscribing and can’t use that £300 worth of cars and track you paid for anymore, you feel a bit stupid. Also for the price it should have the best physics model, but AC takes the plaudits there.

    In terms of my favourite sims ever, Grand Prix Legends has to win. The first sim with genuinely convincing physics with no canned rubbish, and the best era of racing with supremely challenging tracks and the last pre-aero F1 cars. Playing GPL in a league was just amazing.

    Honourable mention for Geoff Crammonds Grand Prix 2 which in its day was the best sim around.

  27. nillenille says:

    A propos Geoff Crammond… Any love for “Formula One Grand Prix” (single player)?

    3D on a ST and the brutally ‘realistic’ sound = mind still blown.

  28. Reapy says:

    Slightly off topic but your opening pictures made me just nostalgia really hard for my childhood. I don’t really do any modern racing games but I used to play a lot, lot of driving games…

    I can’t even remember them all. Stunts, some other one that had less configurable that had stunts in the name, bill elliot nascar racing, indy 500, grand prix racer doing laps on monico for 2 hours, all the test drives, original need for speed blowing me away the first time I saw a car flip over itself, some game that was like an open world san fransico driving game. There was also the yearly nascar series that had AI that didn’t ram me off the track for the first time when I would drive into them. There was some street racing game where you would buy and upgrade muscle cars, you’d buy parts for the car in the paper then drag race and/or race for pink slips and things.

    Okay. That was a nice trip, thank you!

  29. Rituro says:

    In multiplayer, put me down for Papyrus’ NASCAR series for the pure joy and carnage that came from deciding to immediately pull a U-turn and go screaming back through the pack, eventually causing a twenty-car pileup that sent jagged pixels and polygons of car wreckage soaring off into the distance. (Ah, the simple joys of high school…) If I had to pick a specific game from the series, I’ll go with the original “NASCAR Racing”.

    In single player, call me a heretic if you must but Need for Speed IV: High Stakes remains, for me, the high water mark of the series. The hours spent meticulously learning courses and unlearning the safety net of comestic-only damage were truly a joy.

    Yes, I’m a common driving game peasant with no appreciation of or experience with anything more technical, save beta builds of Next Car Game: Wreckfest. Such is life.

  30. enamelizer says:

    Asseto Corsa

    Altho if Dirt Rally were on the list, it would have been my vote.

  31. Jakob91 says:

    Ironically, my favourite is not even mentioned here. It’s called Live for Speed and is a sim developed in the UK since around 15 years. This sim got grade A vr support and runs at an extremely high FPS, the newer tracks are more detailed than anything else in the market and the game is a blast to play in multiplayer, especially with a good FFB wheel. Assetto Corsa is a great all-around sim with plenty of high detailed cars but when it comes to pure fun and practicality I’d pick LFS any day of the year.

    • Hydrogene says:

      And I didn’t know Live for Speed was still alive! I really liked the first versions of the game when it went out, great fun! Thank you for the heads up.

  32. Silent_Thunder says:

    I’m actually going to have to give my singleplayer vote to iRacing as well as the MP, but that’s with the caveat that I use SP for hotlapping, and it’s the vast number of tracks at high precision that do it for me. I just have no desire to race against AI at all, as they just do weird things that always screw me up.

    Unless modded games count, then NR2003 (which is made by many of the same devs) gets the SP vote, but only when extensively tweaked with.

  33. P.Funk says:

    Single Player:

    I only have one single player sim to discuss.

    Automobilista – Its a pretty near complete package. Its got great AI, unusual and surprising track selection meaning less boredom than always always Spa or Silverstone, stupendous car selection (as long as you’re not married to GT3 cars), the physics and FFB are my preferred kind just totally engrossing and confidence inducing. I spend the bulk of my sim hours in this one. If you have to have one make it this one.</b?


    1. Automobilista – surprise surprise. Its hard to come by races in the public lobbies but when you get one its great. All that stuff about confidence inducing FFB and physics said above applies twice as much to racing angrily against other people. Its also paradoxically easier for me to find a good race in AMS than AC just because most players in AC are permanently lapping the Nordschleife Touristenfahrten.

    2. iRacing – Its expensive, its disappointing in the physics and FFB department, its got a long list of stuff you want to grumble about or wonder why its not so strong, but when it comes to car selection, track selection, and the availability of on demand multiplayer racing you can't beat it.

