Bumps & Bales: Austria's Other Zeltweg Circuit In Assetto Corsa (Updated)

Zeltweg-1966-Assetto-Corsa.jpg
The Austrian Grand Prix is synonymous with Zeltweg - which is usually used interchangably with the Red Bull Ring these days. For the historians among sim racers, its predecessor at the Zeltweg Air Base is now available for Assetto Corsa as raced in 1966.

Updated June 29, 2024 - see end of the original article.

Red Bull Ring, A1 Ring, Österreichring - no matter what you call it, the venue for the Austrian Grand Prix is a classic on the F1 calendar. It is sometimes referred to as being located in Spielberg, or in Knittelfeld on rare occasions, as both are in the immediate vicinity. Older racing fans may refer to the track as Zeltweg, however.

Located just to the south of the Red Bull Ring, the town was actually the site of the first Austrian Grand Prix, being held on a circuit basically across the street from the permanent track. Laid out on the runway of Fliegerhorst Hinterstoisser, or Zeltweg Airfield, a temporary track hosted the event from 1963 to 1968. Once the then-Österreichring opened in 1969, racing did not return to the airfield.


It only hosted a World Championship Austrian Grand Prix once, namely in 1964 with Ferrari's Lorenzo Bandini the victor - the other editions were non-championship races. However, F1 was not the only high-level series to hold events at Zeltweg. The World Sportscar Championship ran there from 1966 to 1968, hosting the Austrian Sportscar Grand Prix, or 500 km of Zeltweg in its final year.

Our focus is on the WSC's debut year, however - for the simple reason that this is when @RcDaniel's 1966 Zeltweg for Assetto Corsa is set. The addition of Zeltweg 1966 is a welcome one - despite the general lack of popularity of the track among spectators in particular. Looking at the track map, it does look uninspired, being simply an L-shaped track that mostly ran on parallel straights laid out on the airfield's runway.

This actually did present quite some challenge, however. For one, the track was not particularly wide - a weird trait for an airfield circuit. And then there were the bumps, which can be felt very well in the AC version.

Zeltweg-Airfield-Track-Map.jpg

Running the circuit in a Ford GT40, for instance, you will notice that your car will be shaken considerably when blasting down a straight, and you might think something like "okay, this is far from smooth." But hop into a Lotus 25, as was raced in the 1964 Austrian GP, and you will immediately wish yourself back behind the wheel of the sportscar with its more forgiving suspension.

To add to the challenge, the track is laid out by nothing but straw bales. They are absolutely everywhere, but luckily, the layout is simple enough to not get lost. And as uninspiring as it might be to drive, this actually lends itself well to close racing.

Meanwhile, the atmosphere is nicely done. The track has a scenic view thanks to the surrounding mountains (although they are a little low res), and the myriad of classic cars being parked around the venue coupled with vintage sponsor boards everywhere makes Zeltweg 1966 feel like a proper throwback.

Zeltweg-1966-Assetto-Corsa-Lotus-25.jpg


These proper throwbacks are a big part of the sim racing magic for some, including the author. Having it available for Zeltweg might not add the most interesting track in the world, but it does paint a more complete picture of racing in the 1960s.

And now excuse me as I go and tighten all the nuts and bolts on my rig, just to make sure it does not fall apart next time I race.

1.2 Update (23/06/2024)​

After exactly three months, Zeltweg's mod creator RcDaniel has released a new update to the classic 60's Austrian airfield. This new update includes some surface amendments, a more detailed environment and new hay bale physics.

Abarth 500.jpg


The most exciting part of the update is the reworked road surface physics on the back straight. As the original article above mentioned, the back straight would especially rattle your bones and loosen your rig's bolts! Whilst realistic to how it might have been, the new surface makes it a lot more manageable for longer races.

The haybales have also received a physics overhaul. They are no longer solid objects now - instead, they do slow you down if you hit them, but will not stop you entirely. With the haybales being such an important factor in this layout, it is great to see their physics being changed.

