Le Mans Ultimate Will Now Be Early Access, Evolve Throughout 2024

Le Mans Ultimate Will Now Be Early Access, Evolve Throughout 2024 RD 03.jpg
In a switch, the upcoming official Le Mans and WEC game will still launch on 20th February 2024, but in an Early Access state.

Images: Motorsport Games / Studio 397

Following a delay from December ‘23 to February ‘24, Le Mans Ultimate will now release initially as an Early Access title as work continues at developer Studio 397.

Based upon the basic architecture of existing simulation platform rFactor 2, but with several planned enhancements, it will feature content from the 2023 FIA World Endurance Championship at launch.

This hasn’t changed with the Early Access programme, with the 12 car models used in the series last year represented at launch alongside the seven circuits in their championship layouts – the team is exploring the possibility of additional configurations for a later date.


Today’s new trailer showcases glimpses of the Aston Martin Vantage GTE, Porsche 911 RSR GTE, Cadillac V-Series.R (running on electricity in the pitlane) and the Glickenhaus SCG 007 for the first time. It does not, however, show the HUD.

The Bahrain International Circuit, at night, Fuji Speedway and Sebring’s pitlane can also briefly be spotted. Markedly, several cars are seen racing on track at once, something most prior updates were missing.

All venues are set to include day-to-night cycles, dynamic weather and track surface evolution analogous to Factor 2’s Real Road 2.0 system.

All vehicles are said to have been rebuilt from the ground up, inside and out, for LMU – even if some of the cars are shared with the outfit’s prior titles. Over 100 real-world liveries will be available from launch too, including variations of sponsors or 24 Hours of Le Mans-specific designs.

Le Mans Ultimate Bahrain Peugeot vs Toyota.jpg


The Garage 56 modified Chevrolet NASCAR that competed at the centenary event as a one-off is omitted, however.

Ahead of the release date, we hope to see footage or images of the Corvette GTE, Glickenhaus SCG 007 and Cadillac V-Series.R alongside Sebring and Fuji Speedway. Gameplay footage has previously recently been published for the Toyota GR010 at Portimão and Ferrari 499P at Monza, while today’s footage also sees the Ferrari 488 GTE, Porsche 963 and wingless Peugeot 9X8 on track.

As for 2024-season content, or historical vehicles, there’s the following hint provided by Motorsport Games: “There is certainly a huge amount of current and historic inspiration to draw from!”

Ranked Multiplayer Included At Launch​

During the Early Access phases, Motorsport Games’ RaceControl online ranking system – with driver and safety ratings – will be available.

Claimed to carry across learnings from having the system in rFactor 2, there will be daily races available at intervals across three levels: Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced.

Creating your owner server, however, will be a notable omission initially, with that and the ability to enter special events slated for updates post-release.

Le Mans Ultimate LMP2 Oreca and Peugeot RD.jpg


“We’ve got some great plans to run championships and esports tournaments in the future and are building out functionality to create online championships and more,” reads the platform’s newly published FAQ. Did someone say a 24 Hours of Le Mans special event?

Outside of the online competitions, you will be able to use a system called Race Weekend to configure single-player events to your liking, including multi-class races. However, it’s not yet clear if multiplayer will be available initially with multi-class or driver swaps.

Co-op Mode, VR, Missing – For Now​

Speaking of switching drivers, the much-hyped asynchronous cooperative multiplayer mode is an absentee for now.

“Unfortunately, whilst we do have a working prototype, this innovative game mode is not quite ready for release and such we are working hard on this feature with the intent on making it available in the summer during the Early Access phase,” explains the development team.

Perhaps more pertinently, considering rFactor 2’s support, virtual reality is not available in February, but we expect it to follow. It’s not clear if triple-screen gameplay is possible come the launch, either.

Cadillac Le Mans Ultimate onboard.jpg


There’s no word at all if a form of single-player career or championship mode is in development. As an officially licenced and dedicated platform, much like Assetto Corsa Competizione, modding is not supported.

The recommended PC specifications have also been published. We have more details in a separate article, but they seem very accessible to us.

Pricing confirmed​

Those who take the plunge and purchase Le Mans Ultimate on 20th February 2024 as an Early Access title should expect to pay €29.99/£24.99/ $32.99 (USD).

The initial offering for the game will be the lowest price for the game in its Early Access phase,” explains the creators.


“Those early adopters will enjoy playing the game early with access to features and content, whilst also helping input into the future roadmap of the product with new features and updates being delivered to players when they are ready as part of the initial price.

“We also hope to even have a few gifts or two throughout Early Access.”

An estimation of how long it will be in this development phase is not yet known.

What do you make of the switch to the Early Access programme for Le Mans Ultimate? Let us know in the comments below and discuss in our forum.
About author
Thomas Harrison-Lord
A freelance sim racing, motorsport and automotive journalist. Credits include Autosport Magazine, Motorsport.com, RaceDepartment, OverTake, Traxion and TheSixthAxis.

Comments

$60.00! Good lord thats a lotta money! How about early access beta for $32.99?
 
Last edited:
While I fully support getting it right over rushing to call something finished when it's not, this still seems a bit disappointing.

VR especially seems like something that a lot of people will be upset about.

It does also raise questions about the overall level of polish which is again disappointing. No mention of much in the way of single player is a let down too, despite it not being something I use myself much it feels like something a dedicated game should have.

It is leaving me wondering if the Majors 24 for iRacing is still going to be my best bet for experiencing the race virtually, or AMS2 if I wanted single player against AI
 
Premium
I tried rF2 some years ago and it failed for me because of the lack of singleplayer possibilities and terrible UI.

So if this game gives me at least a possibility to create and/or play a championship season and the AI will be at least ok - this is the best opportunity to "come back" and enjoy the rF physics engine.

The price is fair and i think i`ll buy it :)
 
Premium
Big disappointment for me personally that it doesn’t have VR at launch. I appreciate they have lots to work on but the tech has been around for a while now and works on other platforms including RF2. I only race on VR so will hold out until this is added and see how others are finding it prior to its inclusion.
 
Premium
This is a pretty smart move, apparently they've learned harsh lessons from the NASCAR Ignition team who would've benefitted from an Early Access.
 
I might be naive, but I think it's a win-win situation. We can support the devs who are working super hard at a lower price while still getting our hands on the game on the 20th of February, and they get some well-needed cash income to keep on developing the platform and some more time to smooth things out instead of rushing the game.
I'll be in pole position trying to support the game on the 20th, we need a good endurance game! (and yeah for now it's the only game that has an official 499p and that might be a big reason why I'm hyped about the game :p)
 
"Cadillac V-Series.R (running on electricity in the pitlane)"
This seems more realistic than the real thing, lol, as they were not doing it at Daytona.
 
Triples are confirmed in rf2 discord, so dont understand why there is statement here triples could be not supported.
 
I went all VR a month ago, so I'm kind of glad to see it not being offered at release. Makes my decision to wait easier. I do hope they pull this off. Could be top tier if done right. Fingers crossed.
 
Quite confusing as this is supposed to be basically a reskin of rF2 if I understand correctly.

On the positive side, smaller barrier of entry, may indicate it is much more than a reskin of rF2.
On the negative side we might never get a "finished" product (though what is a finished game nowadays) for obvious reasons.

Trailer looked quite nice though.
 

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