    • P.Funk says:

      And wouldn’t you know I forgot we could edit our posts. Too bad. Let it be a monument to my poor understanding of the XHTML.

  34. IndyCar Racing III says:

    The physics of Geoff Crammond’s Stunt Car Racer were sublime, weren’t they? Then I bought his F1GP on the Amiga and I stopped leaving the house. Actually no, I did leave the house; to go to a friends house, to play F1GP on his PC (486dx). I shudder to think how many hours we all spent playing it, hotseat mode. But even that’s scratching the surface when I think how many months we played Indy 500 (Amiga) and the reason I bought a PC: the legendary IndyCar Racing. David Kaemmer stole my life. I still have circuits like Long Beach and Elkhart Lake burned into my brain. And those nerve-wracking ovals… hours of knife-edged racing, ending with the inevitable shunt on the final lap. Followed by hours watching the replay. I have a huge respect for Mr Kaemmer, but I’ll never sign up to iRacing. What I would do, is gladly buy a copy of IndyCar Racing III with the word Papyrus on the box (complete with weighty tome inside). I’m guessing that’ll never happen though (because iRacing). Then again, why not put me in the black coloured car (if it’s already taken, banana, yoke yellow, gold or a rusty iron oxide will do) and I’ll drive for a potential IndyCar Racing III (SP + MP modes), thanks. Wouldn’t it be funny if us old die hard Papyrus fans won the race? Let’s send Kaemmer a message and do it! Or if not him, somebody else might: link to

  35. corinoco says:

    There is no ‘Grand Prix Legends’. I’ll be writing a stern letter to the Grauniad (and Die Stern) about this.

  36. Tim Stone says:

    link to

    Day 2 of the FPGP. As the sun rises over the settlement tanks of the sewage treatment plant, it illuminates a close contest.*

    iRacing MP is now out in front with Automobilista SP hot on its heels. Assetto Corsa SP has lost some ground but a comment or two could bring it back into contention in an instant. In the rFactor 2 garage faces remain long, brows furrowed. Today’s racing promises to be fascinating (Assuming readers keep voting. Please air your opinions if you’ve yet to do so!). Tune in this evening for an updated circuit map.

    *And considerable quantities of human waste.

  37. Hydrogene says:

    My choice for SP would be Assetto Corsa, as it’s the first racing game that gave me a feeling quite close to driving a real car with my wheel and pedals setup. The tracks graphics are liveless and dull, but the physics model more than makes up for it.

    I haven’t played MP since GPL, and memorable crashes at turn 1 at Monza! :))

    And at last, a special thought for Dirt Rally, which is great fun! And the RPS league in the forums is great fun, to have the incentive to try some tricky car/stages combinations. link to

  38. Paul_E says:

    1) Automobilista — Tons of varied and exclusive content • Runs great on almost any computer • Flexible regarding editing files to dial in the experience how you want it • It’s dad, Stock Car Extreme, is my single most-played racing game on Steam.

    2) Project Cars — Also has tons of varied content • Actually has a “game” structure for you to play through • Has native VIVE support • Tons of game modes • Seriously, it is freaking awesome in the VIVE.

    I avoid multiplayer as much as possible.


  39. TheSplund says:

    Hmm, does the text-based* racing ‘sim’ I wrote in 1978 to run on the local Polytechnic’s mainframe count?!

    (*bend in 100yds, do you want to slow down, accelerate, keep at the same speed? – what the hell was I thinking!?)

  40. Tim Stone says:

    link to

    Propelled by Paul_E’s positivity Automobilista SP exits Abattoir Corner just ahead of iRacing MP. We have a new race leader and it’s as Brazilian as Ayrton Senna.

  41. apa says:

    My votes, slightly off the charts but let’s see if there are other takers :)
    1. Power & Glory mod for GTR2. Driving ’60-’70s sports cars feels great there.
    2. HistoriX mod for rFactor 1. The sounds and the manual transmission mod are better than P&G but rF is showing its age.

    1. R3E. It’s free, it runs on my laptop and there are players. I’d vote for P&G but I think it’s too old to have anyone online :(
    2. no vote. Haven’t played anything else online.

  42. Vando says:


    1. GPL. I haven’t really played any SP games in years, so I’ll have to go back to the one that really got me into the ‘holy shit these cars are impossible to drive but I’m having FUN’ racing crowd.