What are your impressions of Zeltweg 1966? Let us know on X @OverTake_gg or in the comments below!
About author
Yannik Haustein
Lifelong motorsport enthusiast and sim racing aficionado, walking racing history encyclopedia.

Sim racing editor, streamer and one half of the SimRacing Buddies podcast (warning, German!).

Heel & Toe Gang 4 life :D

Comments

A new sim dedicated to historic sim racing when?

I know at least I would be happy. There you go I proved there are many of us, historic enthusiasts. There's a very good Youtube channel called GPLaps who recreates epic historic battles, instead of just driving tablets on wheels.

The only genre that is still depending on mods in older sandbox. Not saying what we're having is bad. Just saying in my opinion historic, classic and vintage cars are the most fun and analogue to drive and they deserve more love.

Maybe the one that Ian Bell is making is going to specialize at this or something?
 
A concrete example is:

That red Alfa and that Lotus F1 in the picture are my favorite two cars to drive in sim racing..period.. no not period, I want to add a p.s.: and mind you I own all sims all content.
 
Last edited:
Premium
A new sim dedicated to historic sim racing when?

I know at least I would be happy. There you go I proved there are many of us, historic enthusiasts. There's a very good Youtube channel called GPLaps who recreates epic historic battles, instead of just driving tablets on wheels.

The only genre that is still depending on mods in older sandbox. Not saying what we're having is bad. Just saying in my opinion historic, classic and vintage cars are the most fun and analogue to drive and they deserve more love.

Maybe the one that Ian Bell is making is going to specialize at this or something?
Haven't you heard of Grand Prix legends?
 
OverTake
Premium
A new sim dedicated to historic sim racing when?

I know at least I would be happy. There you go I proved there are many of us, historic enthusiasts. There's a very good Youtube channel called GPLaps who recreates epic historic battles, instead of just driving tablets on wheels.

The only genre that is still depending on mods in older sandbox. Not saying what we're having is bad. Just saying in my opinion historic, classic and vintage cars are the most fun and analogue to drive and they deserve more love.

Maybe the one that Ian Bell is making is going to specialize at this or something?
Well, they did have the 1973 WSC season as an option in a poll about content the community would like to see a while ago. As far as I remember, the options were stuff Straight4 would love to do, but couldn't decide between.

No matter if it would be them or someone else creating such a sim, I am right there with you - I'd be all over that :inlove:
 
Haven't you heard of Grand Prix legends?
I have heard of it but.. with all respect, is it worth it to try an old (possibly) outdated sim in 2024? As far as I understood, it's an older Assetto Corsa, only (a little) worse. No disrespect, just asking.
 
I have heard of it but.. with all respect, is it worth it to try an old (possibly) outdated sim in 2024? As far as I understood, it's an older Assetto Corsa, only (a little) worse. No disrespect, just asking.
There's a big gap between AC and GPL, and the gap is not in favor of AC... If you don't care about graphics, till this day there's nothing to beat the physics of GPL on 60's F1 and NR2003 for Nascar in offline racing, Papyrus (that latter become Iracing, and Iracing code is a evolution of the GPL and NR2003 code) was way already of their time. @GPLaps the channel you mention, was built around GPL stuff, he became famous for his alter ego "Richie Axelson" doing basic a RPG on the life of Driver on the 60's driving GP Cars, Indy, Touring and Prototype, Le Mans, usgin mostly GPL and NR2003 and ocasional GTR2.
He has some really good playlist that can entrained your for days watching Richie racing full seasons, not only in F1 but others one off racing, at the moment he is using Indycar Racing II (other papyrus game) to reanact the 1989 CART season with Richie going for the Championship.
Worth a lot try GPL today, if you like old GP cars is the best place you can go.
 
I have heard of it but.. with all respect, is it worth it to try an old (possibly) outdated sim in 2024? As far as I understood, it's an older Assetto Corsa, only (a little) worse. No disrespect, just asking.
Given the options and who is running the possible upcoming ones...

GPL is going to be highly recommended by those who care about physics for years to come...

Eye candy can only take you so far... As Ian Bell has shown us 3 times now...
 

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