    2. No vote. Wait no, F1GP2, for old times sake.


    1. iRacing, hands down. Enough has been said about the ability to jump into official races at all times of the day, but I also like the tools to allow private leagues to make use of the infrastructure. Plus the special events like the upcoming Le Mans 24Hr race, in which actual humans race in actual teams over actual 24 hours and no bodging to make driver handovers work is required. Nothing beats coaching your mate through that 3am stint when the relief driver has fallen asleep and we need to get through the night before the rest of the team can take over. All I’m waiting for now is graphical day-night transitions and I’ll call it impeccable.

    2. Automobilista, for being a million times easier to run sessions with than AC, and for being an all-round better sim than PCars.

  43. Capt. Eduardo del Mango says:

    1. Automobilista’s physics, all-bases-covered selection of cars, and charming and quirky set of tracks you’ve mostly never heard of but it in first for me.

    2. Grand Prix Legends, because of course.

    3. rFactor for a handful of genuinely professional quality mods.

    1. Automobilista, because it’s so reliable and easy to set up. There’s a few of us over at the [url=]racing games sub-forum[/url] who play it MP if anyone wants to stop by. iRacing’s great and all, but given the physics modelling doesn’t strike me as being notably better than anything else, it can’t justify the (considerable) price for me.

    2. Live For Speed. Great fun, great physics, shame it’s kinda died off a bit.

    3. Grand Prix Legends, because of course.

  44. eljueta says:

    I would say

    1. Automobilista for SP,

    2. Nothing for MP. I have no time for racing leagues and pub racing servers are generally horrible.

  45. Kalinin says:

    For SP I recommend rF2, resume from replay option alone puts this ahead of all others and also the AI there is the best (and also rain, night, real time wheater plugin)
    For MP I recommend rF2 and iRacing. rF2 because it’s the only proper sim out there for endurance and in some cases for sprint too (for the same reasons listed above), the net code is fantastic and the rejoin option is great. iRacing because well… it’s only online, if the service wasn’t good it’d be out of business already hehe

  46. specialsymbol says:

    For Singleplayer:
    -R3E. RaceRoomRacing Experience has by far the best sound and is, despite having worse graphics than Project Cars, more immersive. It feels better. It’s also fun, but in a difficult way.
    -Project Cars. It has simply the best graphics and enjoyable P2P races. It’s simply fun.

    For Multiplayer:
    -R3E again. Even more fun in multiplayer, enough said.
    -1nsane Racing. Now that was a fun game on LAN parties.

  47. Tim Stone says:

    link to

    Assetto Corsa SP is struggling to match the blistering pace of the leading pair, Automobilista SP and iRacing MP. Day 3 of the FPGP dawns with the alleged “best racing sim ever made”…

    link to

    …four circuit sections behind its rivals.

    Back at the start, the two rFactor 2 drivers have located their accelerator pedals at long last. The Steradent Straight is now empty except for the forlorn purple fuselage of pCars MP.

  48. oldgamer4 says:

    Oh, I almost missed this thing, to which I am somewhat eligible to contribute. Good.

    I have dabbled with rFactor2, PCars, Assetto Corsa and Automobilista (and much other stuff since Grand Prix Circuit). As someone who doesn’t have the time to get to the absurd level of driving proficiency and track knowledge that is apparently demanded of relatively serious (i.e. non-destruction-derby) online racers – I am primarily a single player kinda person.

    PCars comes the closest to what I want – as it best provides the structure to generate your own narratives/stories/’career’, though it still grates in many ways. The interface is horrid, the career not quite customisable enough, the inane social media outpourings of your fake in-game fans (with their highly unrealistic expectations of immediate, relentless success) are intolerable, etc. But it feels quite nice (though not as nice as Assetto), and the selection of tracks and cars is quite good. So despite not feeling as supple as Assetto, and not being as devotedly simmy as rFactor2 (which is the game the purist inside me tries to convince me to play – “but just look at those flexing tyre carcasses!”) – PCars is the one in which I clock up the most hours of fun single-player driving. If I just have time for a few hotlaps, I’ll load up Assetto – so that’s in second place. I am intrigued to see what Studio 397 will do to arouse rFactor 2 (currently in third).

    For multiplayer, I’d have to say rFactor (1). It’s the only one I’ve spent enough time with online to have fun with. I can’t be dealing with iRacing’s business model and/or extremist followers. Microsoft’s Monster Truck Madness was the first game I ever played online – but I can’t say much to recommend it in this context.